She developed a snacking habit while trying to put on weight and now eats two bags of chocolate every day. Luckily, she also runs marathons. By Ng Wan Ching
Ms See, a civil servant and mother of two who represented Singapore in last year’s SEA Games, says she tries to make her training sustainable and not let it affect family life. Photo: Chew Seng Kim / The Straits Times
About Rachel See
The civil servant takes part in five to 10 races a year, with three of them being full marathons, including the Standard Chartered Marathon Singapore, the Sundown Marathon and overseas marathons.
She represented Singapore in the Hong Kong Marathon in January and achieved a personal best time of 3hr 37sec. In February, she completed the Tokyo Marathon in 3hr 1min 24sec.
Her husband, 36, is a teacher and former national team dragon boater. He alternates his workouts between running, using the rowing machine, canoeing, going to the gym and swimming.
However, he is an under-rated runner because “his wife runs faster than him”. His personal best time is a respectable 3hr 48sec for a full marathon, which gives her 11 seconds of “teasing rights”.
The couple have two children, aged three and six years old.
Q. How important is it for you to keep up with your fitness routine?
A. It’s very important. I am a national marathoner, having represented Singapore in the SEA Games last year and the recent Hong Kong Marathon this year.
But I do not go over the top with my training as I am working full-time and have two young children. My training programme has to be something that is sustainable with my lifestyle and should not affect my family life.
Q. What is your secret to looking so fabulous?
A. My high activity levels. I used to do martial arts and karate. I love to run and running burns off calories. I also try to eat in moderation despite my snacking habit.
Q. Has there ever been a time when you were not fit and fab?
A. I used to be underweight back in school and was put on the milk programme. My body mass index (BMI) was 17. The acceptable BMI range is between 18.5 and 25.
I felt embarrassed and was quite determined to get to a normal weight, so I started to snack a lot. I stopped being underweight around Secondary 2, when I was 14 years old.
My BMI is now within the normal range but, unfortunately, now I can’t get rid of my sweet tooth. I eat about two bags of chocolate and six slices of bread every day.
Q. What is your diet like?
A. Breakfast consists of wholemeal bread with cheese, tuna or peanut butter and a cup of coffee. Lunch is usually something soupy.
I usually eat my mother-in-law’s home-cooked food for dinner.
On days when I eat out, I’d choose food like fish soup, sandwiches or yong tau foo.
I don’t really eat a lot of carbohydrates for dinner unless I’m going for a long run the next day.
But I do eat a few slices of bread (my comfort food) for supper sometimes. I also make sure I am always properly hydrated.
Q. What are your indulgences?
A. I love chocolate (all kinds), sweets and bread. I have to eat these three things every day in order to be a happy girl.
Q. What do you do to relax /how do you maintain a healthy work-life balance?
A. Running is my best form of relaxation. That and spending time with my family and my two little girls.
Q. What are the three most important things in your life?
A. Family, happiness and contentment and good health.
Q. Would you go for plastic surgery and why?
A. No. I am quite content with the way I look.
Q. Do you think you’re sexy?
A. No. I am athletic.
Q. What’s your favourite part of your body? And the least favourite?
A. My calves. I used to dislike them as they were rather chunky from the aesthetic point of view. But over the years, they have become my favourite part of my body as they are very functional and I appreciate them for letting me run fast. So far, I have not suffered calf cramps during marathons.
Q. What is the biggest sacrifice you have made in the name of fitness or diet?
A. I spend my weekend mornings running and sacrifice the breakfast time with my children.
Q. What do your friends and family say about your active lifestyle?
A. They are supportive, as long as I do not neglect the other aspects of life.
Q. How extensive is your collection of sports-related paraphernalia at home?
A. I am sponsored by Asics and have plenty of shoes and apparel by the brand.
I also keep most of my race medals. My most prized possession is a big cardboard cheque saying $10,000. I won it for coming in first in the local category of the Standard Chartered Marathon Singapore in 2014.
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 29, 2016, with the headline ‘Marathoner with sweet way of keeping fit’.