Sunday, March 24, 2013

Ops NightHawk #03: The Sizzler

The 3rd session of Ops NightHawk had us back at The Playground @ Big Splash for a day LSD, and the morning's heat did offer our NightHawks some degree of challenge - although we convincingly overcame both the sun's rays and longer mileage in the end.


The arrival and registration of the NightHawk participants was getting punctual and smooth, which did help us to get the briefing and run started on time, especially trying to gather the more than 120 participants at each session.  The morning's training requirements in terms of pace, route and distances were laid on the table with nary an objection from the eager-beavers.

After the flag-off, the respective pace groups ran a tight ship, with pacers and trainers working coherently to guide and motivate the trainees, especially in the trying conditions of humid and hot weather.  The first half of the journey was relatively spot-on in terms of pace and effort; very few running too far ahead nor lagging behind.  The trainers and pacers did a great job of showing the way, and making important water stops for top-ups and a quick breather.

The Half-Marathon groupies had an overtime day at the office, clocking close to 18km on what was supposed to be an intended 16km - well, looking at the positive light, there was a bonus gain of 2km and an additional boost to the confidence department in knowing that they could achieve 18km if they so desire.

The Full Marathon trainees set foot on Changi Coastal Road for the first time in this Operation, and a few new ones were thrilled with the shade and tarmac-paved ground - only issue was the high traffic flow from the many bikers using the same connector.  However, with heightened awareness and safety running being observed, we were able to enjoy that stretch with no incident.

As we progressively tackled the increasing distances at higher intensities, what comes after 20km posed a challenge for the trainees, with quite a number dropping in pace while others suffered from the lack of sustainable power due to lacking hydration.  The few who popped in electrolytes and gels were able to stretch the sustainable pace longer.  

In the end, the FM completed 27km+, slightly more than what they had bargained for, but nonetheless so glad with the accomplishment - for many, it was a good sustained long run they had done in a while, what more in such hot conditions.

The iced-cold isotonic drinks and the Maxinutrition Vipers were a main source of motivation for many of us heading for the end, with the heat beating on our backs.  When we arrived back to the landing pad, the Shelter was full of people with some spilling onto the shade of nearby trees.  It was a small victory for the NightHawks who completed the LSD at close to Marathon Pace,  Many were briefed about the R.I.C.E. treatment and what equipment they should be arming themselves with at next week's equipping event. 

The first Sundown Lead Up Run next week will be a good trial of sorts for the NightHawks to test their foundation and base as we enter into the next phase of training.  The use of proper nutrition and hydration will be increasingly important as we breach the 16km and 25km marks for the HM and FM respectively.  The NightHawks have performed to expectations thus far, and with low incidents of injury, progression and adaptation to training should proceed smoothly as we march onward to the mid-way mark.

NightHawks, NightHawks, We Will Flow

NightHawks, NightHawks, Go, Go, Go!

Facebook Photo Album

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Weekend #2: The Wild Night Run

It was set to be one Wild Night Run at the green lungs in the Reservoir areas of MacRitchie, Pierce and Seletar.  The large group of NightHawks descended upon the MR Amenities Centre for their first night LSD (Long Slow Distance), many whom were going to experience their maiden journey along these routes which were familiar, yet new as they are doing it in the night for the very first time.

Without the mic, it was a challenge to get the buzzing flock together, but somehow in the midst of chaotic orderliness, the group leaders/crew were able to round up all for the key route briefing.  With head lights and light bands, the respective groups (each about 20-30 strong, had their own 'pow-wows' before setting off  under the cover of night along the Reservoir roads.


With high spirits and lots of chatter (running in BaseBuild zone), it was quite an exciting mini adventure for the NightHawks who were still getting to know one another better in their respective pace groupings.  The air was cool after we got off the main axis onto the quieter road passes flanked by night forests on the sides.

There were less bikes this evening, although the cars were still out and about along winding OUTR.  The Night Running Safety Pointers dispensed earlier to the participants served as good guidance for the flock to run safe yet achieving their intended training objectives.  The Half-Marathon groups turned back at the 7km mark bidding farewell, some with a tinge of delight at not having to go further, while the Full Marathoners were all raring to visit the famous Seletar Reservoir Park.

Since the majority of the trainees were new to the route, the Training Crew was working overtime to guard critical junctions and traffic control points.  We were suitably impressed that most of the runners ran well to stay in their respective groupings, without sacrificing pace, minimizing wait time and avoiding any incidents getting lost.

As the night deepened, some of the runners were feeling the effects of night running as they fought off the sleepiness.  These night runs are part of conditioning the bodies to get used to the idea of long distance running near or even past bedtime, all so that we can race well in the night marathon at Sundown.  Over the next 10 weeks, we will have 5 more of such night runs in different locations, adding to the allure of the program as training at night does bring a different kind of experience to the regular day marathoners.

The return was without fuss as the groups were herded well by the Group Trainers/Pacers, sometimes shouting, sometimes singing, and sometimes blowing their whistles to heighten the attention of the weary runners.  3 hours later, all were back at MR Amenities Centre in happy mood, re-hydrating with Maxinutrition drinks and refueling with bananas, while reporting their timings.  Each group had their respective cool down and mini briefings, before being dismissed in time to catch the last transport home.

With the completion of the second session of Ops NightHawk, the trainees are settling well into their respective groups and progressively getting used to the Team FatBird training format and group dynamics.  The next 10 weeks promise to be more visits to new training areas, with a couple of exciting night runs to the City and even close to the Zoo...hmmm, talk about animals :DD

When Dusk Falls, The NightHawks Emerge!

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Ops NightHawk Kicks Off

Facebook photos from FatBirds ChinRonnie

Flight NH13 (Operation NightHawk 2013) got off to a roaring start with more than 120 participants at The Playground @ Big Splash, ECP.  The first session of this 12-week journey will see another batch of marathon trainees go through the FatBird FlightZONES training system to prepare for Sundown Marathon at end May/1st June

It was nice to see and hear of many trainees from previous FatBird Operations return for more training after getting good results from their diligence and commitment following our structured training programs.  The new trainees were all eager to get going, and that 'fire' could be seen in their bright eyes during the pre-training briefing session.

The trainees were divided into respective groups based on their target marathon goals, each group having accompanying trainers and pacers to train alongside with.  After the customary group photos and shouts of "NightHawks, NightHawks, We All Rawk!" ringing across the Playground, the respective groups were flagged off for their (13-21km) Endurance Run in BaseBuild Zone.

The weather was cooling at the start, allowing for a good momentum to be maintained.  The group trainers and Pacers were showing the way and getting to know the runners in their respective groups.  Lots of chatter and interesting conversations abound as there was good interaction among groups of like-minded runners getting together for the first time to run together for about 2hrs.

There was good shade in spite of the sun rising up for the second half of the run - many of the runners had hydration with them which helped loads in terms of keeping up with the pace.  All the runners returned in groups, mostly as intact as when they first started off earlier - a sense of satisfaction and smiles on their faces as they felt a small sense of accomplishment in completing their first NightHawk session.

The stage is set now for an exciting journey ahead as we prepare for the first night LSD run in session #2.  The participants will convene this time in on one of Singapore's greenest lungs, donning blinkers and light sticks for what will be one "Wild Night Run".

When Dusk Comes, The NightHawks Will Emerge!

There are still available training slots for Operation NightHawk which you can REGISTER HERE.  Come fly the friendly skies with us.