Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Night Hawk #4 - Melting Pot

Team A NightHawkers

Team B NightHawkers

The weather forecast predicted it was going to be a hot day at Team FatBird's NightHawk Marathon Training session #4. When we arrived at The PlayGround @ Big Splash at 6:50am, a large group had already gathered. We chit-chatted, mingled a little, and got to know a few newcomers. Attendance was taken, followed by a brief of the 10km-28km route towards Changi Coastal Road, and the run was started at 7.20am.

I was sweeping the rear of Group A (22km-28km) and was sharing with BernOh, Zhi Lei, and a few new runners on the virtues of starting at a slower pace. There was certainly a lot more compression tights and hydration belts amongst the runners today, as all were prepared for some long running in the heat. My heart rate was registering a good 130+ average for the first 10km, which was within zone.

As we hit out into the park connector, the sun was staring at us with its heated fury. It was good that many of the runners came prepared with water bottles and belts. I took many sips of the gatorade mix from my new Ultimate Direction fuelbelt.....which sat rather comfortably. I have been adhering to the FatTrim Zones training for these past few weeks, and it seemed to be working....running in the correct zone to improve fuel efficiency.

As we went into Changi Coastal Road, bumped into wee from TODAY...he did a very fast 3hr36min HK Marathon....*kudos* considering that he only took up distance run after his following our (NTUC Climbathon Team) adventure at the Mt. Kinabalu Climbathon in 2007. It was good chats with DO, wee and the small group we were in. At the 14km U-turn (4th Shelter), I stayed on to wait a little for the rest. On the way back, a number of the runners took a beating from the very HOT sun....a few were walking at the connector out from Changi Coastal Rd. With 10km to go, I spotted DO, SiYi and her group doing a very steady pace....they have been improving over the past few runs.

Team FatBird's Watering Hole

Simon was spotted with 6km to go....the heat seemed to be getting a little to him. We ran alongside for a good 3km, with my HR averaging 135...not bad, burning more fats...hehe. The sun was really HOT this morning, but I was feeling quite ok as I started with a very slow, easy pace....the glycogen stores were still sufficient....with 2km to go, I ramped on the HR to 150+ and completed the 28km with SiYi and her group in a nice photo-finish. Went to the FatBird watering hole for some cold 100-Plus and Sng Pao. A crowd had gathered by then, and lots of group photos were taken....chats with the bikers and other interested runners took us till 11am, when Team Coconut's reps arrived for a lunch appointment with us :)

Banana Boat Birds

Bubbly Birds Buzzing after the run

It was yet another successful mission for Team FatBird and the participants....conquering the grueling weather and distance to finish one of the more grueling training sessions in the schedule...one more day training session (28km) next sat morning, and then the highly anticipated Dusty Run (30km) leg on a friday night, April 10. Till then, its back to the nest to soak the tired legs in warm water, followed by a good uSqueez and some roller-foaming :)

-- Photo Slideshow by FatBird Jancy

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Sunday, March 29, 2009

Next NightHawk Screening: The Dusty Run II

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Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Sundown 84km - Are You Game?

Dusting off some of my running stuff, and uncovered this article about the inaugural Sundown Marathon 2008....almost forgotten I did mention something in there about my first experience and training for it....hmmm :)

MyPaper in its inaugural issue of the bi-lingual version on Jan 8, 2008, did a coverage of The Sundown Ultra-Marathon and provided good advice from the experienced runners like Elangovan, Vivian Tang, Dr. Ben Tan and Adrian Mok on being prepared for a Ultra-Marathon, and why such a distance (84km) have to be treated with respect. I shared my 2-cents worth too, from a runner enthusiast perspective, who had done a couple of 42.195km marathons :).

The Full Article

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Saturday, March 21, 2009

Night Hawk #3 with Team FatBird

Calling, Calling, NightHawk Central

This week's NightHawk LSD had us returning back to the nest at ECP, The PlayGround @ Big Splash. The place was already all set up for the AVIVA 70.3 race the next say, Sunday. A good number of NightHawk runners were already there by 7am. The regulars made up about 70% of the runners, with about 30% new ones. By 7.15am, attendance was taken for the 50+ who were there in the morning. David Shum, Lai Chee were among those who joined for the first time....really happy to have them join us, and bringing their friends too. Eugene was there to do another 18km, after the previous evening's 18km with Team Coconut :)

Ops NightHawk - Session #3 Briefing

FatBirds Anthony and David gave a quick brief of the route, as well as introduce the NightHawk Central Team of pace setters/run motivators made up of Group A (Anthony, Keonz, David, YN and Terry) leading the 20km-26km and Group B (Jancy, Spencer, Beng) leading 10km-15km. The skies were cloudy but the runners were in high spirits. Since it was fat-burn training, we started off at an average 6:30min/km pace for Group A, and 7:30min/km pace for Group B. The rather large group running towards Bedok Jetty, NSRCC and Changi Coastal Road was a sight to behold.

After about 3km, the various timing groups have settled into their paces. Lots of getting-to-know-one-another and chatting were happening among the various NightHawk runners....it was good to know they were having fun on a Saturday, doing what they love. We spotted many familiar faces along the way...tekko, raven, sumiko, Sarah, weng kong, siew lee, et al....some doing Ninja training runs, others roller blading and having fun. I was chatting with various people along the way, watching my heart rate to ensure it was averaging 135bps. A number of runners were asking about the compression tights, while others discussed about their progress with Sundown preparations....all making the runs enjoyable and taking the mind off the road...hehe.

With the mileage projected on my Garmin, I was able to mark out the 12km shelter, which was the U-Turn for the 26km distance. Max was there too at the 3rd Shelter, and he mentioned a number of the runners had gone for the 28km distance. We rested for a bit, chatted about Gold Coast, cheered a few NightHawkers on their way back, before moving back to catch up with the rest. I gestured to Beverly, ericx, and those running towards me to the U-Turn in front. The remaining 10km was spent running an average 138bps with a few of the 26km runners, exchanging pointers and tips on marathon preparations, including proper gear, nutrition, diet, and training.

Section of the NightHawkers @ The PlayGround

The 10km-15km group of about 15 runners had gone home by the time I finished the 26km in 2hr46min. We had some refreshments, before I gave them a brief of how to get some of the 2XU tights and Ultimate Direction hydration systems. We took the customary group photos, X-Men and NightHawk Central 8 poser shots. Instead of raining as predicted by the weather forecast, the sun came on rather strongly. Since all the runners have learnt not to rush during the LSD, they enjoyed the easy paced run, and found that they had lots more energy at the end.....just a little tiredness felt. We went for wash-up at 11am, before adjourning to Old Airport Road for lunch.

Distance: 26km__Time: 2hr46min__Pace: 6:25min/km

Facebook Photos by FatBird Spencer

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Tuesday, March 17, 2009

NightHawk Recovery @ MF

These night training runs do take a toll on the body, ad we normally need a few days to recover from the loss of sleep. That is why the NightHawk Program has a night run every 2-3 weeks instead.

Sunday was recovery for the week's training, and this time we went down to SAFRA Mt. Faber to visit the Club as well as the terrain which I have missed. Some of the FatBird folks were at the SubUrban race or training at the trails in MacRitchie. DO, Ultra, Earth, Eugene, Senza, Li Lian and myself joined Bug, Ong, Jimmy Chow, Kok Kong, TYM, Runalone and a few others for the 13km-26km SAFRA MF long run.

DO and I already planned to do 13km-15km, and so was quite content to run with the small group of Eugene, Senza and Li Lian. We went up the Buona Vista 99-winding turns at chit-chat pace. I ensured that my Heart Rate was in the 130 area. The rest were quite happy to soak in the sights and slopes. We did not follow Bug's group into NUS, and turned straight into Kent Ridge Park. It was a pretty hot morning as we found some shade in the cover of the large trees at the Park.

We continued on thru The Canopy, then the mini Lombard turns, through the Horticulture Park. We took a cooler break, before proceeding to bring the mini group along the Henderson Waves trails. They were enjoying the slopes and dust, as they huffed and puffed, vowing to be back for more of those the next time. We took a little shortcut to Telok Blangah Hill, before arriving back to ClubHouse in very good timing. Kopi and toast followed after our wash up, with lots of nice chats and laughter to round off a very relaxing recovery day.

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Sunday, March 15, 2009

Friday The 13th

-- Photos by NightHawker Keonz & FatBird Spencer & FatBird Jancy

Group photo before run

It was Friday 13th, an auspicious evening for close to 60 runners who showed up at MacRitchie Reservoir (MR) carpark for the second session of Team FatBird's NightHawk Marathon Training Program. I was pleasantly surprised by the large turnout as the location wasn't the most accessible nor easy to get to....just goes to show the number of runners seriously training for Sundown :). SgRunners, MF Runners, Meet-Ups, I-Runners were well represented.

The X-Men NightHawk Run Leaders

It was also the night of the NightHawk run-leading team to test out our new 2XU Elite Compression tights. I was glad that all the sizing fit, and that the cut, hold and compression offered by the Elite version was very comfy and firm. We had the customary group photos and team photos before giving a brief of the training session and the route. Many of those who attended were new to Team FatBird, and was enthusaistic with the training as well as the turnout, along with the aura of a night run in one of the green lungs of Singapore.

The Route covering (MacRitchie Reservoir Carpark >> Thomson Rd >> Old upper Thomson Rd >> Upper Thomson Rd >> Mandai Rd >> Seletar Reservoir >> U-Turn @ Gates after the Tower >> Mandai Rd >> Upper Thomson Road >> Old Upper Thomson Rd >> Thomson Road >> MacRitchie Reservoir Carpark would take us through 24.8km @ FatTrim FlightZONES, 6.30 -7.30 min/km.

Waiting anxiously for registration to complete :)

The runners were divided into 4 groups of 10km, 16km, 20km and 25km distances. The longer distances were flagged off first. Stardust (Keonz), DO and myself led the 25km group, as we ran along Thomson Road towards Lower Pierce. Beng and YN went with the 20km, Benny and Spencer with the 16km team, while Jancy and Esther led the 10km. RoadRunner went with a small group to do 42km since they were training for the elite 84km distance...hehe.

The night was bustling with activity along Thomson Road, and traffic were pretty heavy. We had to guide the runners through the junction crossings, and it was great to have the team of 10 to manage that. As we turned into Lower Pierce Road, the traffic noise lessened significatly, and the serenity of the night welcomed the various running groups. The pace was FatTrim Zones 2-3, comfortable, yet effective in building up the base and fuel efficiency. Ironman Melvin was true to his training schedule as he ran a Zone 2 6:50min/km pace throughout....great considering he is a 3hr20min marathoner.

I was running with the group of Jane, Beverly, Alvin, Lilian, Beng, Suan, Vincent, BernOh and a few more along Old Upper Thomson Road (OUTR) at chit-chat pace, discussing running shoes and compression tights, among other stuff. Many of the runners have not run the route, and were enjoying the sights and sounds as we turned off from Casuarina Road (famous for the Roti Prata and its eating places)...that was 5km, and a small group turned back for their 10km fix of the night. The rest continued to the end of OUTR for a 8km mid-way distance, before turning back. We bid farewell, before moving on towards Mandai and turning into Seletar Reservoir for our 20km and 25km workout.

Bev exclaimed that the route was so much more interesting than ECP's. However, she was disturbed slightly by the exhausts of the many cars parked along the Reservoir area with their engines on...polluting the environment in what was otherwise a green lung area. The front groups waved to us as they ran on the upper area. Our group took a quick toilet break before moving on to the U-turn point at the Seletar Gates. According to our Garmin405, it was 12.4km at that point, and we were happy we still had quite a good tank left in us for the return. Bev, BernOh and myself caught up with Terry's group and DO's group along OUTR. We picked up another group before marrying up at the LPR toilet. With 4.5km left, all were in high spirits. It was nice to meet SiYi and her team who were joining NightHawk for the first time.

We picked up speed a little, as we proceeded back along Thomson Road. My average heart rate for most of the run was in Zone 2-3, HR of 130+. The weather was nice and cool throughout, although with not much wind. We were sweeping the final group, who continued running in spite of having done 20km+. They all seemed to have a reasonable base, and all we need would be some work to build that up progressively. Benny and Terry led the charge back for the final stretch, while DO and I covered the mid and rear sections.

The final 1km stretch with BernOh was good, as we all pushed to the finish of our 25km in approx. 3hrs. Nobody was panting, and all had reserves to go for more if required.....that was the kind of LSD we should be doing more....steady paced runs, burning fat, conditioning the legs, without getting too worn out. We cheered for the final group as they finished just around midnight. The iced-cold 100plus, bananas and Sng Paos were a well-deserving treat for a job well done. 3 Cheers for NightHawk!

The NightHawk team liked the 2XUs for their compression, and would be wearing them for future NightHawk training sessions. Some of the runners expressed that they too will start to dust away their compression tights, and bring them out of the closet for some serious distances we will be covering. Hmmm.....will the X-Men group grow into its own community? It all remains to be seen....hehe. Thanks to FatBirds and friends who stayed behind for another 2 hours to hold a twin celebration for Beverly and myself. Thanks team :)

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Saturday, March 14, 2009

NightHawk Preview: Dusty Run 2009

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Saturday, March 07, 2009

Night Hawk #1 - Showers Of Blessings

Blurry-eyed group photo in the early morning :)

In spite of the twin events of the Sing Biathlon and the Youth Tryathlon, coupled with the onset of heavy rain, about 40 runners still managed to make it to ECP CarPark B1 for the Operations NightHawk session #1. It was dry when we arrived at 7am, although dark clouds were looming in the horizon. Quite a number of new runners turned up, which was a pleasant surprise....and they had found out about Ops NightHawk via friends and other online resources. The new runners were amused with Terry marking their attendances, but I explained it was all for a good cause.....so we can work out some special benefits for the regular participants of this training program.

The Sundown Marathon 2009 Route

Because of the closure of F2, which would prohibit a smooth passage for our group towards Changi Coastal Road, we took the opportunity to do part of the Sundown Route (See the Blue portion in the map above). 3 groups targeting to do 10km, 17km and 23km respectively started off at 7.15am, after some group photos. It was FatTrim Zone pace for us this morning, and I was happy to start with an initial HR of about 125, averaging 7min/km. Great to see many new faces and regulars alike...chatted about preparations for Sundown, and how we should build a firm base, and watch for hydration and re-fueling requirements.

Briefing before run

About 5km into the run, heavy showers descended upon the group. The 10km runners turned back, while the rest of us proceeded on in the rain. It had been a long while since I last ran in the rain. Because of the group of enthusiatic runners who were raring to continue, and that there weren't any threat of lightning, we continued on. The rain lightened near the Bedok Park connector area, where we tackled some undulating terrain. As we entered Bedok Park, stardust and the rest of the front group were running back. YN, Matthew and the rest were just a little back. DO and the final group was coming from the main shelter when Ming, Anthony and myself approached. I explained to some of them that that was the support point for last year's Sundown Marathon, where there were BBQ and hot kopi-O being served to weary participants...haha.

As we returned back to ECP, the rain had stopped. I maintained a steady HR of about 135 all the way to ECP, before turning off to the Cable Ski area. Saw Suan and Beng coming back, and I continued on with Ming to join the rest to run towards B1, where I moved up a little to run with DO and Simon. It was 21km when we reached B1, and the bulk of the group had finished their run and enjoying the delicious Sng Pao and 100Plus. The 3 of us continued on to Fort Road and back for an additional 2km for a final 23km in 2.5hrs.

Back for the reward of Sng Pao, 100-Plus and bananas

Everyone had a good run, and all were happy with the workouts. There were lots of enquiries about HR training, formthortics, hydration and other aspects of marathon training. I was rewarded with a very delicious Sng Pao, thanks to YN and her Sng Pao team. Lots more chats with Rose's group about GPS and distance tracking, before washing up and having lunch at Old Airport Road with Team FatBird and friends. A good start for Operatins NightHawk, and we will be expecting more to turn up for the Friday 13th Night Run on Mar13.

Distance: 23km__Time: 2hr30min__Average HR: 128bps

Photo Slideshow by FatBird Terry

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Sunday, March 01, 2009

NewtonActive Run 2009

Jubilant team @ NewtonActive 2009, courtesy tekko

Riding on the success of last year's maiden Ponggol Central Run, the few of us (Francis, David, Beverly and myself) once again volunteered ourselves to be pacers and run marshals of the NewtonActive Run this year. We were joined this year by SgRunners tekko, Molly, acidburn and Sleek including the Ponggol Central Runners to form the larger run marshal contingent.

We were more on-the-ball this year including going for a familiarization run a few weeks back...hehe. There were many familiar faces at the 3 main categories of 10km Open, 10km Veteran and 5km social. Ministers Teo Chee Hean and Teo Ser Luck flagged off the main groups one at a time, from 7.30am. We were at the startline by 7.15am, after a series of briefings by Marshal Manager, Mike Kang. Wished our friends and run kakis from SAFRA MF, MR25, i-RUN, SgRunners good luck before waving and cheering off the runners at the start.

Beverly and I did the 5km fun run marshaling, which was started off at 8am. At the startline, I spoke with a few families and runners, and spotted Max who was there to do a personal time trial. Many of the fun runners were weekend joggers and walkers, and they really made time to participate in this non-competitive part of the event...*kudos* to their spirit. It was fun just running up and down, cheering them on, and telling them the distances they had covered. It was great to meet some old friends from the running scene, and without recalling names now, I will be contacting them shortly to touch base.

It was action at the finish line where members of the Team Fatbird and frenz were there to cheer and take photos of the pacers and some of the runners finishing. FatBirds Terry,YN, Spencer together with Mashie, kopibaby had some interesting encounters and photo-shots with the Ministers and were excited about the whole episode.....waiting for them to add on to the FatBird Photo Gallery. Mike Kang thanked all the helpers and invited the officials to have lunch with him....much appreciated, but we have had lunch arranged and couldn't join in....next time bah!

Welcome home...a job well done! courtesy, tekko

As we were walking home, the last runner came back with a large group of marshals, led by Kayano and Sleek was just ahead with another group to cheer him on. A great way to finish off and complete the entire race. FatBirds and frenz went for some nice vegetarian food, whilst Bev and I headed back to have turtle soup with the family. Overall, a nice and fruitful Sunday spent. Look forward to helping out at such running-related community events in the future.

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