Monday, October 27, 2014

The New Physical Year

The simple definition of a fiscal year is “an accounting period of 12 months.” A fiscal year does not have to align with a calendar year, and it rarely does.  The company I work for just closed the books on their 2014 fiscal year at the end of September and though it was not an awful year, the hope is that the next fiscal year will be a more productive one.  It will certainly be a different one.  All eyes are looking forward.

This also seems to be a good time for me to personally look back at my last “Physical Year.”  Though it is still more than two months shy of the 2015 calendar year, my future running goals fall on the other side, and in order to achieve them, now is the time to start taking stock in what needs to be done to prepare for those goals.  So to simplify things, I declare that my Physical Year also runs from October 1 through September 30 each year.

Looking back on my last physical year makes me want to forget it.  If my running was a business, I would have considered myself on the brink of bankruptcy.  It is almost embarrassing to look back at my annual mileage and to realize that I fell four miles short of averaging a single mile a day.  I logged 361 miles total for the year.  There are various reasons for that dismal number, some of which I had no control over and others due to choices that took me in other directions.  But the bottom line is that other than to capture lessons learned, there is no reason to look back, and every reason to look forward.

The new 2015 Physical year started on October 1, 2014 with a future objective of running the Big Sur 21-miler on April 26 of next year and completing a marathon the weekend after my 60th birthday.  In 2014, Big Sur, my bucket list race, was on the schedule, but my knee rebelled and had other plans for me.  So on race day, I was a spectator while my wife ran the race, and the next week, I went under the knife, and soon after, started my long slow journey back.  It was a necessary evil to revive the hope I could ever run pain-free again.  Running with constant pain is the precursor to becoming a former runner, and I was willing to exhaust all options before ever giving in to that.

Physical year 2015 started with promise, but there are still obstacles to overcome, mostly attitudinal. October started out wonderful, with short runs five of the first six days.  Then, a two week gap without a step occurred.  I could blame it on business travel and a team conference, but those are just excuses for a lack of desire to create a routine in an unfamiliar environment.  I’m back on track now, but next week I travel again and know I’ll be on shaky ground.  By sharing this challenge here, I am hoping to overcome this hurdle and find the will and the place to run while I am away.

New years always represent hope, and my hope is to continue to remain injury free, continue to find consistency, and continue to grow stronger and faster.  Yesterday, I ran a benchmark 10-mile race, totally under trained, just to see how far I still have to go.  I was hoping to average 10:30 miles, and I was ahead of pace until the challenge of Cardiac Hill just as I was running out of steam.  I ended up running a 1:46:08, so I still didn’t miss by much.  Most importantly, today, I feel good with no ill effects from the race.

After the Atlanta Track Club 10 Miler, 10/26/2014

So far this physical year, I have 39 miles in 27 days, but I feel that things will improve from here.  When I think back over my running history, it’s hard to realize where I have been compared to where I am now.  I have had years where I have averaged 30 miles a week, and while that is not a stunning number, it represented the energy and consistency I am currently lacking.  I have had months during “proper” marathon training where I have exceeded 65 miles a week.  Though I know I will never do that again, it’s still a reminder of what my body was once capable of. 

The one thing I do know is that I am still capable of much more than what I am currently achieving, and the next Physical year is expected to be a year of phenomenal growth.  The pain is gone, the desire is returning, and a desire for significant improvement is in the air.  An optimistic outlook for a strong Physical year is in the offering.  I feel I am ready to invest the time now, so I can reap the benefits down the road.  I look forward to sharing this journey.

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