Fitness/ Happiness/ Running

How I define “health” and “fitness” — and it’s not all about race PRs (anymore)

Today I’m sharing my thoughts about signing up for a half marathon when I know I won’t PR and how I define health and fitness — and how that’s changed over the past few years!

Happy fall y’all! I started my day with a 7 mile drizzly run. Well, drizzly for most of it – there were about 2 miles of an absolute downpour. I actually don’t mind running in the rain if it’s not cold, and it definitely wasn’t today – 70 degrees!

My legs were crazy sore yesterday after intervals on Tuesday and then heavy back squats that night. I took yesterday entirely off to rest, but my legs were still sore last night and felt heavy this morning. I told myself I could run as slow as I wanted, but to just get out there and start running.

It definitely didn’t feel easy, but it was a pretty slow pace for me. I started out around a 9+ minute pace (I usually run an 8:30 minute pace on easy days), and I kept that pace until the downpour started. And then miraculously, my legs decided they wanted to run faster. 😉 I ended up averaging an 8:40 pace for 7 miles, with the last few miles in the low 8’s.

terilyn hutcheon half marathon PR

Anyway…while I was running, I was thinking about training for and running a half marathon.

But I haven’t raced in over 2 years…

I didn’t take an intentional break from racing, but life just happened and time flew by –  moving to Charlotte, starting crossfit, getting addicted to crossfit, moving back to Winston-Salem, getting a quad strain, etc.

Signing up for a race has been on my mind for a while, but a few things have held me back.

  1. I’m still trying to figure out how to balance running and Crossfit.
  2. I haven’t run more than 7 miles in a long time. I don’t have a running bud for longer distances, and honestly, solo long miles are hard for me — especially after getting used to working out with so many friends at Crossfit.
  3. A PR is very unlikely. My previous half PR is 1:34 (or, 1:33 unofficially), which is an average pace of 7:10 miles. I’m not anywhere near that speed, even for distances much shorter than 13 miles.

That last one is where I’ve really been hung up. I’m nervous to run a race and I’ve been trying to figure out why. I know I’ll be able to finish if I put in the training and am not dumb about overtraining/avoiding injuries. I’ve run over a dozen half marathons (I’ve lost count). So I think what it boils down to is that I won’t PR and that bothers me. For a while, when I was racing so much, I PR’d at nearly every race. And that felt good – really good. I kept making improvements and I loved that.

I was texting with my blog-reader-turned-friend Erin about this, and she mentioned how her running isn’t at her peak but that she’s the happiest she’s ever been. And that really resonated with me. My running definitely isn’t at my peak – but I’m the happiest I’ve ever been, and I think I’m the fittest I’ve ever been. I used to solely define my fitness by my running speed, and now fitness is so much more multi-faceted for me.

It’s more about overall health.

I define fitness by the amount of weight I can squat or deadlift, or by progress towards a tough move in CrossFit, like toes to bars or strict pull-ups. Health is more about the amount of sleep I’m getting and my level of stress. (I talked about nixing multitasking to reduce stress in my last email newsletter!) Health is about strong relationships with God, Tommy, my family and friends. And Maizey, of course. 😉

So, am I the fastest version of me? Nope. But I’m the healthiest and happiest version of me. And that matters more than a PR. 

teri and maizey

(Please remind me of this when I’m upset that I don’t PR at the Mistletoe Half Marathon. 🙂 )

(Photo with Maizey was taken by the talented Holly!)

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  • Kel

    I can definitely relate to this. I hit my 5k PR when I was 18 and then hit a few PRs in the 5 or so years following. I was running 20-30 miles a week and doing intervals.I’m now 30 and I just don’t have the motivation to do intervals or tempo runs and I’ve found other forms of exercise that I like. It’s really hard for me to enjoy races knowing that my pace is now 2 min/mile slower. So I don’t do road races anymore. I only do trail races which are way slower, but have more incline so I don’t get upset about my time.

    • Teri [a foodie stays fit]

      You know, that’s a really good point you raised — that you found other workouts you like. I LOVE CrossFit and maybe i just need to let myself love it and let go of some of the things that I use to identify myself as a runner, including specific workouts and races. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. I’m thinking about it even more now too!

  • Allison

    Heeey. I’ll run longer with you!

  • Whitney

    Loved this post! As a fellow crossfitter, it is hard to not get discouraged when you don’t PR a movement every time, and it has taken me over 2 years to realize that is not what matters.. what I do *inside* the gym (no matter the weight) helps me live the life that I want to live *outside* of the gym and that to me is a healthy way to live.

    • Teri [a foodie stays fit]

      Sooooo true. I get so frustrated that I still can’t do toes to bar! 🙂 But, you’re totally right that CrossFit has made me stronger and I feel more empowered outside of the gym. Love how you phrased it. Thanks for your comment Whitney.

  • Julie

    What a great post & a great perspective/attitude! And so nice to see you so happy. 🙂 Maizey’s BIG smile in that pic is the BEST! 😀

  • Miley

    Thank you for sharing this, Teri! This message really resonates with me. Personally, I haven’t always had the healthiest idea of what it means to be “fit.” But now, being “fit” means so much more to me than how I look on the outside. I want to be fit and healthy and strong, but I also want to live a full and happy life that values my loved ones and God. <3 Thanks for the inspiration!

    • Teri [a foodie stays fit]

      I’m glad it resonated with you! Means a lot to hear that! Thanks for sharing your thoughts too! xo

  • Kate

    One of my favorite ways of measuring health is hearing my doctor tell me my low resting HR & BP due to running & staying active. No PR needed 🙂

    • Teri [a foodie stays fit]

      Ah, YES!!!! Such a good point!! I love that too!!! I actually check my heart rate every morning as part of my sleep app. I love seeing the low number!

  • Kristen

    I really love this post! You’ve definitely inspired me to get thinking (and writing) about how I define my health and fitness these days.

    • Teri [a foodie stays fit]

      I’m glad! 🙂 Be sure to share your post with me if you write about it! I’d love to check it out!

  • Hannah

    I’m in love with your blog! I’m a keen cyclist and I’ve just started getting into running.