Friday, September 15, 2006
PR. For those in the running world, it's an all too common term. It is an acronym that stands for "personal record," but it translates in common runner's language to mean a runner's "personal best" timed run for a particular course. Should you find yourself at a 5K, 10K, half-marathon or marathon, you will hear the acronym "PR" thrown around quite often. But as for me, as I head into my mid-forties, I prefer to use the acronym "PF"...
Many of us who are dedicated runners and joggers will often times have to remind ourselves of why we are putting one foot in front of the other over several miles. We may have started out with noble purposes (i.e. health improvement, self esteem, personal goal,e tc.) concerning our running and every so often our focus changes... we begin looking at the person next to us and wondering to ourselves, "I can do better than he/she can..." We start looking at split times and our "PR"; and every now and then, if we're lucky, we may finish in the top three of our age division and receive a medal reward for our effort... which only reinforces our desire to do better and improve that almighty "PR." But as for me, I prefer to focus on the "PF"...
The "PF" is, as I have now so fondly referred to it as, those races and events that are truly my "personal favorites." There have been times when I have run like the wind, came in first in my age division and never truly enjoyed the race. At the same time, there have been times when I have run much slower, came in with the mass in the middle of runners and had the time of my life. Either way, it is those races where I have reached the finished line fresh, ran for a particular cause and cheered on humanity along the way where I can gladly say, "This event has become a PF."
We humans ride motorcyles for so many different reasons - some noble, some selfish. We humans involve ourselves in community efforts for so many different reasons as well - again, some noble and some selfish. And we humans involve ourselves in so many activities for as many reasons as there are human beings on this planet. When you reflect on all of them, it is in those moments where nobility wins out where we each experience not simply a "PR", but a very memorable "PF."
I am pleased to say that I have trained very hard in 2006 and in 5k and 10k races this year, I have placed consistently in the top five of my age division. More importantly, I am very pleased to say that I have had the opportunity to experience two very grand "PF" moments of my life. Both were long distance team relay races; one (Wild Miles Relay) occurring in California in April and one (Great River Relay) occurring in Wisconsin/Minnesota in August. I didn't know the overwhelming majority of my team members in either race - it didn't matter, as all we were asked to do as team members was to run with our heart. And run I did - for 20+ miles in the Wild Miles Relay and 30+ miles in the Great River Relay. I made the comment after the Wild Miles Relay, "I’m still a little bruised physically, but I came home with my spirit healed." And I can say the very same of the Great River Relay. What outstanding individuals to be racing along side of for more than a day in my life!
Too often we focus on our personal improvement in most areas of our life and base it on an arbitrary calculated time trial or our performance as it compares to our perennial competitors. Either way, we often are doomed and miss the true beauty of the profession, the calling, the race, and the journey. We're focused so much on how fast we can go that we don't take time to focus on what we just flew past... and it's our life we're flying past...
Don't get me wrong; I think it's helpful to focus on the PRs of our life; ever improving our skills and abilities. But it is just as important to focus on the PFs of our life - it is these moments we will remember and savor long after the PRs have faded into our personal record books.