After 10 weeks of progressive basebuild and marathon pace training, it came down to the Grand Finale – where all the pieces come together as the Sunbird trainees took to the runway one more time at their Optimal Pace and Performance rehearsal.
We spent a bit more time this morning with a pre-race pep-talk geared towards getting the Sunbird Marathoners (yes, they have officially passed out as Marathoners) all prep-ed for the mother of all marathon battles on Dec 1, the SCMS!
The weather conditions was primed to be quite similar to race morning, with a cooler first half followed by the sunshine at about 8.30am onwards – that would also be about the time where the full marathoners begin running back along ECP towards Fort Road on race day.
The Sunbird Marathon warriors were in Full Battle Order (FBO) as they practiced and tried on apparel and race day gear, right down to minute details such as the hydration and fuel equipment, socks and inner-wear, and even the exact caps and sunshades they would be using for the race – nothing would be left to chance as the ‘redcon’ status will be elevated once the full dress rehearsal have been passed.
After some quick passing-out group photos, we flagged off as an entire group (just like on race day) and the respective pace groups soon settled into their Optimal Pace momentum.
By now, the Sunbirds are trained to a level where they are sensitive to sustainable pace, rehydration and refuel strategies to keep their ‘mojos’ steady and most importantly, being able to stick to their individual race plans that will bring them the rewards that will justify the effort and commitment of the 12-week journey.
The tapering distances of 9km (QM), 13km (HM) and 18km (FM) were executed well inside the comfortable zones, gaining high confidence levels for the Sunbirds who are smack on at their peak fitness and endurance levels.
Spirits and camaraderie were high, especially among the pace groups who have been training closely as one for the past several weeks, and it will be these levels of confidence and mental strength that will see the Sunbirds through to a good SCMS race.
Congratulations to all Ops Sunbird trainees for successful completion of the comprehensive training program, and special thanks to all Sunbird trainers and pacers who have sacrificed their training time and offered themselves generously to help the trainees achieve their training objectives.
We wish all Sunbird participants a fruitful SCMS race, with many PBs and goal achievements
– See you at the Starting Line on Dec 1…Follow Our Pace & Win Your Race! Sunbird Photo Contributions from CK Chin, Ronnie Goh, Meng Kiat: Album 1 Album 2
GE Women’s Run 2013 Field Report – GEWR13 Official Pacers
Photo contributions and credits from various sources including: BTing, Running Shots, Tan Kim Lai, Ronnie Goh, Nicholas Heng, Pictureart, Running Gallery (if we have left out any, kindly inform us through email@example.com).
A few months prior to the GE Women’s Run, Team FatBird was tasked with an enviable mission of selecting a team of ”women only” pacers to undergo 8 weeks of training to be fielded on race day to bring as many women runners to their PBs as possible.
It was from careful sifting through committed and experienced marathoners we know in our club, and with some good fortune, were we able to ‘Cherry Pick’ 20 women pacers who went through a journey of pace training and fostering of friendships and teamwork to eventually be ready for mission GEWR 2013.
At 4am on race morning, the Pacers’ support crew (made up Team FatBird trainers, photographers, coordinators) and HM Pacers were gathered in the air-conditioned holding room at The Float to be armed with props that the respective teams have painstakingly designed and procured for this special mission.
Pacer balloons marked with pace timings were secured onto the ‘wings’ of these Pace Angels, before we proceeded to the start pens for group photos and to assume marked out start positions.
The Elite field of international HMers were flagged off at 5:30am, followed 5min later (at 5:35am) by the main field of HM runners. The Pacers and runners were pumped up by the music and encouragement of the MC, creating an atmosphere of excitement.
The Pacers with their colorful head gear and balloons put their training into practice in calculated fashion, leading hordes of runners in their distinctive GEWR red apparel out into the horizon. The weather was cool with winds of impending showers blowing through, making the run very comfortable for the runners at the least.
Time passed rather quickly, and by the time the Support Crew reached back to the holding area for a second time, the 10K Pacers were already assembling and receiving their final preparations brief. Pacer balloons were also secured well, and with a few takes of group and team photos, we led the 10K Pacers to the start line at 6:20am for deployment.
The pens were filled to the brim by 6:45am, and with the Cheerleaders and warm-up routines by Physical Trainers keeping the runners entertained, the threat of the looming thunderstorm soon came to pass with just a slight delay to the start. The heavens smiled on the GEWR runners as they were flagged off to immaculate cloudy weather, with the Pacers once again blowing their whistles and leading the way with their gaily colored balloons.
A quick break for the support crew and we were at the finish line of the HM, anxiously awaiting the arrival of our first Pacer teams. We spotted and cheered for many familiar faces and Team FatBird runners who came in with very good times, some Personal Bests too. A common sight was the strong running of all the women runners, attesting to the strong field. In a whisker, we spotted the Pacer group of 2:10h from the distance.
They were running strong and with confidence, ushering in as many of the runners who could go below 2:10h in before finishing as a group with arms held high in 2:08h – the digital clock read as 2:13h because it was started 5min earlier when the Elites were flagged off (giving our Pacers a scare when they first ran down the finish chute).
Their jubilant faces with broad smiles were testament of a job well done and the sense of satisfaction that came with the smooth delivery. The 2:20h and 2:30h pace groups too accomplished their respective pace objectives in similar successful fashion, all within 1-2min of their Pace Group targets.
We had another group of supporters at the separate finish line to welcome back the 1:00h, 1:10h and 1:20h Pace Groups, who have had to lead a larger field of 6,000+ runners through their paces for good finishes.
The 10K distance was a tad short, leading to the Pacers with about 1-2min of extra time to nudge more of the ladies to optimize their timings.
There were loud cheers and whistles of encouragement as the respective Pacer Groups romped home in fine fashion, all within a minute of target finish time to maximize the number of GEWR runners meeting their timing objectives.
A great performance indeed by the team of dedicated and committed GEWR Women Pacers, who outdid themselves with the sacrifices in training as well as on race day to motivate and encourage so many runners to do their best, in true ‘Girl Power’ fashion. A huge shout out to all 14,000+ GEWR Runners for a great performance and to the GEWR Pacers for an immaculate report card in the inaugural all-women pace mission in Singapore. Live Great, Run Great!
The post-race experience was carnival-like with good food (ice-cream, hot-dogs, nando chicken, muffins, fruits), nice music and games for the participants and their families. The light drizzle was no dampener and in fact, the spirits and feel-good meters were registering highs after all that good timings recorded.
Well done to the event owner, Great Eastern Life and race organizer, HiVelocity for a wonderful race experience with a number of firsts and enhanced features to bring a truly #liveGreat experience to all the GEWR runners, families and supporters. It sure will not be easily upstaged, but we are confident that many will look forward to GEWR 2014 with high anticipation.
Compliments for GEWR 2013 Pacers The following are some comments from the GEWR 2013 facebook page of runners’ appreciation for the wonderful efforts of the GEWR Women Pacers:
Junenalyn Labuguen Cosue
Thanks Great Eastern and team fatbird! I achieved my PB of 2:05 for the half mary
Garima Goenka Poddar
It was my first run ever.. And i was only hoping to complete my run with 80 mins and earn my finishers medal.. I just didnt lose sight of the pacers in pink hats!! And before i knew it, i had completed my 10 k in 68 mins!!!
It is a real achievement for me.. And i thank the pacers for helping me get it!!
Thanks ladies!! You did great!!
Thank you so much for the hard work, effort and motivation even thou I could not keep up the pace but I truly enjoyed it
A very BIG thank you to the pacers!! Same for me, being a newbie in 10km run, I was hoping to complete within 70mins. The ladies served as a good motivation for me and I completed in 57 mins 43 sec! I couldn’t believe it! You gals rock!!!
Thk u for the movitation . This year my timing have improved by 10 mins. Feeling great!!!
Janei L. Lapana
A million thanks to all of u….
My heartiest thanks goes to the 1:20 pacers. Going into the race without much training with my 12-yr-old, I was only hoping for a 1:30 timing. Was pleasantly surprised to see the clock showing 1:15 when I crossed the finish line. The cheery pacers were constantly giving their encouragement and I felt really encouraged to push myself. Hugz to the lovely ladies.
Achieved my goal of running the marathon in under 2hr20min thanks to the pacers! Thank you for the encouragement close to the finish line too.
i had my pb by following 21km 2:30 pacers .. the ladies have sunny smiles n make the run seem breezy.. thk u n keep running
Samantha Van Norman
Loved the pacers but I felt the course was shorted as per my gps. I’ll still take my PB time though.
Pacers were amazing – so encouraging and full of life. Thank you
Nur Aisha Jaini
The best thing about this: unlike another well known all-women run in town, I’m so grateful for the *all-women* team of pacers for this run!This is much more befitting to the event, thank you
I had personally thanked the 1.10 pacers. But I thanked them once again here. Not much training done this year. Not for the pacers, I will complete in 2hrs.
Followed the 2:10 pacers during the first half hour. The bit which I always either go too fast or slow. Achieved PB below 2 hours at 1:57 for the half m. Thanks pacers! :)))
Thanks Pacers, you were full of energy and motivation. I also finished faster than expected after following you!
Stella D Chen
Thks to al e pacers, esp e ladies of 2hrs 30mins for half marathon. If nt bcos of u ladies, i wont b able to complete my run n settin my 1st pb at 2hrs 30mins. Awesome ladies!
Samantha Van Norman
Loved the pacers but I felt the course was shorted as per my gps. I’ll still take my PB time though.
After a few weeks of increasing distances, Week #7 of Flight OSB13 saw a slight dip in mileage for the FM to 28km yet retaining the same intensity – but it was by no means an easier run compared with the 30km last weekend, no thanks to the heat of the blazing sun coupled with high humidity.
We managed to push the run off by 7am by keeping the briefings and photo sessions short so that the runners have a good shot at completing the longer distances earlier.
The first 10km was pretty comfortable with paces slightly ahead of target race pace, mainly due to the ‘fresh legs’ effect. It was nice to see the Sunbirds sticking close to the Trainers & Pacers as they take a more conservative stance in the beginning, sticking to pace plan.
By the time the groups hit F2 Car Park, the sun was already high and mighty, beating relentlessly on the faces and backs of the runners.
Proper hydration was to be the order of the day in order to survive the heat. The Sunbirds definitely came prepared with hydration belts and systems, all ready to top up at the various water stops along ECP.
Once we went into Changi Coastal Rd, there would be a 6km stretch without water – and with the heat of the morning, it would be a challenge to sail through that stretch without ample hydration.
With the dependable trainers showing the way, it was a lot more bearable for the group to sustain the paces, although there were tendencies to stop whenever one did not have any company along the way.
Trainees were advised to cool themselves at the various toilet stops to prevent overheating, while others were told to hydrate and fuel up according to plans. Because of the good base of the Sunbirds and their commitment to complete the distances, all the groups managed to return ahead of training max time in spite of the challenging morning.
There were satisfied looks on those who eventually completed, with more than a few claiming that it was a lot tougher than the 30km they did in slightly better weather and with some shade.
It was a good experience for all, especially for the newer ones who were able to overcome their mental weaknesses to complete their respective runs in such challenging weather.
The reward was even sweeter when they received their bright Ops Sunbird training tee, which they could wear for future training sessions as a mark of their passing the mid-point of training. A number of ladies were seen posing with their new tops, all happy they came down and completed yet another fulfilling activity on a hot Sunday morning.
We were back to MacRitchie Reservoir (MR) Park after two consecutive weeks of hill runs at Mt. Faber. Because of races, the crowd at MR was a lot lighter, which made much room for the Sunbirds through the narrow trails.
A number of the Sunbirds were also at the races contributing to the smaller turnout at training. However, a few trainees have returned back to the fold after their races and rest in the earlier weeks. The briefing was kept short, focusing mainly on the respective routes, leaving more time for our final Basebuild run.
The stretch through the trails was cool all the way till we hit Lower Peirce Reservoir (LPR) Road. The 10K trainees turned back at the end of Northern Trails for a good 7km trail run, while the HM did a challenging 15km trails cum road. Most of the FM trainees (who did 22-25km eventually) were well equipped with some form of hydration and fuel, allowing them to push further into the Upper Peirce Reservoir (UPR) slopes.
The respective pace groups were running strongly together, braving the heat of the sun as they worked the rolling slopes of the UPR area. Groups Tango and Foxtrot were in cruise mode as they find the slopes a lot more manageable with a few weeks of base building under their belts.
The larger Group Bravo split into 2 sections as they made their way into the aircon route, tackling their requirements with tunnel vision, while Group Hotel was easing along the slopes in good shape as well.
The road back have as usual provided the mid-point challenge at the Venus slopes, but there was hardly any walking up this morning – the mental toughness of the Sunbirds have indeed improved alongside their physical strength endurance over the past few weeks.
The final 3.5km back into the Northern Trails was meant to draw on the reserves of the trainees to provide the push through the seemingly countless trail slopes – this segment provided a nice finale to the training as it challenged the runners to give that much more to overcome any mental or physical deficiencies that might have limited them in the past.
The Sunbirds passed with flying colours, although many felt the strain of the energy-sapping workout. They were sprawled around the wooden platform at MR Amenities recovering as they tuned in to the session debrief.
The trainers and pacers observed that most Sunbirds have made good progress, with quite a number getting into good shape with weight-loss of excesses, stronger strength and speed endurance, and more importantly, confidence and commitment to stretch themselves for the longer distances ahead. This will put us in good stead as we prepare for Pace training from next Week where all will put their strengthened endurance base for a quicker target marathon pace through to 30km.
It’s hard to beat a highly-motivated TEAM that never gives up
– The Sunbirds have overcome the challenging trails of MR
Dear Marathoner, The Japan Marathon Series is happy to bring to you the scenic marathon race of the Kumamoto Castle Marathon in Feb 2014. Be one of the few international participants from outside of this ancient city to be part of this special race. Only in its 3rd anniversary, it is expecting more than 13,000 marathoners, with ¼ of the city expecting to turn out in full force to cheer and support you in ‘warm & welcoming’ Japanese hospitality fashion.
The Kumamoto Marathon Experience
Emailgm@cresttravel.sg to indicate your interest and book your limited spots TODAY! WHAT is the Japan Marathon Series?
The “Japan Marathon Series” is an exciting initiative by Team FatBird (a running group passionate about marathons) and Crest Travel (an experienced travel management company with good knowledge and passion for Japan) to encourage, facilitate and prepare Singaporeans to participate in marathons in Japan.
The “Japan Marathon Series” vision is to have regular Singaporean representation at marathons in all 47 prefectures in marathon-crazed Japan, and for these runners to share their experiences with the Singapore running community that there is a lot more in Japanese running than the well-known Tokyo, Kyoto, Kobe or Hokkaido Marathons.
After a energy-sapping but fulfilling trails run at MR in Ops Sunbird Week #2, the Sunbirds were looking forward all week to the hills session at Mt. Faber this morning. The heavy rains at dawn could not dampen our spirits, and when we reached the training venue at 6:45am, it was a nice surprise to see quite a good turnout in spite of the weather.
Knowing that Team FatBird training runs are rarely canceled, and with the advisory given that we will proceed with training when rain is lighter, many were happy they showed up when the rain diminished and stopped by 7:15am.
Keeping the briefing short, the respective training groups were able to be dispatched towards the hill slopes of Labrador Park @ Basebuild Pace. The cool post-rain weather made for a pleasant journey along the 4.5km to the heart of Labrador Figure-8 start point for the 2.2km rolling hills repeat.
Those who have not been to this training area were enjoying the flora and fauna of the surroundings, and with the seaside breeze blowing in the faces, made everyone run at least 15sec ahead of their intended training paces.
Learning to work the uphills, keeping to good running form fundamentals, and tackling the downhills kept the motivation of the runners high, making the training so enjoyable that time passed quickly.
Before we had a chance to feel drained, the main segment of the hills workout was completed and that left the respective groups with 8km of a rolling slopes run back to the SAFRA Clubhouse. There were lots of chit-chats and sharing of knowledge and experiences amongst the trainers and trainees, keeping all engaged throughout the entire training session.
With the distances and challenges progressively more intense, the reports of tight muscles and aches are starting to flow in – time to include comprehensive stretching, myofascial massages with foam rollers and introduction of deep-tissue massages to keep those muscular groups and engines well-oiled and sufficiently supple for the continued marathon preparation journey.
In spite of the pre-run wet weather, this was one of the more enjoyable and fruitful training sessions we have had – just goes to show that we should always have a positive attitude and keep our hopes up (in the face of unexpected weather or situations) and all will fall in place for a good outcome.
We look forward to more intense base building with hills and trails in the next few weeks, and with the foundation of the first 3 weeks under our trainees’ belts, we are confident that we can only get stronger to enjoy the training ahead and most importantly, build up our experiences and friendships as a team.
The Thrill-Seeking Sunbirds Thrashed The Hills in Week #3