My friend, Evan Chee, a top local marathoner, ran the 10,000m event in the Mens 35-39 age group on the morning of May 6, 2016. That was a nice bright sunny day. If you love beaches, it was a perfect day.
My other half, Moon, went to cheer for Evan and when she came back, she was tired, dehydrated and had a new tan line! We know it is hot in Singapore but this heat was a real SURPRISE!!
Knowing how hot it was, Coach Rameshon, even though he is an optimist, told me to just run slowly on the morning of May 8, the day of my 5000m run and hopefully, I wouldn’t get ditched by the faster guys. In other words, he was telling me to limit my expectations. I heard him.
When I reached the Kallang Practice Track on May 8, 2016, I was totally overwhelmed! Most of the FlexiFitness runners and many of my Specialist Dental Group colleagues were there to support me on Mother’s day Sunday morning! That almost brought me to tears. I am still VERY grateful for that gesture.
It was a hot day – the track was about 32-33 degrees Celsius.
As a St. Louis boy, ALL of us Aloysians know that we are supposed to ‘bring honor to Thy name’. Under such circumstances, the best that I could do was to say a short prayer. (Coach Rameshon always reminds us to do so) and dedicate the run to biggest guy up there in heaven and hopefully make my mother proud too even though she could not make it to the track. It was Mother’s day after all!
Even with that, at the start, my head was still lingering on the patient’s situation and running was not at the top of my mental list. Looking back, I guess I had an unfair advantage – home court!
My friends, family and colleagues were all there to scream their lungs out. I heard them screaming something about ‘escargots’ (my gals favorite) many times. Then I realised that they were actually screaming at the top of their lungs, “Go Ansgar Go, Go Ansgar Go, Go Ansgar Go….”
I tried hard not to disappoint them but after only 1000m, I was hanging on in 6th place and I knew my chance was slim. The top few guys were running at a pace I had only heard of but had never ever come close to – it was almost a minute ahead of my best pace ever!!
At the end of the run, luck was on my side. I came in first! I think the hot weather had gotten the better of the other runners and I had done quite a bit of workout under the hot sun. I looked at my watch after I crossed the finish line and was shocked to see a personal best time (PB). It was about a minute ahead of my previous best. This gold medal is dedicated to my mom in Hong Kong on Mother’s Day.
Remember, I ran a crazy first 400m in my 800m run? Someone on the Singapore team noticed that… Henry Lim, one of the runners in the Mens 50-54 age group relay, asked me to run in the 4X400m relay event as they were short of a runner. We had met for the first time, quite by chance, when I had lost my way on the way to warm up at the Kallang Practice Track three days earlier. It was just before I had run in the 800m event!
Without any preparation, on the same day after my PB 5000m run and after about 10 minutes of baton passing training, we went out to do the relay in the late afternoon. There was only one thing in our consensus – not matter what happened, we would not disappoint the home crowd at the Singapore National Stadium! I was assigned to run the final leg of the relay.
We were very lucky and we managed to get a podium finish, winning the Bronze medal for Singapore. It was an exciting race!
Guess what I did shortly after? I was on the phone to check on my patient’s progress… (Did I forget to say I did the same thing after my 5000m run?)
Bring honor to Thy name!
[Read the Final Part of my series about the 5 things I have learned]