Sunday, May 31, 2009

Just Cannot Stop - A Chosen Lifestyle

After the LA Marathon last 25May09, I and my family proceeded directly to Las Vegas for a well deserved relaxing vacation free from training workout as I have already completed the two events I have entered myself for this trip.

During our stay at Las Vegas I planned to do a recovery run after a couple of days rest, but, such would not be the case as the streets of Las Vegas was fitted with traffic lights at every block making a continues runs impossible unless you wish not to follow traffic lights and risk being caught by police for pedestrian violation which I dare not.

For almost a year now there has not been a continues four (4) days that I have not done any physical exercise except last January when I had my angioplasty. Having return back to Moreno Valley on 29May09 evening I was dead serious on getting back to my daily run the following morning even if I was feeling tired from a late road travel back.

At 5:48am on 30May09 with a chilly 14 degrees C temperature I was off to my much needed recovery run at Lasalle Avenue at Moreno Valley. The recovery race walk was completed in 01h32m18s for a distance of 11.36km. After the run I was feeling so good with sweat dripping on my face feeling much alive and knowing that I am back on my daily routine of race walking.

I will be back in Manila on Tuesday 02Jun09. I still have one day to do my Moreno Valley run that I have found great enjoyment and satisfaction. This last run on Sunday 31May09 I definitely would not like to miss. It like a “see you next time” run. As they say everything has an end so that there will be a new beginning.

I need to set goals for a new training plan for the next running/race walking event. Just cannot stop, it is a chosen lifestyle.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

LA Marathon 2009 - The Race Day and Result

After 5 months of preparation for the LA Marathon Race Walking Division today May 25, 2009 was my final day of reckoning . As expected, due to my usual race excitement I was already awake by 2:30am raring to dress up and proceed to the race venue. It was a difficult task to find things to do to make myself busy which with great difficulty I did managed to pass the time. At 6:00am I left the hotel and walk my way to the starting line which was at Figueroa and 5th street.

The marathon itself from registration, collection of bib, security arrangement, starting line, actual race mile by mile, water and food stations, entertainment bands, media coverage and about 20,000 participants only for the marathon itself not to include the Acura Bike race and the 5 Km race which drew a sizeable number of participants as well. As I went through the race proper mile by mile I cannot think and to ask myself WHEN CAN WE IN THE PHILIPPINES HAVE THIS KIND OF MAGNITUDE OF A MARATHON?

The LA Marathon primarily was such great success for so many years now not only because the organizers are professional in handling such an event but the key to the success was the overwhelming support for the City of Los Angeles and the Community itself, schools, churches, civic organization, ethnic community, town councils, and even to neighbourhood families giving their fair share of contribution in form of manpower and festive arrangement along the race route. It was the pride of all to ensure that the City of Los Angeles benefit to the success of the marathon. The best was that they were even able to control the weather condition on race day by cloud seeding to ensure that there would be a cloudy sky to lower down the temperature which was at 14C on the race day. WISH KO LANG that in my remaining lifetime even just half of this magnitude of a marathon and the manner it was handle will do happen to the Philippines.

But in all fairness, such a marathon event needs a fair share of entry fee which on this case was a cool $100 per person for the marathon. I honestly do not think a Filipino marathon runner will spend P4700 for an entry fee. I think this is as well one of the handicaps of our local race organizers. Honestly, I do not have even a clue on how such a problem could be solve. I will just leave the concern as it is for the mean time.

They say that pictures will be able to express more than words, of which I would like to share the pictures I have taken during the marathon to share with you;

Lastly, I completed the 42.2Km distance under the Race Walk Division at 06hrs05mins20sec which was good for 14th Overall, 8th for the sex placing and 7th for the age placing for a total of 53 participants entered under race walk division. Praise God! God is good all the time.

Monday, May 25, 2009

LA Marathon - Pre Race Update

It is Sunday 24May09 around 8pm and I have already collected my race kit for the LA Marathon which is to start at 7:20am tomorrow 25May09 . I still have about eleven hours from the time I am writing this blog. Again, as with all my previous races, my excitement is getting the better of me that I could just see that I will have a tough night ahead to make a comfortable sleep for the tonight.

I got my customized race shirt and bib this afternoon together with the whole family at the LA Convention Center. God was the place so huge and there was a big running gear exhibit and trade fair which is billed as the biggest in the world for its kind. It a runner’s paradise to the max.

I find it would be wise and proper to check-in at a hotel near the starting area at LA downtown where the start will be at Figueroa and 5th Street in view my daughter’s house is way out in Moreno Valley which is about a good 1.5hrs drive without a traffic.

The timing devise for the race is by a “D-Tag” which is an electronic paper thin device that will not only provide my timing for the race, but, will as well be a system that my family, friends or any person make us to tract my exact position at any given time. An inquiry is send by texting a specific number indicating my bib number and it will answer a text message to the sender my exact position or should by any chance a report update should something happened to me. Great is it not? Why can we not have these technology and efficiency available in our place? As what the young people say “WISH KO LANG”.
I am cutting short this blog to get now my much needed pre-race sleep. Will keep you posted guys!

Sunday, May 24, 2009

LA Marathon - Carboloading with Bald Runner

It is only two (2) days before the LA Marathon scheduled for 25May09and all training is completed and pre-race carbo loading is the thing at hand. What better way of having one, other than a family/friends get together party. My excuse was a house blessing of my daughter’s new home at Moreno Valley although they have had the house since last November of 2008.

My daughter and son-in-law , being the host invited relatives, friends and officemates. On my part as my own personal guests were Gen. JOVINAL NARCISE (ret) and his son JOHN. Jovy is known better in the local race community as BALD RUNNER, BR or GENERAL.

Do you see the great similarity between father and son? Both shall also be running the LA Marathon therefore, much of our conversation was centred on the different aspects of the marathon. It also gave me the opportunity to discuss matters on race walking and the sports of running in general in metro Manila and on how things could be improved further. I was also able to express to BR my hore that Race Walking in the near future could be promoted in the Philippines and the need to use timing chips in the local oad races to keep up with the world race technology.

Thank you BR for dropping by and I will see you at the starting line on Monday. I am a bit worried as it was not only carbohydrates that I have loaded myself with but wine and liquor as well which is not advisable at this stage of race preparation. True to his form BR just limited himself to carbohydrates.

I wish also to take this opportunity to extend my congratulation to the different race walkers of Team Bald Runner who have shown their talent at the recently concluded the National Open Athletics Invitational Championship held last 10-12 May 2009 at Lingayen, Pangasinan. MIKE EMBUEDO broke the National Record in the 20km walk with the time of 01hr33min50sec breaking the National Record by more than FOUR (4)MINUTES! I hope and pray that PSA will now support Mike in his dreams and inclusion in the Philippine Team. He was the only record braker in the open meet. CHRISTIAN DALIDA finished 3rd in the Juniors 10,000 meters walk. SATURNINO SALAZAR finished 5th, and MILBERT NABUAB 6th place out of 14 starters. Guys you are great!!!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

The Lake Perris Run - A Near Perfect Running Scenario

With only 5days before the LA Marathon, I am now down to my last 3 days of training runs. Today 20May09 I decided to do the LAKE PERRIS run. The planned route will allow me to start from the house of my daughter at 17181 Andalusian Court Moreno Valley and lead me to the City of Perris encircling the Perris Mountain counter clockwise and leading me back to Moreno Valley via Iris/Moreno Beach then to Lasalle and back to Andalusian Court.

I started the run at 5:30am with a pleasant cool outside temperature of 18c. I was already at the Lake Perris Recreation Park entry west gate by 5:55 and I noticed that there were more than 20 cars lined-up all of whom are into the sport of fishing and are waiting for the gate to be opened at 6:00am. I had to stop and await as well for the gate to be opened. True enough at exactly 6:00am a park ranger in complete impresive uniform arrived on his patrol car and opened the gate.

Off I started my run within the recreation park. I cannot but be mesmerized of the great view of Lake Perris and its natural environment. As I traversed the park, I told myself that this is the closest perfect running scenario anyone can think about, no pollution, clean surrounding, great view, natural environment setting and a great weather which has now has risen to a perfect 21c. The solitude in the road with the fore mentioned scenario was more than what a simple runner could dream about.

The recreational park offers horseback riding with trails, fishing, boating, jet ski, picnic benches and facilities, a marina and a swimming beach within the lake. Lake Perris by the way is a man made lake where a local dam was structured to serve as water reservoir of the surrounding cities.

Without my knowing it I have already completed my race walk covering a distance of 15.06km in 02hrs06min43sec for a relaxed touring speed on 7.13km/hr and a pace of 8.41min/km.

I pray that I shall be able to complete the LA Marathon race walking division in 6hrs 10min. The biggest possible obstacle will be the weather temperature which could deep as cold as 18c at 6am and rise as hot as 38c by noon particularly in downtown LA. What a big temperature fluctuation Los Angeles have at this time of the year.

I shall continue my training up to 22May and at the same time start my carbo loading for a much needed energy boost prior to the marathon on Monday the 25th of May which is also Memorial Day in the USA and will be a long weekend.

Lastly and as always, I leave matters to the Lord as for my faith in the marathon. I shall keep you guys updated of the actions prior to the marathon and after the marathon itself.

Monday, May 18, 2009

2009 USATF 15k Race Walk Regional Championship - A Personal Validation and Confirmation

Having done my utmost possible physical preparation for the USATF 15K Masters Race Walk Championship and done all logistical and race circuit familiarization, I have surrendered matters to the Lord for the outcome of the race. My main goal was (a) complete the race without being disqualified of race walk technical violation (b) to attain confirmation that my race walking form is in conformity to international judges standards which will be done by USA Track and Field Officials under IAAF Standards.

I slept early the night before but due to jetlag and compounded more of my excitement of the race, I was already awake by 1:30am (which is 4:30pm Sunday Manila) and to think race was only to start at 7:30am. Rather than opting to force myself to sleep, I just passed the time doing odd things in the house until 6:00am when it was time to leave the house and take a 35 minute drive from Moreno Valley to race site at Fairmont Park at Riverside CA.

On our arrival, the race event organizers The INLAND EMPIRE RACEWALKERS of Southern California and race officials from the USA TRACK & FIELD where already into their different tasks in preparation for the race event at the same time participants were starting to arrive for their registration check-in and bib collection.

After collecting my race bib, there was still a good 40 minutes left to warm up and I decided to take a one lap final familiarization of the race circuit. Minutes prior to starting gun, we have to report to our individually assigned LAP COUNTER who was designated to provide my lap count and lap time. And then a final race briefing was done by the USATF Race Director explaining that there were eight (8) judges situated strategically along the circuit whose main task is to ensure that each walker is in conformity to the USATF technical rules of race walking. Each time a participant is deemed to have violated the technical rule of race walking a judge will give him/her a paddle warning which shall then be exhibited on a board located at the finish line
visible to all racers as they pass. A racer who gets three red marks is automatically DQ disqualified to continue the race. These technical judging was my biggest concern of not being able to complete the race as the distance was very much a normal thing for me.

Then the race was on. First lap I was so stiff that all that I could think of was how was I executing my walk and that each time I pass a judge along the circuit all I could think of was my race form to practically forgetting about the speed. On my 4th lap I noticed that a van was slowly following me for about a minute and I knew then that the roving race official was watching me and my heart was beating faster not because I was tired but I was afraid that I be given a warning. To my great relief, the driver of the van commented “nice form keep going”. These words were I think what I needed to fuel my confidence and from then on I concentrated to put more rear kick action to speed into my drive.

01hour 53miunutes and 52seconds after the starting gun was sounded I finished the 15k race walk with NO race walk technical violation being given to me. I did not break my PR for 15k at 01h51m34s (DocFit last 22Feb09) but this race result mean so much to me as it was validation and confirmation that I can execute race walking in conformity to IAAF rules. The best part was that I did not receive a single warning from any of the judges. Praise God.

As an added bonus by the way, I got 2nd place for ages 55-59 years old and to go with it a medal to cherish for the 2009 15k Race Walk USA Track & Field Regional Championship. God is good all the time!

Thank you to all those who have given support to my endeavour. I shall not name names, but, you know who you are. Lastly to the members of INLAND EMPIRE RACEWALKERS of Southern California whom I have had the short opportunity to talk and to Dave Snider thank you for your assistance in my race registration.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Riverside CA - Walking the Course Circuit

Rule no.1 for any type of competition is getting to know your opponent. In running as with race walking the opponent is not the other competitors, but, is the race course or circuit itself. The only way you could plan on how you will actually perform on race day is getting sufficient knowledge of the terrain, the different obstacles, nature/condition of surface/pavement, the ups, downs, bends, distance per lap and other peculiar characteristic of the race circuit.

Last 12May09 at 0520am with the above objective to attain, I drove to the USATF 15km Masters Championships circuit at Fairmont Park, Riverside, CA.

At exactly 558am with temperature down at 15 degrees C or 59 degrees F, I started my familiarization run/walk of the circuit initially at 70 percent then increasing to 90 percent performance capacity to be able to bench mark a possible target time for the actual race day. The race circuit is a USATF certified 1.79km loop circumventing Lake Evans at Fairmont Park in Riverside California. The first two laps was getting familiar with the directions to take. Thereafter, full capacity was exerted to recover possible time lost.

Still with jet lag to overcome, I limited the distance to 13.00km with an accomplished time of 01h14m58s for a speed of 7.16km/hr and pace of 8.38min/km on a chilly 15degrees Centigrade air temperature. I was satisfied of the workout and still plan to make a complete 15km simulated racewalk scenario either on Thursday or Friday before taking a break for a recovery period prior to Sunday’s race event.

I herewith provide a slide presentation of the 1.79km race circuit which will require about 8.38 laps to cover the total distance of 15km

(click on the image for enlarge view)

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Moreno Valley - 14.81km Adventure Walk

11May09 730am at Moreno Valley LA, still wanting to have a much lengthy continuous sleep after the travel from Manila, I was determined to logged my first work-out speed walk locally in preparation to my scheduled USATF Masters 15k Racewalk event which is barely six days away.

This is the first time I am visiting my daughter in her new place at Moreno Valley so I am unfamiliar with the local streets and traffic. With no definite route in mind to take, I told myself to just run 6km away from the house and 6km back to the house and that should give a good 12km work-out. Later I found out that this was simply said than done.

I started taking picture only after hitting the halfway distance on my return home given the confidence of knowing which route to take. Picture are presented herewith on a slide presentation;

(Click on image for enlarged view)

I completed 14.81km at a speed of 7.21km/hr and pace of 8.32min/km for a total time of 02h03m17s. I exceeded my planned 12km distance by 2.81km which was due to my getting lost on my way back home.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Botak Paa-Tibayan - Almost A System Failure

Given with my handicap that I need to depart Manila at 10am on 10May09, I wanted to participate in the BOTAK PAA-TIBAYANAN 42K, but it was just not possible due to time constraint. However, it opened for me an opportunity to take pictures on side and blog on the race event from a bystander’s point of view.

I arrived the venue at 4:20 rushing as I felt I was running late as the scheduled start for the 42K was at 4:30am. After parking my car, to my surprise the starting area was in total darkness and in silence giving you a false impression that there was not a road race to be held. However, I could hear a race attendant barking on his bullhorn that check-in was already open for the 42K. I was just wondering how the marshals and participants could see each other. I even took pictures on how the race officials were having problem in checking in participants in total darkness.

I knew then that there should be something wrong and after inquiring of the problem I found out that the GENERATOR system was either (a) have a problem or (b) late in its set-up. Given the my little know how on the matter, I think the problem was a combination of both, late set-up causing difficulty to start-up which the service provider could have done an early set-up and a function test could have been done and necessary corrective measures applied should there be problems encountered to ensure at least that the power is ready by 4am. As the generator is the main source of electrical power, all the other support functions such as public address, timing device and computer system, lightings etc. was greatly affected. In plain simple language the failure resulted for the race to be delayed. Race cannot start without the power system in which the timing mechanism is dependent of.

At about 4:40am finally the generator was on and running and the venue started to be alive. It was then at this point that I started to move around and getting pictures of friends and acquaintances. My observation for the 42K participants was that these where the hardcore runners and although it was a sizable number it was not huge by normal local standard. The female runners participating were but a handful. But, what can you expect these are the real dedicated and experienced runners. At about 5:00am or 30 minutes late of its schedule start, the starting gun was sounded and off the runners went.

After all the 42k participants were out of the vision, the place was again so quiet that I was hoping that the organizers do something about it to make the place festive as there were still the 21k-10k and 5k to start. Just when I was about to really feel disappointed, two guys went on the stage with their guitars and a sound check was done them signalling an entertainment number. I told myself maybe this will only be so-so performance seeing the guys were not really that good looking. Then they started singing and by the time they were on their second song people already started to get notice of them. The guys are called “Bay Connection” I do not remember both of their names, but, they were GOOD and their songs numbers were a very good filler while awaiting for the 21k-10k start.

At about 6:00am or thereabout the 21k-10k started and these time the runners in my observation were greater in number and comprised about 40 percent of the total runners for the event. I would still place the participants here as seasoned and those getting serious in their running. I was surprise to see Cris Sibal of the Bald Runner Elite Team a well season runner to be running in this group, a sure winner I could only think.

Again after the 21k-10k has vanished from the view the 5k runners were asked to enter the starting area. This time it is very evident that runners in this group where mostly beginners and that there are now children and more female runners in participation. I enjoyed looking and observing the different facial expression and body languages of the different participants while awaiting the starting gun. Then finally the starting gun was fired and on they when. Just when the field was about to vanish from view, there were a handful of late runners just arriving and I urged them to proceed and catch up with the group, they are late but I know they will finish which is the main point.

At this point in time I told myself that I have to leave to catch my plane. This is the first time I had the opportunity to watch and observe three mass starts of a race on a bystander point of view. Lastly, I felt bad for the Botak and the organizers that the GENERATOR FIASCO happened as it almost ruined the thorough and long preparation for the race. Anyways, this will be a great lesson to learn to avoid the same mistakes for the BOTAK 100K.

Finally, I think although the race started with some problem as viewed from a bystander’s vantage point, it was able to progress to live to the hype and pre-race media propaganda the race was billed. Again, I wish to remind readers that these observations are limited to the start of the race and the venue itself. As for the actual race critique, I leave that matter to those that participated the different race category as they will have a more comprehensive and realistic view with respect to mileage, water stations, race marshals, traffic control, time keeping and others.

I herewith present in slide show form pictures that I have taken of the event.

(Click image to enlarge view)