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

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