Friday, October 30, 2009

A HPB Special: Exercising through I-Run

HPB SPECIAL Feature in SHAPE Magaizine (Nov09 issue)

The Health Promotion Board (HPB), organizer of the I-Run, has done a special health feature in the Nov09 issue of SHAPE Magazine to promote a healthy lifestyle through exercising. The first part features runners at the I-Run @ River Promenade starting off for their evening runs of 3km, 5km, 7km. Some of the regular I-Runners (average of 160-200 runners per Tues/Thurs session) who have been joining these Team FatBird led runs may find themselves in the photo insert :)

Related Posts with Thumbnails

Sunday, October 25, 2009

The NorthFace 100 Challenge 2009

Field Photos by FatBird DO

We were the Lead Runners for the inaugural NorthFace 100 Challenge in 2008. It was an experience to savor, as we saw top athletes battling it out with nature, but yet having that never-say-quit attitude to eventually finish the grueling 50km distance. The NF100 2009 Challenge took on an ever bolder stance with the introduction of 3 categories; the 100km Solo, 100km Duo and 50km Duo.

Because Team FatBird was rather heavily involved with Human Race & SCSM09 Marathon Training, we decided to support some of the strong FatBird Runners who had already signed up and qualified, providing the FlightZones Training program and team support. We had a balanced field of Henry (100km Solo), Wee & Eileen (100km Mixed Duo), Andy & Darren (100km Men’s Duo). The runners were very committed with their training very early on, and at one point, we were pretty concerned with the rather high mileage they were clocking...but being the experienced runners they are, our worries were put to rest early on.

Our support plan for Race Day was to rush over to the 2 pre-determined checkpoints, The Bukit Timah Visitor Centre (CP10 and ZhengHua Park (CP2), after the completion of the concurrent Nike Human Race in the morning. Group 1 (Spencer, YN, Benny) along with some FatBird Runners went to CP1, while Group 2 (David, Anthony, Nicholas) went to CP2. When we arrived at CP2, the first people that we met were the folks from Run-To-Eat, with a fully functional and well-stocked support station, complete with mosquito repellent and spray mist...hehe. There was also iced-cold 100-plus provided by the organizers, which completed well with the bananas and apples we brought along.

The first familiar face we met was SorePalm, who was already dying for ‘Chicken Rice’...haha. He told us that many more were behind, and that the Hill 265 (army training area) and Lor. Asrama were slowing many others. A short while later, our TFB Athlete Wee came along. He was also talking about the hilly region. But PS, Julie and William also came from that area, and they were looking as cool as cucumbers....we initially thought they were doing 25km each...haha. I received a call from CP 1 that Darren and Henry were spotted. We got down to work at CP2, cheering the runners coming up that slope, offering familiar faces with fruits, and listening to their tales of ‘suffering’ at the hill slopes. In spite, they were all very charged up, and were looking to complete the final 15km.

Then one lean guy wheezed by effortlessly. We thought he had gone the wrong way. Turned out he was the lead 100km Solo runner from Beijing, China. He started at 4am, and after 7hrs of trail running, he looked fresh as a lily. We were to see him at the finish eventually. Then came a lot of familiar faces...Andy, Alber, David Shum, Roentgen, Fennel, Ultra, kk, eileen, and so many more. All were happy to see us, and some were spilling expletives about the tough route...haha. We waited for a while longer for Henry before receiving news that he had injured his ankle badly at Bukit Timah Hill, and had to stop the race. We also heard earlier that Jeanette had to stop at around 25km because she was feeling unwell.

TFB NF100 Athlete, Darren

We bade farewell to the folks at CP2 although we had become slightly cosy with the mozzies after 2hrs...haha. We headed for MR where the finish was. When we reached MR, there was a hive of activity as the 50km Duo runners were finishing to loud cheers and applause. We saw Helen, Eileen, SAFRA Runners, and FatBird Runners Choon, Aaron, Kia Liang, Min, et al. Most were happy with the run and their completion times. Then the announcement for 100km Solo Runner finishing...that Chinese runner coming in so strongly and nonchalantly...the time is 9hr+.

Proud podium finishers

We stayed on to welcome more runners finishing, including Wee, Julie, PS. PS and Julie went on to win 2nd in the 100km Duo...well done. Lai Chee finished a very good second position in the women’s. Sham did a very fast 2hr5min 25km, but did not win anything, as his partner Fabian had work to attend to and couldn’t run the race. This year’s route was more challenging and better organized as well. It bodes well for trail racing in Singapore, and we should see this event growing even larger next year...GO NORTH To RACE NORTH!

Related Posts with Thumbnails

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Japanese Coverage Of Singapore's I-Run?

The following is an article contributed by one of the avid Japanese runners at the I-Run @ River Promenade. I am still trying to get the content figured out. Drop me a line if you could provide a summary or synopsis of the article in English. Thanks in advance :)

Related Posts with Thumbnails

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Of Marathon Pacers & Sunbirds

Marathon Pacers & Sunbirds, courtesy FatBird DO

As I held my arms out for a warm cup of kopi-O, I began to recall the exciting training session we had on Sunday morning with the Sunbirds & Marathon Pacers. It was a morning of plenty...participants, tips, distances and workouts to be covered....Operation Sunbird session #3 provided the perfect setting for the 80+ runners.

The Marathon Pacers gathered for a group photo, while the Sunbirds enjoyed their morning chit-chat with Coach Jonathan and the trainers. With a recap of the previous week's teaching, and this week's focus area, the Sunbirds were all ears, with their eyes zoomed intensely on the FlightZONES system as well as Jon's download. A good question from Sunbird Cathelin about nasal congestion was answered well, along with the importance of core strength to develop proper running form.

Section of Team FatBird Marathon Pacers

After the group photo, which had runners spilling off The SandPit, FatBird's Nest at The PlayGround @ Big Splash, all gathered at the start point for their 7km, 16km, 24km and 28km endurance run @ BaseBuild Zone. We had a good time maintaining a chit-chat pace, looking at the nice seaside, getting to know one another, and sharing tips and info about distance running and training. It was nice to see many runners armed with proper hydration belts, Heart-Rate Monitors and Distance Pods, and their efforts to keep to a sustainable Zone 2 effort.

Met many familiar faces along the way, from the speedy groups of Vivian, Ronnie & Tony, to pacer friends, to Team FatBird trainees and runners from previous Operation NightHawk & Kingfisher. The friendly smiles, enthusiastic hand-waves and bodies-in-fluid-motion all made for a delightful setting along the East Coast Park. Team FatBird's running group was by far the largest along the stretch, even though we were pretty stretched out in a few main sub-groups....thus, there wasn't much time for boredom to set in. The U-Turn along Changi Coastal Road provided some fun as we cheered one another on as we pass. the front groups were not that far off from the mid-pack and rear, which was testimony to the steady Zone 2 pace they were keeping at.

It was heartening to see the Sunbirds hard at work, with nary a walk, and with focused but relaxed running posture and forms in steady strides and pretty good cadence. The breathing were regulated, with the shoulders held up steady....practising some of the tips dispensed by Coach & The Trainers :) I had more chats and sharing with the Sunbirds and Pacers on the way back, hearing interesting stories about Indian Expeditions, training sessions very early in the mornings, inline skating champions, hill running, et al. At around the F2 area, the skies became very gloomy, threatening to 'Cry Out Loud'.

Then we encountered something out of the ordinary, very strong winds blowing up a sand-storm, and some even thought it was a tsunami brewing...haha. I held on to my cap and pushed on. With the opening of the skies, many ran helter-skelter for shelter....however, the Sunbirds were not in the least bit intimidated. We continued to push on, every step taken getting a backward slide of 1.5 steps.....real challenge to keep in line. I veered away from the sea, looking down to avoid the wind and sand from getting to my eyes, driving my arms to stay in forward motion, and pushed towards the final 2km to The PlayGround.

With 1km to go, it happened. Thunderstorm, followed by heavy rain, whacked down on us. I decided to abandon the remaining 4km, figuring that it would not be good mileage anyway....truth is I don't like to be wet...hehe. I could see Raymond and eline heading straight for The PlayGround, and I followed suit. I got back to the warm FatBird Nest just in time before the big downpour. DO, Kia Liang, K3 and their group were caught in that big time....totally drenched, but looking so happy....guess they welcomed that relief from the earlier hot weather. The Marathon Pacers like Nigel and Teck Wee continued onwards for the full 28km, while we completed with the Sunbirds at 24km. Everybody cheered each time the remaining runners returned from the heavy rain. The bunch of hungry runners walloped bananas, apples and isotonic drinks....satisfying...arhhh!

As the rain subsided along with the timings being recorded by the Sunbird Registration & Training Team, there were already discussions on next week's 20km-30km hilly run in the Western Hills Region. 1-2 runners even canceled their races next Sunday to join the Sunbird's Session #4. It should be another memorable workout experience for most....something I am already anticipating and looking forward to. Hmmm, I have finished my kopi-O and a nice hot bowl of seafood kuay teow soup....time to give my tired legs a simple rub-down and massage of the foam roller and uSqueez. Till then, watch for the posting of Training Schedule and Tips From The Coach for next week at the Sunbird microsite....and a small takeaway for all this week from me - LOSE TO WIN; RUN SLOW TO BE FAST :)

Related Posts with Thumbnails

Thursday, October 08, 2009

Human Racers @ Training

There was a hive of running activity at The Playground on Sunday morning for the Nike Human Race Training run. Many were the regular 'Nike Runners' who have followed Nike Runs for a bit, but there were some new ones too. The Human Race promo boards came, which added a touch of colour and sense of the upcoming race on Oct24.

Team FatBird were present to lead the runners for the 7km run, along with Coaches Ben Pulham and Gana and their teams dispensing advice and running tips to the runners. LunarGlide+ shoes and Nike+ Sportband were on trials yet again, continuing to garner favourable feedback and appreciation for the opportunity to test-drive the latest Nike Running products. I had a good time catching up with the runners who were waiting for warm-up, and also chats with Sunbirds who there for their recovery runs.

Ming from Nike opened with a good round of introductions of Ben and Racers' Toolbox, Gana's Team, and The Team FatBird Pacer. He went on to share his recent Hood-To-Coast adventure, which was surely inspiring to those who are into long, endurance running and relays. That was followed by Ben, along with Team FatBird, leading a good round of dynamic warm-up. The photographers were busy snapping away at the runners doing the various stances.

The 7km run was started off with the group's pace well controlled, and having them run along ECP in a bunch always bring attraction and attention to the Nike Runners. With their bibs, these runners seemed like they are in some kind of a race, but yet running steadily without any rush. Lots of sharing happen in such group runs, with the runners learning from the running coaches and pacers, interjected with regular shouts and claps of encouragement by the folks from Nike, Racers' Toolbox and Team FatBird.

200m from the finish became the point for the runners to get into 'form' for that fluid running posture, almost poetry in motion, 2-3 in mini-groups, running 'tall', looking focused, all poised for that 'photo and video' moment by the professional cameramen. It was good fun to pace to the final 50m, and then making a 'strong' finish with arms driving, legs striding to the finish....ahhh, a job well done!

After a heave of satisfaction from the workout, replenishing with bananas, apples and isotonic drinks, it was that time to get down to the 'signature' cool-down conducted by Coach Pulham, followed by of course the presention of The Beaver Award and Training Prizes. The final installment of the Human Race Training Run will be next Sunday at the Asian Civilization Museum, and till then, let us have more Human Racing :)

Related Posts with Thumbnails

Saturday, October 03, 2009

Here comes the SUN...BIRD

Operation Sunbird Kickoff - 26 Sep 2009

It was the day many Operation Sunbird trainees had been waiting for; the kick-off of the 10-week marathon training program they had signed up for to prepare for their SCSM09 conquest. By 7am, 50+ runners had gathered at the FatBird Nest at The PlayGround @ Big Splash, all already armed with their first article on Heart-Rate Training.

FatBird Anthony gave a welcome address to introduce the background of Team FatBird as well as Racers' Toolbox, our official training partner for Ops Sunbird. FatBird David introduced the training team, before handing to Jonathan for the first sharing session, covering the essence of Team FatBird's FlightZONES(TM) System as well as tips on focusing on the upper body with the proper arm swing.

The Team FatBird customary group photo session followed, before the runners, some armed with HR Monitors and Hydration Systems, set off towards the sun at BaseBuild Zone. The BaseBuild will be the key element of this 10-week marathon training, and serve to progressively build up and condition the runners' abilities to complete the marathon in good form, hitting targeted timings as stretched goals. The trainers ran along with various groups depending on their comfortable paces, encouraging chit-chats and sharing for the 20km journey. The 21km trainees went for 15km this morning, and were looking good.

Along the way, we found that quite a number of trainees were not experienced in distance running, and many found it difficult to train alone, not to mention without the proper guidance, for such long distances. They were extoling the virtues of group training, all the while focusing on their upper body and arm swing techniques, with the trainers doing the checks and providing feedback. Coach Jonathan Fong, a previous Singapore triathlete, were soaking in the questions from the trainees and helping them along with sound advisory.

The runners in my group did an average of 6min/km to the 10km mark, a very good pace at the BaseBuild Zone...evident in their smiling faces and their running form. The sun had come up by then, and those who did not bring hydration along found that their heart rates were drifting upwards, partly due to the weather, partly due to insufficient hydration earlier on. Because of the 70% workload at that zone, the runners were still able to moderate their paces and maintain good form. As the trainers moved up and down to speak with different groups of runners, it was heartening to know that all were doing their best to get into the correct zone.

A few runners told us that they didn't break too much of a sweat, and yet was running very steady, not panting and not drained off. It was the correct way of conditioning themselves progressively for longer distances and possibly harsher weather. They were all moving steadily, at times bored by the not-too-hard pace, but feeling very good, and not running slow at all. It was about 6:05min/km for my group for the last 5km. I got a few runners to prepare for cadence/leg turnover training by measuring their own cadence, something the trainees will learn and build up in the following sessions.

Back at The Nest, the Sunbird trainees were all happy at completing the 20km in good form, feeling the workout, but not totally drained. For quite a few, it was the longest distances they have covered. The 21km trainees too did very good 15km workouts. Isotonic drinks, bananas and apples were being served to replenish the trainees' energy. There were even mooncakes and kueh-kueh brought along by participants to, lots more eating for me....haha. I have to run more mileage at the FatTrim & BaseBuild Zones to truly burn off the calories and fat, and improve fuel efficiency.

Related Posts with Thumbnails