Running In The Rain, LA Style & Annual National Running Day

5 06 2009

The lyrics of a song say that “it never rain in Southern California” but at the start of summer season here, I am surprised that the weather had been cloudy and overcast for the past days (since the LA Marathon). It is an ideal weather for running at the middle of the day as I am lazy to wake up early and dread the cooler temperature in the early morning. But the weather yesterday was different. After coming from my doctor’s appointment, it started to rain. I was surprised!

While at home, waiting for the rain/drizzle to stop, I decided to run after two days of rest and recovery. I have observed that after running easy long runs back-to-back (Saturday & Sunday) during the weekend, I need at least two days to rest and recover. It was my time do some stretching and upper-core body exercises. I wore my Nike Compression Shorts, TNF Shirt, Nike Lunaracer, Running Cap and my “cheap” arm warmers which I bought from a walking vendor along Lawton Avenue at 35 pesos a pair as compared to the more expensive Moeben arm sleeves! By the way, I got 3 pairs for the price of One Hundred Pesos Only. This is the same arm sleeves that those motorcylists and tricycle drivers use in Metro Manila.

After doing a brief stretching exercises inside the house, I went out of the house with a slow run. After running almost 3 blocks, I started to pick-up my pace and proceeded to the Echo Park running route. As I was about to reach the Park, it started to rain and I temporarily went inside a shade at the side of the street. There was this (white) guy with a road race bike (who looks like a messenger in his early 20s) who was also inside the bus stop shade and busy scanning his folded road map of LA. And the guy asked me for some directions as to where he could reach the Downtown Area. I gave him the details on what street he has to take and warn him to be careful riding on his bike as the road was slippery. When the rain temporarily stopped, the bike rider and I left the shade and I went to the Echo Park Loop.

After running for about 500 meters, I started my tempo run for about 30 minutes with an average pace of 4:48-5:00 minutes per kilometer. Three-fourths of the loop is plain and there is a slight uphill for the rest of the loop. There were not much runners/joggers at the Park because of the rains. I tried my best to maintain my pace and there are portions along the route that I could pick-up my pace up to 4:18-4:25 minutes per kilometers. I was doing some “fartlek” along the way as I counted my strides up to 90, making sure that I was running at 180 steps in every minute.

What is good when I run at Echo Park or at Silverlake Reservoir or Elysian Park trails, there are water sources or “water fountains” (I am not sure of the correct term or words) along the route where anybody could press the button and drink from it with potable water! With these permanent fixtures on the Parks here, there is no need for me to bring my hydration belt. Instead, I just bring with me some cash in case I need to buy Gatorade in one of the nearby grocery stores. So, every time I finish 3 loops of the Park, I always see to it that I hydrate myself with these water fountains! Well, in the Philippines, we are better off in terms of our “water fountains”. We can simply get inside the Starbucks Coffee or Jollibee or McDonalds and ask for an Ice-Cold Water with the proper drinking glass!!! hahaha! But we are simply lacking and poor in terms of coming up with parks where we could run. Yes, we have parks but they are Memorial Parks and Cemeteries! Very sad, indeed!

After a tempo run of 30 minutes, I slowed down my pace to 5:15-5:30 minutes per kilometer and ran another 30 minutes. It was still raining and at the same time I was sweating hard. I could hardly feel the cold temperature in the air as my body’s heat was trying to balance my body temperature and with the help of those “cheap” arm sleeves that I was wearing. Finally, I finished my run at the Park with a distance of 13.2 kilometers with a time of 1:11:06 hours, with an average pace of 5:23 mins/km. It is a matter of time that I can reach and run comfortablywith an average pace of 11.5 kms/hour, my target pace for the MILO Marathon Eliminations. For this run, I was able to register an average pace of 11.1 kms/hr.

After taking my last sip of water at the Park, I made another loop at the Park and proceeded to my favorite uphill climb along the Beverly Blvd, fronting the Belmont High School. As I crossed towards the Beverly Blvd, I saw the guy who asked for directions 1 1/2 hours earlier, waiting for the red street/traffic lights to turn into green. I asked him if he was able to reach his destination and he said, “Yes, thanks! How was your run?” I replied to him, “Perfect run” as I passed him and went to his opposite direction.

The distance from the Park to the lowest part of this particular uphill climb is 1.2 kms. From the lowest portion up to the peak of the climb has a distance of 178 meters and I can estimate that it has a uphill grade of about 6-7 (just imagine that you have a setting of 6 or 7 incline on your treadmill machine). I did 5 X 178 meters where I slowly jogged going back to where I started. These were the results of my hill speed repeats taken from my average pace per run and its corresponding average HR:

1)  5:20 mins/km—153 bpm

2)  4:51 mins/km—150 bpm

3)  4:34 mins/km—153 bpm

4)  4:34 mins/km—155 bpm

5)  4:19 mins/km—155bpm

As my cool-down run, I jogged for about 1 km around the streets/blocks near my place before doing my post-stretching exercises. When I entered the house, my son was already home and just arrived from his work and he told me that I am “crazy” running in the rain!

Yes, I am “crazy”. Wait till I start training for my first “100-Mile” Trail Endurance Run! Ha! Ha! Ha!

I was able to run a total distance of 16.2 kilometers (10 miles). I nice way to celebrate the annual “The National Running Day” (For the USA). Maybe, we can also recommend to our government officials (attention goes to our physically active and athletic Senators and Congressmen) to come up with our own version of an annual National Running Day in order to promote awareness on the benefits of running and develop among us an active physical lifestyle. This will be a nation-wide activity where local government units are directed to come up with running activities and lectures/seminars among their constituents. Would you imagine if you have a running club in every town/municipality in the country?

Well, if there is no positive reaction on this suggestion, then I firmly believe that the definition of “running” among our politicians and government’s elected officials, is “running” as candidates to an elective position!!! I can easily predict that a smart politician would say that there is no need for a National Running Day for the whole country because we already have our National & Local Election Day (yon nga lang, every 3 years)!!! Ha! Ha! Ha!

P. S. Good Luck & Best Wishes to Ben Gaetos, Rick Gaston, Carmela Layson and to the rest of the Pinoy Ultra Runners living in California who will be participating (as runners and crews/pacers) in the San Diego 100-Mile Endurance Run (SD 100) this coming Saturday!!!

Meals/Food for Yesterday (June 3, 2009)

Breakfast:  None (due to Medical Tests)

Lunch:  Steamed Rice; Left-Overs (Sinigang na Salmon Head & Pork Adobo); Fresh Mango & Banana

Snacks:  GNC’s AMP Amplified Muscle Meal with Banana (Blended with Water & Ice)

After The Run:  20 Fluid Ounces of Gatorade & Lots of Water

Dinner:  Steamed Rice; Sauteed Clam (Shell) Meat with Kangkong; Fish Chips; Ripe Fresh Mango & Banana

Before Going To Bed:  Vitamic C Tablet & 3 tablespoons of Organic Honey

A Visit To My Doctor

4 06 2009

The last time I visited my doctor here in Los Angeles was August last year before I ran the Bulldog 50K. Not that I prefer to have my annual medical check-up here abroad but I have the privilege to be included in the medical insurance of my family plus the fact that there is better service/attention and efficiency of the physicians here (no red tape and so much waiting long line and time).

It was a quick and simple visit which included an extraction of my blood sample into 2 big vials/tubes; got a sample of my urine, took my blood pressure and weight by a lady medical assistant. Finally, the doctor and I had a conversation while he updated my medical file with his laptop computer with a touch screen monitor and finally took stethoscope to hear my heart beats on my breast and back. The doctor said that I have a healthy and athletic body. Of course, the doctor, who is a Filipino, knows that I run marathons and ultras as he is also a runner. The doctor had been our family doctor for almost two decades.

The results of my blood tests will be known next week. The results will show everything to include the condition of my prostate glands. I don’t want to be in the situation of Dr George Sheehan (old runner & writer) and General Norman Schwarzkopf, Jr (Military Commander) who had cancer of the prostate gland. Well, this is an advise to the older male runners and maybe, retired generals or officers in the military service, to have a regular check-up and PSA test to their prostate glands. If the ladies have their breast and cervical cancers, the men have also a prostate cancer as an equivalent illness. As for the Hardcores, you have the option to better start having this test. There is no truth to the “hearsay” that you can get a prostate cancer if your manliness is “overused or underused”.  You must be within the average or moderate user! ha! ha! ha! Seriously, you can get it through the food you eat & your kind of lifestyle, hormonal imbalance, age, and due to race (Blacks are highest victims, whites as moderate, and Asians are the lowest victims). Please don’t depend to the idea that since you are an Asian, you will be least susceptible to prostate cancer.

While I will get the results of my blood test next week, it will be my schedule also to have my X-ray examination. The visit to the doctor was done in less than 30 minutes! I went home immediately for my brunch. I did not eat any food since midnight before my visit to the doctor. Finally, I suggest that runners above the age of 40 years old should have their annual medical check-up. If you regularly change your running shoes to a new one, it would also be better to have your body for a medical check-up on a regular basis. Just think of yourself as a sleek. shiny, and fast Sports Car, its powerful V-8 turbo-charged engine is your body and the tires are your running shoes!

Yesterday, I recalled the comment of Rick Gaston aka 365Ultra in one of my posts last month when Ronnie aka Runner For Christ asked me what is inside my legs; where Rick was asking me about the food I eat. I answered Rick’s comment that I am an Ilocano who is fond of vegetables and meat recipes from the North until I had an attack with “gout”. For one year, my diet was limited to vegetables, fish & limited seafoods, chicken, eggs, tofu, pasta/noodles, and fresh fruits. However, I had to take supplementary drinks from Ensure and multi-vitamin & mineral tablets for me to sustain my training/preparation for the BDM 102K and other long distance races.

Starting today, I will be posting my daily “fuel” to support my training for my incoming running adventures. By the way, my weight before the 2009 LA Marathon was 138.6 lbs, however, at this time, my weight had increased to 140.4 lbs. I hope to maintain the 140-lb weight as my running average weight.

The following was the composition of my meals and supplements yesterday, 02 June 2009:

Breakfast: Coffee with Milk; 3 pieces of Ube Hopia; and Cereals with Milk

Snacks: Lots of Water

Lunch: Pork Adobo; Salmon’s Head Sinigang with Bitter Gourd (Ampalaya) and Steamed Rice

Snacks: Lots of Water

Dinner: Bacon & Swiss Burger with French Fries & Coca-Cola

Before Going To Bed: Vitamin C (1,000 Mg) & 3 tablespoons of Organic Honey.

Elysian Park Trail Run; Gym Workout; & Easy Long Run

2 06 2009

10:30 AM 30 May 2009 @ Elysian Park

Thanks for the tip from Ben Gaetos regarding the Elysian Park Trails. I was able to make confirmation from my daughter about the said trail after she told me that she had a chance to visit the place last year. My son simply gave me the direction on what street to take to be able to reach the place. And after “googling” the place, I was able to get the details about the streets that lead to the place.

I left my place in the morning of last Saturday at about 10:30 AM as the sky was still overcast and the temperature was still in the low 60 degrees Fahrenheit. I started slow during the early part of my run until I reached the uphill road at Scott Street that leads to the Elysian Park. Running along Scott Street from Echo Park and Glendale Boulevard was already a very challenging uphill climb. I never stopped running until I reached the said park.

Being my first time to visit the place, I took the right road which is closed to vehicular traffic and started going uphill and tried to look for those trails. I later found a fire road and followed it to where it will end and then followed some trails good for one person. I just did a clockwise run along these trails until I was back where I started along the end of Scott Street. There was another fire road on my left and I started to run into it and I found out that this is the more popular fire road for the walkers. I would overtake a lot of walkers with their dogs, small and big, and meet also walkers on this fire road with and without their dogs. After running about one kilometer on this fire road, I observed that I was the only one running along the trails! There was this steep and winding downhill part of the trail which ends in the switchback (leading to more plain trail) with some woods buried across the road to prevent erosion every ten meters along the trail. This fire road was a rolling one and it ended near the entry to the park from Stadium Way Street. After taking some pictures of the place and drinking some water from my Nathan Hydration Belt, I decided to cross the Stadium Way Street and go for the higher part of the park.

As I crossed the street, I took the trail on my left and it was a trail which is good for one person. As I maintained my running pace on this trail, I could see Highway 5 on my left (way down below my feet!) where I could hear the noise of cars and vehicles passing along the busy National/Federal Highway. I was practically running along the edge of the mountain! I could see more walkers along the trail who gladly went to the sides, allowing me to pass as I greeted them and I kept on running until I ran more trails and finally led me to where I started after crossing the Stadium Way Street. After reaching my starting area, I had to retrace the trail I had taken and went all the way to the top again of the mountain and took the trail back.

I crossed the Stadium Way Street once again and retraced the fire road and went to that “challenging steep winding downhill” part and try to run up to the top without walking. With much determination and positive attitude, I was able to run through this part of the fire road without stopping. Later, I was able to reach Scott Street where I started. I slowly jogged around the visitor’s park and parking area and orient myself and see where the trails are located.

I knew I had 2 hours of run along the trails and it was time to go back. From the Stadium Way Street, I took Scott Street and back towards Glendale Blvd. I took another loop at Echo Park where I replenished my water supply before proceeding to my favorite uphill climb (near Belmont High School) where I do my hill repeats before proceeding at the house.

I was able to run a distance of 22.22 kilometers (almost 14 miles) in 2:30 hours with an average pace of 6:45 minutes per kilometer. I was surprised to observe that I was “sunburned” even with the overcast sky and lower temperature during my workout run! I finished the race at 1:00 PM and immediately took my lunch. It was a nice workout. This will be my alternate trail run location but I still need to go to Griffith Park Trails for a higher altitude/elevation  workout. However, what is good about Elysian Park is that I can run along its trails for hours and it is very near to my place. Next time, I will bring food provisions in my backpack in my next runs and run along its trails for 3-4 hours.

Everything Is Colored "Brown" In The Mountains of South California

Everything Is Colored "Brown" In The Mountains of South California

Is This A House or Church?

Is This A House or Church?

A Fire Road At The Right Side of the Park From Scott Street

A Fire Road At The Left Side of the Park From Scott Street

Entrance Of the Park From Stadium Way Street

Entrance Of the Park From Stadium Way Street

Graffitis On Rocks Along The Single Track Trail

Graffitis On Rocks Along The Single Track Trail

Oh, That Uphill Climb!

Oh, That Uphill Climb!

My TNF Arnuva 50 BOA Road/Trail Shoes

My TNF Arnuva 50 BOA Road/Trail Shoes

Venue For My Hill Repeat Drills & Workout

Venue For My Hill Repeat Drills & Workout

9:30 AM 31 May 2009 @ Gold’s Gym

My son and I went to Gold’s Gym at Downtown LA for a 1-hour workout. I did my core muscle and upper body workouts for one hour. I was surprised to see the overall set-up of the gym to have changed for the better since I had my last visit last year. The gym had a bigger space and more equipment. There was no “traffic’ in the use of the equipment as more options had been added due to more equipment. Before going to the gym, I was already set to do my rituals for my core muscles and my upper body muscles. It was a very fast workout with easy and light weights so that I will not strain my muscles after almost three months without any weight-lifting workouts.

After the gym workout, we returned to the house and I cooked pork adobo for our lunch. It was rest time after lunch!

Very Hot Pork Adobo!

Very Hot Pork Adobo!

7:00 PM 31 May 2009 @ Echo Park & Silverlake Reservoir

At this time here, the sun is still shining and it will take another one hour for the sunset to finally arrive.  I decided to have an easy long run. I had an easy and slow start as I started to jog towards the Echo Park and did one loop and finally decided to go to the Silverlake Reservoir loop. After one loop at the Silverlake Reservoir, I started to feel the urge to relieve my urinary bladder but it became problematic when I found out that the comfort rooms at the Park were closed. I tried to control my bladder until such time that it became too dark and saw to it that there were no runners/walkers who would see me going to the thick bushes to relieve myself. I did it successfully without any problems! Sometimes, you need to take the risk when emergency comes. At least, my “style” is better than the video clip of Paula Radcliffe peeing on the street while she was running a marathon race! ha! ha! ha!

I did 4 1/2 loops around the Silverlake Reservoir before going back to Echo Park and finally proceeding home. I did another loop at the Echo Park and slowly had my cool-down run a block away from the house. I did my post-stretching exercises before entering the house. My GF 305 registered a distance of 23.10 kilometers (14.4 miles) with a time of  2:29:11 hours with an average pace of 6:40 minutes per kilometer.

I will take a day-off tomorrow for my stretching and Pilates exercises. It was a nice weekend.

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