The NightHawks have put in our share of time, sweat and tears @ training. The time has come for us to take the stage and Show Our TrueColours!
We wish all Operation NightHawk 2013Marathoners the best of times this race weekend, and most importantly enjoy the Night Marathon experience and etch those wonderful memories in our hearts. Flight ONH13 Standing By For Lift Off...
It was the day The NightHawks have been waiting for since they started on the 12-week training program to prepare for Sundown Marathon - the final session where every participant will don their race-gear for a full-dress rehearsal and run down the runway for one final time before wrapping up for the big show on May 31 and June 1.
Everyone was bright and early, and immediately a flurry of photo-shoots went underway; for the Sundown Marathon Pacers; the different training groups; even the Kookaburras got into the act; and then there is always a grand group shot which is so much a part of every NightHawk training session that it has become mandatory before runoff :D
For this finale session, we started off as an entire group, with proper lining up of the different pacers with their respective pace groups. Every marathoner would then go with their groups at Optimal Race Pace, simulating race conditions as closely as possible, albeit in warmer morning temperatures but with better light conditions.
Nothing was left to chances, and some Pacers even brought along balloons and timing bibs to do final testing...such is the dedication and commitment of these batch of Sundown Ambassadors who have put in their best with lots of sacrifices during their 15-week preparation journey.
The time has come for all to bring their preparedness and confidence to peak levels, and after the 13-18km run, the spirit and motivation levels of all NightHawk participants reached a high, just nice for the main race in less than a week's time.
A quick post-training debrief and race-night coordinating meetings ensued, before Operation NightHawk was called to a successful close for all trainees and Pacers - it was a memorable 12-weeks of base build, lead up and pace runs complemented with lots of group runs which served to build camaraderie and team spirit that will surely leave us with many good memories even after the training and race is over.
The friendships forged will remain for a long time to come, which has been evident from members of previous training operations. Such are the benefits of group training and preparing for 'battle' with many like-minded individuals which often make those long and hard runs so much more palatable and feasible for us weekend warriors and amateur athletes.
Team FatBird and Ops NightHawk training crew would like to wish all our NightHawks a great race at Sundown Marathon, and we are indeed confident that all who has attended at least half of the structured program will be able to meet mission objectives, with a good percentage even surpassing expectations. NightHawks, NightHawks Will Not Rest, NightHawks, NightHawks Will Do Their Best! Facebook Photo Album \
The NightHawks were bright and early, all eager to collect and try out their hard-earned Operations 'finisher' singlet to be used on race night. Many also don their full gear as per what they will wear on race night just to be sure that all areas are covered in today's long run.
By now, all the groups were already familiar with the target paces and modus operandi of the training sessions, allowing us to start pretty well on time. Groups 1-4 were all pretty tight-knit, borrowing on one another's strength to enhance motivation which go a long way to sustaining good effort and not get distracted in such long distance runs.
Overall effort was good and all groups managed to sustain Optimal Pace till the end of their 16km (HM) and 25km (FM) distances respectively. The Sundown Pacers were also enjoying a good day at the office, fine-tuning their race plans and honing on pace strategies and teamwork to ensure all systems go and not leave things till too late.
After going through 11 weeks of training together, the camaraderie of the Sundown and NightHawk Pacers together with the trainees have grown very strong which bodes well for good performances by all on race night. As they cross the finish at the end of the training run this morning, it was evident that all participants have put in their good share of hard training to be at such a comfortable stage of probably peaking in terms of readiness.
Group debriefs were made to all trainees to refrain from doing any more long runs (> 23km) and to reduce weekly mileage by 30% although still maintaining race pace intensities for the remaining training sessions. It would be too late at this stage to go for longer distances as that may be counter-productive in the best case, and injuries leading to DNS or DNF on race night may happen in the worst case.
The final week (Week #12) of training next week will be a full-dress rehearsal of sorts and will signify the official completion of the Ops NightHawk 2013 program. All NightHawks are urged to attend this 'Passing Out Run' and receive final instructions and tips for race night - We are looking forward to see all NightHawks!
After the morning's session, the Sundown Pacers were also given a 30min debrief on their whole training and pacing journey thus far....of course, the job is not done till the drawing of the Sundown curtain on race night.
With the rigorous training the Pacers were put through, it is no surprise that those who are remaining in the team at this stage are the most capable of pulling off a good performance on race night. We have full confidence in all Sundown Pacers giving off their best and delivering the goods on race night.
With the long runs done, we are into the final phase of tapering and its all about pampering our hard-working bodies and massaging all those tired muscles to peak condition for the race. This phase is enjoyable because of the lesser workload but we still have to watch our food intake to be careful not to load up excesses which may create problems.
The Ops NightHawk participants entered into Tapering Phase with their 10th week of training accompanied by nice cool evening weather along the East Coast of Singapore. After accomplishing their longest run in Week #9, the NightHawks will taper and have night run conditioning of 16km and 28km distances in Optimal Marathon Pace.
When the large group of trainees and Running Guides started together from C4, the area was already bustling with night activities leading into the weekend, with the beach goers, cyclists and runners already into their strides.
After the flag off at 8:15pm, the respective pace groups headed straight for the familiar Fort Road. Throughout the whole journey, the NightHawks were able to maintain their targeted Optimal Paces, running together in tight-knit formations. All their 9 weeks of basebuilding through to target marathon pace running are bearing fruits in these final weeks of tune up before race night.
The night air was rather cool after the late afternoon showers, and although more rain threatened, we were fortunate to maintain status quo. Many of the trainees were able to sustain a good pace for up to 18km, then pushing on to 22km-24km without any threat of drifting off.
Hydration, nutrition and pace plans were put into serious practice to go along with the endurance building which should contribute to the proper progressive conditioning of the runners at target speeds in increasing longer distances. The night was rather dark, leading to the runners focusing on the job at hand, and less of making merry - most all were rather serious in stretching their thresholds and testing out their race plans.
Running in groups went a long way towards helping the runners to keep motivated and focused in maintaining their paces, although it got to be rather challenging at the 'mentally-demoralizing' Coastal Road stretches. After the U-Turn at the specified point along Coastal Rd, it became better as we strode towards NSRCC and then to the Sailing Centre.
With about 6km to go, all runners were feeling strong enough to continue with target MP and proceeded to the end point at C4 without much stropping, bar the quick toilet breaks for some water for hydration and cooling off in what was turning into a humid night.
By 11:30pm, 3.5hrs after running, all NightHawks returned in very good form, achieving what they had set out for the night. The majority of the NightHawks are well conditioned for a good night at Sundown Marathon.
With the increasing instances over the past few weeks, there have been more reports of tightening muscles and pulls and pain in various parts of the legs; an indication that some time has to be spent recovering from the long runs, and more importantly, doing the R.I.C.E. treatment coupled with post-run stretches and even regular myofascial massages.
With the successful completion of Week #10 with most trainees hitting their target timings, and peaking comfortably, it just remains for the NightHawks to lower their mileage over the remaining weeks but continue to train at race pace intensities. Rest and adaptive recovery will be important during this final preparation phase to nurse any minor aches/injuries and allow the body to achieve optimum level of readiness by May 31/June 1.
We have high confidence that the NightHawk trainees targeting Sundown Marathon 2013 will Show Their True Colours and come out tops on race night. Facebook Photo Albums: CK Chin, Ronnie Goh