My favorite races are the races where I set a new personal record or PR for short. I keep a list of my PR’s for each distance. I also keep a record for races that I have run multiple times. When I first fell in love with running my dad taught me that it was less about beating other people and more about pushing and beating yourself. He told me comparison would either cause me to feel bad or become arrogant. Neither option producing the fruit and production I wanted in my life. The alternative was to compete against yourself and allow other racers to serve as motivation for running faster and setting a new personal record.

A personal record that stands out to me was during a 5k in Burbank Ca. My wife and I were living in studio city at the time. We had two young sons, and the amount of miles I was running wasn’t what I had wanted, but I had already signed up the the Burbank YMCA turkey trot. I had run this race each of the last 5 years, but never was able to beat my first time. Maybe it was age, maybe it was young kids wreaking havoc of my sleep patterns, but whatever it was the challenge was real and with each year, the idea of hitting a pr was only getting harder.

It was thanksgiving morning. My family was there to watch and encourage me and I was focused on willing myself to a new course PR. I ran as hard as I could, and set a new PR. It was so satisfying. It was also one of the more memorable medals. The race was sponsored by a local window cleaning company and so in addition to my medal, I got a $100 gift certificate to get my homes windows cleaned, weird, but memorable and incredibly useful.

My boys saw their dad win the race. I set a course PR in the process, and my wife got the windows cleaned. It seemed like a win for everyone involved. But let be real. I was happy that all that effort translated to getting a guilt free second plate for thanksgiving. And a second helping on pumpkin pie. Ok so I may have over eaten compared to the amount of calories that I initially burned running the race, but it was a great day field with memories and gratitude.