Why I run

Why I run

A path to transformation
Published April 8, 2024


Rewind to 2000.
Sitting next to my mom, I was switching between Snake and PAC-Man to kill the boredom of an international flight to Germany. My dad was waiting for us at the arrival airport.
It was my first time flying abroad. Although I could not fully grasp what was happening, my thoughts traveled faster than my body. My head was filled with clear sky, beautiful nature and a lot of people making strange sounds.
After more than 20 hours, our family finally reunited at the Frankfurt airport. The first strange sound I heard after getting off the plane was “How come you’ve become so fat now?!“. It was from my Dad.


The next couple months weren’t only different than what I imagined, it was, to put it lightly, complete torture. Imagine this: a seven-year-old obese boy who rarely plays any sport, was forced to run 5km every day with his dad before the sunrise. Tough and scary - a double whammy.
However, the painful experience turned out to be transformative, my weight went back to normal and we became friends with our neighbors because they find it interesting to watch two foreign faces running every day. People seem to like strange people doing strange things.
The positive flywheel kept spinning until we went back to China. And I stopped running since.


Near 3 years ago, my morale fell to the bottom because I was trapped into a downward spiral.
I was feeling busy while getting nothing done. My motivation for work and other things in life tanked. I didn’t know how to describe this helpless feeling, so I stopped talking to people, including my parents. It created a visceral loop - ‘same shit, different year’.
Holy …, it was scary! Even scarier than I could have imagined.
Deep down I knew that I must break out of it, but how? I haven’t experienced anything similar. Somehow my thought flashed back to my childhood. What’s the scariest and most painful thing I’ve done before? Running.
“Just go out and run.“, my mind whispered and nudged me to follow its instruction. So I went out for a long run, and did it again the next day, and again. Every time it was unsurprisingly painful at the beginning, but surprisingly relieving at the end. It’s as if the physical pain wipes out the mental distress. Gradually then suddenly, the routine turned into a habit that I enjoyed. I even participated in a local 10k race and the experience turned into one of the greatest moments I’ve ever had in life.
Getting into the zone of running allowed me to disconnect from the outer world to only focus on my body and mind at the moment. By focusing on the moment, I was free from my mental abyss. Action cures anxiety.
I felt alive again thanks to the activity that I used to hate.


“When’s your next race?”
That’s a question many runners like to ask each other. My answer is that “I don’t know unless my heart tells me”.
I often remind myself never to forget why I’m doing what I’m doing, a lifelong lesson I learned from Derek’s entrepreneurial journey.
Am I healthy? Am I improving(though slowly)? Am I happy?
Isn’t that enough?
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