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© 2018 Michele Matthews

Chasing PRs!

February 5, 2019

 

I started running competitively in 2011.  I don't know why it's considered "competitive" because I'm really only competing against myself.  We all are.  Anyway, my running journey began in 2011.  It started on the treadmill and then I graduated to the pavement.  I soon found out that there is a huge difference between the two.  I was killing it on the treadmill -- busting out my three miles and feeling good about myself.  However, those feelings soon dissipated when I went outside for the first time and couldn't run a half mile.  It was depressing.  Thankfully, I live right next door to a school with a track and I began practicing out there on a regular basis with my Couch-to-5k app and after a few months I was on my way.

 

My only goal back then was to run a 10-minute mile.  I'm not sure why I picked that number but that seemed to make sense to me.  A 10-minute mile.  

 

In the early days, I knew nothing about pacing or breathing or anything.  All I knew was that I needed a good pair of shoes and I just had to ... run.  It took me 35 minutes to finish my first 5k and my pace was greater than 11 minutes.  I had a long way to go to reach my 10-minute goal.  Again, I didn't know how to do that.  I didn't know how to run faster, other than to just run faster.  

 

I ran 4 races in 2012 and I was no closer to the 10-minute goal than I was at the beginning of my journey.  The closest I got was the Komen Race for the Cure where I finished in 33 minutes with a pace of 10:37.   Later that same year I began body building and I started to spend more time at the squat rack and less time on the pavement.  I stopped chasing the 10-minute goal and began training for figure competitions.  I was doing less and less cardio -- at least less running on the pavement.  I was pretty successful as a figure competitor and turned pro in 2015.

 

Before I turned pro as a figure competitor I took a break in 2014 and I decided to run again.  I ran the CHKD RunWalk for the Kids which is an 8k and somehow I managed to run that race in 46:41 minutes with a pace of 9:23!  Don't ask me how I did that because I have no idea.  That was sheer adrenaline.  I will say that after a few years of building muscle, I was stronger and that does help with speed.  But I had no idea I had that in me.  I have yet to repeat that.

 

I didn't race again until April 2018 and that was my first (and probably my last) half marathon.  I ran a total of 8 races in 2018 (two in one day!) but there were no PRs.  I did well and placed top 5 (in my age group) in three of those races and I was really proud of that.

 

In 2019 I'm chasing PRs.  I want to push myself to do better.  To be faster.  Why?  Why not?  I'm just competing against myself so why not work hard to be better than I was before.  There are 2, maybe 3 PRs that I am chasing this year.  I want to PR in the 8k.  My first 8k is next month and it is the Shamrock.  The first time I ran the Shamrock 8k I did it in 53 minutes and my pace was 10:39.  I know I can beat that.  However, the actual PR would be less than 46:41 -- and I'm not sure I can do that.  I'll have a few chances this year, but I really want to do it next month.  You know, to get it out of the way.

 

I also want to PR in the 5k.  My best 5k was 28:38 with a pace of 9:12.  That was last year at the Norfolk Harbor Lights race.  I have a few 5ks on the calendar already so I'm confident that I can make that happen.  

 

The last PR that I'm thinking about is the 10k.   Although, I'm not 100% sure that I'll do a 10k this year.  Last year, I did the Heart of Ghent which I didn't really enjoy that much.  It was so hot that day and parking in the heart of Ghent (Norfolk) is such a hassle.  I've decided not to repeat that race.  The other 10k was Wicked which I will most likely do again but I don't plan to bust my butt on that one.  Too many people, too many costumes, too many distractions.  I ran Wicked in just over an hour with a pace of 9:51 -- not bad and I know I can beat that time on a different course.  We'll see.

 

So, that's it'.  That is the goal:  to chase PR's in 2019.  I finished my first race of the year this past weekend and I'm sorry to say I did not PR -- not even close.  I did place 3rd in my age group though, so there's that.  

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