Saturday, March 28, 2009

Team FatBird Marathon Training Session #4

Field Report #1
- Field report by FatBird Anthony
- Photo Slideshow by FatBird Jancy


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.

FatBirds soaring

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 :)

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 :)

Field Report #2
- Field Report by Keonz Quek
- Photos by Jancy Yap
It was the 4th week since the TeamFatbird Ops NightHawk training session began in early March. Very soon, we will be cossing over to April where the training will become more intensive as the distance goes beyond 30km. In week 4 of the training, we had our training at ECP (Playground @ Big Splash) which is similar to last saturday's training. I reached the meet-up point at about 7.00am sharp where most of the runners has arrived, all looking great and enthusiatic for the morning run. The weather was fine and the sky was very clear, without much breeze. The ECP was already LIVE up with some runners doing their early morning jog. The sun has already risen. And i told myself that it was gonna be a hot run. I was in my full 2XU attire in black, my sunglass and cap, ready for a good sat morning training ahead.

As usual, Anthony and DO commenced their briefing on the route when all the runners has arrived and gathered at about 7.05am. Apart from the regular active runners, we saw several new commers today who chose to run shorter distance. We also have runners like Julie and Lai Chee from SAFRA MF joining us as well. Altogether, it was a good turnout. Glad to see many runners waking up early to joined in the training on a sat morning. Meanwhile, jancy and Ah Beng were busy taking attendance and taking down the particulars of the new runners. The distance that we are covering are 10, 15, 20, 22 , 24, 26 and 28km. Team A pacers comprises of myself, Anthony, Daivd and YN with each of us running at different paces for distances covering all the way from 20to 28km. Team B comprises of Jancy, Ah Beng and Terry who will be covering shorter distance from 10-20km.

At about 7.15am sharp, the run kicked off. As the front pack pacer, i led the group with a steady pace all the way till NSRCC where the pace began to go slighty faster when we have warmed up with our body and reached the canal. By then, it was getting a little hot. Along the way, we saw several SGRunners like Andy, Tekko, IMD, Yee Hua running for another event held at the other corner of ECP. We waved to them as we ran past them. They were all having some fun :). As usual, the bikers along Changi were out in force dashing through the flat long famous Changi Coastal Rd.

I was running together with Ray (who had joined us for the second time in training and first time running at ECP) and Sealboon till 11km when sealboon made a u-turn to complete his remaining 11km to the end point. Ray and i continued to run towards the 28km u-turn point. Along the way, i told Ray about the various shethers which mark as a u-turn point for various distances. Soon, i reached the 28km u-turn point which was the 7th shether from the NRSCC. I stopped for a while, ensuring that some runners made a u-turn before i contiuned to run. Behind us was Teelee and Lai Chee. Both looking strong. Darren Goh and Lai chee did an additional distance and ran beyond 28km for their personal training.

Runners who did shorter distances

Some of the new runners


On the return route, saw runners like YN, Bernard, Anthony, Daivd, Eugene, Costner and some others running at a good pace. I waved to them while i ran with a faster pace back. I endured through as the weather gets hotter and more humid. Soon, i reached the ending point. Runners doing shorter distances were already back and the drinks were already well prepared to reward us. Thanks to the refreshment team who prepared all these for us. It was really a good reward for me especially when it was so hot and humid and the fact that i was in total black compression top and tights and that i tried not to have any water throughout the run (I am just afraid of getting stitches). I had several cups of 100 plus as well as the heavenly barley prepared by our Jancy. It was shiok.

A group pic after the run


As more and more runners progressively returning back, Esther and Jancy took pics of the runners running back. While the rest of us chit chat with one another and enjoyed the sea breeze. As most of the runners were back, we then took several group pictures from different angles (basically, it was a 360 degree turn). Afterwhich, we had our usual wash-up and proceeded to Old Airport Rd for our lunch. It was a nice morning run with my usual running group. It was touger run as compared to last saturday but i am sure everyone had fun today. This marks the end of the Week 4 training. Soon, we will be moving to Week 5 training when we see an increase in the distance.

Keonz & Edwin (Left-Right) trying very hard not to smile

As we end week 4 training, we began our countdown to Dusty Run (Episode II).

12 days to go.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Night Hawk #3 - Return To The Nest

Field Report #1
- Filed by FatBird Anthony
- Photos by FatBird Spencer (FaceBook Album)

The Nest @ PlayGround

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.

NightHawk Central - Run Leads

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.

Field Report #2
- Field Report by Keonz Quek

It was saturday morning. The NightHawk training has reached the 3rd session since it started 3 weeks ago. It was a morning run for this session and it was held at ECP with the starting/end point at The Playground, Big Splash. I woke up pretty early as usual. Earlier than my usual day. Stomach was not feeling good. Nevertheless, i made my way to ECP and reached quite early at about 6.35am. Waited for a while before Spencer and YN came. Had a short chit chat with SealBoon while waiting.

Soon, Spencer and YN arrived at about 7am. Quickly, i put my bag in the car and proceeded to the start point where most of the runners have arrived. It was quite a big group. In fact, the attendance seems to get bigger and bigger week by week, which is a good thing. More runners are joining us to train together. Some were training for the upcoming marathons, while some just joined us to keep fit. Great to see that more and more people are into running. :)

Anthony and David did some breifing before the training began. An introduction to the pacer and leaders for the various distances was made to the participants. I was assigned as the Team Leader of Team A which comprise of YN, David and Anthony. We take care of distances ranging from 22-26km. Team B comprise of Jancy (Team Leader), Ah Beng and Spencer and they take care of runners do distances ranging form 10-20km. The weather was nice, the sun was lazy and was not up then. The ECP was still as nice as usual, but the AVIVA setting were all set up and ready for the event to be held tomorrow.

Soon the run began. YN and I led a group of front runners all the way till NRSCC where we ran together as a group. I told the usual dasher like Choon and Darren not to follow my pace today as i am on official duty to take care of the runners. So i told them i wont be dashing today. And after i told them that, Darren really dash ahead and disappeared. Haha.. It was nice to run at a slower pace again, but quite tiring as i actually spent longer time on the road than my usual pace. But it was a good session to train my endurace and patience and also to burn some of my fats that has accumulated for the past one week for the lack of daily laps swim.

Soon, i reached the U-turn point. I thought that was the 26km u-turn point. But i found out later that i actually overshot to the 28km u-turn point. Some for the runners followed me and did the same u-turn point as i did. I stopped at the u-turn point to ensure most of the front runners made the u turn at the correct point before i continued with my run.

The sun was finally up for a while during the return route. Saw Anthony and David along the way. They were all doing strong and chatting, motivating some of the runners they were running with. By the time i reached ECP, i could see that the cloud started to turn abit dark, but not to the extent of thunderstorm approaching. I maintained a constant pace all the way through, without having any sip of water and fianlly reached the ending point where most of the runners were back. Had a few cups of 100-plus. Chatted awhile and finally with a big group pic and the HigntHawk committee pic. I realised that the 2-XU tights that i was wearing seems to be quite useful in preventing my ITB from hitting me. Usually, my ITB pain will come in after along run on the hard group like ECP. But today, it seems ok for me or is it becos i was not dashing today? I dunno but what i know is that the tights is useful afterall in compressing my leg muscle.

Washed up and had lunch at Old Airport Road. Feeling very tired. Went home and had a nap all the way till evening before i proceed to the pool to do my swimming. Did a slow 40 laps recovery swim. And back here blogging.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Night Hawk #2 - Friday The 13th

-- filed by FatBird Anthony
-- 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.

Busy with registration of the 60 runners

The runners were divided into 4 groups of 10km, 16km, 20km and 25km distances. The longer distances were flagged off first. Stardust (Keonz), David and Anthony 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.

Ready to get the night going

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.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

NightHawk #1 - The Training Has Begun

-- filed by FatBird Anthony
-- Photo Slideshow by FatBird Terry

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.

Catching up over 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.

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