I joined the ASICSFrontRunner team in the spring of this year and had the opportunity to join a local team event in the picturesque Sarnen on the first weekend of September. The goal for Saturday was not only to meet the whole Swiss team and our ASICSFrontRunner Global Captain, but also to discuss community values, to have an exchange on best running practices, take brand photos with our fantastic photographer and, most importantly, have lots of fun and laughs with an amazing group of people. Sunday was all about the Switzerland Marathon Light and our races on a 21, 10 and 5 km distances.
Running is about two things.
Let's start with the people aspect….
A boost of positive motivation
I think the statement above best describes the atmosphere of our ASICSFrontRunner weekend. Being surrounded by positive, smiling people who all came with the same goal in mind – to dive into the values and history of our brand and products, as well as to get to know one another better and exchange on all topics concerning running and beyond. Listening to the stories and running experiences, lifestyle hacks (like eating a healthy breakfast, which I always struggle with, especially when scrambled eggs are an option ?), challenges but also happy ends and successes, you just feel you're in the right place, among people with similar mindsets, dreams and motivations. It's a massive boost of inspiration to keep working, keep trying and, first and foremost to enjoy the process! I came back from Sarner with a great number of ideas on how I can improve my training plan and nutrition (where the nutrition didn't set the bar too high unfortunately).
Learning from one another
We're all on different stages of our running journey – having different experiences, conditions, body capabilities and training history. It's a fantastic mixture which allows you to select bits and pieces that are helpful for your own growth without pressure or that intimidating thought you may have in your head that you "should do better, run faster, improve quicker" because others are much further on their journey. It is not about comparing yourself to anyone else, but about getting inspired and empowering yourself to reach for more. And that you can do when you surround yourself with open, thoughtful people who are willing to support you on your own journey, by sharing their experience and learnings. One of the highlights of Saturday was the special mobility training with Nik from UNIK SPORTS which massively helped me with one of my personal struggles – the additional exercises for runners – a must-have aside of "pure running" and the so-called “running hygiene”. I couldn’t be more grateful for all the hints from Alessandro and Nik prior to the race on Sunday as well! To be honest, I was just copying all their warm-up exercises and it worked so well. No post-race injuries detected! And no, that's not necessarily a norm for me ?
On top of all that, I feel I have just found a group of friends, running buddies, who I could joke with for hours and talk about life and things going way beyond a regular small-talk.
Now let's move to the second aspect, the impact on mental health
More than a sports brand
The vision of ASICS brand goes much beyond just sport apparel. Its purpose is to inspire and help people live a happy and healthy life through movement. As ASICS stands for Anima Sana in Corpore Sano (which translates to a Sound Mind in a Sound Body), it aims for mental health and balance of each and every one of us by promoting movement, and an active way of life. Nothing speaks to me as much as this vision. When I go for a run, I am able to calm down, reflect and put my thoughts in order. The mind gets clearer, I often come to answers to questions I've been asking myself for ages. Physical effort brings the kick of positive emotions which strengthen the effect the run has on my body and mind. And if I manage to have a nice heart rate or distance, well that's just a nice add-on!
Now, let's go back to the half-marathon in Sarnen. I wasn't sure I was ready for that distance. Or rather I was indeed quite sure I am not ready to run a half-marathon! Nevertheless, I decided to try. It wouldn't be the first time I ran the magical 21km and after a fantastic Saturday and immersing into the team vibe, I felt I can give it a go. Mentally I was in quite a bad place at that time, feeling lost and slightly numb. It was a challenge not only for my legs but also my head, but at the same time, often doing something to challenge myself can be the best way of helping myself out.
So, how do I remember those 21 kilometres? I don't recall the leg pain, the sweat, the beating heart and the raising heart rate. If tiredness, then only at the very end... What I remember though is that with every kilometre my mind was getting clearer on what I feel, why I feel how I feel and… I just let it go. I was running with my heart, let it lead me, talk to me and soothe the chaos in my head.
After the finish line I had a little cryand it was a calming one, filled with relief.
To me, the fact that I managed to achieve this is a clear indication of how running impacts my mental health. And moving beyond my case, how ASICSFrontRunner community motivates, supports, inspires, kicks (positively!) and fuels the determination and energy.
It's thanks to the fantastic vibe throughout the whole weekend that I managed to go the extra mile, stop questioning myself and just go for it!!
Love you guys, thank you!
My Personal Best was not about a number but a feeling.
Katarzyna (Kasia) Wonko
CX Researcher / Business Consulting from Zurich
Age group: K30
Running for Masoala Rainforest - a short story of my run at Zurich Zoo Run 2023by Katarzyna (Kasia) Wonko / May. 21, 2023
Running for a good cause always gives an additional kick of excitement and joy - not only you’re doing what you love but you can also contribute to something meaningful. I’ve heard of many great charity runs (including the most famous Wings for Life) but on 10th May I had a chance to participate in something quite unique. Imagine yourself running in close vicinity to flamingos chilling under palm trees, camels eating their afternoon snacks and penguins observing your every step.