Two Weeks to PR

Posted on February 1, 2013. Filed under: Running | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Athlete Running Through Finish Line

I did it.  I finished my 10 mile run last Sunday 4:30 faster than my 10 mile run the week before.  Not only am I completely thrilled with the fact that I beat myself, but I am now confident that I will PR at the Austin half in two weeks.

The last time I ran the Austin half, in 2010, I PRed.  My goal was to finish in under 2 hours.  I finished in 2:01:50-something.  I know.  I’ve been trying to block out the disappointment ever since. At least I’ve succeeded in kind of forgetting the tenth of a second part.

This time, I’m sure I can do it.  Running has never felt so good, and I’ve never trained better. This time, there are two major differences.

My attitude.

I didn’t take up running until my early 30s, and it has probably saved my life on more than one occasion. Training for a race–having a goal, a plan, a block of time every day to disappear into and call my own–has sustained me through marital problems and divorce, death, illness, and countless lows that in a previous life would probably have resulted in self-destructive activities.

Running became such an integral part of my identity that for a long time I approached it with a certain rigidity.  If I had a plan I’d follow it, come hell or high water.  But in the past couple of years, I have learned to let go of the plan.  This time around, my plan is tacked on my refrigerator, just as with any past race, but rather than stress about sticking exactly to it, I do what I can when I can. Give it my best, and leave the rest up to God. I’m finding that in running, just like in life, I get a much better outcome when I let go.

My strength.

It’s not that strength training never appealed to me, it’s that it never occurred to me. I was like most women I see at the gym even now:  My idea of a workout was strictly cardio.  Thanks to my sister, I have developed a love of strength training along with the understanding that if I want to run long and hard and fast, I need the musculature to support me.  A strong core holds the body upright and prevents hip, back, and knee injuries.  A strong upper body decreases tension on the spine when I’m slogging my shoulders and head along on those long runs.  And strong legs?  A no-brainer.  I want quads that look like braided bread not because I find them sexy, but because I need to make it up some pretty steep hills.  The stronger I get, the faster I get, and the more I enjoy running.

I’m not worried that I’ve jinxed myself by stating publicly that I believe I will PR in Austin.  Even if I don’t (but I will), I know I will be proud of my run and the fact that I’m there, giving it the best I’ve got.  Isn’t that what life’s all about?


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I’m rooting for you from Pittsburgh!!


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