Many runners define the success of a race or training run by their time. There are endless gadgets and apps that can track your distance and split times per kilometres. These tools have the ability to track your improvement and assist you in reaching your own PBs (personal bests).
In 2011, the Whistler Half Marathon was my first attempt at the 21.1 km distance. I successfully completed and reached an all time personal best for my time. I have since completed 2 more and did not surpass my first year and goal. Some might look at that and say that I have “lost my edge or intensity.” However, it is quite the opposite. The second time completing my Whistler Half Marathon was my overall personal best experience. I found out the night before that I was pregnant with my son. A quick trip to the doctor and the support and assurance that in my first trimester I was safe to run, I ran that race the next day with a wave of excitement and emotions for the journey ahead. It was still before the 12 week mark so I slowly ran the course with a perma-smile on my face.
As I ran the distance, I also decided that it would be the final run of my pregnancy. I had worked hard training for the race and was ready to give my body the time and energy it needed to grow this little person in my belly. My decision to stop running, after the half marathon, was a personal choice and not the same for every pregnant female runner. Although I completed that race 10 minutes slower than the previous year, the time and split pace meant very little. The ability to know that a little bean was growing inside me far surpassed a stop clock.
That race, although slower, was one of my favorites, most memorable races and arguably my “personal best” running experience. Almost two years later my “training runs” as well have a different perspective. At this point in my life, I am just happy to be running after having my son and most of my runs are spent with family. The watch, android app to time my run are left behind and instead replaced with the accompaniment of friends and family.
At some point in my life, when my son is older, my runs and races may integrate more intensity and competitiveness. Like every stage in life, things change. However, I hope what I can take away, from this time in my life, is that every once in a while a stop clock or timer does not always determine a personal best.