Sunday morning, we woke to heavy rains. With the sunrise, the rain dwindled, then stopped and left humid, heavy air. As my friend and I started the Steamtown Marathon, which begins with a descent through several small Pennsylvania towns, we felt the weight of the humidity and relaxed into a few breezes. I had hoped for a cooler day and a chance to make massive improvements in my marathon time. Absent the cooler temperatures, I aimed to stay positive, enjoy the run, and still finish the day with a new record.
We ran the first half of the race really well. I remember thinking, at mile 3, that I felt invincible. At this pace, I’d finish the race in a time faster than my greatest hopes for the day. The thought came and passed with a realization that I often have delusions of grandeur at the start.
By the last third of the race, we began to slow significantly. Around us, more people walked than those who continued running. I remember telling myself that even if others walked, I’m a person who keeps running. We ended up walking more than I’d hoped, but still finished strong —beating my previous record by more than five minutes.
But the fluctuations…
This is my biggest pain point in running, and in business. In reviewing my marathon splits, there is nearly a three minute gap between my fastest mile and my slowest. While we ran relatively smooth splits in the first half of the race, we had widely varying splits in the second half of the race, when the heat and fatigue set in.
On the business side, I can find explanations for the fluctuations in our monthly invoicing: more books launch at the beginning and end of the year than the middle. Adding to the typical seasonal changes, I had an a additional complication this year; I shifted focus from sales to hiring/training in March, and a resulting big dip in revenue followed in April, May, and June.
But the fluctuations…
The ups and downs of revenue (or pace) are tiring. As my mind begins to panic when I see my pace slow during a race, revenue dips create anxiety and worry. In the same way that the panic is counterproductive to strong running, so is anxiety about company finances. Worry, panic, anxiety, undue focus on the change in performance —all these do is slow me down. What helps me rebound is a positive determination to keep going, one foot in front of the other.
At the end of a race, or the end of the year, everything tends to work itself out. But the fluctuations…
Resolved: to ignite practices in running and business to lessen the fluctuations and create steadier pace.