Tuesday, December 31, 2013

A Flashback on 2013...

By Frank

Here we go again, ending yet another year, this time with 2,085KM worth of running distance! So here's a little look back at year 2013.

Year 2013 has certainly been a roller coaster year.  I started the year by ending my Year to Year 6 days Circuit Run at Pretoria, South Africa which was absolutely a great experience. However, the highlight of my year will still be the Comrades Marathon 2013 which took place in mid year scoring my back to back achievement. Though I did not achieve what I intend to, my overall finish time was an improvement. And again, my medal was donated to CARIF as part of creating awareness for cancer research. And speaking of this, an outreach program under the initiatives with CARIF with the name Be Frank was launched in April 2013.

However with all the great running achievements I've experience, I yet again failed to complete the Craze Ultra 100 miles for the second time. Not an entirely heartbreak for me though as I got to admit that I do not pay attention to this event for preparation for the next edition of the Comrades Marathon is my utmost important mission.

Towards the final quarter of the year, though under trained, I miraculously scored pretty good timing at both KL and Penang Marathon hence upgraded my seeding for next year's Comrades Marathon. It was certainly a confidence boost which I hope will carry on forward with "official" training starting real soon.

Moving away from running, work has been awfully horrible. The society has changed and it's no longer easy to serve people especially in the retail servicing line. Work has taken away most of me this year. With others doing their runs and get together, I am stuck at work. Where has my life gone to? Not only it affected my performance in running, but it also affected my social life. So, is it really worth it? Money ain't everything...

Anyhow, year 2013 is now behind. I guess it's no point bragging about it. Just accept the success and move on leaving behind the failures and sadness. To a better year ahead and I do hope year 2014 will be just as great as what the fengshui book mentioned for my zodiac. Hmmm...

HAPPY NEW YEAR everyone!

Monday, December 30, 2013

MR25 Cross Country Ultra Marathon 2013...

Event: MR25 Cross Country Ultra Marathon 2013
Venue: MacRitchie Reservoir, Singapore
Date: 29 December 2013
Time: 7.00am
Distance: 10KM per loop (to run as many in 12 hours)
Shoe: Saucony Peregrine 4.0
By Frank

After missing it last year as I visited Pretoria for the Year to Year 6 Days Circuit Race, I made my return to the MR25 Cross Country Ultra Marathon this year. At the time of writing this, my South African friends are doing this year's edition running in circles again over 6 days. To support them over here, I simply brought together my South African Buff headwear to be worn during my run at MR25. Was glad that the organisers had somehow manage to revert back to the original route when I first ran back in year 2009, the big 10.5KM loop from MacRitchie Trails, to Jelutong Hut, pass the golf course and into Lornie Trail before returning to the start/finish area. Definitely a more interesting and scenic route.

My trip down to Singapore was on board First Coach from Bangsar at 7.45pm. Met up with Susanah at her place together with Lai and had to trouble her dad to drive us to Bangsar. We arrived just in time and caught up with Jason and Hong Lan and the journey began. Journey was a smooth one and I was awake the whole trip with Susanah resting as she almost had a sleepless night. Worried about this girl's sleep pattern and while she worry about my eating pattern. Hmmm...

Upon arrival at Novena at around 1pm, it was lunch plus some errands before checking into our dorm at Backpackers@SG. Pretty neat backpackers I would say as we rested before early dinner at Lavender food court before it was lights off before 10pm.

Waking up around 4am, pre-run rituals was a smooth one and soon enough, all of us were already at MacRitchie Reservoir by 6.15am. Race pack collected, had our baggage checked-in, and by 7am, the event was started. I had my fiery red Saucony Perigrine 4.0 with me again, a much proven shoe during my TNF 50KM recently and thus was confident with the traction it can provide.

With the usual suspects before the start.

As this isn't a race for me, more like a long distance training run, I still came with a mission in hand. After what happened in Penang Bridge Marathon last month, I told myself that I would not leave Susanah behind again. To run along with her to at least the minimum requirements of 5 loops was my utmost mission. And so I did, started off with her on a very comfortable pace. As both of us aren't the chatty type during running, we kept our conversation to a minimal. We ran as we can, and walk when needed. I followed her. We completed our first loop comfortably and went on for our second after some catching up with Uncle Oliver who pulled his calf muscles. Shame indeed.

Second loop was a little slower but still fine but third was the turning point. I felt painful to see the pain Susanah had to go through enduring with pain on her feet and a little chaffing too. I felt really lost at that time as we shouldered on till the start/finish site where she did some adjustments to her kinesio tape. She asked me to carry on without her for my fourth loop. I was really reluctant to do so, but after she repeated a few times, I guess that she will be upset if I stayed on with her. It was a tough choice to leave her again, but a choice I had to make to at least calm her mood at that time. I didn't want her to feel bad so I went on feeling awful after giving here a little tap on her head.

When I started my fourth loop, my focus was to complete the next 2 loops as fast a possible, so that I can wait for Susanah to be with her again if she decides to carry on her six loop. I blazed my fourth loop but my fifth was a little painful one with discomfort on my left metatarsal, a reoccurring problem. I had to stop once at Jelutong Hut to had it massage before I carry on.

After a total time of 7:39 hours, I completed my fifth loop and waited on for Susanah anxiously at the start/finish site catching up with David, Kai Wei, Ben and some other friends. And when she finally returned with Eugene, I was relieved that she was hanging on. However, she wanted to push for another loop and hence I went with her walking the entire sixth loop keeping her company. This time, we chatted along the way, hoping to keep her mind off negative thoughts. It was like a bonding session where we get to know more about each other. And finally after 11:05 hours, we completed our sixth loop with a total distance of 63.5KM. Bravo to her!

The finisher medal and certificate.

Overall, the event was well organised with the exception of water being delivered just a little slow to the refreshment stations. We were also blessed with good weather and I certainly enjoyed this more scenic route But whether did I accomplish my mission that I set out to do was another story all together. I felt I failed again but at the same time, thought to myself that it may be the better option at that time to oblige to a request.

A group photo before leaving for the airport.

And with the MR25, my running event calendar comes to a close as the next focus will be to get the "engine" fine tune for Comrades Marathon 2014. January 2014 is where it all begins...

All photos here credited to respective photographers. Many thanks to them.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

7 Things Cancer Patients Should Know About Their Health Insurance...

If you or your loved ones have been burdened by the horrific news of cancer, it’s best to take some time to step back, and don’t lose hope. Don’t let the fear of financial hardships bring you down -- that’s what your insurance is for. It’s going to be a challenging journey ahead, so it’s best to equip yourself with knowledge: here are a few things cancer patients should knowabout their medical insurance.

When your insurance claim is denied or dropped, worry not—you can make an appeal. You need not suffer in silence and deal with the consequences on your own. To increase your chances of being heard, you can ask your doctor to help you. Furthermore, your doctor and hospital should know that they can’t bill you at least until after you’ve fixed things with your insurance company.

Annual Deductible
This is basically the first thing you have to check in your insurance because this will determine how much the insurance company needs you to spend first before they start paying for your medical expenses.

Annual Limit
It’s important to know the total amount of coverage your insurance will give you in a year, so be fully aware if you can make the most out of your benefits.

Extra Billing
If you haven’t heard of balance billing yet, it’s when the insurance company pays only a part of your bill because they think that you’re able to pay for the rest.

Coinsurance versus Copayment
Coinsurance is simply the percentage of your payment in the health care service. For example, your care states that your coinsurance payment is 30%, then you pay for that and the plan pays for the rest. Copayments are payments made for services preset by the insurance policy, and is billed to you every time you avail of these services.

Stop Loss or Out of Pocket Feature
This is a definite must-have feature in your insurance policy. The stop loss or out of pocket feature ensures that after you have personally paid for a specific limit your insurance providers have set, they will cover the rest of your expenses, 100%. Insured payables include annual deductibles, coinsurance, and copayment.

Always Look for a Plan B
If your current health insurance drops you and your appeal is denied a second time, it’s best to ask for help—you can ask for government aid or ask professionals who know the right people or insurance companies to talk to during for such situations. These people will help you understand policies better and offer you other options.

As a final reminder, make sure that you, your friends and family keep a good record of all transactions and visits both to the hospital and your insurance provider. Of course, it is also vital to be fully aware of your policy’s coverage. Read it over and over again to make sure you are not missing out on any specific help you could still be getting. Your insurance policy is supposed to make things better for you, not make things worse, so keep hoping for the best and you will definitely see things through.

Photo sources:



Disclaimer: The above article is for education purposes and raising awareness for cancer and medical insurance and is provided by Compare Hero.

Sunday, December 01, 2013

Terry Fox Run KL 2013...

By Frank

It's the time of the year again, at least for cancer activist like myself, volunteers and the folks from Cancer Research Initiatives Foundation (CARIF), the beneficiary for the Terry Fox Run KL. The Terry Fox Run KL 2013 was successfully held this morning (1 December 2013) at Taman Tasik Titiwangsa.

My message of hope.

A little about Terry Fox before I elaborate further on my experience with this year's run. The late Terry Fox is a Canadian who was diagnosed with Osteosarcoma on his right leg where it had to be amputated. After undergoing treatment, he went on to run the Marathon of Hope hoping to run across Canada to raise money for cancer research. He ran a marathon distance of 42KM each day for 143 consecutive days totalling to 5,373KM before he had to stop when he found out that the cancer had returned. The cancer spread and he soon passed away a few days before his 23rd birthday.

I hold the Terry Fox Run very dear to my heart due not only to my history of cancer, but also the role and purpose of the run it self, to create cancer awareness, research and to promote healthy living. I been supporting the run since don't know when and participated in it when I first found out about the KL edition back in year 2006. And this year marks my second year as part of the committee.

The committee with old and new faces had our first and only meeting at our usual meeting spot at Marmalade, Bangsar Village 2 some couple of months back. A little brainstorming and we are all good to go.

And thus, I am once again selling this year's awesome looking t-shirt over at my place. We had only about 3 weeks to sell the t-shirts before run days itself but thanks to the enthusiasm of the public, sales were good where I managed to outsell my previous years number by selling close to 1,000 t-shirts! WOOOTSSS! Sizes availability was much better this year and I worked very closely especially with Peter. For the past years, Peter who is a scientist by profession over at CARIF, was the one who will deliver the shirts to me. This year however, saw me travelling a bit to help ease his role. As a reward, I get free lunch from him! *grin... After all, he has a more noble and important job to deal with rather to delivering t-shirts. So yeah, I was in and out of CARIF for most of November 2013.

With the dedication board.

Anyway, to run day itself. Unlike last year, I couldn't attend the pre-run briefing the day before this time as I had too much work to do as it was month end. Hence, I arrived a little early at about 6am and the weather held up and it was a not too sunny morning which was really good as the action started almost immediately. I directed the water boys to somewhere 1KM from the start along the run route for unloading before I ran back to help out with the t-shirt sales which was packed with people. Wore proudly my red Team Terry's t-shirt (although I do not want anyone to suffer to actually own it) and was together with Mrs Kang, Myrt, Taty and Edwin while Professor Teo's kids helped out with the receipts. Great teamwork there where we tried to get everyone's desired t-shirt sizes. Met up with some friends too who came to support the cause of the run.

T-shirt tents.

The run itself started at around 8.30am and that was when we get our precious little rest time. However, the action did not stop at the other end where t-shirts from the previous years were selling like hot cakes at a very attractive price.

Family and advanced route.

By 10.30am, the event came to a close and crowd started to settle down and we started with cleaning and packing. Everyone helped out from young to old. Great teamwork among the volunteers!

Overall, once again I had a very rewarding time this year at the Terry Fox Run KL, a 100% driven by volunteers event where all donations collected will be channelled to cancer research. A shout-out to everyone whether committees, volunteers and participants of this truly remarkable and inspiring event as we wrap things up for 2013! Till 2014's edition!

It'sa wrap!