Saturday, November 27, 2010

Stage 3 cancer cannot keep him from full marathon

Thu, Nov 25, 2010
The New Paper

By Shree Ann Mathavan

NOT much, it seems, can come between retiree Henry Tan, 60, and a good race.

Not even stage-three gastric cancer and having to remove two-thirds of his stomach.

Now, he is gearing up for his second 42km race since being diagnosed with cancer in early 2008 at Raffles Hospital.

Come Dec 5, the cancer survivor will be zipping along the roads in the Standard Chartered Marathon Singapore 2010 (SCMS).

His first post-cancer marathon was at the SCMS last year, which he completed in about six hours.

Completing another marathon was probably the furthest thing from his mind when the avid runner was diagnosed with cancer two years ago.

He underwent surgery to remove two-thirds of his stomach as the cancerous tumour had spread there. This was followed by six months of chemotherapy at The Cancer Centre.

His cancer has since been in complete remission.

The road to pounding the track again came with its challenges.

Surgery, in his own words, was "a torture" as he was in constant pain.

The chemotherapy also caused his hair to drop out and his fingernails to turn black. He also suffered nausea.

He recalled: "I felt very frustrated. I couldn't do anything because I was so weak. I could hardly eat because I had no strength." That ordeal saw him shedding 12kg from his previous 65kg frame.

Losing a large portion of his stomach also meant that he had to take smaller, more frequent meals, or risk throwing up.

Being sick was difficult for him, given how active he was previously. He had completed 18 marathons prior to his diagnosis.

Nevertheless, he pushed himself. He started taking evening walks in October 2008, after his chemotherapy treatment ended.

He recalled: "At first, I could do only one round around the Serangoon Stadium track - about 400m - but I kept increasing the distance by a round every time."

He soon worked his way up to exercising five times a week, alternating between long three-hour runs and shorter10kmruns.

His motivation?

Mr Tan said: "I thought, if I could run when I was healthy, why couldn't I do the same now? The only difference is I try to jog at a slower pace and take time to appreciate the scenery around me more."

Mr Tan's cancer experience has made him appreciate his health a lot more, he said.

Once a compulsive smoker who puffed 20 cigarettes a day, he has kicked the habit. He's also put on the weight he lost from his illness.

Something that also spurs him on is the idea of racing against cancer. He's printed several inspirational messages on 15 running jerseys to motivate himself during his runs.

This year, he hopes to complete the marathon in under six hours. His best time for a marathon before his cancer was about 41/2 hours.

Mr Tan lives with his wife, 56, his son, 26, his daughter, 31, and his son-in-law,who is in his early 30s, in a four-room HDB flat in Serangoon.

His son, Mr Jeremy Tan, who works in IT, ran his first marathon with his father last year and finished behind the latter.

Not worried

He said: "We were not too worried. He knows his limits and running is a healthy obsession for him, so why not?"

Dr Wong Seng Weng,consultant and medical director of The Cancer Centre, who has been seeing Mr Tan for the past 21/2 years, said it was impressive that Mr Tan has resumed his previous active lifestyle.

In his 15 years of treating cancer patients, he's only had one other patient complete a marathon after recovery.

Dr Wong said there are no hard and fast rules to exercising after recovering from cancer.

"The patient should take it easy and build up gradually. It should not be a case of no pain, no gain," he added.

While cancer still worries him, Mr Tan is determined to keep running for as long as he can, and invites recovering cancer patients to join him at Serangoon Stadium where he trains most evenings.

"Cancer isn't the end of the world. If I can do it (run marathons), so can others. It's tough but it can be done," he said.

Source :

Thursday, November 25, 2010

From Fr Philip Heng,S.J.

Dear Friend in the Lord,

Judgment – Faith: In today’s Gospel, Jesus reminds His disciples and us that if we love Him and believe in eternal life, then our life must express this love and belief in concrete ways. The more Christ-like we are in the way we relate to others and care for the poor and needy, the more genuine is our love for God.

Fr Philip Heng,S.J.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Penang Bridge International Marathon 2010

It's my second PBIM in but half marathon this time. Many asked why I am not taking the full 42km...well, I've not done half on the bridge and I'm totally not prepared to do 42km. Haven't done much LSD since the 25km Newton run and SG North Face. In fact, I'm starting to get lazy to train for long distances. :P

Anyway, back to PBIM...

Sat, 20Nov, followed Pacesetters's chartered bus to Penang. Arrived Queensbay shopping mall around 2pm. Collected race kit, which was a breeze. Kudos to the organiser!
Met the usual KL runners, had a quick lunch, a quick walk in the mall before checking into Sri Malaysia hotel at about 4pm. Rested, slept, woke up 7pm+, decided it's time for dinner.

9pm...time to rest...again! But I couldn't fall asleep. Watched first half Arsenal vs Tottenham Hotspur. 2-0. Yeah! Good! But 2nd half was disappointing. The Spurs got 3 goals...Arsenal had no more bullets...sigh...
Asian games badminton men doubles...Malaysia lost! Aiyo...all bad to sleep???

True enough I still couldn't sleep. Tossed around...11pm...still awake...
But I finally managed to grab a couple hours of sleep although woke up with a heavy head and wished I could continue zzzz.

Had a quick prep and off we go to race site. The marathoners took the first bus shuttle and 1.45am was our turn. Bus dropped us opposite Eastin Hotel. Reached just in time to watch the marathoners passing by. Cheered, clapped before proceeding to start line. Runners everywhere, including those taking part in 10km run and they were lying almost everywhere to catch some sleep.

Weather was kinda warm and humid without any sea breeze. Lining up at start line, sweat was dripping non stop. Felt like standing sauna. Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng was kind enough to be there in the early hours to do the flagoffs. The first 2km was an obstacle course. Had to zig zag my way through in order to do a reasonably good pace. Tried to hold my pace in the first 10km as I wanted to try a negative split. It wasn't going to be a good race as I was panting upon reaching the first U turn. Heavy breathing. Two Pacemaker runners went past easily. 12km to go, I knew it's not a good run. Reaching the bridge's mid way, I even thought about stopping to rest and catch my breath. But I didn't, I slowed my pace. Going down the gentle slope helped a bit. That's when strong wind came. Refreshing! Before long, the skies opened. It didn't just rained. It poured! Felt as if running with the bathroom shower head just in front of you.

A raining run! Cats & dogs really cooled the hot humid air and it gave a boost to my heavy breathing. My panting stopped and it was so much easier to carry on. Thank God! Alleluia! Adding to that, thirst was quenched by free flowing water from above...hahaha!

Only 1 setback though...running shoes weighed a tonne! So all the way back, 10km, sploshed under the rain.

1:26...the time I saw on my watch at km18.3. With 2.8km left, I tried to maintain my pace to finish 1:45 or below...if I could.

The final km was a pia kao lat sprint. Really gave it all. Crossed finish line with the clock at 1:45:31

Not a good run. But then again I can't expect another PB with my lack of training. :P
It's just another run.

After this, it's going to be Angkor Wat Half Marathon. And that will be a jog-stop-photo snap run. Going to be a 2hr30min run. Hahaha!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Who is MR K?

My last posting was about MR K. You must be asking who is this guy? Well, it's the name of our Mixed Relay Team for Powerman in Sri Manjung and we are Michelle, Raymond and Khoo. It can be MR Khoo as well, which many thought so. :)

It's the second time we teamed up for a relay. The first time was a 3km running relay last year and we came in second. This time? Second!! Again! Yes, yes, yes...very happy to be able to go on podium. I hardly ever had the chance to be on podium. So I enjoyed every second of it! Many thanks to Michelle and Khoo!!!

This year marked my fourth time competing in this Powerman event. For three years, I did the individual 11km run, 64km bike, 10km run.

2007 - borrowed a friend's biketo do the full individual...somehow didn't start by trying the sprint...i'm still wondering why...

2008 - good chance to do a sub4 but bike punctured and wasted 15min

2009 - looking good but legs cramped...big time!

Three times but I could never break the sub4 time barrier. So I guess like baseball, strike three and I'm out. That partly explains why this year I turned to do the Powerman relay. Didn't want to miss the duathlon action but at the same time, didn't want to suffer cramps for the fourth time! Haha!

Luckily Michelle and Khoo agreed to team up for the relay. Looking at the past history, I target our team a top5 position by doing a sub3:45. How did we do?

Michelle did the 1st run with a time of 52min. I continued the bike with 1:57 and finally Khoo finished it with 42min.

Happy to be 2nd!!!

Next year...maybe I'll do the sprint...

Friday, November 19, 2010

Rajah Brooke's kolo mee

Yahoo!!!! Another place to have Sarawak kolo mee!!!

Stall Rajah Brooke's can now be found at a corner coffeeshop, Restaurant Hock Hai, Jalan SS2/103

Tried it during the public holiday on Wednesday.

Ordered the big bowl and yes, it was huge!! Delicious!!!

Chef Aubrey made his own BBQ pork. Wow! He really is very passionate about it, no doubt about that!

Try it!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

MR K made it !!

MR K did it !!

2nd in Powerman 2010 Mixed Relay

1st run (11km) Michelle - 52:02

Bike (64km) Ray tomato - 1:57:54

2nd run (10km) Khoo kenyalang - 43:01

Total time : 3:34:34

Friday, November 12, 2010

Be like the mustard seed

Dear Friend in the Lord,

Kingdom of God : In today’s Gospel, Jesus affirms that even if our faith is shallow and weak, it can become strong and resilient. This is like a tiny mustard seed that can grow to become a huge tree to provide shelter for the birds. Trust in God who will give us the strength to grow in His love daily. Begin today .

Fr Philip Heng,S.J.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010



Yup, I had a stupid fall, happened as I was just about to stop my bike after a 60km ride in Putrajaya last Sunday. Fell down like a sack of potatoes...or should I say tomatoes! Haha!

How did it happen? Well, it is kinda embarrassing... :P

Slowing down my bike, wanted to go over a low kerb which was only an inch in height and fell. Yeah, you know those low and I mean very low harmless kerbs. However, misjudgment was the word! Tyre didn't go over it, it went along with it. That's cos I tried to angle in such a way as to go through 2 big fat concrete things...watever you call them. Wheel got caught by the kerb, failed to unclip and down I went. Landed on my right knee...scraped... chest & shoulder hit the damm big fat thing...felt as if you got punched. Shoulder turned blue black the very next day.
No worries, no worries...I still can run, I still can ride. Just another lesson for me. STOP BEFORE THE KERB!

Imagine those crashing at 30 or 40kmh and hitting something...

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Go to Him

Dear Friend in the Lord,

“ Come to Me” – Faith: In today’s Gospel, Jesus invites us to go to Him at all times; more so when we are in great need. He also assures us that He will never reject us because He has come from heaven to save us. How often do we turn to Jesus and pour out our hearts to Him fully and trustfully? Or do we rather trust in our friends and our own ingenuity?

Fr Philip Heng,S.J.
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