Friday, March 19, 2010

ONH #3: A Rainy Dawn Pursuit

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The skies looked gloomy when the FatBird Runners arrived to The FatBird Nest @ The PlayGround, Big Splash at 6.45am. The mini expo setup for the Aviva 70.3 this weekend was awakening with the various vendors putting up their colourful triathlon gear, equipment and accessories. After last Friday's maiden Night Run, the NightHawks were just raring to go for their 25km LSD this morning.

Coach sharing the session's training tip

Proceedings were kickstarted with Coach Kien Mau from Mileage, sharing the tip of the day: Stretching preparations and routines pre and post run. We congratulated Coach and his Mileage team for their outstannding performance in the Malaysian Bareno 10km, 15km race where they received 2 top positions, a 5th and a 11th prize. Coach emphasized the importance of warm-ups of 15min even for marathon races, combining light jogs with some stretches, which Coach gave demonstrations of. At least I learnt how to do a shin stretch today...always learning something useful and interesting at every training session...hehe.

FatBird Anthony (yours truly) gave a brief of our participation at Run-Round-Singapore (RRS) next week, followed by DO providing details of this morning's distances and routes. The briefings went smoothly, and we were able to start running before 7.30am. All the 21km, 42km and 84km groups headed towards Fort Road. I was heading the front pack today, and soon settled into pace with K3 and Bee Ling (BL). The others were just right behind at about an initial 6min/km pace. All the Running Guides (RG) fell into their respective run groups and all were moving like clockwork :).

A light drizzle came upon us shortly, which provided comfort and relief to all the runners. We moved a notch up without feeling much strain. K3 moved up after a bit, while the rest of us used him as yardstick and guide as we headed towards NSRCC/Coastal Road. The target was the U-turn at the 1st shelter along Changi Coastal. Along the way, it was good to see the 21km runners (who have turned slightly earlier) pacing steadily, with nary any rush. K3 and BL (almost a 4hr Marathoner) were very steady, fast even for the training requirements at this stage. I was enjoying the pace and also greeting familiar faces and friends along the ECP stretch.

Time passes quickly in nice company and with interesting chats. We reached the 1st shelter U-turn in 1:14. I stayed for a while while my pacees turned back. Soon came the larger group of Ashok, Kate, Charlotte, Edward, XP, TJ, and the gang. All looked fresh up to that point, and I turned back with them. Ashok shared that Charlotte just set her 10km PB earlier, and she still seemed like she had so much reserves in her....wow, this group of trainees have really improved by much in the past few weeks.

Although I was not panting, I still felt myself working hard to keep pace with this group of trainees in the front. We could chat, but once distracted, could fall back in the paces....that's when we would focus again, speak less, and move back up to the ranks...hehe. As the other groups passed one another, there were always applause and cheers of encourgaement...and from feedback from the runners, those gestures always make them go strong, and are one of the key reasons they enjoy training in groups.

While I settled back to have chats with the guys, the gals zoomed ahead and were really focused on keeping their strong running form. Arthur and Steven shared a little about their progress, as well as running with the SAFRA Runners at MF and Tampines. They have grown to be much stronger runners by training progressively according to programmes, and taking time for recovery and body maintenance, which is all too important to sustain and continue with the pleasures of long distance running.

With 5km to go, I picked up the pace to catch up with the gals. It took me some time before I reached Kate, Charlotte and the other trainees. Charlotte was running at something like 5:20min/km..wah! It was good that she wanted to slow down a little, since she has a 10km nature race in the afternoon...I was speechless...haha. Kate was enjoying herself, guiding the trainees and pacing together. The drizzle throughout the whole run was welcomed by all, and it provided everyone with the cool air to drive a faster pace. DO and I were testing the new Ops NightHawk finisher tops, and they passed the rain test with flying colours.

Steven and Charlotte sprinted the final 50m to past the Aviva finishing clock with their arms raised, as part of training on posing for finisher photos...haha. We did the 25km in 2:25h, which was good, albeit a tad fast for BaseBuild. The rainy and cool conditions definitely had a part to play with the good feeling of the run. The Nest was again a hive of activity, with the runners recording their finishing times, getting their bananas, apples, Accelerade and 100plus refreshments, while sharing experiences of running in the rain, how their shoes, compression wear, nutrition and hydration plans went.

Amidst the chatter, we took the opportunity to dish out more details of the RRS, compression wear, sports massage clinic arrangements for the NightHawk trainees. The rain continued on while we seek dry refuge in the FatBird Nest, at the same time waiting for our fellow NightHawks to return. There would be cheers as the runners returned, followed by photo shots. Everyone had a story to tell, and we soaked in bits of their encounters and adventures of the morning....the accident that K3 encountered with a biker, the lack of hydration causing fatigue, the news article on the FatBird Runners in TODAY newspapers, et al.

By 11.30am, the final NightHawks have returned safely. As we departed in the continuing rain, everyone wore a satisfied look on their faces that they had put in a long run in spite of the rain (even our partners were impressed that our training continued), and their eyes showed gleams of anticipation already for the next training run. The NightHawks are progressing well in their base conditioning, and they are on track for pace training, which will kick in soon.

NIGHTHAWKS RAWKS!

Photo Slideshow by FatBird DO
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