Sunday, August 30, 2015

Dr Ansgar Cheng (Part 1) - The Running Family

Dr Ansgar Cheng - Fit to be admired. 

Meeting Dr Ansgar Cheng. 

How it all happened in meeting Dr Ansgar Cheng? 

I feel elated when I write about Dr Ansgar and his wife Moonlake. I will do a write up before doing an interview on each of them. 

 Moonlake, in the centre, with her daughters

Dr Ansgar Cheng, age 49, a dentist by profession, and an associate professor in National University of Singapore, was introduced to me by his wife by the name of Moonlake. She came to me and told me that she wants to put her children in our Young Champions Programme. I told them the rate and they were satisfied. They then told me that both of them, husband and wife, would like to train in our running programme, under progressive running group, which is uaually held at night. I told them that we are giving them a heavily discounted rate as their children are in our programme as well. They looked very happy with the fact that the rate was good, I think, and Dr Ansgar gently came forward to me and started speaking to me, man to man, on goals, aims and targets. 

Dr Ansgar (right) Moonlake (left) still look young in the uniform outfit

As soon as Dr Ansgar came near me he asked me whether he will be able to do a sub - 19min if he comes under me for training. I thought he was just fooling around and was joking and was thinking of not answering him. On the particular day that I met him, which was a year ago, he asked me again, whether it was possible. I asked him on his past timing for 5km and he told me that he has done 18min 30sec around there. I was amazed with this and I told him that it is in fact possible to get his targeted goal if he has done the 18min 30sec kind of timing, in the past. 

Dr Ansgar Cheng, said in an adamant tone that he was going to go for it. I still thought that he was joking. 

Exercise done by the daughters during the Young Champions Programme.
At the start last year, around June 2015, he started training with us. He did a time of 20m 20sec and then progressed to sub- 20min plus for his 5km. He was stuck there for a time. However, he had the believe that one day he can do the same time that he did when he was 18 years of age, which is 18min 30sec. 

I told him to do some mileage work such that he has some deposits in his reserves, which allows him to do a workout well and keep progressing in running performance. Coach Tan and I with some vegans by the name of Lee Nguan and Kenny started doing Sunday long run sessions regularly, besides training our daily mileage of 10 to 12km per day.  

Sometimes, we go as high as 20km for the Sunday run. Dr Ansgar did his best to be around to do the Sunday runs. His wife Moonlake was at first having some injuries. After joining our programme, somehow, it was found that she recovered from her injury. On weekends, their children join us for our Young Champions Programme. 

I was amazed with the real training that was going on by Dr Cheng's family. Then, was a time where I was giving 1km all out workout, last year. 

Dr Ansgar was very daring during the workouts that one fine day he did a 2min 50sec for his 1km all out run. I was very impressed with this. 

Over time, he was doing a number of miraculous times such that one fine day, a few months back, he did a 18min 29sec for 5km. He ran to me, after the run, and told me that it was his personal best time of his life. Both of us were on top of the world. 

His 5km improvement was reflected on his recent half - marathon in 2XU Run 2015 where he did a time of 1hr 28min 59sec. Dr Ansgar, who is a veteran came in 10th for the Men Open category. All along he has been doing his best to do a good time of at least a  sub-1hr 30min. 

His wife Moonlake has also done a 1hr 00min 27sec improvement in the 10km run in 2 XU Run 2015. Her previous best time came from 2013 Standard Chartered Marathon 10km race. At that time, we were not in touch with each other. He progress will be discussed in another blogpost, so that readers of this blog do not miss her story, on progressing her speed in the 10km. 

It is also good for the Singaporeans to see the dedication that both Dr Ansgar and Moonlake has for exercise, family and work. I am always motivated by them. When I see them the enthusiasm flame always goes up and I am full of energy on that day. Hence, I believe that they have some kind of good vibes in them that keep the environment positive. 

One day, when I went down for a dental talk by Specialist Dental Group, which was about 2 to 3 weeks ago, when I saw Dr Ansgar outside the hall of the talk, he immediately came to me and was fully focused and talking to me. He brought me all the way to my seat. I was humbled by his kind gesture. Rarely, I get this kind of gesture from prominent people. Dr Ansgar was treating me more than a VIP and I felt that he should attend to other things as he was also about to give a talk. If I were him, I would be more focused on the talk that I am going to give and entertain people less. I was amazed with his composed gesture. On that day, he gave a fantastic talk on connection between health and healthy teeth. His talk was very informative and filled with humour. I enjoyed his talk all the way. 

With a person who shows gratitude, gratefulness and above all appreciation, I believe that these attributes have brought about great success in his running. Many of us get inspired by his every run on workout days. His wife also is an inspiration for us. She is very hardworking in training although she has to look after their children as well for their studies. Simply amazing couple!

Saturday, August 15, 2015

An Interview With Dr Ansgar Cheng - 1hr 28min 59sec 2XU Half-Marathon (2/08/2015)

Dr Ansgar - Lion hearted coupled with humility 

By Rameshon 

I have tried to write blog posts recently and it was not easy for me to do it. Perhaps, after writing about Dr Ansgar, it may happen that I may be able to write more on running and other topics. 

Humility is a value that I see in Dr Ansgar, as I know, from the past till now. He is a person who, outright, demonstrate gratitude, appreciation and gratefulness. There were a number of times where he has shown this. He does not show that he is class apart and he does not look down on anyone in running performance and he is ever there to encourage many, young and old, to take up running. 

He does not show any kind of fear while running. He is now 49 years of age. I think if he was young, like 24 years old, if he had been Singapore citizen, and training, he has the possibility of doing a better time then my personal best time for the marathon, 2hr 24min 22sec done in Chiengmei SEA Games 2015. I believe that the training done was not as structured as he has done in the past, such that there was not much breakthrough seen. 

He has right now, improved his personal best time for 5km, 10km and half-marathon, all at the age of  49. He is also doing his professional job as a dentist as well. We two have much in common, when it comes to running. We love running a lot. 

For a long time, Dr Ansgar have tried his best to go for a sub-1hr 30min and it was not easy to get the target. Last year, at this time, he was doing a time of 1hr 37min. Probably, he went out too fast. He brought the time down to 1hr 32min to 1hr 34min for some months back. 

In the recently held 2 XU Run, he finally did 1hr 28min for the 2XU Run 2015. Looks like he is performing like a young man while he is getting older. Simply amazing! Age has no barrier. 

I decided to do a write up on the interview I had with him. By reading his interview, I hope that many runners will be inspired by his show of unbreakable faith in doing the sub-1hr 30min. 

An Interview With Dr Ansgar

(left to right) Dr Ansgar, myself and Tan Eng Howe

How was the race?
It was good and fun. I enjoyed the race. For me, everything went very well. 

How was the water point?
It was organised very well. I did not feel dehydrated because of this. 

Were you expecting to break the 1hr 30min in the middle of the race?
I felt that I am going to do it. I knew that I could. 

What were your thoughts when you knew that you are on your way to break the sub - 1hr 30min barrier?
It was a good feeling and I was confident of it and this time there was a feeling of gauranteed to get the goal in this race itself. 

Are you happy with the time?
Of course, I am very happy with the race

How was the start?
I was about a minute away from the start and it took me some time to get to the front. 

What is your next goal?
I am hoping to run a marathon in the future.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

2 XU Run 2015 (2nd Oct 2015, Sunday)

By Rameshon

On Sunday, my wife Sumathy ran the 2 XU Half - Marathon Race and was aiming for a completion, with some form of training done. Helen Toh, Vicky Toh, Joseph Ho, Coach Tan, Moonlake, Dr Ansgar, Colin Chua, Roger, Jonathan Kang and Divya ran in the race. I will write the details on this later on. A number of our runners ran for fun, to complete, except for Dr Ansgar and Colin Chua. 
Colin Chua (gun time) and Dr Ansgar (gun time) were 7th and 10th overall for Men Open

Colin, came in 7th in the race with a time of 1hr 26min 47sec. He also had to fly off to an overseas country and he had to rush to the airport, with regard to work commitments. 

Dr Ansgar, myself and Tan Eng Howe are around the same age. We will still keep running after 50. 

The next person who ran sub-1hr 30min for the half- marathon  was Dr Ansgar. He ran the race and came in 10th with a time of 1hr 28min. It was a breakthrough as Dr Ansgar has been doing what it can to bring down the time. All efforts were in vain, earlier on. The present time that he has attained makes us to give him  a lot of respect as he did it with a number of younger runners behind him. 

He is also 49 years old, and he is also a dentist by profession with a lot of work to do, including looking after his 2 daughters. He sets example to his own workers to balance things in life. He is a good role model for many to follow. From the past, I have seen him as a person who can defy logic to attain good timing in running which is not easily attainable for a person who does professional work, with an age like him. He has, in the past, miraculously, done a number of fast times in various distances. Our group always look for inspiration for him as many are nearing 40 years of age. He has given us an interview on his feat to me and we will post it out soon. It was an interesting interviewing him. 

What was more surprising is that Moonlake, Dr Ansgar's wife, also ran and did a time of 1hr 00min 29sec for the race. It was a personal best time. For me, both of them are good role model for many to follow, if those married. Both support each other as a family and their daughters are running also, as I believe that they are taking them as good role model.

Friday, July 10, 2015

Vegan Chin Peng, 52, Does Personal Best Time 1hr 53min 55sec in Sundown Half -Marathon 2015.


Vegan Chin Peng, 52, Does Personal Best Time 1hr 53min 55sec in Sundown Half -Marathon 2015.

Flexifitness - Mr Chin Peng, a vegan and an examplary of healthy living through running

By Saranniya

Picture 1 - Mr Chin Peng in SAA Cross Country 2015 Race. (left to right standing) Andy Liew (Ashley Liew's dad), Dr Ansgar (Team B Captain), Mr Chin Peng, Vijayaraj, Coach Rameshon, Andy Wenger, Benjamin Fan, Lee Nguan, Selvan, Lim Thow Wee (Team A Captain), (left to right) Brian, Rueben, Saranniya (myself), Anja Tan, Emma Oh, Moonlake

One such person who does not miss any form of training and who is very consistent in training always, in our group, is Mr Chin Peng. He is a vegan. It is because he is vegan and he supports animal non killing for food. I have turned myself more of a vegetarian recently because of the feeling compassion towards animals, birds, etc. There are plant based product food that we can actually eat and it can be delicious. It is just about how you cook our food.

Picture 2 - Mr Chin Peng is unfazed by the competition, his focus was on improvement

I have seen Mr Chin Peng joining us at the same time when Professor Ansgar joined us about 6 months back in our group. From day one, I realised that Mr Chin Peng was very meticulous in his running and he was keen in running with a good technique and form. I have seen him paying particular attention on strategies and tactics in running, as well, when there is briefing going on. "As far as I know him, he has not missed any form of training, except for one or two days from the past till now," So said Coach Rameshon on Mr Chin Peng. 

Mr Chin Peng is a running enthusiast and does his best to finish up the training, moderate intensity or hard sessions. He helps us to keep our bags in his car, and he also has shown several times that he is very caring for other runners and even outside our group as well. He is a civic minded and a considerate person. 

To put it in a nutshell, what I like about him is that he is very consistent in training. His progress is very gradual and slow but it is always on a upward trend. He is also a very good role model for us as he has good values for us to follow. Recently, Mr Chin Peng has done a fantastic  time of 1hr 53min 55sec in Sundown Marathon's Half-Marathon. As he has done a good personal best time, I would like to share his thoughts by my giving of interview questions to him.
An Interview With Mr Chin Peng

1. What did time did your race start? - How was the weather during the race?

The race for the Sundown Half Marathon flagged off at about 15mins after midnight.  Weather was good but as usual in Singapore, it was humid.

1. What was your target for the race? (Is it your personal best timing? If yes please include your previous personal best and the race you achieved it in).

I was targeting to do below 1hr 55min and I did it in 1hr 53min 52sec (came in at position 188 out of 7195 runners).  My previous PB was 1hr 56min 56sec.

2. Are you happy about your performance?

Yes of course.  Since joining Flexifitness last year, I am extremely pleased that I was able to improve my timings for the Half marathon from 2h 7m (Sep 2014 Army HM), 2h 5m (Dec 2014 Stanchart), 1h57m (Feb 2015 Marina Bay run) to now 1h54m at Sundown 2015.

3.How was the organisation of the race?
    - Hydration station?
    - Were the distance marker accurate? 
    - Was the route given to run to cramp?

The organiser did a great job.  The route was smooth with no bottleneck. Hydration stations were adequate and meaningful spaced out.  There was distance marker at every km and I believe it was accurate as it was quite in line with my GPS watch lap distance alert.  Overall the race and atmosphere was good.  I think it would have been better if the race started earlier at 10pm so as to finish the run at around midnight.

4.  How did you feel during the race? 

I started strong despite the initial upslope in the first 2km at Sheares Bridge and was able to consistently maintain my target pace for most of the run.  Fatigue set in at after about 18km but nevertheless persevered and did a PB time.

5. What age did you start running? What inspired you to pick up running?

I always enjoy running and all along I was an avid but casual runner.  I got serious into running last year at age 52 as I wanted to improve my running timings.

6. What is your next goal and target?

My next goal is to do a Full Marathon in December and aiming for a marathon PB of under 4hours.

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Ashley does 16m 06sec in 2015 Greenville Track Club's Red, White and Blue Shoes 5km

By Saranniya.

Recently, Ashley took part in the Greenville Track Club's Red, White and Blue Shoes 5k on Mon, 4th of July 2015. He crossed the finish line with a time of 16Min 06sec coming in first for his age category and 7th position overall. This race is the first race immediately after the SEA GAMES Marathon 2015, after weeks of rest and recuperation. Ashley has a personal best this year with a time of 15min 43sec, which was attained at A Hero's 5k in February early this year.
He has given us an interview and I will share this in this blog.

Interview with Ashley Liew on his race experience:
1. What was your target for the race?
My plan was to take this 5k as the first hard work out of the next training season, so there was no specific time goal. I ended up setting a 5k season's best of 16m06s

2. Are you happy about your performance?
Yes. Being less than a month out from the gruelling SEA Games marathon in Singapore, I did not set expectations for this race. It is races like these when there is no pressure that you can sometimes perform surprisingly well. To set my 3rd fastest 5k time and to be in front of the some fast guys I have not overtaken before on such an occasion was satisfying.

3. How was the organisation of the race?
Greenville Track Club always does a stellar job with their organization, no matter how big or small scale the race. The map was clearly put up on the website in advance, the volunteers were on the ball and enthusiastic, and the carnival atmosphere in line with the 4th of July celebration ensured fun for the whole family post-race.
Hydration station?
There was one drink station that was manned well, although hardly any of us in the front pack paused for a drink in this 5k.
Were the distance markers accurate?
I do not wear my GPS watch for races, but when I asked my friends who did they told me it was spot on.

4.  How did you feel during the race?
I felt strong and swift on my feet. When we started the lead runner took advantage of the starting downhill elevation by running out hard, but to our surprise he promptly dropped out after the first mile. As expected, the rest of us in the front pack covered the first mile fast; I was hanging in the back of the pack and hit that split around 4m45s comfortably. The second mile was slightly slower but still quick as the course took us around the lake. In the last mile I felt the legs gradually slowing but I made sure the cadence remained quick. I did not lose any positions which was a good sign. The final challenge was the last upslope where a guy from behind was quickly gaining on me. However, my friend was cheering for me at that point so I ran to the finish inspired, outkicking the competitor close behind.

5. What is your next goal and target?
To set a PB at the Virginia Beach Rock 'n' Roll Half Marathon on 5 September 2015.

Monday, July 6, 2015

Singapore Athletics Walk Series Competition 2015 - At East Coast (05/07/2015)

Flexifitness Athletes achieve commendable results in Walking Competition

Picture 1 -  A joyful day out with Family of Flexiftiness, competitors and supporters

The day started with rain at about 7 45am on 5th July, 2015, Sunday. We were waiting for the rain to stop, and at about 7 45am, the race started. The race is supposed to start at 7am. There was a delay in the race and some athletes were waiting for instructions. We were wondering whether to stretch or not. We did not want to stretch too early. Finally, we were only given 10min only to start off the race, as the rain was, from heavy, was starting to drizzle.The weather was a bit unpredictable.

I was surprised to see a crowd in this race, as the race walk was never taken that seriously in Singapore. I have put down the results of Flexifitness athletes. 

The first race that started off was the 2km boys/girls for junior. After some time the 4km for Men/Women open and veteran started. Overall, we were happy with the result. 

Summary of our results.
In Singapore Athletics 2k/4km Walk Series Competition, in the under 15 boys Wei Shen came in 3rd and Jia Wei came in 4th position. They did the 2km race.

As for the 4km competition, Divya and Tan Anja came in 3rd and 4th, respectively, in the Women Open Category (above 15 and under 50 years old). Sumathy came in 6th position in the same category as well. She would have been top 3 if it was 40 years and above. Coach Tan came in 2nd overall in the Men Veteran,  for under 50 years old. Suh Hyeong our female walker, walked and came in 4th in the under 15 year old race.

Picture 2 - Tan Anja, Divya, Felicia, Sumathy and Tan Eng Howe.

New Achievements by Flexifitness Athletes.

Good News during track and Field Championships and in SEA Games and Post SEA Games 2015

We have a number of good news during the National Track and Field and in the SEA Games and Post SEA Games as well.

1. Andreas Wenger, one of our fastest runner in Flexifitness, did 2hr 54min 54sec in Kona Marathon 2015 on 28th of June. What was making us to feel on top of the world was the fact that he came in as the Overall winner for the race itself for Men's Open Category. This is a feather in our cap.

2. Ashley Liew came in 8th in the SEA Games 2015, as he got cramps in both hamstrings and he had to stop twice. Although, he stopped twice, he ran and completed the race in a time of 2hr 44min, a personal best time for running in Singapore weather. We found that somewhere before the 5/6km mark, the front running group, ran the wrong route. Rui Yong, also ran the wrong route. Ashley, when he saw this, actually did not like what was going on. To correct this, he waited for the running group to join back so that the race was fair, in order not to win by having an unfair advantage. He got a Sportsmanship Award for this courageous act by Media Corp Channel 5. Ashley Liew was mentioned by Lee Hsien Loong for his gracious act of wanting fairness in competition, when winning is every athletes mind.

Also, it is good to note that the winning time was 2hr 34min 56sec in the SEA Games. Ashley has a personal best time of 2hr 32min 12sec done in New Orleans Marathon.Ashley's New Orleans time would have fetched him a gold. We hope that he has better luck the next time round as the SEA Games will be held in Malaysia.

3. Hamish Archibold, a 5 year old kid, who is doing our young athletes mid-distance programme, came in second in the recent Biathlon race for 5 year old age group category, when we analysed his results. His time for 200m swim was 5min 32sec, while he did a 1km in 5min 37sec.

4. Armand, one of our pioneer athlete, in the past, and was in our Young Champions' Programme, came in first in 3000m in National Schools Track and Field Championships. In the past, while in our programme, he came in first in Milk Run 2015 for kids, before he was accepted to Raffles Institution by Direct Schools Admission. In the Nationals Schools' Cross - Country race, he was leading all the way until he went wrong route during the race, around the 2km mark, as there were no officials around to guide him to the correct route. His opponents athletes, seeing this opportunity sped away from him, with an unfair advantage. Hence, he lost some grounds and he came back, losing some 60 to 70metres of distance, and came in sixth overall in the race, instead. Anyway, he corrected this fact as who is the under 14 boys longest fastest runner by coming in the 3000m race by emerging the champion in the Nationals Track and Field race. 

5. Just behind Armand, it was our own Loganathan Ruben who has never won any race in the past, before joining Flexifitness. He came in 7th in the Nationals Schools' Cross Country Race. Ruben father was a past middle distance runner himself and is a close friend of Coach Rameshon. Many Flexifitness athletes came in top 30, at least 10 of them, and two athletes came in top four in the girls race.

6. Chin Peng, a 52 year old male vegan, did a surprising personal best time of 2hr 53min 55sec in the Sundown Half-Marathon 2015. Finally, with a lot of persistent training and consistent training, Chin Peng has done, not just us proud, but also to the vegan group as well. 

7. In Singapore Athletics 2k/4km Walk Series Competition, in the under 15 boys Wei Shen came in 3rd and Jia Wei came in 4th position. They did the 2km race. 

8. As for the 4km competition, Divya and Tan Anja came in 3rd and 4th, respectively, in the Women Open Category (above 15 and under 50 years old). Sumathy came in 6th position in the same category as well. She would have been top 3 if it was 40 years and above. Coach Tan came in 2nd overall in the Men Veteran,  for under 50 years old. Suh Hyeong our female walker, walked and came in 4th in the under 15 year old race.

9. Gina, our under 12 girl, has made it to the play for Singapore in an International competion which will be held in Sweden to play in tournament. She is leaving few days from now and she will be having two weeks game there. We our proud her and wish her all the best.