Post-(big)PR Reflections

The Long Beach post stirred some shit up. Not serious shit, but good, thought-provoking, rational-adult-conversations type shit. The good kind of shit.

I don’t know why I’m saying ‘shit’ so much.

Once I verbal keyboard-vomitted my feelings of disappointment regarding my 4+min PR but missed A Goal, there was a good mix of,

“I can’t believe you’re upset about the race – Don’t be a dick, celebrate that massive PR!”

and

“I get it. You knew you had a better race in you but the cards just didn’t play out. Use it to fuel the next one, champ.”

I’m very grateful y’all are comfortable enough to put your honest opinions out there and tell me how you really feel. Truly. There are valid points from both camps if you look at them subjectively, which I always try to do, despite my title as the most bull-headed person in the universe.

I loved how Caroline (one of my NuunHTC teammates) put it :

‘it’s like asking ‘do you prefer to make $10 or $15 hour?’ Sure $15, but isn’t it ok to want $25 if that’s what you think you’re worth??’ [paraphrased]

Ok when you put it that way maybe it sounds a bit greedy. But face it, as runners WE ARE GREEDY. We always want more; that’s the beauty and the curse of the sport. There’s always going to be that voice saying, “you can do a little bit more. you can be a little bit better. try again.”

Insatiable.

Naturally we want to be the best we can be, and I knew Sunday morning I was not. Achy leg, terrible training week, head in a million places. But given those circumstances, I DID come away better than I thought I would, and I DO have a nice new PR to show for it.

still really proud of that

But looking back to the girl 10 days ago – healthy, confident, and drawing up a scary-yet-achievable race plan – it kills me THAT GIRL wasn’t able to run. She was ready, and her 100% was undoubtedly more than what I was able to put out there Sunday.

Would I have found some other flaw in my race to be upset about – probably. It’s that never satisfied, perfectionist trait we all have. You’re dead as a runner (person?) if you’re not constantly seeking room for improvement.

But having a “flaw” in the plan even before you start is a frustrating feeling.

Say you spent hours and hours baking & decorating a birthday cake – it’s impressive and you’re so proud of it – and just before the party you bump your elbow into it and totally mess it up. Sure it still tastes great, but it sucks presenting a flawed product when you put so much time into perfecting it and knew its potential.

So that’s how I feel. Long Beach is my smudged cake. Still delicious and mostly pretty, but next time I’ll be sure keep my [proverbial] elbows out of the way.

(cakewreck source)

Sarah OUaL

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25 thoughts on “Post-(big)PR Reflections

  1. Whoa! I totally get this post, and agree. But I have recently become a celebrate-everything person and I hope that feeling sticks around. Although I believe I’m about to have my smudged cake this weekend at my first half marathon because of a dumb hip thing that popped up a week ago.

  2. I’m so glad you’ve been sharing your feelings about this race. I know how disappointing it can be when you feel like you have been working so hard to meet your goal, but it didn’t work out as you hoped. I think you should both celebrate the work you have done in getting a new PR, especially with your injury last week. Now that you are back to feeling better you can put it all out on the line for the next race.

  3. I think you’re gutsy taking the comments on the chin like that. I understand what they’re saying but I also think you’re okay to be disappointed that you didn’t do as well as you hoped. But hurrah for the new PR and yippeee for the next one coming not too far away!!!

  4. Love this post, I totally get what you are saying. In fact it is the very thing that is killing me right now. I ran my marathon PR on a hard course after a 70 mile week because I never intended to race the thing. Would I have done better in other circumstances? Certainly. But that’s the thing: nothing will ever go perfectly. We always have more potential to reach for. Otherwise what is the point in continuing to try? I didn’t mean to be hard on you. If anything you remind me very much of myself.

  5. It does go to show that you can adapt to the conditions of the day. Sometimes, life deals us shit and we have to figure out how to deal with what we have on any given day. So good for you with dealing with what you had. I get the missing the goal thing, wanting the perfect race day, etc. But any runner knows that there is NO guarantee that race day will be anything near to perfect. Those perfect days are hard to come by.

    The Kidless Kronicles

  6. First of all, congrats on the PR! Second, Caroline is a genius.

    Now Third, my opinion, I think you are right we as runners are always going to want more. BUT I think there is something to say about not always achieving your goals. Can you imagine if ever race we all ran exactly the time we wanted and in exactly the way we planned? Blogs wouldn’t exist! Or if they did I wouldn’t read them. Not to get all cheesy on you, (but I obviously will here), but those “failures” (even though I don’t necessarily see this as a failure) is what keeps us going, and coming back for more.

  7. Funny! My mom once said to me after a race, “you’re never happy with the result”. That’s very accurate. I’m happy I didn’t die. I’m happy I finished. I’m happy to go home to my children (most of the time) but realistically, I always know that I’m better than the number.

  8. that bittersweet feeling. awesome to PR but not exactly what you wanted. but then again bitching about running a fast-as-hell race you look like an asshole to the people that would kill to run that fast…. there is always more…you always want more and you always want to do better. its hard to remember the fun of it sometimes

    loved the honesty of this post. feel like you took the words right out of my mouth.

  9. Love this. You are totally entitled to feel how you want to feel, and being a competitive person..well of course you would have loved that sub 1:40! I felt similarly after my marathon (a BQ would have been magical) but it simply didn’t happen. You can keep setting your standards high — just as long as you remember how much you’ve accomplished, even if every goal isn’t met.

  10. i’m not going to retype all that jocelyn wrote-but ditto. and to laura as well. and i like your analogy. i think your big sub 1:40 will feel so much sweeter after this.

  11. I ran the full at LB… WON a damn entry through VW, knew I wanted it to be an easy training run (have Marine Corps at the end of the month), and somehow STILL am annoyed that I let myself take it easy and crap out. I walked the last six miles effectively. I meant to do it, and I’m now disappointed.
    I will never be as fast as you, so part of me felt the “you are a brat” comments, but as a runner and fervent competitor with myself, I totally get the frustration.
    Thanks for keeping it real. <—- yeah, I just said that.

  12. I don’t have any new way of wording what the others have already said. I completely get where you’re coming from. Even when injured, I have goals in mind and am seriously pissed when they don’t get reached. While you’re def right about that “hunger” for more and better fueling your running, those bad races can rev you up even more.
    Here’s hoping for that sub 1:40, for both of us (it’s cool to be selfish when you’re commenting to pretend internet friends), very soon!!

  13. LOVE this post. So honest and such a great way to put how I think we’ve ALL felt before. Nothing wrong w/ being bummed you don’t meet a goal. I totally get the frustration. Good for you for being able to recognize it, accept it, and then become determined to kick its ass next time.

  14. This is why you are the bestest running blogger. No “sunshine and puppies!!!!!!!!” or “I was the slowest person EVER!!!!!!” but a healthy mix of both.

    For what it’s worth, I feel like the entire second half of my year has been f-ed up cake. I will be bringing crappy cake to the party for all the (rest of my, as-yet un-achieved) goals this year.

  15. So, bc we all know when you haven’t achieved your ultimate goal, you silently sign up for a race and don’t tell anyone “just in case” did you happen to do that? are you running this weekend? :) haha good job, you will get this next 13.1!!

  16. Pingback: CIM Week Nine–Committing to Recovery | Once Upon a (L)ime

  17. It cracks me up that other people are down on your reaction to your PR. Feel how YOU feel, no one should expect justification for that. Just because you are brave enough to put your thoughts and feelings out in a (very awesome and entertaining) blog doesn’t give others the right to rip your for your thoughts.

    Hope you are healing and recovering well!

    • Thanks – In the most far-fetched, minimal way, it’s kind of like stars getting pissed over paparazzi. “you signed up for this!” (Excuse me while I go deflate my big head now.)

  18. Pingback: Adjusting and Accepting – CIM Pre Race | Once Upon a (L)ime

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