What a PR Means to Me

I’ve been thinking about what a PR means to me for the last few days, since I set a personal record for the half marathon at the New York City Half Marathon last Sunday. It isn’t about being faster than other runners. It’s not even about being faster than I’ve been before, as the term suggests. It’s about achieving more than I thought was possible, not just in this race but with running in general, and beginning to believe I really have it in me to run a marathon.



Walt Disney World Half Marathon 2015




Before Sunday, my fastest half marathon was my first try at the same race. My first half marathon ever, actually, in March 2014. Since then, I’ve run plenty of other halfs. Walt Disney World in 2015 and 2016, New York the second timeDisneyland in 2015, my hometown Pamby Half Marathon a month after that. Each time, I was proud of what I achieved. But I wasn’t aiming for a particular time at any of them. Just like I wasn’t this time around. 



NYC Half Marathon Finish




What I really wanted this time was to know that I’m capable of more than a half, that I’m able to start putting one foot in front of the other on the road to the New York City Marathon in November. I finished the 9+1 qualifying races last November with a shorter distance PR in a 4-mile race. Ever since then, I’ve been thinking about the best training plan, when to start, how far I want my longest run to be, what kind of fuel is going to work best – all the while wondering deep down if I really have what it takes. When I crossed the finish line at the half, I honestly felt for the first time like I’m capable of doing it.



Race to Deliver 4M 2015




I’m not saying it’s going to be easy. In fact, I think it’ll be one of the most difficult things I ever do. I fully expect to be an emotional wreck as I cross that finish line, maybe laughing, maybe crying, maybe even crawling. But it isn’t just my main running goal for 2016. It’s a goal I’ve had for a long time, and one that I think of as for a lifetime. Marathoner by age 25. 



NYC Half Marathon 2015




Around mile 9 during the half marathon, my legs started to feel tired. I knew I had it in me to keep going, but I could just as easily have slowed down, taken more walk breaks, and finished five minutes later than I did. What propelled me forward were the thoughts and words circling in my head. For the first time in forever (yes, I’m quoting Frozen, no apologies) I really do feel like many of my biggest hopes and dreams could really come to life. What I want is possible, if only I can reach out and take it. That morning, I reached out and took that PR. The knowledge that everything else on the horizon is also within my grasp is what that PR means to me.




NYC Half Marathon Finish Line 2016






What does a PR mean to you?


Best race you’ve ever run?


What’s your biggest running goal?









© 2016 Renaissance Runner Girl. All rights reserved.


21 thoughts on “What a PR Means to Me

  1. I totally think that you will succeed with your marathon goal!
    For now, I’m happy that I’m in the best running routine I’ve had since giving birth and that I’m finally working my way up past the 10k mark again. Since training for a marathon is such a time committment that I simply don’t see happening as a working mom, I’m happy for now with aiming for halfs.


    • I think a 10K after that is wonderful! Part of the reason I wanted to do the Marathon now, other than 25 being an age I thought would be nice to do it, is that I definitely don’t see it happening when kids enter the picture, at least not when they’re young. It’s the time thing.


  2. I think a PR to me means an overall good time, or even just feeling more energetic than usual during a race. I hope this new round of training goes really well! ❤ Don't forget to rest.


  3. Congrats on your new PR!

    A PR means similar things to me. Beating how I was before. With bonus points if I can do it while feeling good.

    My PR HM was also my best. I just felt like I was gliding along at least until the last two miles & then it was truly my legs that were dead. But I pushed on for a 2 minute PR, one that had stood for several years. It gives me motivation to keep going & be better.

    I would love to break 1:45 in my HM,but I think I am still several training cycles off from that goal.


    • I have this vague idea in my head that I’d like to break 2 hours in the half, but it’s nothing compared to my desire to just be the best runner I can be for the longest amount of my life it’s possible, and to finish the marathon.


  4. I think a PR means different things to me, depending on the race distance, how I felt while running the race, and how long its been since I last PRed. If its been awhile, and I have a really great race experience, then I’m more likely to have a more positive outlook on a new PR than I am if I felt terrible during the race, despite PRing.


  5. This was a great post! I wish a PR meant something similarly inspiring to me, but if I’m being honest, it still just means “being fast”, “being at peak fitness”, and “improving” – which is why I’m trying really hard to move away from focusing on race results this year. I go into almost all my races hoping to PR, which means that if I don’t, I’m disappointed and if I do, instead of being excited I’m just relieved. I hope that by blazing some new trails, so to speak, in my running outlook this year I’ll get to the point where you are right now – when a PR truly does mean more than just the numbers on the clock. Thanks for sharing! You are so ready for marathon training!


    • Thank you! I think that for us “thinkers”, the way we view things isn’t necessarily all up to us, it’s how we’re wired. So I’m sure with your more recent decisions to try and be more mindful, let go, etc. you might begin to feel a little differently – but not too much – because that’s just who you are. Which is a pretty awesome person 🙂


  6. I love the way you define a PR as “achieving more than you thought was possible.” I love that because it acknowledges that our bodies are different from year to year, month to month, even day to day, and just because you don’t literally beat your fastest time or longest distance doesn’t meant that you haven’t given it your absolute all. It means you’re in tune with your body, which is so, so important. Congrats!


  7. Congrats on your PR! My big running goal this year is also to complete a marathon. I turn 26 in June so figured it was a good year to try the full!

    I seem to be the opposite to you in that I always set time goals for myself. And they’re usually unrealistic, meaning I start getting down on myself during the race when I realize there is no way I’m going to hit my goal. So I’m going to try not to set any expectation for the marathon and just aim to complete it.


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