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“Walkabout” @ LA Lakers Parade

19 06 2009

The people here in Los Angeles love to see parades, most especially yesterday when the LA Lakers paraded themselves on top of  firetrucks and two-deck buses in celebration for winning the Championships in the 2009 NBA Finals. This event had been customary for the LA Lakers to have this kind of Victory Parade from the City Hall to the Staples Center and last one happened in 2002. After seven years, the Lakers got the NBA Championship back but instead of the usual route of the parade, they made it to start at the Staples Center and ending at the LA Coliseum which is about a 2-mile distance along Figueroa Street.

Thousands of fans lined up along the edges of Figueroa Street up to the LA Coliseum and I was there to observe and take pictures. Most of the people in the parade were wearing LA Lakers Jerseys and LA Lakers T-shirts and I was one of the few who was wearing a different attire for the day. I positioned myself about 100 yards away from the starting point of the parade which was the entrance of the Staples Center. After waiting and standing for at least 20 minutes, the parade finally started at 11:22 AM. It was a sunny day and there was a festive mood everywhere at Figueroa Street.

Thousands more of fans were waiting at the LA Coliseum as a Program was prepared for the fans to celebrate the victory of LA Lakers as the 2009 NBA Champions. Reports and estimates from the LA Police showed that the LA Lakers Victory Parade was attended by 250,000 fans coming as far as San Diego and other cities near Los Angeles. After almost few minutes of the firetrucks and two-deck buses where the players rode had passed my position, I decided to go back to my “walkabout” routine for the day.

I did at least 3 hours of walking along the different streets at Downtown Los Angeles and it was my workout for the day.

The following were the pictures taken during the parade.

"Go Lakers" at The Ritz-Carlton Hotel (Under Construction)

"Go Lakers" at The Ritz-Carlton Hotel (Under Construction)

Lakers Fans Walking Towards The Staples Center

Lakers Fans Walking Towards The Staples Center

BR at the Vicinity of Staples Center

BR at the Vicinity of Staples Center

LA Lakers Dancers & Cheering Ladies (?)

LA Lakers Dancers & Cheerleaders

Fisher on the Left Side

Derek Fisher on the Left Side

Gasol On the Right Side

Other LA Lakers Members

Glimpse of Kobe On the Right Side

Glimpse of Kobe BryantOn the Right Side

It's Time To Go Back To My "Walkabout"

It's Time To Go Back To My "Walkabout"

Kobe Bryant @ 2009 LA Lakers Victory Parade (Photo Courtesy of Ben Gaetos)
Kobe Bryant, His Family & Mayor of Los Angeles at the 2009 LA Lakers Victory Parade (Photo Courtesy of Ben Gaetos)
Pau Gasol @ 2009 LA Lakers Victory Parade (Photo Courtesy of Ben Gaetos)
He’s Sasha Vujacic, not Pau Gasol at the 2009 LA Lakers Victory Parade (Photo Courtesy of Ben Gaetos)
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Dante’s Peak @ Griffith Park

11 06 2009

This is not about the movie which was released in 19997 about the eruption of a volcano in Dante’s Peak, a small town somewhere in the USA. The movie was played by a pair of popular stars in Hollywood—Pierce Brosnan (the former James Bond actor) and Linda Hamilton (Sarah, the lady character in the Terminator movies).

For the past days, I’be been planning to run to the highest peak of Mt Hollywood at Griffith Park, starting from the house as part of my running workout. Finally, yesterday, I went out of the house bringing with me my Nathan Hydration Belt, some cash and identification card. It was 11:40 AM and the sky was covered with thick clouds and there was a 20% chance of rainfall as predicted by the Weather Report. The weather was cool at mid-60s and I wore my TNF long-sleeved technical running shirt.

From the house, I maintained an average pace of  5:45-6:00 mins/km while running along the sidewalk, facing the incoming traffic. The streets from the house to Griffith Park consisted of uphill & downhill terrain but there are times that I had to stop whenever I cross busy intersections. There are designated pedestrian crossing areas on the streets that you have to wait for that pedestrian light (a walking figure in white light) to glow while a blinking red light with a figure of a palm of the hand means that you are not allowed to cross the road yet! It is a simple street light in crossing a street but the people here follow the lights even without the presence of a police. By the way, do you wonder why there are no traffic aides or policemen here in every corner of the streets? The answers are: the traffic lights are there (very efficient) in every crossing and the citizens (drivers & pedestrians) are disciplined in terms of road rules and regulations. In the Philippines, we have those traffic lights, yet, we still have those traffic aides & PNP & Highway Patrol & LTO, but most of us do not follow those pedestrians lights and coss the streets along the pedestrian lanes!!! Very simple rule but it is hard to implement. Your answer is as good as mine.

After running for almost 10 kilometers, I finally reached the foot on the northern part of the mountain at the Griffith Park. I intended not to go to the trails that I’ve been into last year and I started to explore while I was on the road that goes to the Griffith Park’s Golf Course. While running uphill along the asphalted road, I saw an opening of a trail track on my left and I immediately went to it and started to run uphill. Yes, the small trail led me to a wider trail which is a part of those many trail roads/fire roads that snake up to the peak of every ridge at Mt Hollywood.

Even with the coolness of the place, my sweat, coming from the visor of my runner’s cap, started to drip to my legs and shorts and it was continous while my legs were taking shorter strides and my arms were swinging at a moderate frequency. It was a very challenging uphill climb where I had to brisk walk along steeper climbs along the way. I have to practice what I’ve learned in ultra trail running—“brisk walk” on those steep uphill climbs and “fly” on the downhill side in order to preserve my strength for the rest of my running workout. 

At The Hyperion Bridge where I Had A Picture of My Daughter Running The 1st City of Angels Half-Marathon

At The Hyperion Bridge where I Had A Picture With My Daughter Running The 1st City of Angels Half-Marathon (The Mountain Range on the Background Was My Destination)

My Entry Towards Griffith Park

My Entry Towards Griffith Park

Finally, I Entered This Trail

Finally, I Entered This Trail

Trail Running Alone Is Refreshing!

Trail Running Alone Is Refreshing!

After 15-20 minutes of steady uphill climb, I came up with a water fountain! I walked towards it and drank some water and took some pictures and later I was back on my run. Later, I was running on an asphalted road but it was a short distance. At the end of the asphalted road, I saw some people who are preparing for a buffet lunch in one of the vista places along the route and I realized there was a  movie or TV “shooting” in progress within the vicinity. I did not dare to stop but just greeted the people I met along the road.

My First "Aid Station"

My First "Aid Station"

A Drinking Fountain On The Mountain Park

A Drinking Fountain On The Mountain Park

I entered Bridle Trail and that was the start (again!) of another more challenging uphill climb. Every time I reached a high part of the route, I would look up for another target to reach and study the trail that leads to it. That procedure had been repeated until I reached the highest peak of the mountain. I did not realize that the name of the highest peak is Dante’s Peak. It was my daughter who told me of the name as she already reached such place by hiking. I further “googled” it and I was able to see this website.

The Entrance To Bridle Trail

The Entrance To Bridle Trail

More Trails...

More Trails...

And More Uphill Climbs...

And More Uphill Climbs...

Finally, A Pose at Dante's Peak

Finally, A Pose at Dante's Peak

HOLLYWOOD Sign at The Background

HOLLYWOOD Sign at The Background (My Right Elbow Pointed To It)

A View of the Back of the Griffith Park Observatory

A View of the Back of the Griffith Park Observatory

Ahh..Running Downhill

Ahh..Running Downhill

After taking some pictures at the said place, I was thinking of pushing myself to go to the HOLLYWOOD sign but after looking at my GF 305, I was already on the road for more than 2 hours! So, I decided to return here on my next running workout and be able to reach the said sign and retrace the route I’ve taken. So, Dante’s Peak became my turn-around point and I prepared for downhill run!

The traction of my TNF Arnuva 50 BOA trail shoes was very helpful on my downhill run as it gave me the needed traction on those steep portions of the route. My quads started to absorb the weight of my body and I started to feel some “burning” pain and my knees were starting to show some pain, too while trying to gain speed on those downhill runs. It was my mistake not to bring any GU/sports gels on this workout as I started to feel hungry. As I reached the water fountain, I drank more water and “peed” on the forested area. After a few minutes of running along the trails, I finally reached the place where I entered and then slowly jogged on the asphalted road until I reached the Los Feliz entrance of the park.

After running for another 3 kilometers on the streets, I entered Ralph’s Grocery Store and bought some cookies and sports drinks. I ate and drank what I bought while I was “brisk walking” along an uphill climb at Glendale Blvd. Finally, I resumed my running until I reached the house. I was able to run/jog/brisk walk a distance of 30.66 kilometers in 3:40 hours! It was a tiring “runabout” but it was refreshing to be out in the mountains and explore what I want to see. 

From the base of the mountain, I thought of coming up with a test or survey on how or what the person/s I met or passed along the trails would react if I greet them or wave my hand to them. I usually greet walkers/hikers or runners along the trail with a simple “Good Morning” or “Good Afternoon” or just simply wave my left or right hand while smiling at them. This simple courtesy was a good lesson that I’ve learned and observed when I had those trail runs at Mt Wilson with my kids last year. I was able to count 24 people whom I met or passed along those trails at Griffith Park. Out of the 24, only 12 of them greeted me back, most of them ladies and couples (husband & wife) who replied “Hi” or “Hello” and they are “white”. I saw some Asians (I really don’t know if they are Chinese or Vietnamese or Thais or Koreans or Japanese) but they did not greet me back. Unfortunately, I did not see any Filipino!

After the run, I had a shower and ate a lot of food. Later, I started to cook for dinner while watching the NBA Finals’ Game #3. As I predicted, the Magic won this time.

I’ll be back for another run to Dante’s Peak and to the HOLLYWOOD sign soon!

And finally, my food (yes, I cooked them!) and supplement drinks for the past days!!!

Tofu With Bochoy (Pechay)

Tofu With Bochoy (Pechay)

Beef With Ampalaya

Beef With Ampalaya (Bitter Gourd)

DSC06319

My Supplement Drinks

Organic Honey

Organic Honey

And...Probiotic Drinks

And...Probiotic Drinks





Updates In Los Angeles

31 07 2008

Everything is normal here in Los Angeles after a Magnitude of 5.4 Earthquake was felt at 11:42 AM yesterday. Chino Hills, in San Bernardino County, almost 30 miles southeast of Los Angeles was the epicenter of the earthquake. The last earthquake before this was in January 1994 which devastated Northridge with the Magnitude of 6.7 and resulted to at least 60 deaths and millions of dollars of destroyed properties and infrastructures. People here say that there had been minimal destruction to buildings, houses and infrastructures because they had prepared for such event since 1994 as California implemented a strictest building code. However, the people of California are still preparing for the “big one” to come. Lastly, it was the telephone systems in LA that got jammed, not by the earthquake, but the overloaded calls made by the people of California and from other states and countries after the earthquake. Some wireless telephone companies reported 800% call spike on the calls made after the earthquake. I don’t know if this is a coincidence, I was here in LA when the Northridge Earthquake happened in 1994 and then after another 14 years, I am here again for the next earthquake! Los Angeles must had been excited of my presence! Read the rest of this entry »





Picture: Echo Park

26 07 2008

The path along the lake has a distance of 1.5 kilometers and by walking/jogging along the streets that surround the park, it has a distance of 1.6 kilometers or 1 mile. This picture was taken last September 2007 but the only difference now is that the lotus plants are gone.





City of Angels Half-Marathon

29 11 2007

I just got the news that my “Marathon Kids” (son & daughter) will be running the 2nd City of Angels Half-Marathon in Los Angeles on the 2nd of December 2007, this Sunday. It will be the first run for my son and the second time for my daughter. My wife told me that my son, John, had been running regularly and trying to prepare for this race while he is busy with his studies in the College of Law. My wife is not sure whether our daughter is well-prepared and diligently trained for this race event. I hope she was regularly joining her running sessions with her club without the knowledge of her Mom. I wish them both “Good Luck and More Power”.

My daughter had a sad experience with the organizers of this race last year. The organizers lost her designated race number! Her race number was stolen by another runner. In the US, race packets to registered runners are available for pick-up in one of the Hotels in Downtown Los Angeles, a day before the scheduled race. On this particular race, my daughter and I went to LA Hilton Hotel in Downtown in the morning of Saturday (o3 Dec 2006) to get our respective racing packets. To our surprise, her race number had been taken by another runner! Her designated race number was #2888 and it was stolen! This is not supposed to happen as other race organizers in LA (LA Marathon) would look first with the identification card (Driver’s License or California ID Card) of each runner before giving his/her race packet. I had a suspicion that the guy who got her race number was a Chinese!

My daughter was given another race number and runner’s chip on the day we tried to pick-up her race packet.

We later found out from the results of the race that an unknown male runner used my daughter’s race number and started and finished way behind us. He finished the race in 2 hrs 33 minutes & 03 seconds with split time at 10K in 1 hr 06 minutes & 14 seconds. He had 10:40 minutes pace in the 10K and 11:41 minutes pace for the half-marathon. The guy did not register for the race but just simply run the race using my daughter’s original designated race number.

In the US, registration in road races are done “On Line” or through a designated Website in the Internet. Late registrations are done a day before the race on the designated place where race packets are being personally & individually picked-up by registered runners. Each race packet has  inside in it the following—runner’s race number, complimentary T-shirt or Finisher’s T-shirt or singlet, runner’s chip, route map, instructions of parking areas or drop-off point where runners are being picked-up by bus and transported to the starting line/area, and other complimentary products of sponsors. Strictly, there are no late registrations on the day of the race!

How I wish this kind of procedure in the US shall be applied here in the Philippines.








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