I'm a Very Slow Runner

Running is one of my preferred, meditative form of stress relief that also gives me a sense of accomplishment. Iโ€™ve run on and off for more than a decade, but Iโ€™ve only started enjoying and studying it as an adult.

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 โ€œteam cabooseโ€ 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 didnโ€™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 wasnโ€™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 didnโ€™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.