Belmont High School is two blocks away from home and this is where I do my active recovery runs and speed runs for the duration of my “rest/vacation” here in Los Angeles, and this will be my “ULTRA Oval Track”. What is good about this track is that it is made from the ordinary soil from the desert of California. It is a “dirt” oval track which is the same texture of soil that you see along the mountail trails and fire roads in the mountains here. However, it is better to run on the dirt/soil rather than running in an asphalt or concrete road. What is bad about the “dirt” track is that your shoes would easily become dirty because of the dust that stick on every part of your shoes to include the socks. I like running in this kind of track, whether I use my trail shoes or my training shoes as if I am running along the mountain trails. I usually use my TNF Arnuva 50 BOA when I run along this track because I could feel and hear the “crashing” sound of the shoes pounding on the sandy soil and my feet are more responsive to the ground.
I did a 35-minute recovery run a day after the Los Angeles Marathon and I was doing 80% of my effort with an average pace of 5:40 minutes per kilometer and an average heart rate of 144 bpm.
On the following day, I did another 30-minute slow run at my 70% of my total effort with an average pace of 6:50 minutes per kilometer and an average heart rate of 135 bpm. However, after the slow run, I tried to do some “speed” intervals every lap just to measure the distance of the oval track with a rest/recovery of one minute. I did 4 X 400 meters with an average pace of 1:52 minutes per kilometer and the oval has a distance of 408 meters at the inner edge. I had an average of heart rate of 152 bpm. The dirt oval track has no designated lane number. After the intervals, I slowly jogged to the house and did my post stretching exercises.
I don’t know if all the runner-bloggers in the Philippines has a copy of the June 2009 issue of the Runner’s World Magazine. It would be nice if all of our runners, most expecially the beginners, has the chance to read the said magazine. In pages 65-69, the author of the article “Get On Track”, Erin Strout, has made a very good and very detailed presentation on everything a runner would know about an Oval Track from the definitions of terms on “speed” training, rules in using the oval, how to train at the oval, and workouts you can do. What is very important in this article is a pictorial/drawing of the oval with the RULES TO BE FOLLOWED. There is a Survey made with the question, “What’s your pet peeve on the track?” and the number one in the survey is, “Walkers In Lane One”. Very true! Everywhere not only at the ULTRA Oval Track!
Because of the overcast sky since Sunday and with a low temperature in the early morning, I usually do my running workouts at 10:00 AM when the clouds start to open up. I will have a one-day rest and resume my long runs this weekend.
Yes, I am preparing for the MILO Marathon Eliminations!
John Paul finished the 2009 LA Marathon Race in 4:40:07 hours with an average pace of 10:41.2 minutes per mile. He finished # 3,874 place among the 14, 204 Finishers; making him # 3, 087 out of the 9, 011 Male Finishers. Within his age category of 30-34 years old, he placed # 421 out of 1,006 runners. As compared from his Inaugural Pasadena Marathon, he was able to improve him finish time due to an accident that happened to him at the middle of the race where he had to walk and limp to the Finish Line. As compared to his time in the 2008 Los Angeles Marathon which was 4:55:14 hours, he was able to improve his time by 15 minutes. Although he was not able to put miles in his training due to the pressure of his work, he was able to finish the race with a decent time.
Jovelle was the happiest among us because she was able to improve her time with a faster finish time. In her previous LA Marathon Races, she would finish along the borderline of 5 & 6 hours and sometimes more than 6 hours, however, in last year’s San Francisco Marathon, she was able to finish the hilly race in 5:41:28 hours. In last Monday’s Los Angeles Marathon, she was able to finish the race in 5:03:43 hours. If only she did not stop and fall in line to use the portalet along the way…and drank some beer along the last few miles, she could have been within the sub-5 hour finish time. She attributed her improvement by almost 38 minutes with her increased weekly mileage up to 40-45 miles. I told her to strengthen her legs some more before she would introduce “speed” training to her training so that she will not experience any injury.
Jovelle’s finish time registered an average pace of 11:35.2 minutes per mile. She placed # 5,593 out of 14,203 runners who finished the race. She placed # 1,312 out of the 5,193 female finishers. In her age category of 25-29 years old, she placed # 239 out of the 716 female finishers.
John Paul & Jovelle are continously training again and they are registered to run the 2009 San Francisco Marathon which will be held on 26th July 2009. It will be their second time to join this race. Moreover, they are planning to join their first Bulldog 25K Trail Run this coming August.
I guess, I am really a “bad” influence to my kids!
What if there is death of a runner during a road/trail race in the Philippines?
During our Summer Training in Fort Magsaysay, Palayan City in 1971 while I was a first year cadet of the Philippine Military Academy (and about to become a sophomore), two of my classmates died while they were about to finish a 10-km road race. The reason for their death was due to “heat stroke” as there were no water stations along the route and worse, the race started late in the morning when the sun was up already on the horizon. The worse conditions of my classmates were compounded when the medical personnel at the camp’s hospital did not know how to cure or treat them as they showed symptoms of “heat stroke”.
I did not know if there was a thorough investigation conducted by my Tactical Officers and Commandant of Cadets at that time after the said incident. I really wanted to find out from the records of the Philippine Military Academy if there was any investigation conducted on the death of my classmates when I had the opportunity to be assigned there as the Head of the Intelligence and Security Department. But because of more pressing work that time (after the EDSA Revolt of 1986) and many security incidents that happened in the Academy, I was not able to have the time to deal on this case.
I could still relate in details what really happened to my two classmates on the day of the race as I was one of the roving “water boys” along the route. Maybe, I could write about my two classmates’ (Cadets Dollente & Llorono) ordeal as I saw them when they were suffering from “heat stroke” during the race and recall also the irresponsible acts and ignorance of the medical personnel who tried to cure and bring their body systems to normal condition. But that will be another story!
Let me go back to the topic on hand. Let me post this question and try to suggest or predict the reaction or action of everybody or the public. What if there is a death of a runner during or after a road race in the Philippines? Such death might be caused by “heat stroke”, “heart failure” of a runner, or an accident with any vehicle crossing the runners’ route, or due to anything you can think of.
The following will be my predictions of actions to be made by the Race Organizer and by the public:
1. As the Race Organizer and/or Race Director, he will see to it that he had done his best to give the outmost attention to the victim or runner by making sure that he would be brought immediately to the nearest hospital. If death to the runner occurs, he will say that he does not have any liability to the person because the runner signed a “waiver”. End of the story with regards to the responsibility of the RO/RD of the race!
2. Runner-Bloggers will have one or two weeks writing about the said incident.
3. The death incident will surely land on the Front Pages of broadsheets and not in the Sports Pages. It will also appear at TV PATROL, SAKSI, SOCO (?), and maybe, (who knows?) at ANC’s STRICTLY POLITICS & Carandang’s Reports (?).
4. A Senator or Congressman will deliver a “privilege speech” at the Senate/House of Representatives and maybe, just maybe, condeming the runner for not training properly, lambasting on the Road Organizer for not providing enough water and water cups to the runners and for the responsibility of scheduling a road race during hotter/summer months, and others..
5. This will end up with a Senate Hearing in “Aid of Legislation” and come up with a Bill to oversee the conduct of Road Races in the country. Of course, this investigation will be a nice “exposure” to those who have intentions of being elected to a higher office or for “name recall” purposes. (Note: I am not sure if I will be (again!) invited to these Senate & Congressional hearings as a Resource Person! ha! ha! ha!)
6. The running community will come up with a “Run For A Cause” to support the bereaved family of the runner. Or the running community will donate their share of some support to the family and children of the runner. Who knows his kids might be given educational scholarship and even employment by supportive corporations who have runners as their owners/executives? Better if the bereaved family will be made as guests at the noon time program “Wowowee”!
7. A “smart” Road Organizer or Corporate Sponsor might come up with a Road Race annually to honor the death of the runner and the proceeds will go to the Charity or Foundation in the name of the dead runner.
8. I am sure lesser number of runners will be joining the road races for some time but it will pick-up again after few months.
9. One of the Streets at The Fort will be named after the dead runner.
10. This incident will be a “wake-up call” to all Race Organizers to improve their services to the running community and not from the complaints, critiques and rants from the runner-bloggers.
11. A Blog will be created by a runner in the name of the dead runner to remind beginners and other runners to train properly and for the race organizers to provide the necessary logistical services and support to the running community during races.
12. Every road race will be made to have an insurance policy to cover every runner in a race or an enterprising insurance company will open an insurance policy plan exclusively for runners.
The items I mentioned above are my personal predictions or you might call my personal opinion just in case we have a death of a runner now that running is very popular in the country. I may be corny and sarcastic about this issue but we have to deal with such reality as many runners, whether they are beginners. competitors and even elite athletes have died in the past in the United States and other countries (to include an author of a running book that inspired more of the Americans to run in the 70s & 80s). Our Race Organizers/Race Directors will never learn their lessons and their logistics “lapses” to the runners not until something of catastrophic incident will happen to the running community during our weekly races.
7:31 AM 25 May 2009 @ Figueroa Street & 6th Street, Los Angeles, California
Most of my friends and readers were surprised to know that I ran the BOTAK 42K Marathon Race last 10 May knowing that I have the Los Angeles Marathon scheduled on my list of Road Races to participate into after 14 days of recovery. They don’t know that I was not serious to exert much of my effort in the BOTAK Run and I treated it as my long run in preparation for the bigger event which is the Los Angeles Marathon. Aside from that reason, I had predicted that the BOTAK 42 would be a failure in its administrative, technical, and logistics support for the runners by just looking at their race route. And I was right! The race was a failure in terms of a standard and well-organized Marathon Race but I accomplished what I intended to be attained–to make this race as my “long run” before tapering off for the LA Marathon.
At my age, who would dare to run two (2) Marathon Races in one month with 14 days in between? Hmm…I think it’s only the Bald Runner! (and my Ultramarathon runner-friends) Ha! Ha! Ha! This was the reason why I did not register for the TNF 100 Solo Run—I was already registered to run the LA Marathon way back during the last week of January 2009 (when TNF was not yet decided to conduct the said race!). And this point/issue shows a big difference of the major races done in other countries as compared to the schedule of races that we have in the Philippines. Major races in the USA are scheduled one year ahead while most of our major races are “knee-jerk” running activities where you have at least 2-3 months as lead time. I am sorry but this is the reason why the 2nd Bataan 102K Ultramarathon Race is already scheduled on March 5-6 next year and it will never be postponed.
Running the LA Marathon was a dream to me since its creation, 24 years ago. A year after the 1984 Los Angeles Olympic Games, the LA Marathon was born and I had been a spectator on this event whenever I was here for a vacation. Traditionally, the LA Marathon was held on the month of March but I usually come over here during the months of June or December but there are times when my December vacation would be postponed to January or February and I would stay up to the day of the LA Marathon. So, there was no chance for me to seriously consider running this marathon. The original route of the race, to include the 1984 Olympic Marathon, was 2 street blocks away from our place and I was just contented to watch the elite runners and other competitive runners passed along Sunset Boulevard.
Due to the change of ownership of the LA Marathon last year, it was decided that the March schedule was changed to the month of May. There had been a lot of debates and arguments about such change but the owner’s decision prevailed and had it scheduled on Memorial Day to honor their dead heroes and other soldiers who died in the line of duty, most especially those who are assigned across the seas. And so, my kids and I planned to run together again in a marathon race just like what we did last August 2008 in the San Francisco Marathon as early as January this year.
After I have acclimatized for one week since I arrived last 17 May by running under the cold and hot conditions in LA, I knew I was ready for the race. We woke up at 5:00 AM this morning and I did the usual “ritual” everytime I join a marathon race (except taking the Immodium tabs)…hot coffee, instant oatmeal, cereal with milk, hard-boiled eggs, and bananas. Shaved, took a shower, apply petroleum jelly on my feet, inner upper arms, and upper inner legs/groin part, tied the D-Tag on my shoe lace, and wore my running kit with my bib. We were out of the house at 6:40 AM and walked about 2 kilometers to the Starting Line.
I was amazed to see a lot of runners, more than the runners I saw in last year’s San Francisco Marathon. Almost a distance of 200 meters from the Starting Line up to the back was filled with runners and walkers. We immediately positioned ourselves about 100 meters from the Starting Line as more runners were packed like sardines in the front areas. After the singing of the Star-Spangled Banner, which could hardly be heard in our position, was sang by a choir and it was followed by a Prayer. The speech of the City Mayor followed and it ended with the blowing of the horn which officially started the race. The race started at 7:31 AM, a delay of 11 minutes from the scheduled time of start.
The weather was cool with a prevailing temperature of 60 degrees Fahrenheit and there was an overcast sky. It was a perfect weather for a marathon race! We started to walk towards the Starting Line as the runners at the front started to run and vacate the space where they were waiting before the race started. Even if we occupied the whole wide Figueroa Street, the runners were still shoulder-to-shoulder and tightly could not run or move faster. It took us almost 5 minutes and 35 seconds to finally cross the ChronoTrack Timing sensor at the Starting Line which activates our D-Tags tield on our running shoes and I simultaneously pressed the Start Button of my GF 305. My watch cooperated this time as I deleted some of the data stored in it and made sure that it was fully charged.
The whole stretch of Figueroa St going south covers the whole first mile and succeeding miles of the race. My pace was a slow one as the runners were still closely near with each other. I was forced to slow down because of the situation and I maintained my pace and imagined it as my warm-up run. I had to make a zigzag moves to prevent from bumping on some walkers who were mixed with the runners and who were located infront of us. I finished the first mile in 10:20 minutes and I panicked because it was a very slow pace for me. I started to calculate my finish time by making an average pace of 10 minutes per mile and I assumed that I could finish the race in 260 minutes or 4:20+ hours! I wanted to finish the race with a faster time than that! A group of Japanese drummers would fill the air with noise and rythmic beat as we reached the Staples Center. And that was the start of a festive and noisy environment along the route.
The roads along the route were completely asphalted roads and it is more comfortable to run with it than running on a concrete road. At this portion, the runners are still tight and there is a lack of space where I could overtake the runners infront of me. I just took my patience and slowly increased my pace as the road is slightly downhill and flat. You could see a lot of people along the sidewalk cheering the runners and the LA Police and other security units would be around to see to it that all runners are protected. The runners practically owned the whole street and there were no vehicular traffic crossing the street where were are. We are still along Figueroa Street and as I approached the end of mile 2, I could see that I have gained some speed and was able to shave off at least 30 seconds. I registered an average pace of 6:15 minutes per kilometer, a 9:00+ minutes per mile pace.
We are still along the Figueroa Street and I could see the entrance to the LA Olympic Stadium at my right and later I could see the stainless steel markings of the Exposition Park. The crowd of runners is slowly loosening and I was able to increase my pace. This is the part that I started to perspire but the cold air that is meeting us would slowly dry up my sweat. This is where I started to overtake more runners—some are teen-agers, lady runners, male runners older than my age, and US Armed Forces Veterans carrying the US Flag. Along this portion, I started to feel the urge to urinate as I drank a lot of water before leaving the house. I controlled it as the portalets along the way have a long line of runners waiting for their turn. Despite this situation, I had to drink water and Gatorade in every hydration station. I started to take in my first regular GU Sports Gel as I carried with me 2 regular GU and 3 GU Roctane and a pack of Cliff Shots (Chewable Electrolyte Source). My TNF Racing Shorts was equipped with side & back pockets where my ration was stashed. My right hand was holding my SONY Cybershot Digital Camera wrapped in a Ziplock Bag to prevent my sweat from going to the camera. I was able to shave off another 30 seconds from my average pace.
From the wide road of Figueroa, we turned right to a narrow road where there is a construction on the opposite side of the road. Even if it was a narrow, the space in between runners became bigger and had more chance to overtake a lot of runners. And then suddenly, after a series of turns, the first uphill climb would appear infront of the runners. I didn’t panic as I increased my pace by taking shorter and faster strides as I run through the uphill climb. I had to overtake more runners along this portion. After the climb, it was downhill and I was back on my usual stride and had to make my leg turn-over faster. I was registering a faster pace this time.
More spectators would cheer the runners by shouting, “You can do it”; “Looking good”; Runners! Go! Go! Go!; “Bald Runner, Wohoo”. Yes, a lady who was giving Gatorade drinks to the runners, saw my race bib and shouted those cheers! I guess, there were at least five people who saw my race bib and shouted “Bald Runner”. There was a mixture of Rock and Roll Bands and Mariarchis (Mexican Band) along the route and it was a delight to hear live music from these volunteers/spectators. As we passed along the Residential Areas, I saw the residents cheering and shouting to the runners. They even have banners and posters where they wrote greetings to the runners. Others would have their “coolers”/ice chests with them and gave cold bottled water and soda/sports drinks to runners who are in need. Wow, this is unbelievable. The whole community treated the Marathon Race as a festival with music, cheering, and drinks ligned up along the route and each of the resident-volunteers showed some hospitality to the runners. I had a steady pace along this portion as I passed more runners along the way.
Finally, I could no longer hold my urinary bladder and made a “bold” move on the ligned 6 portalets on the right side of the road. Instead of waiting on the line of runners standing infront of each portalet unit, I immediately went at the back of the portalets and relieved myself with my urine dropping at the grass. Another two white runners would follow me and relieved themselves, too! One guy would say, “Hey, that was a smart move’! I answered, “yes! the grass on the sidewalk needs some fertilizer” and both of us laughed. As I approached the 13.1 mile mark, there was a “carpet” for the RFID timing system that triggers my D-Tag to register my half-marathon split time and passed through it while checking at my GF 305. I saw that my watch registered a time of 2:03 hours and I panicked (again!). I wanted to have a finish time of sub-4 hours on this marathon race. I was already calculating to have a finish time of breaking the 4-hour limit but I recalled that the second half would be a harder task for me because the route is uphill up to the finish line. I tried to increase my pace by “shuffling” and counting the number of strides per minute and made the counting as my running “mantra”.
The distance in between runners would stretch at this part as some would be seen walking, other would be seen stretching their calves and legs along the sidewalk, and most of the runners would walk while drinking their water or Gatorade drinks. This part is really the hardest as more uphill climbs would challenge the runners. There was some relief for the downhill but it would take the runners for another uphill climb again. It was a roller coaster at this part. Volunteers along the route would ask each runner if they feel pain and they would spray Salonpas liquid on the parts where the runner would feel pain. Other volunteers would offer Vaseline Ointment or Petroleum Jelly for those who have problems on “chaffing”. Other volunteers would offere sliced fresh oranges and bananas, and sometimes candies. There is also a hydration point where volunteers would offer “ice cold beer” to the runners. I could just imagine if any of the volunteers in the Philippines would offer this kind of hydration to our runners. I am sure the Filipino runners would ask for the “pulutan” that goes with the “ice cold beer”! Ha! Ha! Ha! At this point, a familiar face overtook me and it was a 7-time Badwater Ultramarathon runner-finisher who was introduced to me by Joe Matias of the A Runners Circle Running Store (I forgot his name!). I would make him as my “target/benchmark” as we had a “see-saw” race on this portion of the route. He is a tall runner and he is fast.
I was surprised when one of the spectators shouted “Manny Pacquiao” when I passed him. Hmmm..I think he means that I am a Filipino! More cheers, more rock bands, more fruits and water along the way. I took my 2nd regular GU at Mile 6 and then started to take my 1st GU Roctane at Mile 10; my second Roctane at Mile 16; and my last one at Mile 22 which would carry me up to the finish line. The Cliff Shots were mostly taken from Mile 16 to Mile 24. At this point, I don’t feel any pain on my legs except for some slight pain on my left knee cap which disappears whenever I shift to my “shuffling” mode with faster frequency of strides. I really do not bend my knees when doing my “shuffling” and only lift my feet a few inches from the ground and I gain more speed and grounds by doing this and I would be relieved from the pain. It was still a slight uphill along the route. One of the volunteers would shout to the runners, “Dude, you have less than 10K run to go, the Finish Line is near”. Yes, dude, it is easy to say that if you are not running!
I managed to overtake more runners as these runners were positioned at the front before the start of the race. They are walking and some are having cramps. Others would run quickly to overtake and then stop and walk. The Badwater Ultramarathon runner would eventually build a considerable distance between us and he was able to position himself at least 300 meters ahead of me. He is the only runner who overtook me from the start of the marathon race at this point. As I was approaching Mile 25, I noticed a loud steps of a runner on my left who was about to overtake me and to my surprise, it was Dean Karnazes in person! I tried to keep up with his pace for about 800 meters and I greeted him and told him that I am the “Bald Runner”. He offered his hand and we had a handshake and started a conversation by asking him about his TNF 100 Australia experience. He told me that the TNF 100 was fine and challenging and I told him that the TNF 100 Philippines was held last weekend. I asked him if he is joining the upcoming San Diego 100-Mile Endurance Run and he said that he’ll not join the ultra running event as he will be running the San Diego “Rock & Roll” Marathon next Sunday. I checked on my GF 305 average pace while I was running with him and it registered a 5:00-minute per kilometer pace! I tried to keep up with his pace and I slowly faded with his blistering speed/pace as we are approaching the last 300 meters to the Mile 26 marker. It was my fourth encounter with the famous Karno since I met him at Badwater last July 2008. Dean Karnazes was the 2nd guy who overtook me during the duration of the race! In summary, those guys who overtook me were two (2) elite ultramarathon runners who are much younger than me.
As I reached the Finish Line, I stopped my GF 305 and saw the readings on the digital clock with a time of 4:13:02 hours. My GF 305 registered a time of 4:07:35 hours and my official Finish Time (Chip time) is 4:07:33 hours as posted on the Official Results. Not bad! If not for the heavy traffic of runners at the first half and the difficulty of the terrain on the second half, I could have reached the finish line in less than 4 hours. Anyway, it will be one of my objectives to improve my finish time in the coming days in preparation for the Milo Elimination Marathon Run on the first week of July.
Based from the Official Results, I placed #1,902 out of 14,185 finishers; # 1,630 out of 9,011 Male runners; and placed #47 out of the runners in my Age Category 55-59 years old. I registered an average pace of 9:26.6 minutes per mile.
In my GF 305, I registered an average pace of 5:48 minutes per kilometer and an average heart rate of 154 beats per minute. As for the distance, my watch registered a distance of 42.68 kilometers. I could have ran an extra distance of 500 meters!
Assessment & Conclusion
It was a blast and fun to experience running a marathon with almost 14,000 participants where infront and at your back is a “sea of runners”. The cooperation of the whole community and the support of the volunteers are awesome and phenomenal which is hardly experienced in the Philippines. What surprises me now is the fact that there are high-ranking influential and rich personalities in our society (they are in government service and some are in the corporate world) whose feats and finishes in international marathon races (like New York & Boston) for the past months and years had been published in the newspapers with their pictures on the front pages of our daily broad sheets but I don’t feel or see or heard from them any actions or initiatives to raise the bar or standards of helping or supporting our running events (especially an International Marathon Race in Manila) in the country which could attract international runners. You know already as to whom I am referring to. Kailan kaya tutulong ang mga ito? Kinakailangan bang maki-usap at lumuhod tayo sa kanila para tutulong at gagalaw sila?
As an advise to the hardcore runners and competitive ones who want to experience a memorable and “complaint-free” Marathon Race, save some money and travel to the United States and select one of the marathon events held in the cities along the Pacific States or in Hawaii. You can also try the New York Marathon or to any other marathon events in the USA where you are comfortable (where you have a relative who can support you in terms of accommodation and transportation). Once you experience joining one of the Marathon Races in the US, then you will know what I am talking about. Guys, forget Hongkong, Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, and other Asian city’s Marathon races, go to the USA and you will never regret it.
Lastly, I consider the XXIV Los Angeles Marathon a “perfect” marathon event.
In 12 Hours I will be joining my first Los Angeles Marathon. After this LA City Marathon had been conceived two decades ago, this will be the first chance that I’ll be running the famous marathon event in the western side of the USA. The LA Marathon was usually held on the month of March for the past years but because of reasons I don’t know, the new owners/management of this marathon event had it done on the celebration of Memorial Day for the whole USA.
Few hours ago, Dean Karnazes aka Ultramarathon Man arrived, on foot, at the LA Marathon Exposition for a brief Lecture and Book Signing which is being held at the LA Convention Center. Dean K started to run 100 miles from Santa Barbara, California and arrived at the LA Convention Center with a lot of runners waiting for him. After sleeping tonight, he will be joining the rest of the participants for the 7:20AM start tomorrow.
I will let the pictures do the explanation on my preparation for this event.
Of course, I will not forget my Bandana and Oakley Sunglasses!!!
Eduardo Villanueva of Team Bald Runner won as the Overall Champion in the TNF 100K Solo Run at Sacobia, Clark, Philippines. Ed Villanueva was also the Overall Champion in the 1st Bataan Death March 102K Ultramarathon Race held last April 5, 2009.
In the 100K Team relay, Cresenciano Sabal and Reynaldo De Los Reyes of Team Bald Runner also won Overall Team Champion in the said event.
Ed Villanueva received a cash prize of Twenty Thousand Pesos (P 20,000) and other Gifts from The North Face and other sponsors. The members of the 100K Team Relay also received a cash prize of Seven Thousand Pesos (P 7,000) each and other gifts from The North Face and other sponsors.
Congratulations!…”Good Job”!!! Mabuhay ang Team Bald Runner!!!
7:20 AM 23 May 2009 @ Sierra Madre, California (The 2nd Oldest Trail Race in the USA)
Last September 2008, I had a chance to run at the Mt Wilson Trail from Sierra Madre up to its peak and back to where we started with my son, John and then for the second time, with John, Jovelle, & Bryan. It was a memorable experience as it gave a challenge to all of us. Through this experience running along this trail, I found out that there is a yearly trail race event every month of May.
Actually, I’ve recalled this event when I was trying to browse for a trail race where I could register and run while I am here in California since last month. Due to its proximity to the Los Angeles Marathon’s race day, I opted not to register in this race and tried to look for another ultra trail race where I could join after the marathon. Finally, I thought of planning to go to Sierra Made for me to observe the race.
This morning, together with my son, John, we went to Sierra Madre to witness the start and finish of the 43rd Mt Wilson Trail Race. A few seconds before the race started, I was already on the sidelines taking pictures to the runners. At exactly 7:20 AM, as scheduled, the race started after a brief ceremony and briefing to the runners. After ten minutes, the race for the kids started and it was finished before the trail runners arrived. This is what I like with the races here, they start promptly on the scheduled start time of the race.
The Mt Wilson Trail Race started at the commercial center of Sierra Madre with the participation of 328 runners. It was a small race but the whole community was involved in the event. The youngest runner is a 10-year old boy and the oldest is 71 years old. The race is one of the attractions of Sierra Madre and most of the volunteers are senior citizens living in the area. It is a very organized race with the appropriate and adequate water stations along the trail. There were lots of food—fresh fruits, bread, pretzels and sports drinks at the finish area which were distributed by the volunteers to each finisher. The race is a 4.3 mile going up to the Orchard Place at Mt Wilson and another 4.3 miles in going down towards the Finish Line. Last year’s 1st place finish time was 1:01:53 hours.
I waited for the top 3 runners to arrive and I could see how strong the runners are. I observed that these top runners were using ordinary running shoes and nobody among these tops runners were using those sophisticated trail shoes. They are just being practical because they are running on loose soil, rocks, and small rocks and most of all, there was no rain.
I was also impressed how the children could run with or without their parent’s assistance during the kid’s race. Each of these kids really enjoyed crossing the tape at the finish line and I observed some of them would return on the road and experience crossing the tape for another round. These kids ran a distance of less than one mile. Very athletic and strong kids!
I had also a chance to inspect and observe the technical people at the finish line. The Emcee (a lady) kept on updating the status of the race from start up to the finish and I guess, she did not stop talking up to the awarding ceremony. The Emcee would tell to the crowd where the first/second/third runners and also the first lady runner are located along the route at a certain time. She gives the update every five minutes! There were no entertainers or singers during the event! I have also a chance to inspect the timing and digital clock devices. I observed that there were only 3 people involved in the timing system—one is operating a laptop computer and the other two guys were operating the digital clocks and the RFID system by ChronoTrack by checking these equipment if they are working. I suspect that these two guys are Filipinos but I did not dare to talk to them. I found out later that these people belong to one of the biggest road racing event companies in the USA/California. By observing how the race was going on, I was able to get some ideas which I think our Race Organizers/Race Directors in the Philippines should know and be able to apply in order to raise the quality of our road races. I would personally suggest to these Race Organizers in Metro Manila to spend some time to go abroad and observe how races in other countries are managed. The race results were posted on the website of the Race Event Organizer after 3 Hours reckoned from the time the race started.
The first runner, James Timphony, who happens to be the defending champion, on the said race arrived at the finish line with a time of 1:00:35 hours and he was able to improve his time last year by 1:18 minutes. He is 21 years old. The second runner arrived after 2 minutes and he is 35 years old. After almost ten runners had arrived at the finish line, my son and I left Sierra Madre for another appointment for the day. (Note: Because of the D-Tags tied on the shoes of each runner, the finishers were not wearing “strings/straws” or anything that would prove that they reached the turn-around point of the race!!!)
I have the impression that the race organizer have not offered any cash prizes for the winners. Each of the finishers receives a certificate and the Champions in the overall male and female categories are the only ones being given with trophies.
(Note: For more information and details about the race and the City of Sierra Madre, please “google” Mt Wilson Trail Race)
Silverlake Reservoir is a good 10-minute ride from my place and I had a run with my daughter after dinner. My daughter, Jovelle, had been running a lot in preparation for the Los Angeles Marathon on Monday. We started our run at 8:30PM with a prevailing temperature of about 64 degrees Fahrenheit. It was cold basing from my running weather standards in the Philippines but it was a nice weather for a run.
My warm-up run was about one kilometer with a pace of 6:30 minutes per kilometer and later increased my pace. I did not have any stretching anymore before I steadily increased my pace during the run. There were a few people along the running route and I only count about three people who are running and the rest of about four couples were walking with their dogs. There are portions of the route that are not lighted but the lights from the street posts would illuminate a portion of the running area.
Because of the nice and ideal weather for running, I started to sweat after running two loops of the route, which is equivalent to 7 kilometers. But once I perspired, it was a continous perspiration mixed with the cold air around. How I wished I could run some more but I did not want that my daughter would be waiting for me while her sweat and wet running attire would dry up.
I did four loops which registered in my GF 305 with a distance of 14 kilometers. I had a time of 1:23:45 hours. It was a slow run but I am happy that I could easily increase my pace during the run. I did some “fartleks” along the route as 3/4 of the whole loop is a dirt road. However, due to my slow warm-up run at the start and a slow cool-down run before I stopped the run, I was able to register an average pace of 6:00 minutes per kilometer. After the run, I did some stretching and waited for my daughter who did 3 loops for her running workout. I hope to have two more runs as my active recovery runs with a duration of 30 minutes each workout before the Los Angeles Marathon.
Running with a cold weather situation is a good activity to end the day.