Tag Archive | PR

On Setting a Ceiling and a Personal Record (“PR”)

I’m fond of posing rhetorical questions to myself.  Lately, my favorite: Who put this ceiling up?  By ceiling, I mean limitations, and I’ve got an answer to my question.




On August 11, 2005, I ran a 5K race really fucking fast.  Blazing speed, huffing lungs, endorphin rush– the whole damn deal.  The race was a charity event for Chicago Volunteer Legal Services and because we lawyers are fucking hilarious it was called “Race Judicata.” FN 1.  On the way home from the race, my boyfriend summer fling broke up with me with the piercing line: “You’re not The One.”

I took it exactly as you’d expect.  I hurled my favorite Tag fruit bowl on the floor and cabbed it to my best friend’s house where I slept cried on her guest bed all night long.  The next morning at work I kept my door shut and informed my secretary that I was not accepting visitors.  I was busy waiting for my therapist to call me and tell me it would be okay.

In my grief, I checked my official time for the race. 24:44 (7:57 minutes per mile), a PR.

My time was a small consolation for the heartache.  “At least I ran faster than I ever had before.”

It was fun to set a PR.  I was 32– single (suddenly), childless and fast.  I was sure I’d never beat that time.  How could I possibly?

Every year I would see the sign-up sheets for the annual Race Judicata, and I’d sneer.  As much as I loved my PR, I didn’t like the memory of my post-race dump.  I swore I’d never run that blasted race again.

And while I am a woman of high integrity who keeps her word 99% of the time, I retracted here.  When folks from my office organized a group to run this year’s race, I relented.  After all, my story had a happy ending– I met and married someone exceedingly better for me than Race Dumper, and we have two beautiful children.  I was done with the ghosts of Race Judicata past.

“Sign me up,” I cried, fist to the air.

It wasn’t in my plan to set a PR.  Impossible.  For God’s sake, I’m 41, I’ve got a 10-inch scar on my lower abdomen from my children’s births, and breasts that are still nursing.  The last thing I need is a PR.

Maybe it was the perfectly ripe banana I ate right before the race.  Or the Amy’s enchiladas frozen entrée I ate for lunch.  Maybe it was the breeze off the Lake that evening or the fact that I wanted to go home and eat dinner with my family.  I don’t know, but I did it: I PR’ed the goddamned Race Judicata, clocking in at 24:37.  Not by much, obviously.  Though, I’d argue that 7 seconds is significant in a wide range of important contexts.

Like this one.

This one where I said over and over (to myself), “Your PR days are over.  You’re middle-aged.  Your’re a mother.  You’re probably closer to an artificial hip than a PR.”

Folks, none of that was true.  None of the bullshitty, limiting things I said to myself about this 5K race were accurate.  My C-section scars and my unevenly shaped breasts didn’t keep me from besting my 32-year-old self’s best time.

Absolutely nothing physical keeps me from reaching any finish line I choose.  It’s the thoughts, each one a brick creating a ceiling above my head that requires me to crouch and stoop and, more importantly, hides the limitless sky from view.

So, who put up the ceiling?

I did.

FN1: Race judicata is a play on words.  It refers to the legal principle “res judicata,” which shares its pronunciation with “race judicata” and is Latin for “a matter already judged.”   In both civil law and common law legal systems, a case in which there has been a final judgment and is no longer subject to appeal; and the legal doctrine bars (or precludes) continued litigation of a case on same issues between the same parties. In this latter usage, the term is synonymous with “preclusion”.  In the case of res judicata, the matter cannot be raised again, either in the same court or in a different court. A court will use res judicata to deny reconsideration of a matter.

See how hilarious the law is?

WAKE UP! You’ve got to go get the kids and file your expense report!  Get Going!


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.)