Wednesday, December 31, 2008

FatBird, i-RUN into 2009

With the holiday season and the ushering of the new year, I took the opportunity to do a solitary run. Because of the numerous i-RUNs and TFB Pacer training sessions in 2008, it has been a long time since I ran alone. I had the sudden urge to just go for a short run, and pulled Bev along to start from our nest.

I broke away from Bev after 2km and soon got into the 'zone'...hehe. The neighbourhood has not changed much, other than the completion of some of the major roads and MRT stations....great that there are pathways to run on now, albeit concrete. The weather was cool and soon my thoughts flowed. By the end of the run, many ideas had run through my mind, and some issues were resolved. Some interesting plans were conceived too, all in that short 40min or, such is the power of a solitary run.

As we finish the last day of the tumultous 2008, and move into what will be hopefully a more exciting 2009, I would like to wish all readers of TheDreamRunner's BLOG a Happy and Prosperous FatBird New Year :) Hip Hip Hooray!

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2008 in review

This was the year where I did not plan for much, but went on to achieve quite a fair bit at the running front. In quick reflection, the following were some of the highlights for me:

1. Completed the Sundown Ultra-Marathon 84km
2. Did back-back weekend full marathons at ChunCheon and JoongAng, Seoul in Korea
3. Achieved my full marathon PB of 3hr36min at the ChunCheon Marathon
4. Participated in run-leading and marshaling via the various I-Run sessions at IBP, RP and CBP
5. Formed Team FatBird to manage and lead the I-Run @ RP sessions
6. Formed Team FatBird Pacers team which led SCSM08 participants to achieve their respective timing goals. I completed my personal mission of 4Hr Pace on target.
7. Played lead runner at the NorthFace 100 Ultra-Marathon
8. Achieved my 10km PB of 45min at the Mizuno Wave Run
9. Made many new friends and running kakis
10. Enjoyed a whole year of injury-free running

May 2009 bring more cheers and joys in running for me and Team FatBird :)

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Monday, December 29, 2008

MR25 Ultra-Marathon 2008

I had to miss 2007's MR25 Ultra-Marathon because of my Chiangmai Marathon. This year, I revisited the MR25 Ultra-Marathon, which I did in 2005 and 2006. There was a large crowd of more than 300 participants this year, many doing their maiden Ultra-Marathon at MacRitchie.

Team FatBird had a good contingent. SgRunners, Pacesetters, SAFRA RC, aniMILES, trifam were well represented too. The new carpark became operational, and because of renovation works to the carpark area, the registration area was shifted up slightly. It was great to meet many runners and lots of photos were taken prior to the start. My plan was to do just 5 laps to qualify, and not over-extend myself.

A quick brief by Steven Lee, and away we went. I took it slowly, and was aiming to do 1hr15min laps. Many of the faster runners overtook me, and for most of the first lap, I was running near to YN. DeepCruiser, Cheow12 were running just behind me. I used the Nike Vomero to test out its resilience on trails. The weather was dry and good, and without much incident, I completed the first lap in 1hr10min. Since it was too early for food, I continued on with a visit to the toilet.

Loop 1 - Inside Northern Trail

The second lap had HophIng running alongside me for most of the way. The sun seemed to be emerging, but with cool winds, I was still feeling good. Spotted Brokie, wend88 and jjchng who were armed with cameras and firing away. I posed for some nice pics and continued running. The Sime Trails claimed Colleen and a few others as victims. The pebbles and sharp rocks caused some serious abrasion to their arms and legs, but they bravely continued on....such are the resilience of Ultra Runners. Once again, Colleen overtook me and she was looking very strong indeed. I spotted Eunice running very strong near the end of the 2nd lap, which I completed in 1hr9min. DO had stopped his run to provide support, whilst terry, YN, spencer, Max, kopibaby, and the rest of the gang were going on.

Lap 2 - Along the bund near golf course

I took a Gu gel, a banana, and then set off for the 3rd lap. I was still feeling good. I became cautious after 2 near misses when I kicked on some rubble. The crowd had thinned by then, and I caught up with Cheow12 and DeepCruiser midway. I could sense HophIng running well just behind, and so was Charmane and YN in front. Saw the camera crew yet again, and more photos followed in the trails. Tey from Pacesetters was also busy clicking away, and he was actually running the 5laps too...*wow*. The MR25 Photographer (SteveChoo) was also roving around and taking pics of the event....very happening. Byron, Bose and Shut were stationed strategically at the end point to capture the runners as they finish their laps. I did not have my fuel belt with me up till then as there were ample isotonic support at the water points. It was great to see Shirlyn from SAFRA TP who kindly offered me her famous 'Sng Pao'. That was heavenly. Completed the 3rd lap in 1hr13min, and was still feeling ok.

I took a mini pao (thanks to Meteor), another banana, and off I went. I wanted to do the first 42km within 5hrs. I was running the 4th lap mostly by myself. I was still running up all the slopes, although there were others that were taking walk breaks. All the runners were looking strong, and running pretty tactical too. Near the end of the 4th lap, I once again saw Eunice and Charmane. I was feeling hungry throughout lap 4, and was looking forward to some solid food at the finish point. Managed to finish the 4th lap to complete the 42km trail in 4hr53min. Heard from DO that the cooked food and Pizza had not arrived, and so I had to down more bananas...haha. I rested and chatted for a bit. Although I was still feeling hungry, I decided to just finish the last 10.5km loop to be back for lunch. I had allowed about 1hr30min for the final lap.

I started the final lap behind cfred and Charmane. This time, I had to resort to walk breaks as my legs were weighing a ton. I had loosened the shoelaces as it was causing me lots of discomfort for the past 3 laps. I decided against changing another pair of shoes since I was going to finish the race soon. The pressure against my left foot was giving me a stinging sensation, and I knew I did not want to endure for too long. Charmane had an unfortunate fall in Northern Route. It didn't look too bad, and she could endure till she reach the water point at SICC junction for a wash up.

I carried on jogging to Sime Trails, and saw Matthew walking. He mentioned he had cramps and had walked for quite a bit. I too was taking walk breaks to avoid tripping over the rocky area. Met half-timer along the wooden bridge towards the golf course, and from there, it was me and a few other runners, including Matthew trading places. When I reached the 'tree roots' area, I was overcome with an eruption of cramps to my inner thighs...that was so painful....I had never had cramps in that area before, and I was just rooted to the ground. I did not know how to stretch, and just stood still for the cramps to subside.

The final 3km was almost non-runnable for me, as the cramps would erupt whenever I tried to jog. I walked most of the way, and Matthew overtook me with 1km to go. I finally made it out of Lornie Trails, and it was sheer pleasure to see Shirlyn, Divey and Benson, the SAFRA support group. I took a cold orange squash and had a pic with Shirlyn. Finished the race in 6hr45min, just behind Charmane and cfred. DO welcomed me with news of Sarpinos' Pizza (thanks to Max for sponsoring this for Team FatBird). It was the most heavenly piece of pizza I had taken in a long time...hehe.

While resting, my calves and sides of the stomach threatened to cramp up on numerous occasions. I had to walk about and had some good chats with SC5 and Teacher Lee. SC5 and his aniMILES team did well for their maiden MR25 Ultra-Marathon. I went to wash-up and don the finisher T immediately. I stayed at the finish point for about 2 hours cheering the runners in, especially Team FatBird, SgRunners and SAFRA RC. RoadRunner3 looked so strong when he finished 6laps. Melvin How was superb after doing 7laps, and went for 8. YN, acidburn and a few others went for 6laps or more. Rosalind and Ultraman finally came back with their five rounds, famished but happy.

Happy to have completed the 5laps :)

When I left at 4pm, there were quite a number of ultra runners still inside the trails *kudos*. I am sure a few of them will go up the podium. I am happy to have completed the minimum 5laps without sustaining too much pain or injury, and more importantly, to witness many of the new runners achieve their Ultra-Marathon dream. Just received news from FatBird terry that FatBird YN and Charmane came in 3rd and 5th respectively for the women's open. RoadRunner came in 5th for the men's open. Eunice topped the women's category. Melvin How from SAFRA MF finished 9 laps and just missed the pole position by minutes. *kudos* Congratulations to all winners.

Photo Slideshows from SteveChoo (official photographer), jjchng (#1), jjchng (#2), Brokie, byron, Bose, wend88, Shutehelup, la_senza

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Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas 2008

Best Wishes to all readers and friends from Dream & Team FatBird :)

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Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Chosun Ilbo ChunCheon Marathon 2008 - Certificate & Results

After some good follow-up by fellow runner, Kelly, the Certificate for our ChunCheon Marathon finally arrived. Very nice and clear cert, accompanied by a complete results booklet of all participants timings and newsbytes of the race. There are even photos of all the various Pacers in their respective groupings....impressive. Something SCSM and other regional marathons can learn from.

The Certificate

The Results Booklet

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Sunday, December 21, 2008

Return to the slopes @ MF

Team FatBird & Friends @ SAFRA MF

It is at least half a year since I have been to SAFRA Mt. Faber to join the guys for training. Because of the upcoming GE30km KL in Jan09, I thought it would be a good idea to revisit the MF slopes as well as show FatBird and friends the scenic MF region and give them a taste of what to expect at GE30km.

Bug had kindly allowed us to tag along with the SAFRA MF runners for this Sunday run. When I arrived to the SAFRA MF Clubhouse, there was already a large group of runners assembled. The SAFRA Tampines RC was also out in full force, led by David Shum. They too were at MF to begin their training for GE30km. Nice to meet all the familiar faces again.

After a brief by Bug, we set off at about 7.30am. First stop was the NUS slopes, where we ran along Depot Road, up Pasir Panjang Rd, then to 99-winding roads @ Buona Vista. The group stopped for a while to gather everybody, before making our way into NUS. The run up NUS Central Library from Clementi Road was a interesting one for the new runners, and they were duly with flowers to smell when they finally reached the top....haha. I was really impressed with their determination, especially being first-timers on those slopes, on quite a hot day.

The next slope up Kent Ridge Park was another interesting leg, but no problem for the determined runners. I had a steady workout along the way, and having not run on the slopes for some time, I too felt a little 'chuan' with the hard work up those hills...I love it. After a final break up Kent Ridge Park, the group went for our final slope at Mt. Faber. One group had enough and went straight back to the Clubhouse. The rest went up Morse Road to have a feel of the MF slope, and we made the descent down the steeper Kampong Bahru side. Because of the downslopes, I developed a light case of black toenail...hmm. With the blazing sun out in its full glory, the final group was happy to complete our 23km hill run in 2hr43min (of course with many stops and chats in between..hehe).

It felt good to run the slopes again, and many of the FatBirds were happy they came and braced the MF challenge. They vowed to be back for more, and I promised there will be even more for them to explore next time....haha. A slight incident happened with confusion about the use of bathing facilities for SAFRA Running Club members, but that did not put a dent at all on the enthusiasm of the group to go for the very 'sinful' claypot laksa topped with Avocado shakes at the Alexandra Village food centre. YN, Terry and the other gang went to Vivocity for some happening bathing facilities, shopping and makan.

Min was so hungry from the workout that he walloped a claypot laksa and a plate of duck rice. kopibaby and Max were also furiously hungry...I guess that is what the MF slopes do to runners lah....make them famished....haha. With this return to MF, I look forward to doing more MF runs in 2009 to help beef up my endurance as well as leg power. Next, it will be the slopes at MacRitchie (MR) next Sunday for the MR25 Ultra-Marathon...I am expecting to see yet another good turnout of runners, supporters as well as cheerleaders.

Distance: 23.11km__Time: 2hr43min__Pace: 7min/km

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Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Back to MacRitchie

I was last seen at MacRitchie Reservoir (MR) for the lead-running role for NorthFace 100 Ultra-Marathon. time flies. Just this Sunday, I went back to MR for a post-SCSM08 recovering LSD. I also invited some of the FatBird runners and kakis to explore the scenic MR running routes, as well as take a peek into the 10.5km MR25 Ultra-Marathon loop.

We had a sizeable gathering of more than 20, considering that the skies were gloomy and there was a light drizzle. The MR25 sifus were also out training; the F1 Runners were also out in full force. I was surprised to see Helen who turned up with a friend, to get prepared for the year-end Ultra too. We started the run as a FatBird group at 7am, and headed towards Northern Route. Took about 22min to exit, before assembling the group for the ascent up Chunky Hill. Since many were quite new to the route, they were soaking in the sights and scenery as we ran along SICC golf course towards Upper Pierce Reservoir, and then air-cond road.

I must say the runners were pretty strong, even for those new ones like Suan (who barely did 10km+ in training), kopibaby, Beng. The slopes along UPR provided some welcomed challenges for the group. The light rain provided cool relief for the runners, and we did not feel tired not thirsty at all. The monkeys and Iguanas were hiding away, whilst Kayano was doing a great sweeping role. The runners enjoyed the return up Chunky Hill as much as they enjoyed going up earlier.

We had a final brief where I explained the joining from the Northern Route to the Ranger Station, Sime Trail, Jelutong Tower, tree roots area, Lornie Trail. I ran along with Max, Jane, Suan and Beng most of the way. I was impressed with the paved trail at the turn of the MR25 TT route towards Lornie Road. It should be much better for the new runners doing the 5km time-trial. The final 2.5km back was nice as we chatted and climbed some slopes at the same time.

Beng and Suan held on very well, and we completed the run in about 2hr15min....not bad considering the muddy ground conditions, slopes and waiting time. Thanks to Ultra who had meticulously prepared iced-cold 100plus, mini mandarin oranges, and Beng with bananas for some good after-run refuel. A nice recovery LSD on the trails, and it feels good to run on softer grounds after all the hard-pounding at ECP for the past few months.

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Saturday, December 13, 2008

SCSM08 Marathon Video

Standard Chartered Singapore Marathon 2008

The marathon video clips in this year's SCSM08 are pretty neat. It captured the finishing moments of the runners, and more. I had some scenes captured which showed me, AeroRunner near the finish line encouraging runners across. There are many other finishing scenes of Team FatBird Pacers crossing the finish along with jubilant runners in their respective timing groups.

You can view more clips at Marathon-Photos and select bibs 15782 and 17890 for us in action :)

Order a movie of your memorable finish which will be good keepsake for years to come :)

Have fun viewing!

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Monday, December 08, 2008

Standard Chartered Singapore Marathon 2008

Jubilant Team FatBird Marathon Pacers

This year's run was a new experience for me and my team. I was once again a marathon pacer for the 4hr Pace Group, just like in SCSM07. However, I assembled a complete team of FatBird Pacers for this year's marathon, and that added a whole new dimension to my race participation.

Team FatBird Pacers assembled at 4.15am at The Esplanade amphitheatre to arm ourselves with coloured balloons, blinkers and placards. I did not sleep the previous night as I was really anxious for our team's performance as pacers. We had come some way after going through a 15-week Marathon Pacers training program, lots of preparation work, and many pacees who were looking towards the team to pace them to their target finish times.

Team FatBird Pacers @ Marathon Start

The entire group went to the startline with our balloons attached to our full set of Nike-sponsored FatBird race-day gear. My 4hr group of Ronnie (Raven), Aik Hock (Ultra), Selva (Aero) and myself went to within 50m of the startline, and met up with a number of friends and runners wishing to go for 4hr.

The race started without much fanfare at 5.30am. Our group immediately launced into our Optimum Pace strategy of doing 5:30min/km pace for the first 21km. The balloons and blinkers on us were very clear for the Pacees, and soon we had a sizeable group with us. The weather was nice, and we settled into our targeted pace after 2km. Reached the first 10km near Fort Road, and I saw Ben Pulham shouting cheers to me. I waved back enthusiatically and moved on. The orad along the ECP was a good change this year as we ran mostly on tarmac surfaces instead of the usual hard concrete. The group of Pacees following me was still keeping up with the 5:30min/km pace....along the way, met Lim Teck Heng and a couple of SgRunners.

I closed up the gap with Ultra and Aero by the 18km mark, and soon we reached the 21km U-turn at the Sailing Centre in 1hr50min. It was great to see our Pace groups with all their following on the return, and we waved and cheered for one another. We converged with David Tay and the adidas 4hr group of pacers at the 22km mark, and ran together for the next 8km. Aero and Ultra were enjoying themselves, taking turns to lead in front, and providing advice and directions to the runners. The weather was still cloudy and cooling. We could see large crowds entering the ECP as we ran towards Fort Road.

We continued our 5:30min/km pace, sometimes even dropping to 5:25min/km to our next objective, the pit-stop at the SgRunners 30km support point. Along the way, Siew Lee/Weng Kong from SAFRA MF offered us 100-plus sng-pao...heavenly. Just before the pit-stop, ST called out to ask if I needed anything...really good service....haha. I made a quick toilet break at B1, before going into the pit-stop. Fd and Sotong offered me a iced-cold hydralyte pack....really nice. I continued on with Aero, leaving Ultra at the pit-stop to finish his coffee...hehe. We ran to 32km, and started to encourage all the 4hr runners on the final and most important leg of the marathon.

Courtesy of RunWitMe

With 8km to go, we hit a large human 'wall' of 21km runners. We lost a bunch of the 4hr Pacees there. Aero and I had a hard time squeezing through the crowd, not to mention even looking out for Ultra and Ronnie. It was really challenging, and fortunately we had about 5min of time banked in to cater for such emergencies. We lost about 1-2min of time, but managed to squeeze through after 2km. I spotted a few of the Pacees and proceeded to cheer them on again. With 3km to go, I hit another human 'wall'...this time it could have been the 10km and 21km runners together....I wasn't really sure. I had a nasty time in there, and twice had kicks from the runners. Someone who ran across my path, stopped me dead in my tracks, and brought on a bout of cramps for me.

I walked a little to recover from the cramp, and then sped up to regain some lost ground. Saw adidas pacer Benny opening up the way for the runners in the final 1km near the Esplanade. I too urged the marathoners not to be disheartened by the thick crowd, and we squeezed through till I reached the Esplanade Bridge. I waited for Aero to join me, and together we rounded up the final group of 4hr runners to run towards the final 200m of the finish. With some time to spare, we did not cross the finish and continued to run backwards to cheer other finishers aiming for the 4hr mark. The announcer was quite amused and even mentioned my name, and how we the Nike Pacers were cheering on the was quite interesting for all of us, and we exchanged hi-fives and hand-shakes about 50m before the finish line.

Finish in 3hr56min

When most of the runners have crossed the finish, I finally ran across to finish in 3hr57min. It was most heart-warming and satisfying to see a large bunch doing thier sub-4hr marathon. Once across, I stayed on to shake the hands of those who came through the finish chute, including the wheel-chair marathoners. When Aero, Ronnie and Ultra finally came back, we congratulated one another, before moving off to mee and cheer the rest of the Pacers. The 21hr Pace Group and Pacees were already at the Padang shouting for us. They did well in 1hr57min.

Aero and I proceeded to the end point where Kayano was, and I stayed on to cheer the 5hr to 5:30hr pace groups as they finished. After all the Pacers had returned, we proceeded to Tan Kim Seng fountain for the Team FatBird Pacers group photo session, before assembling at Marina Square for some carbo-replenishment.

I am especially heartened that all the Team FatBird Pace Groups have come in within the respective targeted pace timings, with a few even doing spot-on Gun times....well done! We have done it as a team, and Team FatBird’s reputation as a passionate bunch of runners with special qualities to enable run-leading and pacing have gone a notch up. We have definitely delivered on the Team’s marathon mantra of Follow Our Pace, Win Your Race.

FatBird Pacers & Friends

It is becoming evident through the many congratulatory messages and words of appreciation from different runners and quarters that our team of new, but dedicated marathon and half-marathon pacers have shone through, and delivered an outstanding performance at the Standard Chartered Singapore Marathon 2008.

I am proud of Team FatBird Marathon Pacers' maiden success, and we will surely see a more experienced group of Pacers for next years SCSM09.

My Official RunPix Results : 3hr56min (Nett)

PhotoSlideshow, Courtesy of Kayano

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Sunday, December 07, 2008

Team FatBird Pacers: Mission Accomplished!

4Hr Pace Group - Gun Time: 3hr57min

All the FatBird Pacers for Full Marathon (3:45hr, 4hr, 4:15hr, 4:30hr, 4:45hr, 5hr, 5:15hr, 5:30hr) and Half Marathon (2hr) delivered their target timings to within 5min earlier than Gun Time, with quite a few groups managing spot-on Gun Times.

Well Done, Team FatBird Pacers.

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Saturday, December 06, 2008

The SCSM08 Armour

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Friday, December 05, 2008

Team FatBird Marathon Pacers: The Feature

A nice article in the Straits Times today profiling the Marathon Pacers....Adidas Pacers and the Nike-supported Team FatBird Pacers. All our hard work at training and preparations will be put to good use at this Sunday's Standard Chartered Singapore Marathon to lead runners to their target timings. Follow Our Pace, Win Your Race!

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