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A Personal Record (or Personal Best)

A personal record can be defined as a person’s best time at a particular race distance. Many of us bloggers have our PRs posted on our About Me page or somewhere easily visible. We are proud of what we have accomplished and want to share that with others. However, this morning I came to the conclusion that the definition of a personal record is too limited. Sure, it’s about the time on the clock when you cross the finish line but it’s also about the challenges along the way. A 23:45 5K along a flat course on a cool day isn’t the same as a 24:00 5K on rolling hills during the heat of the summer. For me, the latter is a PR. 

I would like to propose a new definition of a personal record. In my running world, a PR or PB is when you find something within yourself to accomplish a distance or tackle obstacles that previously may have been viewed as impossible or extremely difficult. When the time on the clock can not even begin to describe what you experienced both mentally and physically to cross the finish line, that is a new PR. It may be 10 minutes slower than your last marathon, but you found something within that carried you along. You discovered a new part of you and that is now the best you. (It’s a long definition, I know.)

The reason I started thinking about this today was because during my cold, rainy 14 miler, I did a year end review of my running in 2012. I’ve had a lot of ups and downs. My lowest point was without doubt my Boston DNF. I gave up and I didn’t search within for that thing to keep me going. Knowing this however, has opened me up to a whole new world. I am actually thankful for that experience because it has taken me in a direction that I never thought possible. Since that day back in April, I’ve actually had a lot of PRs. Maybe they haven’t been my fastest runs, but they were the runs that gave me something in return… a glimpse at new possibilities. If I had to pick my best PR moment from 2012 it would be the City of Oaks Marathon. I remember practically every single moment of that race and how I felt one mile after the other. I was so proud of how I mentally handled the race and I now have a new perspective of the 26.2 mile distance. Nobody other than me, knows what I went through along that course and even though it wasn’t my fastest time, it was certainly my biggest victory.

I’m looking forward to a few new PRs in 2013, with regards to both time and mental victories.

Happy Trails and Happy Running,


Running Update: I actually consider today’s run a PR in its own way. It was 38 degrees and raining. I was running alone for 14 miles and I just embraced the cold and the hills and had an amazing run. Even with soggy socks and wet clothes, I felt great the entire time. It was the perfect long run to end 2012. Here are my stats.

7 Comments Post a comment
  1. Couldn’t agree with you more. Time and distance are only two of many factors that influence a run.

    December 29, 2012
  2. loving this… like the LA Marathon I did in a monsoon…

    December 29, 2012
    • Yikes! Monsoons = not very fun running weather. BUT you did it and now you know if it’s ever raining during a race again, you can totally do it. 😉

      December 30, 2012
  3. I agree that running shouldn’t be measured by time / distance PR. I can’t tell you my PR for any distance. Well, I can tell you 4:17 is my marathon PR but only because it’s my only marathon time 😉 . I like your new PR definition.

    December 30, 2012
  4. I know I feel better about a ‘PR’ done in my running group, in the hilly town we’re based in, than the flat race routes I’ve ‘PR’d on. Knowing that I’ve conquered the hills in the summer heat or winter chill/rain (it is Scotland after all) in a really good time, is much more satisfying than crossing a finish line.

    December 30, 2012
  5. I agree so much! As a beginner runner building distance every week, I have moments in every run where I’m positive I will fail but then I succeed. So I set new PRs almost every week and it’s such an amazing feeling! I don’t necessarily get faster, but that’s not the point for now. Just going farther than I ever thought I could is sustaining me!

    December 30, 2012
    • That’s awesome Steph! I’m so excited that you are setting quite a few new PRs. The goals of a runner are forever changing and I think it’s great you are focusing on one thing at a time. Kudos to you and keep up the hard work!!

      December 30, 2012

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