Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Chasing PRs (Personal Records)

The blog Dependable Renegade is always a good read, full of quirky photos, videos, and stories.

This delightful clip above—which you really should watch in its entirety (it’s only 121 seconds)—makes me think about my first few years of running when success and PRs came often, versus my current experiences. The poor kitty here keeps trying and trying, but the evil owner keeps the feather just out of reach (although the cat still loves the game). See, I’m like the kitty, trying hard and striving mightily towards an elusive goal, but my efforts are largely in vain.

For me, PRs are really a road running phenomenon. Although courses can be quite different, it still is meaningful to compare, say a 10K or marathon time on one course to those times on other courses.

Not so much in the ultra world, where race courses over 50K or 50 miles or 100 miles are so disparate that the only meaningful comparison would be your time on the same course if you’ve run there multiple times. And for me, given the fact that I enter organized events somewhat infrequently, I tend to prefer going to a new venue to see different sites and have a different experience.

It’s kinda tough to admit, but my days of PRs are over. Yet with that admission of aging and slowing comes a huge amount of relief and burden-lifting. I can be childlike again, just running as little, as often, as fast, or as slow as I choose.

For example, as I posted yesterday, I’ve entered the Capon Valley 50K in May, and I did run it 2 years ago. There is, admittedly, a small part of me that wants to better my 2009 time. But there's a bigger part that just wants to link up with another runner of similar pace and just spend the hours and the miles chatting. Or if the mood strikes me, to just run solo and think about as much or as little as I wish.

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