Monday, November 17, 2014

Meeting Dr Ansgar Cheng for my 30km Run (Part 2)


A View to a Kill: Run into It, Shall We?

By Dr Ansgar Cheng


rameshon murugiah running coach 

It has been a very interesting journey since my 2 little girls started their running program with FlexiFitness in June 2014. My wife, being very wise (as usual), identified the coach and signed my girls up for it. Coach Rameshon is the Founder and Head Coach of FlexiFitness. He has a team of dedicated coaches from various sports disciplines to assist him with running the show.

At first, my wife and I were worried that the running group may be overly indulging in adrenaline and that my girls at the tender ages of 10 and 11 may not be able to cope with the training from an athletic and inter-personal point of view.

It turned out that the coaches were great and the other running kids were fantastic. There are many runners in the group and there is a good spread of age and talent ranging from top age group runners (the elite runners) to national level runners. I would say I could not honestly point out a single lousy person there – they are supportive, humble and hard working.

I was formerly a competitive high school middle distance runner and this continued throughout my dental school years. My ‘last’ 800m track event was the 1989 Inter-collegiate meet in Hong Kong and it was the first time that my parents ever made a point to watch me at the track. Ironically, it was the only time I missed a podium finish since 1982.

Fast track a few decades – I was inspired by the good job my high-school coach (Manson Kwok) had been doing with the St Louis cross-country team and I started running 5000m again. However, I found that I plateaued soon after and minor injuries followed. When I met Coach Rameshon, he passed numerous ideas to me and one of them was ‘Run slow in order to run fast’. Then he tossed this idea about a ‘long run’.

At first I thought he meant ‘long run’ in terms of time line, then he elaborated further and went on to casually mention that a  ‘long run’ was running at a slow pace for a few hours on a rather regular basis!! Well, I was shocked, embarrassed and speechless and I told Coach Rameshon that the longest I had ever run at that point was 21km – the half-marathon I did in the 2013 Standard Chartered Marathon in Singapore. Running like that would give a heart-attack to my wife (and my mother) as Moon made me tattoo (OK, just write in permanent marker) our home number on my hand when I used to run in Toronto, “just in case Ansgar needs medical help”.

Anyway, after a few months of exercising with FlexiFitness, I received the green light from my wife to do some long runs. Yesterday, I set off to do a 30km slow-long run with Coach Rameshon at the Macritchie Reservoir. We were chatting on various topics while running about 20km into that scenic route when Coach Rameshon suddenly grabbed my arm very firmly and dragged me to a dead stop.
Now, at that moment, an amateur like me was huffing and puffing and I was on the verge of giving up anyway. Then I thought that it may be Coach Rameshon who needed some emergency attention, so I the thought flashed across my mind – I know emergency resuscitation but whoever needs it from me now has terrible odds of survival.

Then Coach Rameshon pointed out a beautiful bright blue and red creature to me, half a meter in front of our path – a 2 feet long venomous blue coral snake was in our path! If it was not because of his firm grip on my arm, I am quite sure that both the snake and I would had come very close to getting to know each other really really well (in an unpleasant way). Then I realized I was saved by Coach Rameshon! We went on to complete the run in a rather decent time without much suffering. Boy, am I grateful!

By the way, my three girls at home are into running. I am impressed that my wife also enjoys running now. The other night, my mom-in-law, Lily Fu, Founder of SeniorsAloud, came down from Kuala Lumpur and she was also running a bit alongside my two little gals in their training. That made my day.