BR & Kilian Jornet @ WS 100

There were three reasons why I went to the US. First, to join/participate in the 2011 Miwok 100K Ultra Trail Run in Marin Headlands where I ended as one of the Volunteers. Second, to make a recon on the route and watch the top finishers of the prestigious 2011 Western States 100-Mile Endurance Race. And, third, to have a rest and vacation from running. It is a blessing in disguise that I was injured last March during my adventure from from “West to East”.

Looking Like A Lost Tourist At Foresthill

Last weekend, I drove from Los Angeles to Foresthill, California and later to Auburn’s Placer High School Oval Track where the finish line of the Western States 100-Mile Race is located. The distance I’ve traveled was about 450 miles which took me for about 10 hours to include my pit stops along the way. After not being able to locate the exact location of the Foresthill High School where one of the Aid Stations was located, I opted to finally wait at the Finish Line.

While Waiting At The Finish Line

After one hour of waiting, the 1st runner arrived and it was Spain’s Kilian Jornet in 15:34:23 hours. He was followed by Mike Wolfe after 4-5 minutes and then Nick Clark, Jez Bragg, and Tsuyoshi Kaburaki of Japan. I left the place after Kaburaki finished the race.

After Crossing The Finish Line, Kilian Turned Around To the Cheering Crowd

While Kilian Jornet was interviewed by the Race Director Greg Soderlund, I had a chance to have a conversation with a nice guy who was standing beside me on the gallery. I was surprised to know that he was the Champion runner in the 1989 Western States edition! I guess, we talked for about 30 minutes that I forgot to track down Kilian Jornet with the crowd. My conversation with this interesting guy will be reserved in a dedicated post in this blog.

Finally, I tried to locate Kilian by trying to find his support team’s vehicle at the parking lot and I thought I missed the opportunity to talk and have a picture with him. But I was surprised to find out that he was still inside the perimeter of the oval track. I was able to track him as he came out from the bathroom!

If I am 145 lbs, Kilian Must Be 135 lbs!!!

I talked to him and wished him with a big congratulations! And he replied positively and he was smiling. We had a brief conversation and he was still fresh and looked like he did not run for the past 15 1/2 hours for a distance of 100 miles in the mountain trails. I requested for a picture with him and he was very cooperative. We talked briefly after the shots and other people from the audience requested also for some pictures with him before he left the oval track compound.

Let me describe how he ran the last 50 yards to the finish line. He started to brisk walk and had “high fives” with the audience on the right side of the oval track. He was also congratulated with handshakes with the people before the finish line. After those handshakes and “high fives”, he simply walked and crossed the Finish Line and turned around and raised his hands towards the cheering audience on the track and on the grandstand. He was smiling and he was looking fresh!

Another Picture With The 2011 Western States 100-Mile Run Champion

After standing on the weighing scale to get his weight, he was awarded with his medal and congratulated by the Race Director. Immediately, he was interviewed by the RD and his answers were heard by the crowd. He was simply a humble and happy guy!

Looking at him within a distance of 5-7 meters, I could see that he is as tall or short like my elite runners with Team Bald Runner. It appears that the has the same size/built and height with Alquin Bolivar and Alley Quisay. I have the notion that our size as Asian has the potential to train and excel in this kind of race. Knowing that Kilian is considered as the youngest winner in this race at the age of 23 years old, it defies the odds that ultra runners are best when they are more matured or older in age.

As he left the oval track’s compound towards his support vehicle, I could see that he was walking normally without any sign of limping.

It was an amazing sight of a young, strong, and fast ultra mountain trail runner.


Ultra Running Updates (WS100 & RAM)

If you have read the book of Dean Karnazes, Ultramarathon Man, you would know that on the last Saturday of June of every year, the prestigious Western States 100-Mile Endurance Run from Squaw Valley, California near Lake Tahoe to Auburn, California is being conducted and lots of ultra trail running enthusiasts and runners are glued on the webcast and latest running news sources just to be able to know the activities before, during and after the run.

WS 100 Logo

A final count of 415 participants will be at the starting line as the race would start at 5:00 AM of Saturday. These participants had been picked up/selected through lottery as applicants should be qualified from their past ultra trail races in 100K, 50-mile, and 100-mile races. To give you an example of one of the qualifying standards to apply in this race, you must be able to finish a 50-mile trail run in less than 11 hours! However, if you are qualified in one of the qualifying races, it does not mean that you will be accepted as you have to go through the selection process which is called lottery.

The race has an international flavor and coverage as 52 of the runners are represented from 25 countries. It is worthy to note that there are 2 from China; 2 from Japan; 1 from South Korea and another 1 from Singapore. I would say that in two to three years, a local Filipino ultra runner would be able to qualify and participate in this prestigious 100-mile ultra trail race.

The race’s prestige goes with the price of joining it. The registration fee is $ 375.00 which is paid up front when you apply. However, if you are not selected in the lottery, your payment will not be charged in your credit card. Coming from the Philippines to join this race will entail a lot of fortune! I just hope that one of the outdoor brands or sports stores in the country would be able to sponsor one runner to represent the country in this prestigious trail running event.

So, if you browse the internet on the different blogs of ultra runners and other ultra running resources online, you would feel the hype and concentrated interest on this race. Foremost topic now is to who will win the men’s and/or women’s race. The 2010 edition of the race is still the “most talked” about event in the ultra trail running history as three of the top ultra trail runners in the world (Kilian Jornet of Spain, Anton Krupicka, and Geoff Roes) battled it out for the top finisher in the race. The race resulted in the breaking of the previous record time by Geoff Roes (Champion) and Anton Krupicka with a time of 15:07:04 hours and 15:13:52 hours, respectively.

My prediction is that Geoff Roes will get the top honors, followed by Kilian Jornet of Spain, Ian Sharman of Great Britain, Nick Clark of Great Britain, Hal Koerner (WS 2009 & 2007 Champion), Dave Mackey, and Mike Wolfe, in that order.

As for the ladies, I am predicting Ellie Greenwood for the Lady Champion, followed by Nikki Kimball, Anita Ortiz, Aliza Lapierre, Pam Smith (2011 Miwok 100 Champion), and the following lady runners—Tracy Garneau, Amy Sproston, Meghan Arbogast, and ARC’s Maggie Beach.

As for most of the runners, their aim is to get the Western States 100-Mile  Silver Belt Buckle for finishing in 24 hours or less. And the rest would aim to finish the race within the cut-off time of 30 hours and bring home the Bronze Belt Buckle.

WS 100 Silver Buckle

You can google the names of the above elite runners to find out their training, strategy, and expectations on the said race. If you want to know more about the activities in this race, you can visit the event’s website at

In a related ultra running event, there is a multi-day stage “Run Across America Race” that started last Sunday, June 19, 2011 in Huntington Beach, Los Angeles, California and it will end in New York in 70 days, covering a distance of 3,200+ miles. There are 16 participants in this race and I am reading the blog of one of the participants, James Adams from Great Britain, about his daily experiences along the route and the race. If you are interested to read his blog, you can click Running And Stuff (RAM) on my Blogroll.

I am surprised that this Race is very organized and well-planned. There is a Race Organizer Group that really administer and supervise the runners as they progress through the race. I am going to attach this year’s LA-NY Roadbook to prove that a registration fee of $ 6,500 is worth the experience if you are interested in this kind of road race. However, the race’s Racebook compilation of detailed directions and maps is already a treasure to keep! I hope my Pinoy Ultra Runners who have plans of doing their Run Across America would be happy to have a copy of this Roadbook as their reference.

If ever some of the Pinoys who pronounced and relayed to us that they ran across America (in the past) would read this post, I would ask them (again!) to show us their detailed directions, maps of route they have taken, and their daily stories and experiences on the road. If you happen to know them, please relay this information.


Update: PAU Fort Magsaysay 60K Run

Update: PAU Fort Magsaysay 60K Run (July 16, 2011)

This is the 2nd PAU Race for the year (2011) and it will start at the 7th Infantry Division Headquarters of the Philippine Army inside Fort Magsaysay, Palayan City (Nueva Ecija) at 5:00 AM of July 16, 2011. The Assembly Time will be at 4:00 AM and Race Bibs will be distributed to the registered runners during this period before finally starting race.

There are 223 applicants to this race as listed in the PAU Races’ site at and acceptance of application had been CLOSED since the last week of May 2011. We are expecting 223 runners who will finally register to run the said race. If ever there are slots to be vacated (from the 223 slots) due to non-registration of applicants, such slots could be filled-up with late registrants before the start of the race.

Registration and payment of registration fee can be done at the A Runner’s Circle Store located at Aloha Hotel, Roxas Boulevard, Manila or simply deposit the registration fee of Nine Hundred Pesos Only (P 900.00) to LANDBANK Savings Account # 1686-0795-85 and keep the deposit receipt for confirmation of your payment. Bring your deposit slip and present it to our staff to claim your Race Bib on Race Day. Deadline of Registration/Payment of Registration Fee is July 13, 2011 or before the Closing Time of the ARC Store on the said date.

There will be no late registration on Race Day (if all the 223 applicants had registered and paid their registration fees).

Starting Area of the 60K Run (7th ID Headquarters)

Rules and Regulations of the Race:

1. The race will start on or before 5:00 AM of July 16, 2011.

2. There will be No Aid Stations along the route. Runners are “self-supported” in this race. Runners may bring their respective support vehicle and/or support crew. Support vehicles should always “leap-frog” their runner/s. Support Vehicle shadowing their runner/s is strictly not allowed. Reports of such incident will be a ground for disqualification from the race. Support Vehicle must always park on the right shoulder of the road.

3. Pacers are not allowed in this race. Support crew will be there to simply hand in the needs of the runner-participant or help/assist on the needs of the runner. Support crew are not “mules” for the runner-participant.

4. Runners without any support vehicle can run the race on “self-support” and they are allowed to ask assistance from other runners. The route has a lot of local convenience stores and eateries but they have to pay for their own needs.

5. Runners are advised to run on the left side of the road, however, they could also have the option to run on the right side. Stay safe and be observant on your surroundings while running.

6. There will be no restrictions on the use of earphones and “wires” attached to the runner. However, the volume of such earphones should be set on a lower tone for the runner to still hear what is happening to his/her surroundings.

7. Strictly, “bandits” will not be allowed in this race.

8. Race Bib should be displayed in front of the runner’s shirt or shorts. Runners who are using race belts must be always aware that their race bib is always on the front. There will be “secret marshals” who will be listing your number on different locations along the route.

9. If possible, runners must be on “single-file” or two runners abreast, if there is no incoming traffic on the road. Personal discretion and judgement are needed on how a group of runners run along the route. Safety is the foremost consideration on this race.

10. Cut-off time for the 60K Run is 9 hours. The Official Finishers of this race should be able to cross the Finish Line on or before 2:00 PM of the same day.Finish Line will be at the View Deck at Dingalan, Aurora, specifically at the vicinity of the GINA’s Restaurant & Resort.

11. Official Finishers will receive Finisher’s Medal, Finisher’s T-Shirt, and Finisher’s Certificate.

Finish Line Area in Dingalan, Aurora (GINA's Place & Resort)
Finish Line Area @ GINA's Place & Resort In Dingalan, Aurora

12. There will be Medical Team/s and Ambulance/s deployed along the route. However, runners must bring with them basic First Aid Kit as a “stop-gap” measure on the brief period before the arrival of the Medical Team.

13. Do not look for portalets along the route! There is a vast space of vegetated areas and tracts of land along the route and they need “fertilizer”. Make sure you are covered or hidden by the terrain or trees during these “spraying” and “depositing” moments.

14. In case of emergency and other incident reports to be relayed to the Race Director, calls and/or text messages shall be sent to this number—0918-910-0825. Sender must be able to identify himself/herself if message is sent through SMS.

15. The integrity of the race shall be maintained. Reports of cheating will be investigated immediately and runner/s involved shall be disqualified from the race and future races of the Bald Runner’s Events Management and PAU Races. Runners are deputized to report acts of cheating and/or violation of the race’s rules and regulations.

16. If you are new in ultra marathon and this is your first ultra road race, be prepared to submit a copy of a Medical Certificate or a Doctor’s Certificate stating therein that you are capable of participating in any endurance sports like long distance running and that you don’t have any heart-related ailments. Such Certificate shall be submitted to our Staff at the Starting Area.

17. It is the personal responsibility of each runner to arrange for his/her trip/travel arrangement or itinerary to the venue of the activity and lodging accommodation before and after the race.

Last reminder: We always maintain our signature/reputation of starting the race ON or BEFORE the scheduled start time. Arrive at the Race Venue ahead of time.


Squat Test

Last month, I was able to get a free copy of the Competitor Magazine and one of the featured articles is about Kelly Starrett’s stretching methods and workouts which are featured in his blog at In his blog, he promised his readers that he will post stretching exercises on a daily basis which started sometime in August of last year.

What impressed me most is his 10-minute “squat test” which he featured in his first “you tube” post in his blog. And for the past week and days, I’ve been dong this workout on a daily basis. On my first day, I could hardly bend my legs due to the tightness of my left lower quads, calf and knee (due to my injury). I could hardly complete a 2-minute duration of half-squat. I admit I cheated on my first day by trying to tip-toe my feet while bending my legs on half-squat. It was really painful and challenging that I have to sweat it out before finishing a duration of 2 minutes. I was not able to complete the 10-minute squat test on my first day!

Persistence and patience did it and after 10 days, I could already fully squat with my feet flat on the floor but I have to either use the wall as my anchor on my back or hold the legs or edge of a heavy table while keeping myself on a squat position for continuous duration of 10 minutes.

I am happy to say that I got positive results for the past 3 days. My tight quads and calf had loosen and I could no longer feel any pain on my left knee while walking or jogging. I would say that the daily 10-minute squat test is very effective in treating my injury.

As what Kelly Starrett has recommended, I have been strictly following his basic instructions for injured runners/athletes on their lower extremities. Aside from the daily 10-minute squat test, these are his key instructions:

1. Hydrate your body tissues. The formula is to divide your weight in pounds by two and the result is the number of fluid ounces your have to normally drink everyday. If you are involved in running or any endurance sports, you have to drink 16 fluid ounces for every hour of workout. Right now, my weight is 146 pounds, by dividing it to 2, the result is 73. That is 73 fluid ounces of water! If there are 33.8 fluid ounces in one liter, then you can do your math as to how many liters of water you have to drink every day.

2. Take some supplements. He recommends Glucosamine and Omega Oil (Fish Oil) as daily supplements for one’s nutrition needs. He says that these supplements lubricate the joints, reduce inflammation and speed recovery.

3. Follow the Mobility Workout of the Day as featured in his blog.

Desperately wanting to speed up my recovery from my injury, I’ve been a “sucker” to Kelly’s method and instructions. I’ve been following his instructions for the past two weeks (to include the supplements) and I am recovering fast. One more week of “squats” and I would be back again pounding my feet on the ground.

If you are interested to follow the Mobility Workouts of the Day of Kelly Starrett, you can click the MobilityWOD on my blogroll.

The following “you tube” clip was Kelly Starrett’s first blog post on the 10-minute “squat” test.

Bohemian Rhapsody

Do you remember this song?

It was a part of my Playlist in my Ipod and always hear this song during my running workouts and road races. And I really liked it and it brought some strength and power in me in my road races. This song really drives me to exert some more effort because of its music composition, style and some understanding of the lyrics.

But two years ago, I just simply dropped using the “wires” during my workouts and road runs and completely forgotten the song in my mind. However, lately, while recovering from my injury, the thing to do was to browse the Internet and watch/listen to “live” concerts of famous singers on You Tube. Actually, I am fond of watching Shirley Bassey’s Concerts on her younger days, watching her sing the song, Never, Never, Never and her rendition of the songs from the James Bond 007 movies in the past. You can watch her sing the rest of her songs here and here!

Well, that shows how old I am and I am pretty sure that my contemporaries (my age group) will be happy to watch and listen to these old songs which bring back good memories in the past. Guys, you know who you are!

One thing led to another until I thought of the song, Bohemian Rhapsody by Queen.

I first heard of this song during my first R & R (Rest & Recreation) as a Platoon Leader from the combat areas of Maguindanao in December 1975 (barely 10 months after graduating from the Academy). It was the same time when Disco Music was so popular on the radios then. But the song, Bohemian Rhapsody, stands out then as a Rock Song which is totally different from the standard rock songs of other bands, like the Beatles, Dave Clark 5, Herman’s Hermits, Rolling Stones, Procul Harum, Deep Purple and others. From then on, this song was one of my favorites where the CD copy is still in my collection of music.

Is this the real life?
Is this just fantasy?
Caught in a landslide
No escape from reality
Open your eyes
Look up to the skies and see
I’m just a poor boy (poor boy), I need no sympathy
Because I’m easy come, easy go
little high, little low
Anyway the wind blows, doesn’t really matter to me, to me

Well, just forget the lyrics but the music composition/arrangements, tune and the imagination on how the lead singer of Queen, Freddie Mercury, sings his solo act and the rest of the band blend their voices, give something out in me whenever I hear this song. It is so powerful that you are inspired to force yourself to do something harder, faster, and stronger! There is mystery in that song that drives me something to excel some more!

Listening to the song is like doing a tempo run or staying with your strategy during a road or trail running race! It is said that the song has three (3) distinct parts, some says there are six or four. But I would consider it in 3 distinct parts. The first part would consist of the introduction with the 4 blending voices of the members and the solo act of Freddie Mercury; the second part starts with the solo guitar rendition up to the end of the opera act singing; and the third part goes back to the slow solo performance of Freddie Mercury until the end of the song.

If you relate the song to running a race or tempo run, a runner starts with a slow pace for about 2 kilometers and then steadily progressing to a faster pace and maintaining such race pace before the last 2 kilometers of the distance and later, finishing the run with a steady slower pace before ending the run. The result is a good 10K tempo run!

In road and trail races, your performance and strategycould relate also the arrangements of the song. A runner starts the race in a easy and slower pace then picking up his pace on the middle part and sustaining his race pace while his body could sustain it. Sometimes on the middle of the race, a runner encounters some “issues” and change in pace or for some adjustments but basically, the runner would stay on to keep up his intended race pace. And at the end, the runner slows down once he/she crosses the finish line and it’s time to rest and recover.

If you are a “newbie” runner, this is a song that could gauge your workout while listening to it. Start with walking on the first part of the song, then slowly picking up a pace to jog on the middle part, and then slowly going back to walk on the last part. You can repeat the song so many times as the whole song covers an elapsed time of 6 minutes plus a few seconds. If you can repeat this song for five times, then you have a solid 30+ minutes of a good workout for the day. Why don’t you try it!

For sure, this song brings back good memories. By the way, I’ve added a Solo Ukelele rendition of the same song by Jake Shimabukuro. I hope you will like it, too!

Enjoy the show and keep on running!

(Sources: You Tube & Wikipedia)


Hiking While On Recovery

This picture says it all about my present condition. I’ve been hiking, sometimes jogging, for the past weeks.

During my dull moments, I’ve been making a lot of research about hiking the wilderness and the art of “fast and light” backpacking and its techniques which are abundant in printed references, journals, and through the Internet. We will see what this activity will offer us in the future as an incoming “senior citizen”.

By the way, do we have a national government office in the Philippines that administers all the National Parks and Wilderness Areas in the country?

Humble & Friendly

It could be friendly and humble. These two words simply describe a person whom I’ve met during the Miwok 100K Run at the Marin Headlands where I served as one of the volunteers.

He is Jorge Maravilla, pronounced Hor-He. I mentioned his name (first name only) in my post about my experience as spectator and volunteer during the said run. He was with another guy whose first name is Rich but I later identified him as Rich Conder. As we were doing the things we were instructed/requested to do at the Finish Line Area, Jorge was the one who was starting all the conversation among us while Rich was always silent. So, while the three of us were doing the same job, Jorge was the one who was very much engaged with some conversation with me.

As far as I can remember, these were some of the salient points about our conversation:

Jorge: You said your name is Jovenal, how will I call you? Call me Jorge (Hor-he)

Bald Runner: Call me Jovie, that’s my nickname!

Jorge: Where do you stay here?

BR: I am from Manila, Philippines. I came here to run the Miwok 100.

Jorge: What happened?

BR: I had an injury in the middle of March while doing a 7-day adventure run covering a distance of 270 kilometers and it got worse during one of my practice runs here.

Jorge: Oh, I am sorry. How is ultra marathon in the Philippines?

BR: We are trying to expose our runners in ultra distance runs. We started with a race which is called the “Bataan Death March 102K Ultra Marathon Race” three years ago but the race is done on paved roads. The race is done on the exact place where history happened during World War II.

Jorge: Great! Philippines is hot and humid, right?

BR: Yes, we train our runners as if they are running the Badwater! I am glad we don’t have any cases of “heatstroke” in our ultra races.

Jorge: That’s good.

I was trying to think of a question to ask why he is volunteering for the race with Rich but I concentrated on the task requested us to do. Jorge was later requested by Tia Bodington, the Race Director to get some stuff inside the U-Haul truck. After few minutes, Jorge was back and he started another conversation with me.

Jorge: Jovie, you must be popular in the Philippines!

BR: What? (And I just smiled. I assumed he saw the FrontRunner Magazine placed on the Driver’s Panel Board of the truck)

Jorge: I saw a Running Magazine with you as the Cover Page and I saw you autographed it for Tia.

BR: Oh..The publisher of the magazine is also an ultra runner and a friend of mine. Both of us are promoting ultra running in the country.

Jorge: Maybe, I’ll get to know you some more. Do you have a Business Card?

BR: Yes, I have. They are in my car. I will give you one later. I’ll give one also to Rich.

Jorge: Thanks!

After we finished the task requested of us to do, Jorge and Rich left the place and acted as Marshals in an intersection 500 meters away from the Finish Line.

I was not able to give my Business Card to Jorge and Rich as I left the area after the 10th overall runner crossed the Finish Line.

After one week, I read a blog of Mark Tanaka about his Race Report on the Diablo 60K Trail Run. I was surprised to find out that Jorge was the Champion in that race which was held on May 1, one week before the Miwok 100. I can conclude that he was there at the Miwok 100 as a volunteer and not as an injured participant like me! Rich Conder was also one of the top 10 finishers in the said race where Jorge won. At, Jorge has a PR Marathon of 2:49+ hours which he got on the 1st quarter of this year.

What surprises me more is their voluntary act of helping another race to make it a success. Instead of resting and recovering from a previous race, Jorge and Rich, upcoming elite runners in ultra trail runs, were there at the Marin Headlands for the whole day as volunteers! I am sure these guys offered their time and services to the Race Director without any “strings attached” or renumeration. Simply, they were there to help!

Last weekend, I found out from the Race Result of the Bishop High Sierra 100K Trail Run that Jorge Maravilla won again in the said distance, breaking the course record by 55 minutes! By being humble, Jorge does not even have a blog where he can, at least, brag about his accomplishment. I wonder why.

As I gathered from reading the blogs of ultra runners, I found out that Jorge will be running his first 100-mile run at the Tahoe Rim Trail next month. I am sure this guy will make it to the top 10 in this race.

As I recall my brief meeting and conversation with Jorge and my brief conversation with the top elite runners in the Miwok 100 last month, I came to my personal conclusion that these runners are simply friendly, humble, kind, accommodating, and simple/”low-profile”. They also find time to help one another as race volunteers, pacers and support crew to other runners. Ultra running is simply a good community of runners.

How I wish some of the Pinoy ultra runners will be offering their services as volunteers in my races.

Jorge Maravilla & Mark Tanaka (Source: Mark Tanaka's Blog)
Mark Tanaka & Rich Conder (Source: Mark Tanaka's Blog)