History of a Slow Runner
Recently, running has become my preferred, meditative form of stress relief that also gives me a sense of accomplishment. I’ve run on and off for more than a decade, but I’ve only started enjoying and studying it recently.
High School | 5k PR: 26:28, 8:32/mi - I only signed up for cross country because my best friend already had. We were so slow that we gave ourselves the nickname of “team caboose” because we always came in last on our team. Monday through Friday, we would force ourselves to attend practice, dreading whatever fresh torture our coach chose for the day.
College | Distance PR: 10k - During my college years, I had a brief summer of running, which resulted in finally hitting a distance PR of 10km in Aug of 2013. I really felt like I had some decent momentum this time, and I enjoyed running on my own terms a lot. However, my running habit fell apart when I went back to campus.
2022 | 5k PR: 39:23, 12:38/mi - When the omicron variant swept though Japan at the start of 2022, I didn’t take a train for three months. I only left my house for groceries off-peak hours and for daily outdoor exercise. I started the Couch to 5k program (c25k) as a new years resolution, using my phone for the app and Strava to track my runs. I finished the program on Feb 26, 2022, running a 5km in 45:14 (14:34 min/mi) and progressed to 39:23 by March. Since the c25k program wasn’t designed for people like me, I ended up dreading my runs despite how much it buoyed my mental health.
2023 | 5k PR: 37:21, 12:03/mi - In 2023, I found myself called to running once more. However, this time was different. I didn’t follow c25k. I approached the sport in a completely different way, learning about running technique, the run/walk method, and low heart rate training (MAF method). Thanks to these tools, running became accessible and fun for me. I started to appreciate the privilege and experience of exercise. I focused on improving my aerobic base and VO2 Max, not my pace. All of this led to beating my 2022 efforts with the run/walk method despite dealing with plantar fasciitis and running a fraction of what I did the previous year.