If you are a runner, or if you happen to know a runner (and you probably do), you’ll know that the one thing that makes us extremely happy, is achieving a new PR (Personal Record). It’s what makes all of our training and hard work feel like its paying off. It makes us proud, thrilled, elated… Throw in your own word, you know what I mean.
Running itself is not much of a competitor sport in my eyes. Unless you are an elite racer that has a shot at actually finishing first in a race, there’s not many “winners” when it comes to racing per-se. So for the thousands of us that know we will never be the first person to cross the finish line, the real competition is with ourselves. Sure we may pick a racer that we would like to try to pass or pace with to aid in motivating us onward, but for the most part we compete with our own self. We have our previous times in mind, we have our potentially negative self-conscious telling us its not possible, and then to top it off, our bodies fight against us as we push it to the limits to improve.
Ask any runner and I guarantee they will know their average pace, their PR for any distance race, and the race in which it was achieved!
Which leads me to today. I’ve been wanting to beat my 5k PR for a while. It was achieved this past January at the St. Pete Classic. Time: 26:06. Granted I don’t run a ton of 5k road races, but I’ve been feeling like its high time to beat that record.
I had not planned on running the Tampa Bay Times Turkey Trot. I ran it last year, and although I enjoyed it, the crowd deterred me a bit from doing it again. Upwards of 20,000 people attended the 34th annual event this year. The event itself hosts a competitive 5k, and 5k fun run, as well as a 1 mile and 10k race. So after going back and forth about attending, I decided last minute yesterday that I would get up early, go register, and run the competitive 5k at 7am this morning. My main objective: to see if I could achieve a new PR.
My alarm woke me at 5:15 this morning, I made the 15 minute drive to the race location, registered, warmed up, and got in line in high hopes for my race. Having run last year, I remembered that there was a killer hill shortly after the 2 mile mark, but I vowed to hit it full force, not slow down, and finish strong.
The race began and… We walked. Haha, well, until we crossed the starting line at least. The massive amount of people filling the road made it difficult to get going, and I spent most of the first mile dodging in and out of other runners trying to find some free space. I finally did and settled into a pace I felt was pushing me a bit, but not too much that I’d run out of steam too quickly.
Mile 1: 8:24 pace
I kept a solid pace through the next mile, enjoying the musicians sprinkled along the way entertaining us with live music. Homeowner sat in their driveways, with coffee in hand, watching the spectacle pass through their neighborhood.
Mile 2: 8:16 pace
Then came the hill. That dreaded hill. Hills during obstacle races aren’t bad, they are a part of the challenge and accepted as such. Hills in road races make the best of us feel like we are going to lose our oatmeal on the side of the road because we are too stubborn to let up the pace. I made it up the hill, and kept telling myself, “less than a mile, less than a mile, only a few more minutes to go. You can do this!”
I hit 3 miles somewhere in the 24th minute, and pushed myself to speed up with whatever energy I had left. I was determined!!
3.1 came, at 25:49, with an average pace of 8:19. New PR!! I also never thought I’d finish a race under the 8:30 pace mark! YAY! I crossed the finish line, began dry heaving, and almost threw up on the track (I’m sure it was quite a spectacle for those on the sidelines). I had to sit down to collect myself so I didn’t lose my breakfast all over in front of a crowd of people, and while doing this began my personal happy dance inside my head. I did it! I got my PR! I pushed through and made it happen!
I came home elated, and have been on cloud 9 since. What a great way to start Thanksgiving Day!
Do you have a great PR story? I’d love to hear it! We are all on our own quest to better ourselves and today was proof to me that I AM improving, my hard work IS paying off! As with any runner, I know I’ll get to a point where I hope to beat this PR someday (perhaps next time I won’t feel like tossing my cookies either! Fingers crossed!), but today, I celebrate!
Happy Thanksgiving everyone! I hope you are all having a fantastic day!