2011 – A Year of PR’s
Although I have always been a big fan of the New Year’s holiday, I have never really been one to make resolutions. I’m unsure if my goal for this year technically qualifies as a resolution or if it is merely just a goal, but I am dedicating 2011 to setting PR’s. Whether the race is as long as a half marathon or as short as an 800, my hope is that, at the end of the year, the date next to each of my racing PR’s says 2011. To this point, I have decided to redirect much of my 2011 training and racing to the track.
So I thought the best way to kick off 2011 would be with a 5k race.
My training over the last 3 months has been entirely geared towards my upcoming half marathon race (US Half Marathon Championships in Houston, Texas), but I felt like this past weekend was a perfect opportunity to “sharpen up” before the race on the 29th. Despite no specific 5k training, I was fairly certain, based on some of the workouts I had completed throughout this training cycle, that I had the strength to make an attempt at a new 5k PR. So this past Saturday I was able to talk a fellow Ohio runner and Kent State alum, Andrew Carnes, into running the 5,000 with me at the Kent State Doug Raymond Open.
Andrew did what he always does and set a perfect pace early in the race. We came through the mile in 4:33 and repeated that split for the second mile, putting us at 9:06 at 3200 meters and on pace for me to set a new PR. Over the last mile Andrew was able to sustain that pace and win the race, setting a new PR for himself, and I was able to hang on close enough for a PR of my own, finishing with a time of 14:23.56, three seconds faster than my previous PR set in 2008. A big thank you and congrats go out to Andrew for not just helping me out, but for also running a fantastic race in the process.
Obviously, I am excited and confident about my current level of fitness. The task of bettering one’s time is a difficult one. Generally speaking, there a lot of factors (training, weather, competition, etc.) that play into whether or not running a new PR is even possible. But as much as I love the feeling you get immediately following a PR, one of my favorite things about running is the process that ultimately leads to the end result. Simply put, it’s the task of constant ascending. John L. Parker poetically brought life to this process in Again to Carthage:
“When you’re a competitive runner in training you are constantly in a process of ascending…It’s not something most human beings would give a moment of consideration to, that it is actually possible to be living for years in a state of constant betterment. To consider that you are better today than you were yesterday or a year ago, and that you will be better still tomorrow or next week…That if you’re doing it right you are an organism constantly evolving toward some agreed-upon approximation of excellence. Wouldn’t that be at least one definition of a spiritual state?”
I’m excited and hopeful about the possibilities that 2011 might bring. My next race comes in 12 days, when I’ll shoot for a new PR in the half-marathon. Here’s to hoping we all can PR in 2011, whether your PR is running-related or not…
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