What is a PR? A PR is a personal record. In the running world these are a measure of time it takes you to run a specific distance.. They give you a reputation. They tell a story.
My first year competitive running was PR breaking smack down. I must have raced 15 times, and every time was a PR. I guess I didn’t really even think of it as anything special. It was expected that every time I ran a race, I would PR. My 5k dropped from 24:50 down to 20:59 in one year. I was living on cloud nine as a runner. I never once questioned my love for the sport or my ability to improve during that first year of competitive running. I was also very naive because I judged people who did not constantly PR.
On the anniversary of my first 5k, I ran the same exact race in 21:30.
It finally happened to me. I didn’t PR. Not only did I not hit a PR, I ran 30+ seconds slower than my PR. I immediately started doubting my running abilities. Everyone gave me a million reasons why it could have happened. I chalked it up to a “rare event” and continued on with my running life.
However, from that moment on, In the back of my mind there was always a fear of not PRing.
A Fear of underperforming. A fear that my efforts weren’t ‘good enough’.
I was afraid that my love for running would not be accurately shown by my race day.
Fast Forward 1 year later, when I crossed the line of my first marathon in 4:09. I was deeply disappointed in myself. The worst part is- I was not even remotely proud of myself for finishing. I had placed the entire value of the event & my running on a sub 4 hour marathon.
It’s funny how the cycle repeated itself again.. 2 years
Boston 2015: my first Boston Marathon
After running a 3:19 at the Goofy Challenge, I was ready to shoot for another PR ( a 3:11-3:15) at Boston. I trained harder for Boston 2015 than I ever have for any race in my entire life. I was doing crazy workouts & long runs. I set all my current 5k-half marathon PRs leading up to the race.
I didn’t PR.
At the race I had trained for YEARS to qualify for, the holy grail of running, I missed a PR. I had trained harder than ANY race, ever.. But I failed in my eyes all because I didn’t PR. A 3:20:44 finish less than 60 seconds off my PR, and I was heart broken.
TC Marathon 2015- the turning point
After running my 3:14 PR at Grandma’s 2 months after Boston, I thought, why not push for another PR in the fall
I have never in my entire running career felt like I did during the TC Marathon.
I went out thinking “Let’s just see if I can PR”. I put soooo much pressure on myself and the pacing. I needed to break 3:10. I was obsessed.
MILE FREAKING 8. I knew it was over.
I texted my husband this exact text at mile 10 : “I’m dropping– where are you? come to mile 11″
But- I kept running.
I have never felt so scared running a race in my life. Everything was wrong. I could envision myself dropping out of the race, hugging my family and just getting a ride home.
“It could all by over if I just step off the course. No more racing. No more pressure.”
I was having a mental breakdown about my running goals during a marathon. Why would I want it to be over? So I could go run again tomorrow and next week? So I could try to salvage my legs and conserve for my next PR?
I came to the conclusion that I just needed to swallow my pride and stop with the 99999999990930948238 excuses I was pulling out of my ass all the time.
Why do I deserve to always PR?
Why do I think I always need to set all these PRs constantly?
How do you think people who haven’t PRed in years feel like?
I changed my attitude to accomplish the only real goal at hand: to finish the marathon.
I smiled. I was joyful. Most important- I wasn’t such an uptight asshole.
I started high fiving the crowds. I started just enjoying the moment. I was in a world of pain, but I knew my purpose was just to cross the finish line and attempt to motivate anyone out there spectating the race.
I had vowed to myself during that race that I would stop taking myself so seriously. I was running the TC Marathon that day because I truly LOVE & ENJOY running. The pressure of constantly having to “better my best” and “run4prs” was exhausting and causing me to HATE the sport that I love.
I didn’t need to run a PR that day to prove I loved running. I just needed to be out there doing what I love doing with thousands of other runners who are doing what they love doing.
As I came down from the epiphany experience of the TC Marathon, I remained true to myself. Although my IG name and business name is RUN4PRS, there is a lot more to running than PRs. Your love or passion for the sport is not and will never be measured by the PRs you hit on race day.
You know how they say that “you should get a job doing what you love instead of doing it for the money because you will be miserable” or “You should do what you love and the money will follow”. I believe this can be the same for running at PRs.
You should run because you LOVE RUNNING not because you love the results or you love beating people.
Not everyone has to love running. You can love lifting, rowing, cycling! Everyone is different. You should do what you love even if it is not what you are naturally good at because it will make you happy.
I get a lot of people asking my “goals” or what “time” I am shooting for. I don’t have any. If someone took my garmin and all of social media away from me, I would still run. I run when I don’t have to. I run when no one wants me to.
I run because it changed my life in college. I don’t even know the person I would have turned into if I had not found running. It taught me dedication, hard work, disciple, integrity, etc.
I run because it makes me feel alive. Running makes me feel like I have a purpose in life. It makes me feel like I am unstoppable. It makes me feel like I am capable of anything.
I don’t have time goals because my goal at races is to be smart and enjoy the celebration of being a runner.