Operation Sunbird 2014 got off to a roaring start in nice weather at the Playground @ Big Splash, ECP last Sunday morning. In spite of the multiple weekend races where a number of Sunbird trainees were participating in, the turnout was still respectable and it was great to see many first-timers as well as returning satisfied trainees for Team FatBird‘s structured training.
After the registration and tee-shirt sizing (for the training tops and finisher singlets) were done, a short welcome address and overview of the training program were given to give all trainees a sense of what was to come for their 12-week training journey with Team FatBird.
A sense of excitement and slight apprehension were in the air as the participants were placed into their respective training groups according to target timings and base abilities. They will be exposed to Team FatBird’s FlightZONES and PowerFLIGHT training systems as we help them progressively train up for their HM and FM distances in order to complete the races comfortably and with good timings.
After the customary training group shots, the respective training groups of 1-4 were flagged off for 13km (HM) and 21km (FM) and BaseBuild heart-rate zone(2). Led the their trainers and pacers, the eager-eyed trainees were lapping up the km with smiles on their faces, quietly confident that they have made the correct choice of committing to waking up early for the next 12 weekends to accomplish the important and meaningful marathon goals they have set for themselves.
The first 7km was rather cool and cloudy, making it easy for all to get into the rhythm. The more experienced runners had with them sufficient hydration and even gels/electrolyte to fuel their run.
The HM runners turned back at F2 carpark to proceed back to the Playground in high spirits, while the FM runners carried on with their set paces towards the Sailing Centre where they were given a 1-2min technical water break. From there, most continued on to the NSRCC for the 21km U-turn mark.
By then, there was a fair bit of sunshine and heat, causing fatigue to set in sooner than relished. We threw in one more water break for the FM runners, before pushing back all the way to the start point at Playground.
Many of the Sunbirds were able to keep pace with their respective groups, and for the newer ones who were tiring after their conditioned distances were maxed, the patient and reliable Pacers brought them back with additional walk-breaks in addition to a down-shifted pace.
The iced-cold isotonic drinks at the end of the run was lapped up by the thirsty and tired runners. Still with beads of perspiration and slightly sun-burnt colors on their faces, all Sunbirds gathered in the cool comfort of the shady grass patch for a debrief as well as additional training information for the next session.
The training objective for the first session was amply met to the trainers’ expectations, and our initial assessment was that we have a pretty strong group of trainees this year. We are hopeful and quietly confident that all of the Sunbirds will do well at SCMS in 12 weeks’ time.
There are still limited training slots available for this training program, and for those who wish to hop on to this flight, you may check out the website www.OpsSunbird.com for schedules, FAQs and REGISTER HERE!
Flight OSB14 Has Lifted off To Expectations!
Facebook Photos by FatBird Ronnie, MK.
The 3rd and finale training run of The Straits Times Run @ Sports Hub was fittingly sited near the final end point of the race itself, at the newly-minted Singapore Sports Hub.
About 100 runners and Pacers turned up at the footbridge in front of Singapore Indoor Stadium in anticipation of their final preparatory run for the race in 2 weeks time. Team FatBird (on behalf of the race organizer) gave a short welcome, followed by National Head Coach (Distance Running) Ghana who gave tips on how to prepare for a good race. A route briefing ensued with a good round of dynamic stretching led by the dependable Team FatBird Pacers.
Photographers were on hand to snap some great looking group photos before we were flagged off together. The participants, grouped into the four pace groupings of 1:50h, 2:00h, 2:15h, 2:30h took off in cloudy cool weather.
The 15km paced run covered a segment of the actual race day route from parts of Geylang PCN to Gardens By The Bay East, Marina Barrage, Marina Bay Sands, Marina Promontory and passing key scenic areas. Water support was great with 2 water points supplying isotonic drinks and water, covering 4 stops to/from the out/back route.
The first 10km was comfortably paced, with most of the runners sticking to their respective pace groups at Optimal Pace (a few seconds faster than targeted race pace for that 1-2 min of buffer). The participants came well prepared for a hard run which many of them were able to maintain target paces for.
There were minimal down time along the way as breaks, if any, for water were short, and reactions were quick with a pick-and-go approach for the drinks. At the 12-13km mark, there was a slight slow down for some of the runners who were feeling the effects of low-fuel – a number perked up after downing an energy gel or electrolyte tab, and were able to sustain good paces from then.
The final 500m was sweet as the runners ran up the Tanjong Rhu bridge towards the end point, to applause for a satisfying finish. Drinks, bananas and energy bars were offered to the hungry runners who had spent quite a fair bit of reserves to maintain the pace, but it was well worth it from the looks of their happy and satisfied faces.
A good stretch down was conducted by the Team FatBird Pacers to ease off tensions and loosen any tight muscles for a quicker recovery, Another round of group photos was taken of the happy finishers of the training run, with lots of thumbs up and roars of excitement at their good performances this morning.
Lots of chatter and sharing continued after, and as we bade farewell to all the ST Run trainees, there were delight and confidence in all of us that we will be seeing some good timings and Personal Bests (PB) on Sep 28.
We would like to thank the Organizers (The Straits Times, Inifinitus Productions, New Balance Singapore) of this ST Run training/pacing series for a smooth and fruitful three progressive long runs which have benefited many ST Run participants and left great memories of the teamwork and motivation in all the respective pace groups.
We wish all ST Run participants an enjoyable and fruitful race and be able to claim bragging rights of being one of the first few to finish their race on the competition track of the Sports Hub Stadium.
Straits Times Run 2014 Pacers – Follow Our Pace, Win Your Race!
Facebook Photos from FatBird MK, Coach Ghana
To gear participants up for the Straits Times Run at the Sports Hub, race event organizer Infinitus Productions and The Straits Times have lined up a range of training clinics, workshops and long paced runs to prepare runners for the exciting race on Sep 28.
Straits Times training article for STRun 2014 – Terence Ong, Straits Times, 6Sep14
In the final installment of the training run series led by Team FatBird Pacers on Sep 13, Half Marathon participants of the ST Run @ Hub will be given a preview of a segment of the actual race route as well as pace runners to gauge their level of readiness for the event with a 15km paced run.
Due to overwhelming response, registrations for this training run is closed. We look forward to seeing registered participants at this 3rd and final training run!
Be The First (to finish) At The Hub!
After a solid 6 weeks of training with hill repeats and runs, track and speedwork, tempo and cruise intervals and paced runs through to 21km, the Kingfishers were all roaring to do their best and set some records at the SAFRA Singapore Bay Run & Army Half Marathon 201 (AHM14).
After last year’s route bottlenecks and dimly-lit areas causing slowdown and stoppages to the runners, SAFRA conducted recce runs to receive feedback from the SAFRA Running Club and Team FatBird early to refine the route for a much improved race experience – and the runners were not disappointed this morning, with potential choke points being re-routed, dim areas like the Gardens and Tanjong Rhu areas well-lit and running passages wider and clearer for a much smoother passage.
The Kingfishers RV’ed at 4:00am at the Esplanade Amphitheatre in their smart race gear, looking in great condition. We conducted a mini group warm up and dynamic activation for those who were present and by 4:30am, we had taken a couple of nice group photos and moved into the start corral as a team.
Although some runners thought it was Team FatBird who would be officially pacing for the AHM14, it was actually the runners from SAFRA Running Club forming the large contingent of Half Marathon (HM) Pacers. Some of our FatBird trainers and pacers were on hand to run along with our Kingfishers to provide encouragement and motivation too.
The weather at the start was a tad humid, but it got cooler as the crowd spread out after the flagoff at 5:00am. As expected, a large race like the AHM will always be a little congested with many runners, but we had sufficient space this time as the passages are wider. By 3km, we were into the groove and moving ahead quite steadily.
As the Pacers did not have their balloons on time, it was quite hard to spot them from the distance – fortunately they were in large enough groups to be seen as we neared them. Still, our Kingfishers were trained to manage their own Optimal Paces and run to their respective Race Plans.
The first half of the race went pretty smoothly, with ample hydration points and some music and cheerleaders especially along the quieter Marina Barrage and Gardens By The Bay. The momentum was fluid with the runners quite well spread out – at least for those aiming for 2:15h and below, there were not many walkers seen. Also, because first light was not out, the number of runners taking selfies and photos were markedly diminished, again minimizing blockages to the running paths.
We were able to sustain a good pace, and as practiced during training, a number of us popped a gel after 1hr or 11-12km of running for a sustainable race pace in the second half. Other than a couple of sharper U-turns, the next 10km to the finish was smooth going for many of us. As we neared the finish line at the Padang, we could hear cheers coming on for the Half Marathoners as well as the start of the 10km race on the opposite side of the Esplanade Bridge.
The atmosphere was great as we ran into the finishing chute with our arms raised high for a happy finish. Many of the Kingfishers recorded good timings and Personal Bests (PB). We had 3 Kingfishers who placed top 10 in their respective categories – Congratulations to Kingfisher Mabel (2nd Women’s Open), Kingfisher Ngee Hung (7th Men’s Veteran), Kingfisher Cher (4th Women’s Open, although due to chip timing fault, she could not claim her rightful prize at the end).
This year’s route distance was spot on compared with than last year’s shorter course – More Kingfishers and runners have actually scored much better race paces and may even record PBs factoring this additional distance in.
After collecting the well deserved finisher tee-shirt and medal, the Kingfishers gathered at our usual post-race spot near the Tan Kim Seng fountain. Lots of happy faces and congratulatory handshakes, and of course, victory photos and jump shots.
Overall, it was a well organized AHM14 and a good set of results and performances for the Kingfishers and FatBird Runners. Special mention and thanks to the AHM14 organizing committee for involving Team FatBird in their route planning and incorporating the inputs for a much better route and accurate distance.
The Kingfishers Soared At The Bay!
With AHM14 nicely wrapped up, Team FatBird will be starting our next training program, Operation Sunbird 2014 in a fortnight. We look forward to this structured 12-weeks of training to ready ourselves for yet another good race at the Standard Chartered Marathon Singapore (SCMS) 2014!
Facebook Photos from FatBirds MK, Chin, SuatHar