Smile Politely

You PRed, now what?

The other day a friend asked me if I felt some sort of let down now that I’ve PRed in the half marathon. It’s like I’ve achieved a goal, and I have to ask myself: what else is there to do? I understand why he asked that question because it’s important. When you achieve a milestone it must be followed by some sort of disappointment.

Normally, I’d be among the Debbie-Downers, finding the rough in an otherwise smooth race, but surprisingly, I’m happy about this run. It’s been over two weeks now, and the uniqueness of the accomplishment hasn’t worn off yet. I think about the race more than polite company might allow, but it’s not like I throw it in everyone’s face. “Hey, guess what? I PRed in Chicago, dude! Whoo hoo!”

No, people have asked about, and I’ve made it clear that I’m as baffled as anyone. Who knew I had it in me? I broke my PR, and in spectacularly fashion, too. I mean, Dude, I dropped 2.5 minutes? That’s awesome! Wait a minute. I’m doing it, aren’t I? Being that jackass runner guy.

Well, eventually, I’ll come down from this runner’s high. I’ll figure out that there are other goals to be had, other races to run, and time will pass. Soon enough, I’ll say, Wow, remember when I PRed? I know because that’s exactly what I did when I broke my PR in Columbus, OH in 2010. Years will pass, and I’ll retell the story, about how perfect this day was. How the weather was cool, and although there was a head wind out of the north, it wasn’t too bad. When I reached mile 10, I decided I had it in me to go the distance. It was a great day.

But, like any other accomplishment, it’s really only important to me. Nobody gives a rat’s ass that I PRed. Not really. They hit the “Like” button on my Facebook status when I posted my time, and they wondered what would have happened if I’d failed. How disappointed would I have been? I’d put so much effort into it, would I have been crushed?

I didn’t fail, though. I made it. *Blows on fingernails and rubs them against shirt.* There’s nothing else to do, right?

Well, just because I’ve PRed doesn’t mean I don’t have other goals. I can try for another PR or I can help somebody else reach a running goal.

I’ve got three other half marathons I plan to run this fall. In October, I’m running the MO’ Cowbell Half Marathon in St. Charles, MO. It promises a flat course for the first eight miles at least. After that, it gets a little bumpy. My plan is to use this race as a training run, giving me time to recharge for another PR in November.

Following that, there’s the Monumental Half Marathon in Indianapolis. The plan there is to pace a friend to a sub-1:30 PR. She’s on the cusp. She’s so close, she needs only to shed 27 seconds to make it, and she can do it. I know she can. Although we haven’t talked strategy, I feel we can run together for the first 10 miles. After that, she and I have to make the race our own. I’ll admit that I’ve never really felt the pressure to pace someone before. I’m not sure I’ve ever really done it. However, the prospect of doing what I can to help her achieve what I did is exciting.

The problem, if there is one, is that I think she’s beaten me in every race we’ve run this year. Talk about pressure, knowing I’m going to get schooled. But, that’s not the point. It’s a shared accomplishment that we can celebrate together.

If neither of those races works out, if I don’t PR, there’s always the last half for the year, the Schaumburg Half Marathon. I ran this race in 2010 along forest and prairie in the northwest suburb. They’ve changed the route this year, so I’m interested to know how that differs from two years ago. I also want to see how the elements affect the race. In 2010, it was a chilly 27 degrees at race start. I’m less confident I’ll do as well here, but we’ll see.

Just because I’ve PRed doesn’t mean I’ve given up on the year. There are still other goals to make, other races to run, and other personal records to share.

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