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Best served on or before…?


Yesterday Male Coworker pointed out that I no longer update my blog. Honestly, since going full-time at The New Very Good Run Fast Shoppe I feel like I just don’t have time. The mornings are spent doing all the things I’ll be too tired to do when I get home–laundry, dishes, giving each of my Beanie Babies a hug. But this morning I’ve got nothing to do but listen to Amelia scream-cry “The dog smelled my shoes!!!” over and over (and over…), so why not make Make Coworker’s day?

Unfortunately, I don’t really have any new ha ha running anecdotes. Instead I’ve been obsessing over thinking about the shelf life of PRs. And yes, it’s as boring as it sounds.

During the summer of 2006 I was running really well–the best I have ever run, even when I was a young sprite in high school and my Sally Field Boniva hips were still 15+ years off. In the span of about 2 months (August to October) I ran the three best races of my life–the Massapequa Mile in 6:06, the Cookie Run 5K in 21:02, and the Elite 8K in 34:26.

Me, far left, August 2006

But if you are an avid RFDFD reader you’ll know that it was soon after that I suffered a stress fracture, and by the time I got the ok to start running again I started popping out big-headed children instead.

“Whose head are you calling big?”

After an almost 3-year-lay off I returned to running shortly after Amelia was born and over the past 2.5 years, I’ve fallen into the cycle of making gains, getting injured, and working my way back. And every time I hit the “getting injured” part of this vicious (relatively speaking) circle, I feel like the times I ran a few years ago are further and further away. And that sucks. I’ll never be an elite runner or even tops on the local circuit, but I want to be the best that I can be and its frustrating to constantly be sidelined whenever I get close.

Cooling down with the ladies (I’m in the center)
Arrow Women’s 5K
July 2006

Once again I find myself in that “working my way back” phase. With my old lady hips constantly interrupting my running, my 5K time hasn’t really budged in the past 18 months or so, stubbornly locked into the 23:00-range–which makes me wonder how long I can really lay claim to those races of 2006. I ran them but that’s not the runner I am today. Do I asterisk them as my “before” times and start over with the “after”–after 2 more kids, after 3 significant injuries, after 15 extra pounds, after I moved away and left my running club and training partner? Do PRs expire? Or should we force them into retirement? Because although I am proud of them, my personal bests loom over my head large and are a source of frustration.

Those dudes got chicked!
Oysterfest 5K
October 2006

1st Place Women’s Open (I’m second in on the left)
Ocean to Sound Relay
September 2006

Tony Horton–you know, the P90X guy–recently posted on Facebook “Stop comparing the present to the past.” This quote really struck a chord with me because I find myself often using the preface “Well, when I used to run…” as if what I am doing now is not running. It’s just that I was better then. I know this–and I feel like I need to acknowledge it, or maybe point out “I was once fast!” What’s up with that?

One of my favorite races!
Massapequa Firecracker 5K
July 2006

Really and truly, I need to stop comparing then and now. My life is completely different now, and those things that I’ve viewed as excuses–the injuries, the babies, the Canadian living–are very real things. I need to get over it and just enjoy every day that I get to run. Easier said than done?

I may not be as fast as I once was but now I get to run with my Mady!

And there’s cupcakes!

And because Male Coworker will be reading this:

“Eat my Rice Krispie Treats or walk the plank!”

4 Comments leave one →
  1. 05/25/2012 10:19 AM

    I relate to this post! I actually have all my PRs broken up by pre- and post-pregnancy on my blog (pregnancy was six years ago now–fading further and further into the past). I’m lucky that most of my PRs are actually post-pregnancy but there are two problems. 1) I’m injured now and not sure how much longer I will be injured, decreasing the likelihood of continued PRing and 2) the 5K PR hasn’t fallen and I worry that it never will (I still wonder if something was wrong with the clock the day in 2005 I ran that–22:34–fast for me when most of my 5Ks at the time were in the low 23s).

    Being wistful for PRs won’t mean I can’t learn to love running for other reasons. But it may mean fewer races and more trails, which pose challenges that (happily) can’t be measured.

    • Suzanne permalink*
      05/29/2012 10:10 AM

      This was exactly what I needed to hear! Thank you!!

  2. 05/25/2012 10:26 AM

    Running slower is a small price to pay for being a mom. Personally, I’ve found that it takes two to three years to acclimate to a new level of running — whether it’s a faster pace or more mileage. Two to three years!! Cut yourself some slack. If you work at it (and stop popping out big-headed babies), you’ll get back to your previous level. :)

  3. 05/29/2012 1:12 PM

    I’m just a beginner (so I don’t think my opinion on this subject has much merit), but the writer of the blog HealthyTippingPoint suggested in a similar type post that everyone should be able to get a new set of PRs every time they changed into a new age bracket. She felt it’s not fair to always race against ones 20 year old self (as life and aging kicks in). I really like that sentiment, so I thought I would share. Good luck with your *current* running!

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