Monday, January 18, 2016

Dr Ansgar Cheng and Family - Nothing is Impossible

By Rameshon

Team Flexifitness celebration Miao Yi Restaurant

On, January 17, which was yesterday, we were celebrating Evan Chee and Colin Chua's victory at Miao Yi Vegetarian Restaurant. Both runners gave us a treat for athletes and coaches for the improved performance in Stanchart Marathon 2015 and in Ultra Marathon 2015. Evan was third in the Men Open category in Stanchart Marathon 2015 with a time of 2hr 56min, while Colin was 4th position in men open overall with a time of 2hr 58min, for first time doing a sub-3 hours. On top of that, Evan Chee, also came in as last year's champion for the MR 25 Mizuno Ultramarathon in the men open category of the race, fetching the fastest time taken for overall men and women as well. 

Dr Ansgar Cheng in Hong Kong Marathon 2016

While we were celebrating our victory, suddenly, as promised, Moonlake, Dr Ansgar's wife, told us that they will meet at Miao Yi restaurant, after their run in Hong Kong Marathon 2016. Just imagine, anyone in the right frame of mind would actually go straight home after arriving Singapore from Hong Kong, looking for a good rest at home. Unlike that, Dr Ansgar's family, after the SIA plane touchdown at Changi Airport, told us that they will also join us, not really for food, but for the celebration. We were about to finish our dinner, and somewhere at 9 30pm-9 40pm, finally Dr Cheng and family arrived. We felt elated and enjoyed the day even more with their presence and took a lot of photos together.

Dr Ansgar Cheng, pride of Team Flexifitness 

I find that this is one of the highest and finest gesture by anyone, who can willingly come from a tired run, and they came all the way for the dinner, without any form of rest, although the dinner was ending soon. I don't know how to pay respect for this extra mile gesture. Our Flexifitness team captain was impressed with this gesture. Towards the end of dinner, I gave a short speech and Lim Thow Wee spoke on the milestone that Flexifitness has achieved since year 2009, where we actually are meeting again at Miao Yi again. In the past, Dr Ben Tan gave us a treat here for his 2hr 56min time in Stanchart Marathon in year 2009.

Dr Ansgar Cheng (left) and Moonlake (right)

We are also very happy for Dr Ansgar for his sub 3hr 09min run at Hong Kong. He did 3hr 08min plus, while Moonlake did 10km in around 1hr 01min. Official result will be out soon in the interview that Saranniya has posed to him. We, again, would like to congratulate Dr Ansgar for the valiant run and a new personal best of 3hr 08min, nearly 27min much faster than his 3hr 35min, formerly his personal best time in the Stanchart Marathon 2015. Also, we would like to congratulate Moonlake for her 2min plus improvement,  from her personal best time of 1hr 03min in the 10km  race. She did 1hr 01min in the race. 

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Hong Kong Marathon Result 2016 - Dr Ansgar Cheng Does 3hr 08min, New Personal Best

Hong Kong Marathon Result

By Rameshon

Dr Ansgar, 49, from Specialist Dental Group and our Flexifitness runner, showed what it takes to do a sub - 3hr 10min, by braving the very heavy rain to do a sub-3hr 08min. 

Dr Ansgar running in Hong Kong Marathon today

His wife Moonlake, finally has broken the threshold of not doing personal best to a big personal best time of 1hr 01min for 10km race today. These are the unofficial results. We would like to congratulate these two runners for their valiant run. 

(Dr Ansgar at extreme left, donning Flexifitness singlet)
As we are about to celebrate the Stanchart Marathon Race, which will be hosted by Colin Chua and Evan Chee, we will be having dinner together later. We would also be celebrating the two personal best attained by Dr Ansgar and Moonlake. We also have  a good news as Divya came in 2nd in women open category in SAA walk series 1 for 2016. Congrats Divya!

From the daughters of Dr Ansgar and Moonlake, before the Hong Kong Marathon 2016

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Issues in Sports - Changing different coaches, the kid suffers (Part 1)

By Rameshon

Changing Coaches - Young athletes confused by coaching pattern with different coaches taking them over time. 

I took about 6 top runners, in the past, in year 1990, who joined me for running when I was an athlete cum coach. It was my best years of learning on coaching. In one of the 3km race, organised by the former SAAA, I did 9min 02sec for 3km race held at Seletar. (The best runner was M. Maran, 3km, with a time of 9m 00sec. He was the talk of the town, at that time. He is still currently holding the 3000m steeplechase national record, with a time of 9min 11sec. Maran has a personal best time of 3m 53sec for the 1500m). 

In that 3km race, one of my former runner Harpreet Singh, about 15 years old, at that time, came in 4th in the race, with a time of 9min 06sec. The admirable thing about him was that he beat N. Ganesan, former national record holder, previously, with a time of 14m 51sec for 5km. All Gurkha runners lost to him, although the Gurkha runners were fast at that time. Harpreet is one of the best genetically endowed runner that I have seen in my life. His studies improved through running. Later on, he stopped running as his father was not supportive of it at all. His studies dropped when he stopped running. 

The interesting thing that I saw in coaching was that if I train a runner who has not been trained under anyone, the runner does not easily argue at all or debate much. Harpreet, trained with me from young, listened to me word for word in training and his improvement was tremendous at time. He could have gone for Olympics. 

I have seen in life, that a runner, who has been trained under someone, will be prone to argue most of the time. My own runners, trained by me, in the past, who went under others in the past have argued with other coaches. N. Ganesan was coached by two coaches before being trained by me. There were certain pattern of training method that he followed that created confusion in his mind, while Harpreet and others who trained when they were young, being coached by no one, did not have any problem. I had a lot of problem explaining about Arthur Lydiard training method to Ganesan. My enjoyable easy runs usually ended up in big argument, hence usually I do my best to avoid running together with him. However, I must also say that it was with Ganesan that I was also motivated in running, as we keep talking about breaking national record. 

I assisted N. Ganesan to do a 15min 41min from a time of 16m 46sec, when he was in the National Service. I left for further studies after that. Eric Song and Paul Rainer trained him later. I saw Eric and told him to continue training Ganesan. Ganesan and I were great friends at that time, although we debated and argued on training methods, for me, I felt that he has been programmed and it takes time to deprogramme. 

The problem was that I used to feel my energy drained after an argument. I realised that if a kid was coached in primary school with a certain pattern, it will affect the kid when the coaches keep changing, when they go through secondary, college and university with different coaches. 

That is the reason why I was, in the past, and even now, reluctant to take a runner into my fold although the runner has tremendous potential, when I come to find out that the runner was earlier trained by someone. Deprogramming has to take place and it is not easy, so that coaching takes place in a structured manner. 

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Story of Ego - Stories From The East

By Rameshon

Inspirational Stories- Ego - Comes before failure

Once, there was a master and he gave a practice on silence to his group of inmates, who were staying in a monastry. The silence program was for 3 days. The inmates of the monastry were told to remain silent, which means the inmates were also not allowed to read books and also communicate by sign language, plus they were not allowed to have eye contact with each other, verbally or non-verbally. You can stand or sit beside a person, but there must be no communication. They are supposed to practise silence in a continued fashion for 3 days. 

In the monastry, there were some flexibility to the rules as well. The inmates were allowed to go where they want during dawn or dusk for an hour to look at nature. 

It so happened that there were three inmates who coincidentally were near each other, at a seaside, sitting and were looking at the sun setting in the evening. They were looking for half-an hour at first. 

Then, one of the inmates spoke suddenly,"What a nice scenery to watch." Seeing this, the second inmate immediately uttered, "Hey, you have broken the silence rule, you are not supposed to talk." 

Seeing this taking place, the third inmate laughed and said, "Now, the only one who is not talking is me, and I am going to report both of you to our Master."

Meaning: The ego in a person has made the third inmate to speak out, as he felt better by comparing against the two. Seeing the two inmates talk, at least the third inmate could have kept quite, but he did not. Therefore he is the same as the other two inmates to break the silence rule. Silence is not easy to follow. How do we know whether our mind is under control, it is good to do a silence test for 3 days and see. It is not that easy! 

Friday, January 8, 2016

Dr Ansgar Cheng - An Interview on Hong Kong Marathon 2016

By Saranniya

Coach Rameshon has mentioned about Dr Ansgar in the previous blog post. Dr Ansgar, 49, was doing a range of between 41min to 42min plus, for 10km, in our group, when I met him, roughly a year back from now. 

Within few months, about 2-3 months into the program, he was quick to do 40min plus for most of his 10km time trial runs. Gradually, he was stuck at this time for most time trials that was conducted by Flexifitness, for quite some time. 

It was only lately, to my perception, about 2 to 4 months ago that he suddenly showed tremendous improvement. Coach Rameshon said," Dr Ansgar has great attitude and belief in what he is doing, than made him to do a 37min 37sec for 10km in our program". Coach Rameshon feels that Dr Ansgar can do a sub-36min in a 10km race anytime, after seeing Dr Ansgar doing extremely well in yesterday's final workout, before he taper down in his training. 

Dr Ansgar has given his answers to the interview questions that I have posed. I hope that you enjoy and balance life just like him. 

An Interview With Dr Ansgar

1. How was your Standard Chartered Marathon?
My Singapore Standard Chartered Marathon in December 2015 was my first ever attempt in covering 42km in one shot! It was a great learning experience. I love the team and the fact that I managed to hang onto Mr Erich Paulini for over half the distance. The physical and mental support from the younger teammates was absolutely first class. I could not have picked a better occasion to have my maiden marathon! Singapore after all is my home court.

2. How did you feel about the 3hr 35min?
My time of 3hours 35min to complete my first ever marathon was a little off from the mathematics. However, in a run of that volume, a few variables may come into play and surprises are inevitable. I have no complaints as far as it was a completion. It reminded me of how I failed my first ever professional examination after I left my dental school. Even though I graduated among the top of my class, there is no guarantee of subsequent performances: every new challenge is a new game on its own. Preparation and execution are equally important.

3. How was the organisation of the Standard Chartered race?
The organisation of the race was fine with me. As a person, I try not to be bothered by the things that are not within my circle of competence. In a race, as long as all participants are covering the same route under the same condition, it is a fair game in my humble opinion ;)

4. Why did you choose Hong Kong Marathon?
I was born in Hong Kong and I grew up there. I received most of my education there. Hong Kong has races in winter because of the cooler weather. Running Hong Kong Marathon after running the Singapore one is a natural choice to me as Singapore is my home court while Hong Kong is my hometown. In addition, I do have my own running buddies in Hong Kong, running the marathon together. That is just fun!

5. How was your preperation for the race?
I think I have been doing the best I can in my preparation. Balance family, work, teaching, and running requires a bit of scheduling after all.

6. Will you run the future Standard Chartered race?
I certainly would like to do it again! It is a part of the overall health big picture. 

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Ashley Liew and Evan Chee - Running Marathon Race on 28th/February/2016

By Rameshon

Significance of 28th Feb for Flexifitness

Ashley Liew - Featured on the front page of Pace Running Magazine
Ashley Liew has confirmed his participation in the New Orleans Marathon 2016, while fellow Flexifitness athlete Evan Chee will be racing in Tokyo Marathon 2016. Both marathons are on the 28th February, 2016. Training for both is going very well.

Ashley Liew's marathon time, last year, 2015, is the best performing marathon time of the year with a time of 2hr 32min 12sec in New Orleans Marathon 2015. Flexifitness is proud of his achievements such that we can say openly to the world that we have the best local marathon performer for 2015. A number of top runners from Singapore did their best, in year 2015. Nevertheless, Ashley proved his worth of being the best marathon runner for year 2015, with the fastest time of 2hr 32min 12sec. Nobody can erase this achievement. 

(Left to Right) Andreas Wenger, Evan Chee and Dr Ansgar
We hope that Singapore Athletics would recognise this achievement and give as much support as possible to him now and in the future. 

As for Evan Chee, he will be running the Tokyo Marathon 2016 to improve his personal best time done in Stanchart Marathon on 6th Dec 2015, 2hr 56min. Evan Chee was 3rd position in the Men Open category of the race. He came down for training today to limber his muscles from previous competitions that took place. Evan Chee ran in Mizuno MR 25 Ultra Marathon 2016 and emerged as the champion of the race, as well. 

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Dr Ansgar Cheng - Preparing for sub -3hr 10min Hong Kong Marathon 2016 (17/01/2016)

By Rameshon

Dr Ansgar, age is no barrier

Dr Ansgar, 49, a dentist by profession, from The Specialist Dental Group, will be the third person who will be competing after Stanchart Marathon 2015. He did a 3hr 35min for Stanchart Marathon 2015, which was his first ever marathon, after training for 8km, 10km, half-marathon races. In two major races in Singapore, he has emerged 10th in men open category of the races. Dr Ansgar, is definitely a force to be reckon with.

Dr Ansgar (right) 30km run for Ultra Marathon with fellow mate Evan Chee

After running the Stanchart Marathon, he took a 2 weeks break. He started training henceforth. On 27th Dec 2015, he did a 30km run with Evan Chee for the MR 25 Ultra marathon 2015, to give him moral support during the run. Flexifitness athletes also did come down for the race, gave Evan maximum support until lunch time; Andreas Wenger, later on came in to motivate Evan to do a good last 30km. Evan, finally won the race, which was actually meant to be completing the race, in the men open category. 

(left to right) Andreas Wenger, Evan Chee and Dr Ansgar

Dr Ansgar, myself, Andreas, Nick (Andreas' friend) and some of the Flexifitness runners came to join in the victory of Evan at Mac Ritchie. Many runners congratulated Evan. 

After Evan's Ultra-Marathon race on 27th Jan, 2015, Andreas raced on 2nd, Saturday, January, 2016, in Tai Mo Shan 115km Ultra Trail race. That came as surprise for us that he had registered to take part in the race. Even more surprising is the fact that he rose to occasion by coming in 2nd runner - up for the race. 

Now that Evan Chee and Andreas have finished their race, the next person who will be competing in a major race is going to be Dr Ansgar. 

Team Flexifitness

He did a 1hr 30min half-way in Stanchart Marathon 2015 with Erich, a fellow runner from Flexifitness, and later on succumbed to severe cramps. Without stopping, he completed the race in 3hr 35min. It was the first time that he was running the distance, literally, the last 2km nearly walking till the finish of the race. As it was his first race, it was good that he finally completed the race, which was awesome!

In the cooling or cold climate like the Hong Kong Marathon 2016 in Jan 14, I believe, that he will be able to do at least a 3hr 20min and below, or even a sub- 3 hours time for a marathon, so to speak. 

Saranniya, our co-editor will be giving him an interview to find out on his aims, goals, and objectives in the upcoming Hong Kong Marathon 2016. Hence, I would suggest that, athletes, young or old, to watch out for it.