Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Scenic Sunset Reservoir

The April FatBird Scenic Weekender brought an adventurous and fun-loving group into the depths of Singapore's green lung, the Reservoir area. We had joy, we had run, we were having so much fun...along streams, lakes, canals and rolling hills, flanked by natural beauty of flaura and fauna.

Facebook photos from AC, BT

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Sunday, April 11, 2010

2XU Compression Run 2010

Photo Courtesy of Kia Liang, Ben Swee, CK Chin, Luke Woo, Jackie Ho

This was my first local race of the year. It was also one of the races I have been looking forward to, as it has been some time since I ran along the hilly and undulating terrain of Sentosa. It brought back memories of the New Balance Real Run as well as the many SAFRA MF training sessions we had in the scenic island of Sentosa. When Key Power International (KPI) mooted this race, I felt it was an interesting challenge for runners of all capabilities, and immediately went about jio-ing people for the race, just to get a flavour of rolling hills in the midst of lush greenery and sandy beaches.

I went to the race with a mind to have a good time, although I knew the short distance of 12km would make it a hard run, testing the heart and cardio strength of the runners. Given my age and speed, I personally do not relish short distance runs of 10-15km, preferring to the longer (and slower) half to full marathon distances. Beverly and DO could not join me for this race as they were still resting from the Friday NightHawk 25km run. Having not been to Sentosa for some time, I went down early to get a nice car park spot near to Siloso Beach, the start/finish point.

I was happy to see Prata & wifey, Costner, Sin Guan and Toh at the carpark. It was nice to see many familiar faces and FatBird Runners along our walk to the start. I continued yak-ing till we reached the start point, first with the KPI folks, then with the NightHawks, also the SgRunners, SAFRA Runners, and then more FatBird Runners and i-Runners. I managed to slip away for a quick warm up (I normally do for distances of 15km and below) and bumped into Lai Chee, Charlene, Joe. All along the way, I was meeting familiar faces, right up to the start point, chatting with David Tay, Vivian Tang, Sham, IMD Ben, and many others who were waiting for the delayed start.

The MC finally decided that we should wait no longer for the late-comers, and started the race on the count of 10. It was a quick start for me, as I wanted to get some space quickly. Many of the FatBird Runners were even faster...haha. We were going at 4:20min/km pace at the start, before settling at a more comfortable 4:30min/km pace. Han, Prata, Sin Guan, Thomas, Sam, and many other running friends were in front, and I decided to just tag along and follow. The initial stretch along the beaches was fun as I was looking out for returning familiar faces and cheering for them. Mok was as usual right ahead. Keonz and Chin Huat were running fast too. Wen Long and Melvin from SAFRA was up ahead as well. Team Run Fanatics (TRF) was out in full force helping with organizing and manning all the critical turning points and drinks stations.

The slopes began from 4km or so, and the rolling hills went on for the next 4km. It was during this period that our paces slowed, and things settled down to about 4:40min/km pace. The sun was out by then. I stayed within a smallish group of runners, not wanting to overtake, conserving in anticipation of even more slopes ahead. I could still see Prata, Thomas, Sin Guan about 100m in front. All along the way, there were a number of friends who shouted as we pass one another....I acknowledged many of them, but a few times I could not spot who they were...thanks to all of them for their shouts of encouragement. It was these friendly gestures that kept me going on happily. Ben Swee and CK Chin were 2 of the runners whom I saw the most as they were running with video cams and digital cameras. Ben was like way up front taking videos on the run. Chin was in the mid pack taking pictures, and smiling for the runners...really a boost to our morale whenever we saw them.

As I was not aiming for anything in this race, especially not when I was still recovering from my mild bout of gastric flu, I was happy just to be able to survive the challenge. There were times when I pulled back to ease my heart from working too hard...u can call me kia si ('afraid to die')...haha. After all the slopes, we turned back to Palawan Beach again. A quick look at my watch showed that we were close to 9km. I could see the front runners heading the other way towards Siloso for the finish. The flatter section along the beach was a welcome relief for many. I could sense the slowing of many runners' pace. After all the slopes, we cannot blame them for being more conservative yah? lol. I passed the 9km marker in about 41min. Then it was just 3km to go, and I was sure I would make 60min.

I slowed slightly to catch some breath, and looked around to sight more familiar faces. The sun by then was beating down fiercely, but I was not that affected, given the remaining 2km distance to the finish line. I could still see Prata and group running steadily, and taking it easy. Thinking the end was nigh, I inched forward and closed the gap to about 50m. After running for what seemed like eternity, the end point still looked far...haha. When my watch showed 11km, I decided that I could do with some iced-cold 100plus quick (strangely, there were no 100plus along the drinks stations at all, or did I miss them?). I picked up the pace to move up to Prata and Sin Guan, and they told me to go ahead. I continued on, but could sense that they too picked up speed. Great....all of us were just egging one another on to reach the finish line.

There was a sense of relief when we did not encounter any more slopes after the 9km mark. The 7-10 of us crossed the finish line in about 56min. After collecting the finisher medal, I moved up to congratulate the friends, including Han Low, who did so well. Han showed me the way to the iced-cold 100plus. It was just so 'heavenly' downing those isotonic drinks. I then moved back along the finish line to continue cheering for the finishers, and congratulating friends and kakis. Many of the new runners found the course interesting, but challenging. There was an air of satisfaction that they managed to survive such a hilly run, and a few have vowed to go for more hills training after this....hehe. I enjoyed this race thoroughly, although I must say this route is even more challenging than the New Balance Real Run a few years back. I look forward to coming back to this beautiful Sentosa Island for more runs and races in the near future.

Distance: 12.13km___Time: 56Min24sec___Pace: 4:39min/km


PLACING.....NAME................BIB NUMBER..SPLIT 1 (4.6KM)...SPLIT 2 (5.5KM)...TOTAL TIME
50.............. ANTHONY SUM..........57................20:21:29..............29:30:49...........56:14.82

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Sunday, April 04, 2010

Sports Massage @ The FatBird Nest

Ever since I got a rude shock from ITBS about 4 years ago, I became very careful about rest and recovery, and how to attain the nirvana of injury-free distance running. Philosophies like Chi Running, Pose Method, etc captivated my imagination, as well as conditioning, strengthening and body maintenance services like deep tissue massage, myofascial massage, et al.

With regular self maintenance after runs, as well as having sports massages, I have been able to maintain a relatively low incident rate of running-related injury and strains. After recommending to family, friends and running kakis to some of these massages, and getting positive feedback, we decided to organize a simple Sports Massage Clinic for members of the Team FatBird Running community.

More than 50 runners gathered this Good Friday morning at The FatBird Nest in The PlayGround @ Big Splash for our Holiday Weekender Run and Clinic. A number of eager new faces arrived early in anticipation of the sports massage clinic that would happen after the easy 10km run along parts of the previous Sundown route.

FatBirds preparing for the run

It was a nice chat with the runners along the way, many of whom are new to the distance-running game, and were full of enthusiasm for training and learning all about sustainable, injury-free running. The km melted away as we were enjoying the bright and sunny morning along the Park Connectors and Seaside.

By the time we finished the run, Victor and his team (RTe) were all set up with massage table, towels and massage ingredients. We had apples and isotonic drinks, before settling comfortably in the shade of the nest. Victor gave a good overview about the importance of listening to, and maintaining our bodies and muscles for injury-free running; followed by common injury problems, and how to recommend solutions based on symptoms. The 'live' demonstration of 6 'guinea birds' was definitely the highlight of the session. Victor led us through the process of identifying symptoms and history, and how to alleviate 'issues' and problem areas through massage by release of trigger and pressure points....all put in layman language that was easily understood.

The 'guinea birds', a number with chronic and long-term problems, were treated to short sessions of 'pleasurable pain' to ease the pressures off those problematic mucscle groups. Many of them put up a very 'strong' front, and provided much entertainment for the group of very interested participants. DO provided a good exchange of questions and answers with the RTe team and participants. The session ended on a high note with the announcement of special promotion packages for Team FatBird and Ops NightHawk Runners.

FatBirds and RTe team

As we were packing up, a queue of runners were filling up RTe's appointments for the weekend, with the first Clinic participant to continue with his massage at the Centre. We enjoyed the run and the clinic thoroughly, and already requests and ideas for future Clinics have started to roll in. We look forward to having more fun-filled and interesting Team FatBird Weekenders.

Photo Gallery, courtesy DO

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