Friday, May 9, 2008

Terumi Asoshina Returns from Retirement to a New Career in the Marathon With Team Toyota Shatai

http://www.chunichi.co.jp/chuspo/article/sports/news/CK2008050302008460.html

translated by Brett Larner

A great new hope joined Team Toyota Shatai in April. Holding a spot in the Japanese women`s 10000 m all-time top 10 is Terumi Asoshina (25). Asoshina grabbed attention as a hope for the future when she won the 2005 All-Japan Jitsugyodan Half Marathon, but an imbalance in her form resulted in a general weakening of condition and loss of motivation which forced her to quit Team Kyocera in February last year. Despite losing her passion at the time, Asoshina explains, "I decided I didn`t want to quit running just because I wasn`t enjoying it." After a period of rest and renewal, she found a chance for a new start with the Ominami twins at Team Toyota Shatai. Planning a career in the marathon, Asoshina has once again found joy in running and is aiming for a rebirth. "I`m truly grateful. My running isn`t finished yet, but still, to get another chance to enter a team....."

Asoshina has long been hailed as one of the next generation of world-class long-distance runners. She won the All-Japan Jitsugyodan Half Marathon in March `05, then in April the same year she clocked a mark of 31:23.55 to join the all-time top 10 Japanese women in the 10000 m. However, in her debut marathon in the following January`s Osaka International Women`s Marathon, she was poorly prepared and dropped out partway through the race. Since then something has been out of gear in her running. "For some reason," she says, "I stopped being able to put my full weight on my left leg. It didn`t hurt, but my balance always being off made practice really draining."

Asoshina knew something was wrong but couldn`t identify the source and compensated by training with crazed focus and intensity. At the 2006 National Track and Field Championships her performances were disappointingly slow. She began to worry that she was going astray. Bit by bit Asoshina lost the feeling that running had any value in her life. In February 2007 she quit Team Kyocera and returned home to her parents` house in Kumamoto. "I thought that if I got away for a while I might be able to get myself back together," said Asoshina, but being home wasn`t what she hoped. Training alone, she put on 6 kg. Gradually Asoshina found that although she had been serious about her retirement, the sound of her true feelings was beginning to come through. "I didn`t want to quit running just because I wasn`t enjoying it. Quitting would be easy, but if I did it this way I`d always regret it."

After a one year blank in her life, Asoshina found understanding intervention in the person of the Ominami sisters, who introduced her to their team Toyota Shatai. She is now working to restore her delicate sense of balance. Team Toyota Shatai coach Masahiko Takahashi commented, "She`s very talented. Her running will come back." Asoshina now practices in Aichi. If she can smoothly handle her coach`s training menu she will try running in the team`s time trials in June and July. "Right now I`m content, but I`d like to try again sometime in the marathon." From the depths of burnout, Asoshina found new value in running. Her "second running life" will now continue on until the goal.

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