For the past six months, local marathoner Mok Ying Ren, 27, has been in Boulder, Colorado in the United States – to chase his Olympic dream.
Mok Ying Ren is a marathoner, doctor and an ambassador of BRAND’S Essence of Chicken. He is a two-time SEA Games gold medallist in the triathlon and marathon events and is currently taking time off work to pursue his Olympic dream in the marathon event.
Thanks to BRAND’S Essence of Chicken, three prischew.com readers stand a chance to win a week’s worth of BRAND’S Essence of Chicken. Scroll to the bottom of this article to find out how you can win.
Moving to Colorado was an easy decision
To Mok, an Orthopaedic Surgery Resident at the National University Health System, taking the plunge and moving to Colorado – despite being far away from his family and friends – had been an easy decision to make though.
Explained Mok, “I met Lee Troop, the Head Coach of the Boulder Track Club at the Gold Coast Marathon, a couple of times. He is an Australian runner who is a three-time Olympian in the marathon. I chatted with him several times after, to share my plans with him. He was willing to help me in my Olympic quest and thus it was an easy decision to move up there to train under him.”
Training in Colorado is quite different to running in Singapore
Mok found out very quickly though, that running and training in Colorado has been very different to training in Singapore. He said, “The main difference I notice is the weather. A cooler climate allows faster running and better recovery – something that will definitely help anyone run faster when training here on a consistent basis.”
He added, “In addition the trails here are bountiful especially in Boulder, Colorado. Every weekend, we get to run on a different trail, making training less monotonous and exciting. Running on different terrains also allows training of the smaller muscles in the lower limbs that can contribute to injury prevention. Furthermore, having a team to train with, helps a lot, as we serve as each other’s training partners. The team that I train with, the Boulder Track Club, also has many runners close to my standards which allows me to try have training buddies on a regular basis.”
Technology has helped him stay connected with family and friends
Being away from his family is nothing new to Mok, although he admits that an extended overseas stay is different to being able to see his family and catch up on weekends – such as when he stayed in a hostel in the National University of Singapore during his studies, and was living near his workplace throughout his National Service stint.
Said Mok, “These earlier living arrangements had allowed me to cut down on time spent traveling and gave me more time to rest, train and study. Of course I used to go home every weekend too, but this extended overseas stay is different. However with the technology that we now have, applications like Skype and FaceTime has kept us connected.”
Misses the local food choices in Singapore
Still though, there are some things in Singapore that Mok has missed, whilst in Colorado. He said, “I definitely miss my fiancee and my family the most. In addition, I miss the food choices we have in Singapore such as chicken rice, hokkien mee, laksa and many others.”
Continued Mok, “Once though, I attempted to cook Chicken Rice for my house mates in Colorado – which turned out to be quite successful!”
Numerous injury setbacks in his running career
However, a freak injury though, had recently resulted in Mok making the decision to come back to Singapore for treatment. He said, “On the 10th of October this year, I was stretching with an elastic band like i always did, but it slipped and hit my right eye. I suffered bleeding in the eye and a retina tear which required urgent laser treatment to prevent it from worsening.”
Continued Mok, “At this point, I had stayed for six months in the United States. I had initially planned to go to Japan for some races during this month but due to this incident, I felt it was safer to head back to Singapore for medical follow-up and treatment before continuing on with my racing campaign.”
This isn’t the first injury that Mok has suffered lately though. Said the runner, “In 2014, I was stricken with a shin injury which recovered in December. However, in January 2015, I developed a tendonitis in my foot which led to a flare-up of my plantar fasciitis. It was a dark period for me. After the completion of my National Service in April 2015, I decided to head up to Boulder and start afresh.”
Added Mok, “It was frustrating to say the least, to be met with this obstacle when I was about to get fit again. But I directed my focus to intensive cross-training on the bike to maintain as much fitness as I could.”
Continues to remain driven to achieve his goals
However, despite these numerous setbacks though, Mok continues to remain driven to achieve his running goals. He said, “I am definitely frustrated with these injuries and they have led to many sleepless nights. But they are part and parcel of an athlete’s life – some get them more often than others and there is no use complaining. I try to focus my energies on things that are within my control such as cross-training. I think my ability to keep looking forward and focus on the controllable has helped me cope with these injuries.”
Continued Mok, “I think that if one is persistent enough, you will definitely achieve your goals. For example in 2005, I failed to qualify for the SEA Games in the Triathlon. But I kept on training and eventually earned a slot in 2007 when I won the gold medal. too. In 2009, I failed to qualify for the SEA Games in athletics. In 2011, I managed to qualify for the 5,000m event by setting a National Record in a Japan meet but I was stricken with a bad case of plantar fasciitis and was sidelined. In 2013, I once again qualified for the marathon event and won Singapore’s first gold medal in the marathon. As you can see, life has its ups and downs but if you keep pushing the envelope, there is a high chance that you will succeed eventually.”
Time management and prioritising is important
Mok also adds that time management and prioritising your time is important too, as he has to juggle not only his athletics ambitions, but also his family time and medical studies. Said the marathoner, “One of the biggest tips I have, is to make sure that you do not waste small pockets of time throughout the day. Sometimes you find yourself waiting for someone who is late or for a meeting to start. If you use these small pockets of time to do things like replying to your emails, you end up gaining more time to spend with your loved ones.”
Added Mok, “One of my favourite ways to get productive in studying and working is to use the Pomodoro technique. This technique requires one to work with 100 per cent attrition for 25 minutes and then taking a 5-minute break to check your phone or go to the toilet. After a few cycles, you can take a longer break as a reward. I found this technique to be very useful when I was in medical school as it is not easy to study for an extended period of time without losing attention.”
Win a week’s worth of BRAND’s Essence of Chicken
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Lo Zi Ping
And now, Mok Ying Ren, whose life journey epitomises perseverance, discipline and preparedness, is an ambassador for BRAND’S Essence of Chicken.
Said Mok on the partnership, “I believe that in life, preparation is everything and most of what I do every day to prepare for a greater goal, be it my Olympic dream or my career pursuits into becoming an Orthopaedic Surgeon. Part of my daily preparation includes a bottle of BRAND’S Essence of Chicken daily, which helps to keep me going in my own marathon of life.”
BRAND’S Essence of Chicken with Vitamin B Complex + Iron is a health supplement that has been proven to have a positive impact on mental and physical wellness when consumed on a regular basis. It’s dual-action formula, comprising of BRAND’S Essence of Chicken, Vitamin B Complex , Vitamin E and Iron, reduces tiredness and improves mental concentration.
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How You Can Win
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This post is brought to you by BRAND’S Essence of Chicken.