Monday, October 5, 2015

The Elusive PR (Personal Record)

It's just a matter of understanding what's necessary and discipline yourself to do it.--Arthur Lydiard

I ran a PR this past weekend. Whoopty Doo. I wonder if I spelled that right. I want it read with a twang of sarcasm and a little twirl of the finger. Now say it again. Whoopty Doo. You may say, "what's the big deal?" If you've ever chased a PR or accomplished a PR then you know exactly what I'm talking about.

The PR is everything for runners like me. I am every runner, every day. I won't ever win a race. So what do I train for? I train for the PR. If you were to really think about it, the first person great athletes need to defeat are themselves. Before the gold medal is placed around an Olympians neck, that Olympian has to absolutely destroy that voice that will stop you from forward momentum. 

The last time I PR'ed was 2008. 7 years is a very long time to chase anything. This felt like a championship. I remember the Yankees killed it in the 90's and then they went from 2000-2008 without a ring. When they returned it must have felt amazing. This felt amazing. I'm getting older and after years of falling short I almost let go of the idea... Almost.

The PR is the measuring stick for all runners. Certainly winning a championship or a medal is the absolute measurement of success but I will tell you that every runner on all levels will chase their PR. Shalane Flanagan ran a PR at Boston last year. She didn't win the race. She famously said afterwards, "I don't wish it were easier, I wish I were better." She trained to PR and assumed it would be enough to win. It would've been but just not on that particular day. I still love that quote and it made her a legend to me.

All of us regular, non-elite runners dredging up hills on Saturday and icing and doing speed work. For the average Joe keeping a log and adjusting their plan and trolling the web for coaching tips. For the person who loves to win but can't find a game to compete in, can't find a fight. When you need one last thing to chase... Chase the PR. Welcome to the club, we've been waiting.

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