The existential question: Does a PR count if the effort was so tough that at each mile marker I wanted never to run (or at least race) again? My husband says the outcome or results (1:47:52 or 8:13 min/mile pace), my best half marathon time, ever, justify the pain and agony of running--hard--through 13.1 miles. My younger son said I was amazing. My older son said not to make any decision based on the outcome of one run. We all have good and bad days, and there are so many factors that determine how we'll do, whether it was waking up at 2:30 a.m. (two hours before the alarm), walking too much around town the day before, having guests for the weekend, not drinking enough in the days before and day of race, my general nutrition habits, general race anxiety (goodness, I get anxious when I have a long training run planned), etc., that an outlier race (I hope) shouldn't dictate the rest of my running life.
I used every ounce of energy I could muster, dug deeply to find some spring in my legs, lamented how slowly each mile marker seems to come. I have residual biting glutes/hamstrings, a twinge in my right knee, and entire body tiredness. I spent almost two hours debating with myself on an early Saturday morning, knowing I could do the miles but wanting to do them well. The result, yes a PR, first place (only place actually) in my age group, and included within top 10% women overall. I'll keep track of this new record, but I don't feel deserving of it.
The comments from running friends: (1) tough runs make us better; (2) if it isn't hard then you probably aren't running to your full potential; (3) in my opinion, personal records (PRs) should only come from an all-out run; (4) you gave it everything, you deserve it; (5) you should be proud of your efforts; (6) getting to the finish line is a win; the PR the frosting on the cake; and (7) amazing job!