While reading a post by a similar title (yes, I completely ripped off his title), I was thinking about an experience I had this past weekend. I got to check off a personal goal that I've had for the past 18 months, I competed in a powerlifting competition.
The history of how I got here is for another day, but suffice it to say, that I've been training to do this for the past 18 months. A lot of really awesome people have been involved and I've learned a lot about life.
So how was this weekend a personal best? There are a few reasons.
The first is that I did it. Competing is so different from just lifting in the gym. You get one shot and if you don't make it, you don't make it. There's no "I'll get it tomorrow".
The entire experience was also very much out of my comfort zone. Being relatively new to competing, I had a lot of self-doubt creep in to my head. In hindsight, all of the rewarding events in my life have been because I did something very much out of my comfort zone. This will be one of those events when I look back at it.
As for a hard and fast number? I do have two that are personal bests. I set personal records on my third attempts in both the squat (325lbs) and deadlift (425lbs).
You don't get stronger by lifting lighter weights.
Personal bests are great, but I think when you view them as part of a plan towards something bigger, they become greater. In other words, having this personal best only makes me want to go further and heavier.