When we line up at the start of every race my running partner Hilary and I size up the competition. We think we can beat this girl, she looks much slower than us. Or, “We should try to pass this guy at the end of the race, he looks slower than us too.” The one thing that we don’t worry about is setting a PR, or Personal Record. Runners are always after that elusive PR. If you’ve run a distance more than once you expect to PR. We Runners talk about the PR like it’s the Holy Grail. “I hear people all the time, “My last PR was at the Brooklyn Half” or “I’m planning on shaving my time down by 3 minutes to PR.”
You know what I’m planning on in my next race? I’m planning on finishing the race. Period!
I am 55 years old. I work full-time. I have a husband, three kids, one of which will be having a crisis on any given day, a pet, a house under repair because of the polar vortex that was nice enough to allow four pipes to explode in protest of the extreme cold. I have a house missing any landscaping courtesy of Superstorm Sandy. I’m on the board of a local theater group, I volunteer for causes that are close to my heart and I try to cook healthy as much as possible. The one thing that I don’t care about is a PR.
Don’t get me wrong. If you’re a runner and your PR is your ambition I respect that.
I just think that those of us who have managed to jog over the hill and get to the other side should get extra bonus points for getting out there in the second place. (The first place always goes to someone thinner and faster). I have run marathons, half marathons, 5K’s , 10K’s , 10 miler’s, etc. You name it I’ve run it (except for those ultra’s, that’ll never happen). I have finished every race I ever started and I have managed to not come in last (one time I was second to last but not last)!
I still consider myself a runner even though I have never run faster than a twelve-minute mile. Most people my age are sitting on the couch and eating cookies!
I don’t have high blood pressure, adult onset diabetes or a heart problem. I can run to catch a bus, train, or plane without getting out of breath and I can out walk anyone on a tour to anywhere! I don’t have to stop for a break while I’m out shopping with friends and I don’t need to buy bigger clothes every season.
I am a runner. Maybe a little chubby, maybe not so fast, but every race that I finish is a victory. I may never PR with some amazing time, but I will always have a personal resolution to finish whatever race I start. So I guess you could say I have a PR before and after every race. That must be some kind of record for something…