Thursday, November 6, 2014

So...What Are Your PRs?

Before I get started, I want to officially welcome Throwback Thursday! Attached is a picture of Van 2 of team Pour Us Again at the 2009 Ragnar Great River relay. We are posing next to the Mississippi River here, as the sun is starting to go down late Friday evening. I had just finished my 5K leg and my good friend Scott was out on the course.

Believe it or not, the five of us in that photo pretty much met for the first time earlier that morning! In fact Carla, the lady standing next to me, was a complete late addition to the squad, as another person bailed from the race about three hours before our team in Van 1 got started. She is a member of my friend Wally's club and fortunately had a clear schedule that day. Which worked out because she was a great addition to the team.

One thing I can't believe is how skinny I was then! By the way, I'm on the right side of the photo, or the second shortest in the group, depending on how you want to look at it. I hope to look like that someday, but then again, I'm not obsessing about it.

I posted this photo on Twitter a little earlier in the day, and after reading a few blogs over lunch, started thinking about personal bests, or PRs. In the running world, PRs are not only badges of honor, they are great conversation pieces. People like to share their times with others, and like to share memories of the day they sealed the deal. Heck, as you've noticed, I like to blog about mine! :--)

Lots of people also use the lure of a PR in their training, and with good reason, because it feels so good to work towards a goal and break through it during a race. It represents a lot of hard work and dedication, which is always satisfying.

But here's my question for the day...what do you do when your PRs are so far out of reach that it could be months, or years -- or maybe even never -- that you could come close to touching them again? I'm asking for a friend because his PRs are so old and so far above his current talent and fitness level that there is no incentive to beating them because they are so out of reach.

For some people, that's no big deal. Running in itself is enough of a motivator that they can keep going just on that alone. That's wonderful, and I would love to feel that way someday. But for now, I'm still a wee bit too competitive to feel that way.

For the sake of discussion, here are my PRs at several distances, and the year I set them:

5K: 22:26 (2001)
8K: 37:34 (2003)
15K: 1:48:14 (2012 -- only time I've run that distance)
Half: 1:42:35 (2007)
Full: 4:07:42 (2005)

Outside of the 15K, my oldest PR is almost 14 years old and my most recent happened 7 1/2 years ago, which means I was 37 the last time I set a PR. Crazy.

I'm looking for some input here, so please feel free to comment. Is is moral, ethical or any -al otherwise to start a new set of PRs? Like, a set of post-40 PRs? Personally, I don't see a problem with it, because to me it would represent a lot of different things, beginning with accepting the fact that I am 45 and can't do it the way I used to! :--)

Well, I can, maybe someday, but that's a little ways off. Until then, what do I do? I want times to shoot for, but it will be a long time before I can shoot for the times I've listed above.

Don't laugh, this is an actual dilemma! I feel like I should recognize my post-40 times, because as of now they are the best I've done over the last couple of years. Those are the "here and now" PRs of my running career.

Not to mention the fact that I'm a completely different person from then. My life has changed a lot in the last seven years, and I kind of wouldn't mind having some "new" goals to shoot for. If you go back to my Chicago Marathon post from a year ago, finishing that race was the perfect bookend to a chapter of my life that I was more than ready and willing to close. But as kind of a purist, I don't feel all the way right about letting the old ones go.

So what do you think? Does starting over mean I should start over with my PRs? I'd love to hear your thoughts!

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