A New Personal Record In A 5K This Morning

There’s something extra special about a glorious September morning when you manage to get to the starting line before the 5K run begins and then blaze through to a new PR (personal record).

Have I run faster 5Ks before? Yes.  So, it’s not a speed PR I broke this morning.  (Specifically, on August 11, 2005, I ran my fastest 5K at a pace of 7:55 min/mile.)  I wasn’t even close to that this morning.  Actually, my “speed” goal for this race was vague– I hoped for something less than 40 minutes to run the 3.1-mile race.

For the record, I was 100% willing to walk the whole way, soaking in the cheers from the sidelines.

"Sunshine, on my shoulder, makes it hard to run into the sun. . . "

“Sunshine, on my shoulder, makes it hard to see when running into the sunlight  . . .”

My goal for this race was simple: make it to the starting line and enjoy the run.  Other aspirations included being inspired by others, thanking the volunteers, and not coming home in an ambulance.  Usually, however, when I say I have a sweet, “life is beautiful” goal, I really have a quantitive, numbers-oriented goal tucked away under platitudes about sunshine and bliss.

Not today.  I didn’t care about the numbers, even though I was pleasantly surprised by them.

So what’s this PR I broke?  This morning’s PR was a maximum number of people I had waiting for me at the end of the race.  This is the first time I have finished a run to hugs from my husband and two kids.  It felt amazing to have them there at the end– begging for my snacks and grabbing the banana out of my hand.  That’s true love, people.  I wouldn’t trade that kind of attention for all the speed in the world.

When I think about how I used to run faster and farther, I remind myself that (1) I was younger, and (2) I was very alone.  I can’t tell you how many races I did setting PRs only to walk home alone.  (By “walk,” I mean ride the train feeling sorry for myself and sobbing to strangers.)

Simon, after stealing my granola scone.

Simon, after stealing my granola scone.

For those of you who prefer bullet points, here’s what I learned running a 5K this morning:

  • It’s hard to take pictures while you are running.
  • Having beloveds at the end of a race is the greatest feeling in the world.
  • Don’t expect to eat your post-race goodies if your hungry little pigs children are around.
  • Run next to the little kids (12-year-old or younger) because not only are they cute as hell, but also, people cheer their hearts out for them, so soak it up.
  • When you are 39 years old and coming back from a butt injury, the miles seem REALLY, REALLY long.
  • Don’t forget the basics: use the potty before you start running, hydrate, have a good running mix, and pace yourself.
  • Remain open for inspiration, like this:
This runner smoked me.

This runner smoked me. (Sorry so fuzzy, I was running.)


31 thoughts on “A New Personal Record In A 5K This Morning

  1. Awesome!!! I long to run a race free of personal expectations! But that’s not how I roll so I all but stopped racing. Sometimes I drag my almost 12-year old along so I have an “excuse” not to PR. When I saw your 7:55 pace before reading the blog…I was all into my comparisons. So I’m glad as hell you aren’t running at that pace coming off a broken ass. My ego would be bruised.

    Somewhere inside I believe it’s great just that I haul my ass out of bed a few mornings a week to put in my 4-5 miles…and then those voices bring on the sabotage. I’m signing up for Hot Chocolate 15k and I’m going to try to have fun at whatever pace I happen to run. (wish me luck…it’s never the distance…it’s my head that messes me up. )

    Congrats on your PR!!! Sounds truly lovely even if the kids wrangled your loot. Thanks for modeling reality and the beauty it can be.

    • I was thinking of signing up for Hot Chocolate. Mostly because I like chocolate. And the stuff in my head around numbers ruins all the fun. And coupled with injuries I just don’t race that much. And if I do run the Hot Chocolate, can I borrow your 12-year-old?

  2. Congrats!

    I love that photo with Simon. He looks like your mini-me. Lol.

    (My munchkin looks nothing like me. Nine months of hell and nothing. Since she’s a girl, my husband jokes she looks like me from the waist down….thanks.)

    • My daughter looks nothing like me at all. Except the waist down. It’s so weird to have kids who don’t look like me. I know she can’t help it, but it feels a little insulting. But Simon is mini me– brown eyes, big cheeks, and always eating. My boy!

  3. Oh, great post. I am just starting to run again after not having done it in a long time. I plan to do a 4k and 5k in November, so am working up to it. I won’t care about my pace at that point…will just be glad if I finish and not be the last runner to finish 🙂 I loved the photos!

  4. Good for you! I love that you say you usually have a quantitative goal under your “life is beautiful” goal. I am SO the same way. Instead of trying to embrace those “life is beautiful” goals I’m just trying to fess up about my actual goals. For example, I have a 10K coming up at the end of September. I’m running it with a few other ladies in the mom’s group. And really my goal is to beat them all. Phew! That feels good to get that off my chest. (Of course, I will not be confessing this goal to them.)

    • I get it. I too confess that I saw some people I know running yesterday and I was curious how I measured up. Dead middle. Half were faster and half were not. Embracing average us good for me.

  5. Good on you, Christie! I’m 39 and stuck on week 4 of the Couch-to-5K and have been for three weeks now, boo… I’m so glad you had your lovelies waiting for you at the end of the race — what a great feeling!

  6. The best PR! Who knows when I’ll do my next race (hey, maybe for Thanksgiving?), and my time is sure to be lousy, but hey, who cares, if my family is there to meet me at the end? Thanks for the perspective — and thanks for the tips!

    • I did later grab back my scone from Simon, just before the threw it on the ground. Next year maybe we can run the BlogHer 5K with our bebes in tow. not for time, but for love and healthy and because we can.

  7. Congrats on the PR! Having people you love at the finish line is so much more gratifying.
    It’s great to hear you made it back to the starting line (and the finish line)–it’s inspirational to me.
    I received my Marathon Participant packet in the mail last week and almost cried knowing that I won’t actually be running it because I haven’t figured out how to fit running back into my schedule after having my son.
    Maybe this will motivate me to sign up for the Hot Chocolate (after all, there’s chocolate at the end of that one).

  8. Pingback: Welcome to the World of Running.. First Ever 5k | [ j. l. d. ] Photography Blog

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