Saturday, March 31, 2012

Tomorrow's Race is Meta -Sprints and 2 XU race 2012.

Written by Marcel Sng

Tomorrow, I realised that there is the Meta -sprint triathlon where Ashley Liew, Christian Stauffer and his children will be participating. I realised that it is important to support them in the race, hence I have penned the date in order not to forget the event. Christian told Coach Rameshon that  all his children will be participating in the race. His son Louis, a twelve year old, today did 11min 10sec in the Flexifitness 2.4km run test. This is Louis's personal best time as compared to the 11min 36sec that he did in two weeks back.

Apart from that, we have Flexifitness runner Tarandeep Kaur running the 2 XU 15km run tomorrow. She will be participating in the women's open event. She also ran in the Hong Kong marathon 2012, Feb 05, and did 1hr 53sec for the half - marathon race. Earlier on, she was upset with the time of 2hr 06min in the Standard Chartered Singapore Marathon 2011 in the half-marathon category. She would like to do a 75min to 80min for the 15km run. Recently, she has shown signs that she can hit the targeted time. 

 We celebrated some of the children who were born on March, today. We wished Brinda a Happy Birthday.. We cut the cake and enjoyed the chocolate cake. It was very nice.

Mr Tan Eng Howe, a professional photographer by profession took a photograph of us celebrating birthday. 

Picture 1 - Brinda was given a birthday card which was given by our group. 

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Pranavann Fired Up After National School Heats (1st Day)

Pranavann -  Following Jared Hui's Footstep.

Again it looks like Hwa Chong is taking the lead right from the start for A, B, C Division Boys. In the A division Girls, ACJC is having a headstart. RI is now trailing in second place for A Division Boys and Girls, even in B and C Division Boys also. A number of schools are also doing well, which I will not mention here.

Looking at the race, I told myself to write on some runners who are up and coming in Singapore and have taken to sports to excel in life.

Recently, being in the top academic class in Queensway Secondary School, Pranavann took up running recently, just last month, running 3 times per week. He came in 6th in the Queensway Secondary School Cross Country Championships. This was done in Feb 05, same day when Ashley Liew did his 2hr 38min in Hong Kong Marathon 2012. However, he found the timing was not satisfactory to his projected target.

As National Cross-Country race was nearing, Pranavann decided to train a bit harder, even though it was too late. He improved upon his sedantary type of lifestyle to an active one.  In the National Schools Cross-country Championships 2012, he did not fair well, as a school boy who also participated in the race, was according to him,  unintentionally kicking his leg while running. Pranavann avoided the boy and he ran safely behind the group of runners. Officials could not see this. Seeing that he did not do well, immediately after the race, it did not deter him from competing in National Schools Track and Field. 

He ran the race and did 4min 31sec at the 1.2km mark and then proceeded to the 2.4km mark doing a time of 9min 10sec, which was his personal best time for the 2.4km. He told me that Mr Justin Fernandez, HOD PE has timed his last year's 2.4km time and it was 9min 38sec. He was very happy to see this and it was a target that he was going for while running the 3km race on the track for under 17 boys. Having seen the personal best time for 2.4km, Pranavann started to slow down a lot in the midst of the race and kept losing few of the runners at the back. He was able to complete the round without stopping and found that those behind some distance away were told to stop.This made Pranavann to feel that he has finally completed the race successfully with a decent time. The 3km time was 12min 36sec on my watch and two of the Queensway Secondary students had the same time on their watch, except for one of them having 12min 35sec. When Pranavann finished the race, he told me that his stopwatch showed 12min 36 sec. However, we congratulated him for the 2.4km 9min 10sec effort. 

I told him that in the past I have done a 7min 14sec time at the 2.4km mark while doing a 10km track race, where I did 32min 52secon that race day, in the early 90s and told him to continue running after GCE 'O' Levels. 

He told me that Queensway has entered the Qualifying round for Nationals Schools' Soccer game and was asked to play for it, since the teacher in-charge saw a marked improvement in the 1km time trial held last week.

Pranavann told me that after reading Jared Hui's success story of doing 8min 03sec in CJC time trial, he felt very motivated. With that Jared came in 2nd in this year's National Schools' Cross Country Championships. He told me that this was very remarkable feat indeed.

After GCE 'O' Levels, Pranavann told me that he would like to take up serious running, from 3 times per week to 5 times per week once his GCE 'O' Levels are over. 

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Why is it good to go for Gold Coast Marathon 2012?

Gold Coast Marathon - If you are dreaming of doing a Personal Best Time.

Written By Rameshon

In the past, I remember going through the world record timing statistics to choose a marathon where the top 10 runners' average time was compared. Berlin and London were the best 2 in the past. That was why I ran the races in the past. In 1993, I ran London Marathon in April doing 2hr 29min and subsequently completing the Berlin Marathon in 2hr 28min. 

There were other reasons for me to choose the above-mentioned two marathons, apart from the fast times recorded there. One reason was that the race route was flat and the weather was cooling for us to do a good personal best time. However, over a period of time, having been for one London Marathon race in Year 2007 and one in Berlin in 2007, I realised that the race was too crowded to do a personal best time. That was a sad fact, even though for me these two are the top 2 marathons in the world.

Picture 1 - Ashley Liew (2hr 38min HK marathon), hoping to do a personal best time in Gold Coast Marathon Race on 1 July 2012.

In Gold Coast, last year, I told Ashley Liew to run there so that he can get a very good time. When he went there, he got 2hr 41min where this race performance was used for him to get the LIFE Award for Outstanding Achievement for Sports and Adventure 2011. He was awarded by Singapore Management University this year on 13th Mar 2012. 

This year Ashley Liew has signed up for this race in order to improve upon his timing further. I believe that so many good running souls can benefit by going here if their intention is to get a very good time. The weather is fantastic. The people out there are friendly and warm. The atmosphere there in terms of being sports minded is great out there.

Running the Singapore Standard Chartered Marathon 2012 is good although the weather is hot. The reason is because we can familiarise the route that we are going to take part in.  This happened to Dr Benedict Tan, Daniel Ling and I where we came in 3rd, 2nd and 1st in year 2008, respectively. 

Nevertheless,  Astrand and Rodahl (1986) state that running in a cooling environment is beneficial for one to perform very well. Hence, to many hungry souls, especially Singaporeans and Asian marathoner out there, the Gold Coast Marathon Race 2012 can be the answer for good timing to be achieved. Quality timing of top runners can be seen yearly. The best part of it all is that the 10km race is held a day before the marathon race. It is believed that during the run there will be no congestion taking place. My take is go for the Gold Coast Marathon 2012! Register now and avoid disappointment.

I have provided a link for those interested in the race.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Results of National Schools' Cross-Country Championships 2012

Nationals School Cross-Country 2012 race

The National Schools Cross-Country was held at Bedok Reservoir this year, like previous years. This time the route changed and we had to familiarize ourselves with the terrain.

I saw the traditional powerhouse schools like Sports School, ACS (Independent), Victoria, RI, Hwa Chong and many other schools warming up. The race time was well spread out. We had ample time to warm-up for the event. Even though I had a lot of time to train this year, I have cut down on my training as I do not want to get injury when I felt sensations on my leg.

I was warming up for the race and hoped for a reasonable time. At the start, our school was asked to be behind the top 16 schools, which were seeded to be in front based from last year's result.  At that point, i wondered we were clearly disadvantaged for the race. When the fog horn sounded off, I ran and the grass was ok to run even though it was a little undulating. Throughout the run I felt that I wanted to run in a safe manner and reach safely and focus on intensive running after my GCE 'O' Levels. I was blocked through out the race and I lost a lot of energy negotiating in over taking runners one by one. It was never ending, and seemed like a losing battle. I was thinking that, per race, if we had 100 runners running at a time would be good. Most other races have the wave system, were people start at different intervals.
I was finishing the race, although I don't know exactly, as there were no kilometer markers at all, except the ones marked on the ground for the public in Bedok reservoir. As soon as I approached the final stretch of the race, I saw Victoria School, the only school there, if I am not wrong, lining up the last portion of the race and wondered where is my school to support me in this race.

As soon as I completed the race, I was just happy that I got my drink to hydrate.

Since the place was too compact the prize giving area was small and I could just hear the results and I found that the same schools doing well in the race, namely, Sports School, RV girls, RI, Hwa Chong, ACS(I), Cedar, St Nicks, Victoria etc, I also realized that my friend Jared Hui got second placing, helping Catholic Junior College to 4th position. He used to train with me under Mr Rameshon. He lost to Kartik from Hwa Chong. His position was not good enough to make his school the champions. Aldrich, CJC did not do well as expected although he came in 9th.

The results are found in the link given..

Written by Marcel Sng

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Results of AVIVA Half-Ironman 70.3km Race (Part 2)

Report By Marcel Sng

Picture 1 - Top 3 competitors in International and local race for male and female

During the race, we saw Lim Thow Wee running fast part and finishing, after Ashley had finished earlier on. We saw Ashley and chatted with him. He told us that Wong Ken Mun, who is also our friend, was also competing. It was nice to hear this. Coach Rameshon gave Ken Mun an interview as the latter was not able to run in Singapore Standard Chartered Marathon due to plantar faciitis injury.  With resilience he came back from his good showing in the past running and did very well in the AVIVA race by coming in as the 13th local. This is a great achievement as he thought that he will have to take a long time to cure himself from injury.

Picture 2 -  Ashley Liew, after the swim, did 3min faster than his previous best time

I was told by Coach Rameshon that Christian Stauffer, the French gentleman who did and completed 250km Sahara Challenge (2009) with fellow mate Dan Johnson and Mika Kume, will be completing the AVIVA 70.3km in the veteran category. We waited for him to finish. However, we were not able to see him. Later on Coach Rameshon called gave him an interview. 

Picture 3 - Christian Stauffer, used this race as a preparation for Switzerland Ironman (full) race. 

Interview 1
An Interview With Christian Stauffer
How was the race?
The race was good. 

Did you complete the race? 
I finished the swim and bike but at the running portion, I realised that the pain at the hip was increasing over time. After a  while I thought about the future race in Switzerland, few months from now and decided to give this a miss and focus on the race by not getting injured.

How was the race organised?
It was organised well

What kind of target are you going for in Switzerland Ironman race?
I am hoping for a 12hr kind of time. It would be good if I can a sub-12 hours.

Why did you take part in this race?
It is to prepare for the future race in Switzerland and I am not that concerned about stopping in this race as the future race is very important for me?
Picture 4 - From down and out to success in AVIVA 70.3km race. 

Interview 2 
An Interview With Wong Ken Mun
1)How was your 2.4k time?
I did it in 8:06. It was a test to gauge my fitness in run-up to Aviva Ironman.

2)In the past, what was your time like?
Did not really keep track but I remembered it to be in the 8:30s to 8:40s.

3)What kind of training did you do to achieve this?
Lots of hill intervals at Old Upper Thomson Road and speed workouts in the Padang. Also lots of cross training such as sit ups, pull ups, weights.

4)How do you feel running the AVIVA tri in 5hr 19min?
The conditions (heat, humidity, hell) were probably the toughest I have encountered. But it was all well worth it at the finish line.

5)How did you prepare?
I was running about 40-60k per week, cycled 70-100k about once a week but swam only intermittently. But I did a lot of gym work to compensate and gain arm strength in the swim.

6)How was your splits?
Swim 1.9k: 46:43, Bike 90k:2:41, Run 21.1k: 1:46

7)What is your next target?
I will be focusing back on running and will be aiming a sub-3hr marathon this year. A sub 38 or even 37min timing at the TCS World Bangalore 10k in India is also a possible target.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Results of Aviva Ironman 70.3km Race 2012 (Part 1)

Ashley Liew - Training going smooth for Texas Ironman Race in May.

Picture 1-  Coach Rameshon (right) with Ashley Liew (left) after  the finish of the race

I was very excited to hear that today is the Aviva Half-Ironman 70.3km race. Our Flexiftness Head Coach, Coach Rameshon and I were at Bukit Timah for our exercise regime. Later on, we were at Turf City. Then, we realised that today is AVIVA 70.3km Half-Ironman Challenge, we decided to give full support to Ashley Liew in the race. There were 1300 people participating in this event. When we reached at about 12 30pm, we realised that Ashley would have finished the race. We were trying to contact Ashley but it was of in vain as he had already finished the race with no phone with him. Ashley's girlfriend Zeling told us about this. We decided to be patient and wait for a phone response. 

Over time, Ashley gave a call as he was about to leave the car-park, where the race finish was. Ashley was about to leave the place. As he was just about 20metres from us, we were able to locate him and decided to go towards him. Mr Rameshon congratulated Ashley for his more than 3min improvement of his personal best time, although he was running for a long season before switching to triathlon and ironman. 

Ashley Liew - 2nd Singaporean of the Day. 

As Ashley had done a very good time, we just hope that Ashley does well in the coming Texas Ironman race 2012 in USA. As for the AVIVA 70.3km, Ashley did the 70.3km with a total time of 4hr 45min 49sec (38m 50s 1.9k swim + 2h29m57s 90.1k bike + 1h32m58s 21.1k run). The previous best for him was 4hr 48m 40sec in 2010. The 1st Singaporean was Willie Loo Chuan Rong. Although it is not formal yet, it is quite likely that Ashley is the 2nd overall Singaporean today. This year, the 1st Singaporean is Willie Loo Chuan Rong, who did a time of 4hr 43min 34sec). In 2010, Ashley told me that he was 2nd Singaporean. In 2011, he was 3rd Singaporean with a time of  4h49m+.

As for today' race experience, Ashley told me that his legs were not in good condition at all right from the start of the bike (right after the swim) stage. He commented that by the time he hit the running stage, his legs were almost in pain for the whole route of the race. So his bike and run times were not as expected. Perhaps the training was still a bit heavy for the race. However, having completed this race, Ashley told me that the next and more important challenge is the Texas Ironman on 19 May. We were excited to hear this. Coach Rameshon shook his hands with Ashley for his fine performance for the race. 

Picture 2 - Congratulations from Flexifitness Head Coach Rameshon Ashley Liew's big personal best time in AVIVA Half-Marathon 2012
In summary, Coach Rameshon and I were going around the water skiiing area cheering the participants for an hour and finally we decided to leave from there for lunch. 

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Aviva 70.3km Half-Ironman Challenge 2012 (18/03/2012)

We have heard of Ashley Liew receiving Life Award for Outstanding Achievement in Sports and Adventure 2011 on 13th March 2012.  We all know now that Ashley Liew is not just a marathon runner but he is also versatile in triathlon and ironman as well.  As tomorrow is Aviva 70.3km race for half – ironman race, both Ashley Liew and my friend Christian Stauffer ( 2009, 250km Sahara Desert participant) will be taking part in the event. I realized that it would good for people to at least know about the two of them through an interview session with me. Hence, I have included 2 interviews – one on Ashley Liew’s and the other on Christian’s. I hope that one is motivated by the two of them through this interview.

Picture 1 - Ashley is preparing for the upcoming Texas Ironman Race 2012 in May. 

An Interview With Ashley Liew

What made you participate in this race?
It's a prepatory race for the Texas Full Ironman on 19 May 2012.

What does the SMU Outstanding Achievement Award (Sports & Adventure) mean to you?
I'm pleased to receive the award considering there are many talented sportsmen/women in SMU, so I'm grateful for the recognition of my efforts at the Gold Coast Marathon 2011.

Did you expect the award?
I was hoping for something, but certainly I never expect to receive awards, I take them as they come.

How was your training like for this race?
A lot of long bike rides and more frequent swims went into this. So would just hope everything comes together on race day.

Is this enough preparation for the upcoming full Ironman race in Texas ?
Definitely not. There is still some time to go before 19 May, so after the Singapore Ironman 70.3 this Sunday, I will still be training hard for Texas.
 An Interview With Christian Stauffer

Picture 2 - (Left to Right) Mika Kume, Christian and Dan Johnson in 2009 250km Sahara Challenge. 

Between Ironman and triathlon, which do you prefer? Why?
The principle remain the same for both events as you need to swim/bike/run. However, as far as  Ironman is concerned, it is very long as you need to go for 3.9km Swim/180km Bike/ 42k run. For me, it is like running a shorter distance and followed by running the full marathon. The full distance is so taxing that you probably get yourself too tired to compete. Shorter triathlon allows competition to take place. 

How has your training been going for this race?
 This is tough question. I have just recovered from an injury which is at the left calf and had to manage training with very low mileage. My hip is still giving me some problems. The challenge for me will be not to blow up on the run. However, it is ok, as it is my first preparation race toward Ironman Swizerland. Hence, it is an acid test for me in terms of finding out how good my fitness is. As the AVIVA race is held here, I do not need to travel around. This sounds good for me.

Which category will you be running in for the coming AVIVA 70.3 Half-Ironman race?
In the veteran men section, 45-49 age group.

What kind of time are you expecting.?
Anything that comes close to 5hr 45min will do and I will be happy and satisfied.

Any plans for super-endurance in the near future?
We may be planning for Ironman Switzerland in July and Atacama 2013 (with Johnson DJ)

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Singapore Management University Life Award For Ashley Liew

Ashley Liew - Gold Coast Marathon Feat lands Ashley a Life Time Award 2011 given on 13th March 2012.

Picture 1 - Ashley Liew told me that even though his dad was not around for the Award Ceremony,he definitely felt proud of his son's achievement.  

While preparing for the Gold Coast Marathon 2012, Ashley Liew received his Life Time Award for Sports and Adventure for year 2012 from Singapore Management University on 13 Mar 2012. This is great piece of news for Flexifitness as Ashley Liew serves as a good role model for the children from the Young Champions' Programme  to emulate. One could pursue sports as well as academics.  

Last year, we also had another athlete from Flexifitness who won the SINDA Award for Sports Excellence (Long Distance Running), S. Jeevanesh, who broke the national schools cross-country record doing 4.5km in 14min 57sec, breaking the earlier record of 15min 20sec. At present, he is training to do a sub - 36min for the 350 race in Singapore.

 As for Ashley, it was found out that only two sportsmen qualified for the LIFE Award for Outstanding Achievement (Sports and Adventure) presented by Singapore Management University. Ashley told me that he is appreciative of Singapore Management University for presenting the award to him. 

The only encouraging word I can tell Ashley for this Award is well done!

I even asked him on the coming AVIVA 70.3km Triathlon and he told me that he is preparing for the Texas Ironman which is the full distance as compared to AVIVA race, which covers only half the distance. Then the target is to go for the Gold Coast Marathon 2012. I am about to cover this race. Anyone who is aiming to do a good time should consider to go to Gold Coast. This is my take. The target set in Gold Coast marathon for Ashley Liew is to do a sub - 2hr 36min. 

 Ashley Liew - A good role model for young runners to emulate. 

Monday, March 12, 2012

1 in 2 S'poreans think they are overweight: survey

 Three ways to reduce weight.

After reading the Yahoo news on the desire of many Singaporeans to lose weight, I was thinking of giving my two cents worth advice to runners and public before they read the Yahoo news.

From experience, I always believe that performance in running depends on 50% diet and 50% training. In Loughbrough University, in 1995, I read a book that also stated that training comes first and then diet is something that we need to be aware of. Exercise, according to an author, Sharkey, of a physiology book called Physiology of Fitness, stated that is of paramount importance as compared to diet. It is exercise first and then diet. 

Also, studies show that if you exercise for the sake of weight loss, you may lose weight and gain weight over a period of time. If you say that you want to exercise for life long. This becomes a long term habit to lose weight throughout. Your intentions are very important in losing weight.

One who want to lose weight should also follow religiously a structured program with some sub-goals.

Yahoo News.  By Kai Fong 9th March 2012

Do you think you are overweight?

If you do, chances are you are trying to lose weight by dieting.

A latest study on healthy eating and food labeling revealed that almost 1 in every 2 consumers in Singapore consider themselves overweight.

54 per cent of respondents are also said to be trying to lose weight, with 78 per cent opting to shed the unwanted pounds through dieting.

Three quarters of respondents who are dieting or who plan to go on a diet will first look to reduce their intake of fat before considering cutting down on sugar and food portions, the study by Nielson also showed.

If you have never understood the content of what you are eating – perhaps because you don’t believe that the claims on product packaging are accurate – guess what, you are not alone.

According to Nielsen’s study, almost two thirds of consumers in Singapore said they do not fully understand nutritional information panels on food packaging. One third of consumers understand nutritional labels “mostly” and six per cent do not understand them at all.

Of 10 different product claims studied, only two – “calorie content” and “vitamin content” received a complete believability rating by more than 20 per cent of consumers. This implies a low level of confidence in the information provided by food manufacturers on their products.

Commenting on the survey findings, Joan Koh, managing director of Nielsen Singapore, said, “Food is considered a national pastime for many Singaporeans. What’s interesting is that a significant number of Singaporean consumers believe they are overweight and want to do something about it.”

Reflecting the desire of many in the country for healthy eating, when dining out of home, Singaporeans are also looking for information such as calorie counts in food outlets to help them manage their diets.  According to the study, 58 per cent of consumers surveyed say that fast food restaurants should always include calorie information on menus, and 31 per cent indicate that the restaurants should sometimes do so.


Sunday, March 4, 2012

Lake Biwa Marathon 2012 - Samuel Ndungu wins race.

OTSU (Japan): 

Otsu was the place that I stayed to run in the 1988 Biwako Marathon race, which was held in conjunction with 1st Asian Marathon Championships 1988. Otsu brings me very good memories. I came in 7th out of the Asian athletes at that time. It came out in the newspaper and Mr John Koh was praising me for doing well there. It was a very good experience running there as it was my first overseas experience running for Singapore.  I met many runners from all over Asia and made friends with them. One such friend that I made was with Lee Kar Lun, former Hong Kong top runner and now a top runner in the veteran section. As such, I would like to feature the race for my blog.

 Lake Biwa Marathon 2012

Japanese-based Kenyan runner Samuel Ndungu  won the marathon on Sunday at Lake Biwa race.

Ndungu, 23, broke away before the 32-kilometre, with 8 runners pursuing him, and never faced a serious competition afterwards, finishing the race in a sub 2hr 8min time of 2 hr 7 min 4 sec.

Second in the race was Henryk Szost, who set a new Polish national record of 2:07:39 while  Abdellah Taghrafet of Morocco finished in 2:08:37 and came in third.

Ndungu, who is a member of an athletics club in Aichi, central Japan told the press that he was very happy about the race for it was his first victory in his life for an International Marathon race. He was concerned on doing his best during the race.
There were two Kenyan pace-makers during the race who ran until the 25 kilometre mark, when they were overtaken by the elite runners of the race.

Nicholas Manza of Kenya and Bekana Daba of Ethiopia suddenly picked up speed, with Daba taking a solo lead one kilometre later before seven runners caught up with him at the 28km point.

The surprise came in the race when Ryo Yamamoto overtook front-running Kentaro Nakamoto in the last 400m to secure fourth place in 2:08:44 and take a big step towards winning a ticket to London. 

How to avoid Lower Back Injury?

Lower back injury is separated into two - namely;
  • Acute: This kind of pain last from a day to less than 3 months. It depends on the nature of the injury. Usually people with this injury get better with home treatment through using the ice and heat method.
  • Chronic: This kind of usually last for a very long time and may last longer than 3 months. Those who get  these type of injury - chronic back pain - normally recover by more intensive method of treatment.
Once we have lower back pain, from my experience, after getting better, it is known that the sensation of pain may come back. The preventive measure for this is to keep the abdominal and stomach muscles strong, sleep with proper posture, walk with  good posture. One must also take note that one should also learn to carry heavy objects safely. As for sportsmen, the lower back muscle must be supple and strong in order to perform a higher task which requires more speed and strength.

Treatment for acute low back pain

1. See a doctor for advice. A physiologist may be recommended to assist in this.
2. Do yoga exercises that helps to prevent lower back injury. 
3. Do strengthening exercises which is specific in avoiding injury. 

Treating the injury is in this blog post, please refer to the post.