You Have Got What It Takes!
You Have Got What It Takes!
Two weeks before Lead Run Run #1 on Mar29, registrations already busted the maximum allowable being closed…and that happened to Lead Up Runs #2 and #3 as well – registrations for all 3 Lead Ups maxed out even before we got underway with Lead Up Run #1.
In anticipation of a large crowd, the Sundown Organizer (HiVelocity) together with the Sundown Pacers worked closely with the hydration sponsors 100Plus & Maxinutrition to put together what turned out to be an eventful and exciting night for the 400+ Sundown Runners who came. The first ones started to drift in from 7pm, and by 8pm, the Playground @ Big Splash, ECP was buzzing with the heat of excitement.
The Sundown Pacers were on hand to welcome the runners into their respective pace groupings of Half Marathon (2:00h, 2:15h, 2:30h) & Full Marathon (4:00h, 4:30h, 5:00h, 5:30h, 6:00h), stamped them with the Sundown Marathon chop, and assimilated them into the team.
A warm welcome from HiVelocity was given before Team FatBird briefed the runners on the evening’s routes, training paces, safety instructions, and introducing the Sundown Marathon Pacers to the public for the very first time.
Then there were the futile attempts to fit everyone into the group photo to shouts of “Sundown, Sundown, Bring On The Night!” – everyone was so highly charged that there was not really a need for flashes, but cameras with telescopic lens 😀
The respective Pace Groups were then flagged off to the sound of the blaring horn, and with the lighted wrist bands provided and the blinking lights on their bodies, the Sundown Runners & Pacers strode down ECP towards Fort Road, looking like a flock of lighted, blinking birds – a sight to behold.
The night flight then went along Mountbatten road before turning into the serene Geylang & Tanjong Rhu Park Connectors. The run along the quiet riverside on the ride with greenery on the left, interspersed by occupied park benches made for quite a relaxing and therapeutic run, and the occasional light breeze in what was a humid evening helped stoke the already high spirits of the runners – song and laughter broke out midway as the runners approached the Viper water point at the entrance to Gardens By The Bay – East.
The Maxinutrition drinks station, stocked with iced cold Viper isotonic & electrolyte drinks was a welcomed sight for the thirsty flock as they shouted with joys of “Sundown, Sundown, Bring On The Night!”.
After a regroup, the runners continued across the Marina Barrage, and when they saw a crowd gathered, joyful choruses of “Ehh-Oh Sundown Runners Ahh…I Wanna Be A Sundown Runner Ahh…HOOhh-HAHhh” broke out to applause and appreciation from the public, who were amused and impressed by these groups of runners maintaining steady paces and yet looking and feeling so happy and relaxed.
The Half Marathon groups took their cues from their Sundown Pacers and turned back for their return back to Big Splash for a 17km BaseBuild pace run completion. The Full Marathoners proceeded towards Marina Bay Sands, which was choc-a-block with many people and activities around the bay.
The Sundown Runners broke into song a few more times as they cleared the way for a relatively smooth passage to Fullerton Bay Hotel before making their U-turn back to Big Splash.
The Lead Up Runners were having so much fun as a group that they did not feel too bad in spite of the clock closing in on their ‘sleepy’ bodies and having to contend with humidity. The group energies and the motivation by the Sundown Pacers went a good way in ensuring that the groups stayed close together and in pace all the way back.
The Half Marathoners completed their joyful journey from 10.30pm onwards while the Full Marathoners reached back to Big Splash at 11pm, leaving them with ample time for another 2km-4km to complete the 26km distance prescribed.
The beeline for the iced cold 100Plus was well managed by HiVelocity and the tired runners were just happy to relax on the floor, sipping their iced cold drinks and maxi milk for recovery, while listening in to the debrief and instructions for Lead Up Run #2.
As Lead Up Run #1 came to a close at 11.30pm, the high levels of endorphins kept the runners, especially the Sundown Pacers buzzing as more group photos were taken, coupled with excited chatter and sharing of tips and information.
It was a very successful and immensely enjoyable lead up run, which would not have been possible without the outstanding organization of HiVelocity, the professionalism and commitment of the Sundown Pacers, as well as the enthusiastic participation and engaged cooperation of the Lead Up Runners – you all ROCKED THE NIGHT!
It was moderately hazy in the later part of the week till the afternoon of the first night Long Run session, where light showers across the island cleared the skies and made for a crisp low-PSI night, just the kind that makes the more than 100 NightHawks turn up at Macritchie Reservoir (MR) Amenities Centre by 7:45pm.
For many, it was their maiden training session specifically for a night marathon, while others have not experienced running long distances in the green lung of Singapore in the night. It was an adventure of sorts that many had been anticipating for the whole week, all eager to get in their first night long training run.
There was a buzz of activity at MR Amenities Centre, which normally see lower human traffic by 8:00pm. The enthusiastic chatter of the of the NightHawks more than drowned the mic system we were using for briefings, not to mention the breaking of the quiet of the night – but then, it was a good thing as the adrenalin rush soon got all of us through our very first night run of 15km-23km. It was not quite as easy as it seemed, as running in the night is really quite a different kettle of fish than daytime running.
After the usual training brief and group photos, the respective pace groups of trainers, pacers and trainees, many armed with lights and blinkers got off to a smooth start through the dark and onto the brightly lit Thomson Road, before turning into the quieter Lower Peirce Reservoir (LPR) Road, skirting Casuarina Road and then onto the Old Upper Thomson Road (OUTR).
As we ran along OUTR, we could almost imagine how it was like in the old days where this place was a Grand Prix track and how the fast cars were zooming past to loud cheering fans.
As we enjoyed the serenity and peace of the night, we found enjoyment and unison running as groups with a purpose, in steps and paces at times, with the occasional commands of the NightHawk Pacers giving guidance on direction and safety.
We found time to share our experiences as well as tips on night running, and for many of us, it was an interesting experience of learning about our own capacities and abilities to sustain good paces at night.
While the Half Marathoners almost reached the end of OUTR before U-turning and heading back to base, the Full Marathoners moved towards Mandai Road and then onto Seletar Reservoir Park. It was quite and beautiful at night as we ran past the brightly-lit driving range with the row of cars parked along the roadside, accompanied by the moonlit sky smiling upon us as we ran in groups to the toilet point at the top.
After a good break and filling up of water bottles, we made our way back via the slip-road by the Observation Tower. The paces were still well maintained at BaseBuild effort when we entered back onto OUTR, which were sustained all the way back to MR.
Because of the poor lighting at certain spots, coupled with the effects of tiring legs, there were a few tumbles and thankfully, there weren’t any serious injuries other than a few cuts and bruises. All these incidents do make night running more interesting, but at the same time serve as reminders that running at night do require extra doses of concentration, coupled with good proprioception abilities.
All the NightHawks returned by 11:15pm, which allowed the training to end sufficiently early for all to have a good wash-up before taking public transport back for home by the ‘witching hour’. As we looked back at this first session of night training, we were all smiles that we were able to complete with strength, although it turned out to be quite a challenge for some of us towards the end.
The terrain and effects of the night did present obstacles, and we were glad that the NightHawks completed the Challenge in good form and high spirits. The adrenalin rush post-run kept many wide-awake as they went their separate ways for supper or just a nice soak with R.I.C.E. treatment at home.
Dusk Came And The NightHawks Have Emerged!
Facebook photos by NightHawks CK Chin, Meng Kiat
Ops NightHawk ProgramOps NightHawk Facebook
Operation NightHawk got off on very firm footing on 9 March with an excellent turnout of new and returning runners for Team FatBird‘s 12-week night marathon training program to prepare for Asia’s most exciting night marathon, the Sundown Marathon Singapore.
The skies were clear and the weather just nice for a morning Long Slow Distance (LSD). As this was the kickoff session, we spent a bit of time briefing the trainees about Team FatBird’s FlightZONES system, training schedules, training locations, pace groupings and various housekeeping procedures.
While there was a good crowd of new trainees, we were heartened to see many returning FatBirds, a number fresh from their recent Falcon 2XU Compression and overseas marathon exploits. Their good performances from those earlier training operations have spurred them to come back for more of the group training and pacing that have kept them so motivated and able to deliver at marathon races.
This being the first session, we started off with a light menu of BaseBuild long run, with the intention to bring various participants of differing abilities and experiences to a more level playing field within each respective pace groups. Occasional advice and tips were dispensed by the trainers and pacers, but generally we were focused on identifying what was needed to help the NightHawk trainees meet their respective Sundown Marathon goals.
If there was a need to change groupings, or just to be better equipped for distance running, or just some minor corrections of running form and sometimes paces, our experienced team of trainers and pacers were on hand to give guidance and motivation.
The sun did come on pretty strong midway, but it provided a good ‘jolt’ to the NightHawks that weather changes mid run could affect ability to keep sustained paces, and that adopting proper hydration habits can help to provide the additional edge during training, resulting in efficient hydration and fuel management that is so important for race success.
The first training session ended within 2.5hours, which is the maximum time we set for completion of this first weekend LSD in order that all are not overly taxed, and yet providing sufficient ‘time-on-feet’ exposure to all. Moving forward, we will be progressively increasing distances and paces, including quite a number of night training sessions for better conditioning of running a Night Marathon.
The NightHawks Got Off To A Roaring Start!
There are still a number of Operation NightHawk training packages with come with training and finisher tops, special equipping discounts, in addition to the comprehensive 12-week night training program of weekly training schedules and tips – Check It Out HERE for details and Registration!
Facebook Photos @ FatBirds CK Chin & Meng Kiat
The day of reckoning arrived for the more than 100 Operationally-Ready Falcon Half and Full Marathoners – who were to put their 12-weeks of training to the final test at the 2XU Compression Run. They all passed with flying colors with more than 70% scoring Personal Bests at their respective race categories, and this included a large number of Falcon Trainers who did exceptionally well.
The early morning start and the cool, windy weather might have contributed in part to the good results by many of the Falcons, but it was their discipline and dedication to race preparations and sticking closely to their race plans that contributed to the sterling results for many of us.
The Falcons met up from 3:00am near to the 2XU Compression tent on race morning, starting with the Full Marathoners for a scheduled flag off at 4:00am. It was serene and calm where we assembled, with just the official 2XU Pacers in the next tent, dressing themselves up with balloons and props for their official duties.
There was excited chatter among the Falcons, and after a quick group photo of those who were present, we made our way to the start line at 3:30am – a quick word of encouragement from the trainers, and the Falcon runners were all psyched up to put on a good showing.
While the HM Falcons were doing a little warm up routine at 4:00am, the FM runners were flagged off to blasts of the horn and loads of excitement in the air. The HM Falcons were getting pumped up, and soon it was time for their turn to move to the start line. We inched to about 10m from the front for a smooth start,which eventually helped most of us to keep to our pace plan to score numerous Personal Bests.
About 2:15 hours later, many of the HM Falcons returned with solid timings and there were much joy and satisfaction as we celebrated our successes with photo poses and jump shots. A short while later, our first few Full Marathoners returned with sub 3:30h marathon timings, with Ngee Hung (3:19h, 7th) and Rahul (3:23h, 9th) claiming top 10 positions in the Men’s Marathon category.
As more Full Marathoners returned, we were overjoyed to hear of many good results of sub-4h, 4:30h, 5:00h and sub-5:30h PBs….so many that we soon stopped counting, but instead, chose to celebrate the successes of the entire team and operations Falcon.
The consistency and commitment to the 12-week structured marathon training program have paid dividends immensely, and we are so proud and happy for all our Falcon trainers and trainees alike who have shone through and bested their personal achievements in the respective HM and FM categories.
Hearty congratulations to the entire Falcon team for this hugely successful training operations, which we are sure will motivate even more marathoners to adopt structured training to better prepare themselves for races in future.
Offering the full marathon category for the very first time, the 2XU Compression race organizer did a good job of delivering a smooth race, with ample drinks support and some nice touches at the finishing chute as well. The majority of the runners enjoyed themselves thoroughly and the nice results should provide a positive boost to the race, ensuring increased participation for the 2015 edition.
(In Report) Photo contributions from FatBirds CK Chin, Ivan, Lizzy, Lily
Following are segments of appreciation from some of the Ops Falcon 2014 participants:
Ratty Lizz, Group 3 HM Falcon
I had a good run of 21km n clocked at 2.27……i started too fast and slow back after few km….managed to pick up to finish strong, below 2:30h…..this is my 2nd time joining Team FatBird training programme and I’m very pleased n grateful for all the guidance, tips n encouragement given….never give up!!!!!will see u again at Nighthawk….Thanks again
Christopher Lim, Group 2 HM Falcon
This is my first 21km run. Was aiming for 2.45 and did it 5 mins faster than my target timing. Thanks to TeamFatbird Running for the training.
Half Marathon at 2:38. Came in at a much better timing than expected. This is my second training with Team FatBird and is an improvement from the SCM HM by 7 mins. Looking forward to Ops Nighthawk.
I clocked 1:49 for HM. First HM and hence PB. Wouldn’t have done it without the pacing advice, tempo runs, hill climbs and team spirit. It’s a nice community to be part of! See you all at Ops Nighthawk.
Ng Ngee Hung, Group 1 FM Falcon