Are Skinny Jeans the PR's of our society?

Pulling on a pair of jeans

Can we replace “fit back into your skinny jeans” with PR in many conversations? As in:

“Hey I saw you at the race yesterday, you looked great. Did you….[fit back into your skinny jeans] / [PR]?”

For the completely unidoctrinated, PR means personal record and it is used to quantify when you have raced a certain distance faster than you ever have before. By definition, your first race at any distance is a personal record, so the term is usually reserved for the second and future attepts where the record is broken – where you swim, bike or run faster than you ever have before.

In reality, taking endurance sport out of it, for most people, PR’s hang like those favorite pair of jeans in your closet that no longer fit you for a variety of reasons but you don’t want to donate to the shelter, because you truly believe that some day you’ll be able to fit into them again.

How you’ll ever get back into those jeans again is an entirely different matter. For some it requires focus and discipline, for others all this does is create endless frustration as you see yorself slipping further and further away from your ability to EVER fit back into those jeans. As Bill Murray said “And then depression sets in.”

Well the good news is that you don’t necessarily need to join the Army to find PR or fit salvation. Sometimes, for the oddest of reasons you simply put the jeans on and they just fit. You didn’t necessarily focus on them, you may have even forgotten that they were in your closet. You didn’t get all anxious and you really didn’t overtly do anything significantly different than you did before, it was just that for some reason, your behaviors changed, perhaps and maybe because of having nothing to do with a desire to fit back into those jeans. And then one day you come across them while cleaning out your closet and think, “Hey, what the heck, let’s give those a try” and wouldn’t you know it, they just fit.

Skinny jeans diagram

What an amazing feeling!

One of our Race with Purpose runners recently PR’d at the half marathon distance during the More Marathon in Central Park this past weekend. K.C. is a runner that I have had the honor of actually pacing through a half marathon. She is a very good runner that quite possibly could be a great runner. She’s already running a 1:37 half marathon. She’s quintesentially focused, and driven, and determined and all of the other essential characteristics that go along with all of those self-help or how to run your best marathon books, based on the hard work will pay off philosophy. But this past weekend, she PR’d and her first response when asked how she did it was: “You’re not going to like it; I haven’t been running all that much and I just sort of went out and ran without focusing on the outcome.” Wouldn’t you know it, she PR’d in the process. She just reached into her closet and pulled out those pair of skinny jeans, tried them on and found out that not only did she fit into them, but she had room to spare.

Now for the procrastinators out there reading this, this may sound like great news. It’s right up there with the selective interpretation of the 90′s where everyone was saying, “Don’t work out so hard, you’ll just be burning carbohydrates.” “If you want to maximize fat catabolism, slow down.” Taken to the extreme, you had people saying, “the best and most efficient way for me to burn fat is to lay in bed or watch television.” Yes, by doing this, you will be most certainly burning a high percentage of fat, but 90% of nothing over a 2 hour investment of time is still nothing. All that is efficiency in pursuit of ineffectiveness.

There is a public company that we work with who’s HR department has been trying to implement healthy lifestyle and wellness opportunities into their benefits programs. They are pretty progressive and they have a mostly blue collar workforce. Some of their programs are successful, other’s not so much, which is why they asked us to help them. The people managing the program have a test of relevance and impact for the various programs they implement. The test is very simple and is described as whether or not the program contributes to their employees’ GOYFA, which if you don’t know already stands for Get Off Your Fat Ass. If a benefit program results in a positive GOYFA, they keep it, if it doesn’t, then they discard it. Bet you didn’t know your company’s HR department was thinking of you in these terms. Bottom line, no pun intended, this is a very basic measure that doesn’t need sophisticated tools or science; you either are or you’re not GOYFA.

So for the uninspired, for those that lack follow through, or dedication, if you want to fit back into your skinny jeans, or achieve a PR, maybe the first thing to do is forget the science, forget the theories and simply GOYFA. For the already OCD members of our endurance community for whom GOYFA is clearly not a problem, perhaps you should consider the lesson learned from K.C., that maybe the best way to fit back into that PR, or into those pair of skinny jeans in the closet is just to forget about them both for awhile. Enjoy life and live in the moment. How did K.C. put it? “It’s all about the Power of Now!”

More to follow…



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