Me–PR? Really?

Distance: 5.00 mi
Time: 1:02:24
Avg pace: 12:29 min/mi

About three weeks ago, I realized that it’s possible I can PR this race — in other words, not merely just finish it, but set a personal record. Many runners try to do this as a general strategy/goal, but I’ve never operated that way. I’ve always operated under the safety net umbrella of what my perceived limitations are, and that was always to aim to finish in the race minimum of 13:45 mins/mile, nothing more.

All of that said, my speed has *shockingly* increased by more than a minute for most of my shorter runs (see today’s pace above, for instance), and about a min for my long runs. I do think that sticking to my training regimin has helped, but I also think I was underestimating my natural pace to begin with.

This new focus has totally changed the game for my long runs and for speedwork. For long runs, instead of just finishing them and not really paying attention to the pace, I’m speeding up to make up for slowing down on hills, and I’m sticking with the general rule that I know I can and will aim for 13 mins per mile. For speedwork, I have something new to think about. Instead of just aiming for 12 min miles, I’m really aiming to feel what pushes my body — in other words, I ask myself, how do I feel when running? And that’s how the speedy version of me can manage 11+ mins/mile.

I will never be a competitive “elite” runner. I mean, my body was just not made for that. But I do think I can compete with myself and be equally happy. The earlier version of myself as a nonrunner-turned-runner-in-three-months would not want to admit it, but it does feel good to have a measurable outcome that is more than just finishing it. All of these weeks of training are finally paying off!

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