The plan to run a 200K adventure run was conceptualized when I had my final coordination with the Office of the Governor of Pangasinan on the conduct of the COCOS To SUAL 65K Ultra Run on the 3rd week of July this year. After I’ve finished with the final coordination in Bolinao, Pangasinan, I decided to take the Olongapo-Bugallon Highway on my way back to Manila.
From Bolinao, Pangasinan, I took the road from Alaminos going South to the towns of Mabini, Burgos, Dasol, and Infanta. The next towns would be inside the province of Zambales from Sta. Cruz to Olongapo City.
It was an easy drive on the said Highway as there was no congested traffic and the scenery was refreshing. On your right is the west coast of Luzon and on your left is a combination of the scenery of the Zambales-Pangasinan Mountain range and the rice fields.
Except for the usual congestion in the center or poblacion in every town, the road is very wide and smooth. It is only in Iba, Zambales, the capital town of the province where there are more structures/homes/buildings and commercial establishments lined up along the highway.
What is very common along the route is the fact that there are so many beach resorts lined up that would cater to visitors as well as
tourists. Although I did not have any chance to enter in one of these resorts during my drive back to Manila, I am sure that these resorts are being visited by tourists during the summer season.
This easy drive along the said Highway last July was my second time to pass along the route. I had my first occasion to pass along this route sometime in 1995 when I was a Battalion Commander within the Luzon Area and it did not give me a nice impression about it because I slept the whole time from Burgos, Pangasinan to Olongapo City.
Driving through this route last July gave me a better appreciation of the place because I was aware of the surroundings/landscape and the scenery being the driver of my own car. I was impressed about the road and the place.
After a 3 ½-hour easy drive from Alaminos, Pangasinan, I reached the Kalaklan Gate at Subic Freeport and the seed for a future adventure run was planted in my mind.
I decided to name it as the “West Coast 200K Endurance Run”.
I finished my self-proclaimed “West Coast 200-Kilometer Endurance Run” in 57:48:32 hours with the route along the Olongapo-Bugallon Highway from the Remy Field’s Oval Track at Subic Freeport to Alaminos, Pangasinan.
This is the summary of my daily runs:
September 21 (Wednesday). I was able to complete a distance of 73.5 kilometers, from the Remy Field’s Oval Track to the Poblacion of Botolan, Zambales with 18 hours on the road to include “pit stops”. Average Heart Rate: 135 bpm
September 22 (Thursday). I was able to complete a distance of 67 kilometers from Botolan, Zambales to the Poblacion of Santa Cruz, Zambales (the last town before reaching the boundary of Pangasinan). It took me almost 16 hours on the road to include “pit stops” and sleep in waiting sheds along the road. Average Heart Rate: 132 bpm
September 23 (Friday). I simulated this run at my own “race pace” which I purposely did at nighttime. I was able to complete the remaining 60.4 kilometers in 9:48:32 hours to include brief “pit stops” and some “photo-ops”. Average Heart Rate: 138 bpm.
I was able to finish my self-proclaimed run in almost 3 days with an average daily distance of 66+ kilometers! This could be my best performance in my adventure runs despite some setbacks (dog bites, LBM, recovery from my left knee injury and inclement weather on my last day’s run). A big improvement from my best daily run of 55 kilometers during my 1st adventure run from Manila to Baguio City.
This feat would not be possible without the snappy performance of my support team (a driver and a support crew). I would like also to thank my sponsors—A Runners Circle Specialty Store; FrontRunner Magazine, Northern Luzon Command of the AFP, 7th Infantry Division & 24th Infantry Battalion of the Philippine Army, and Reinier Pacific for their support on this adventure run.
Details on my training and preparation, details of the route and personal thoughts during the run, my running kit, and my daily experiences & photos will posted soon in this blog.
Now, it’s time to rest and recover and make a detailed account of this adventure run. How I wished I could post a “near real-time” account of this run but due to weak Internet connection along most of the the areas of the route, my time could had been wasted just to look for reliable signal or places with WiFi connections.
My special appreciation goes also to those who prayed and wished for my fast recovery/treatment for my dog bites and those who wished me for my safety and best of health during the duration of my run and trip in this latest adventure run. As always, this adventure run is dedicated to all the runners out there, whether you are a novice/beginner; average runner; or a seasoned ultra runner.
At 10:00 AM today, September 21, 2011, I started my Adventure Run (for the 2nd time!)—from Remy Field Oval Track to Alaminos, Pangasinan. I have to repeat what I’ve started last week (September 14) when I had to stop this run after I was bitten by a dog at Km #41 in Poblacion, San Narciso, Zambales.
As I post this update, I am one kilometer away from the exact place where I was bitten by a dog. I just finished my dinner in one of the carinderias along the Olongapo-Bugallon Highway.
My latest “adventure run” started at 11:20 AM of September 13, 2011 inside the Remy Field Oval Track at Subic Freeport. The following pictures were taken by my support crew during my run:
A popular journalist/columnist would say that if a man is bitten by a dog, it is not a NEWS. But if a man bites a dog, it’s a good NEWS.
Well, I was bitten by an astray dog while doing my “adventure run” and it’s not considered as a NEWS but for the sake of the runners out there, there are lessons to be learned from my experience.
At 8:40 PM, I was regaining my pace after I had my dinner in one of the “carinderias” with almost 500 meters away from the Municipal Hall of San Narciso, Zambales when two dogs suddenly emerged from one of the frontyards of the houses along the road which was not lighted. It was so fast that I was not able to react on the attack of the two dogs. I knew I was bitten when I felt there was a pain on my lower left leg.
I had to stop my run and assess the wound brought about by the bite of the dog. The calf sleeve (Zhenza) I was using protected my leg muscle from being punctured by the sharp teeth of the dog. If not for the sleeve, I would have a deeper wound.
My wound was a “shallow” scratch but it started to bleed when I cleaned the wound. It was time to decide whether I was going to continue my run or not.
I called at least three doctors who are also runners from my cell phone for their recommendations/suggestions about my condition. After hearing them, I immediately decided to stop the run and changed to drier clothes and I was on my way back to Manila aboard my support vehicle. I was advised to provide treatment to the wound within 24 hours!
So far, I was able to cover 41 kilometers in 7:45+ hours from the Remy Field Oval Track in Subic Freeport to the Municipal Plaza of San Narciso, Zambales with an average HR of 135 bpm. The time elapsed on my run includes the “pit stops” along the way to include the time updating my run through Facebook by using my laptop and/or cell phone.
With regards to my wound, I was given the best and immediate treatment by the Philippine Army Medical Center. The Commander of the Facility made sure that I would be treated with outmost priority. The protocol for the treatment of dog bites had been explained to me by the doctors on duty as well as doctors whom I consider as “hardcore” ultrarunners. Thanks for your input and advise.
The following are the advise and lessons learned from this incident:
1. Be aware and alert. If you see dogs on the direction of your run, try to avoid them. You can stop your run by walking or by transfering to the other side of the road.
2. Day Running vs. Night Running. Running at night is totally different from day time running. The visibility is very low and most parts of the road are not lighted. Runners are advised to carry with them flashlight to improve their visibility of their surroundings. In day running, you could easily see where the dogs are coming from or you could see them at a distance and have time to avoid them.
3. Complacency and Getting Older. I admit my reaction time to dog attacks had slowed down due to age. I’ve been complacent also that I could outrun the attack of street dogs. When dogs try to attack me, I usually stop my run and turn around to face the attacking dog by trying to attempt to pick up a stone from the ground. This quick reaction had been effective through the years that I’ve been running. But with the faster attack from the dogs and low visibility, I was not able to apply what worked all the time.
4. Use of Ipod/MP3 during a Run Impairs One’s Perception. It was only few months ago when I started training with the use of a Heart Monitor. This training encourages the use of music during a long and steady run. With this adventure run, I was wearing an Ipod Shuffle to keep me awake during the night. But it was a mistake as I was not able to actually assess the exact distance of the attacking dogs from me. The sound/music coming from my Ipod Shuffle impaired my depth of perception on the the barking of the dogs. I thought the sounds of the barking dogs were still far from me but I was not aware that they were already few inches away from my legs!
5. Calf Sleeve Rocks! Calf sleeves are used primarily to compress the calf muscles to prevent them from cramping and I used them for such purpose on this run. I did not realize that my calf sleeve protected my leg muscles from getting a deeper wound from the sharp teeth of the street dog. The Zhenza calf sleeve which I bought at A Runner Circle Store in Manila had been a good investment and protection from dog bites. I did not see any torn part of the calf sleeve brough about by the dog bite.
6. Cure/Treatment For Dog Bites is Expensive. One shot of anti-rabies costs P 1,629.50 (from selected Mercury Drug Store outlets) and I need 5 shots for the whole treatment which is administered within 28-day period. This is excluding the antibiotics and anti-inflammatory medicines I have to take within a 7-day period.
This incident is just a temporary setback on my desire to finish my adventure run. In the next few days, I will continue what I’ve started and be more careful in dealing with the street dogs. I will consider not using my Ipod Shuffle during my next runs.
Guidelines For 2011 T2N (Tagaytay to Nasugbu) 50K Run: Second Edition
1. This is a solo race. The race will start at 5:00 AM of Saturday, September 17 in front of the Picnic Grove (near the Development Academy of the Philippines) in Tagaytay City. The Finish Line of the race is INSIDE Plaza De Roxas in Nasugbu, Bataan. Plaza De Roxas is the Municipal Public Park located in front of the Nasugbu Municipal Hall. (Note: Runners have to pass in front of the Jollibee and then turn right at the next street and then enter at the Gate of Plaza De Roxas.)
2. Runners are allowed to have their support vehicle & crew but they are not allowed to have pacers. (Note: Pacers should be registered runners). Support Vehicle should “leap-frog” from their runner/s and “shadowing” the runner is strictly not allowed. There is no prescribed number of runners to be supported for each support vehicle.
3. Runners’ Bib should be pinned and displayed in front of the runner’s apparel. Bandits will not be tolerated during the run.
4. Runners are highly encouraged to bring and wear with them their respective hydration system/belt during the race. There will be No Aid Station along the route.
5. Cut-off time is nine (9) hours.
6. Runners are encouraged to stay on the left side of the road, facing the incoming traffic. Some parts of the route are narrow and runners should always be attentive and vigilant of vehicles, in front and at their back.
7. Runners are also encouraged to run in single file as the road will be busy with the traffic of vehicles.
8. Ipods, MP3s, and “wires” are allowed. However, users should be attentive with their surroundings.
9. As in the past PAU races, every finisher will receive PAU Finisher’s Medal and Finisher’s T-Shirt. Finishers/Runners will be served with pack lunch at the Finish Area. Results of this race will be included in the rating/ranking among PAU runners for 2011.
10. Integrity of the Race shall be upheld and respected.
11. Corporate Logos will not be allowed to be displayed on support vehicles. However, tarpaulins of running teams/groups are allowed WITHOUT corporate logos.
12. The spirit of ultra running is highly encouraged. Finish the race, encourage/help one another, develop friendship before, during & after the race, and have an ULTRA FUN during the run!
Good luck and See You at the Starting Line!
(Note: The race will start before the scheduled time. Runners who deposited their registration fee through Landbank should bring their deposit slip. There will be NO onsite registration.)
Single-Stage Solo Run from Remy Field Oval Track, Subic Freeport up to Barangay Lucap, Alaminos, Pangasinan and back to the City Hall of Alaminos as the Finish Area. The route will be along the Olongapo-Bugallon, Pangasinan Highway, passing through the cities and municipalities of Zambales and some of the western towns of Pangasinan.
No “fancy” stuff or any kind of advocacy on this run. This is a test of human endurance to be able to promote ultra running in the country. This route is envisioned to be the future “Badwater Ultramarathon” of the Philippines.
My special thanks to those who supported this event. No need to mention their names as their respective company/organization’s logo is depicted in the picture above. Thanks for your generosity and continuing support to the running community in the country.
Updates on “near real-time” will be published on this blog soon.
On the last week of July, I went to Fort Magsaysay and make a recon on the trail route surrounding the Taklang Damulag Mountain. I mentioned in one of my previous posts about my trek towards the peak of the said mountain where I timed 52:37 minutes to reach its peak from Fernandez Hill, a distance of 2.7 kilometers. The trek to the peak was only a part of the 25-kilometer distance that I run & walked/hiked during that day and the trail loop towards the mountain peak from Fernandez Hill and around as it covers a distance of 13 kilometers. It took us 5+ hours to cover the distance (25K) as most of were hiking and brisk walking. If we tried to jog and run the flat portions of the route, we could have made it in 3+ hours. This part of the Taklang Damulag 100-mile run consists of the “inner loop” of the course.
The following were the pictures taken during my recon run at the “inner loop” on the last week of July:
Last Thursday afternoon, together with one of my elite athletes, Jack Espana, I went to Fort Magsaysay and slept overnight in one of the transient facilities. We were already in bed at 9:30 PM and woke up at 4:30 AM of Friday. At 5:30 AM, we started our run from the Starting Area of the Race by hiking the first 2 kilometers as our warm-up. The purpose of the run is to recon the first 40K distance of the route which is considered as the “outer loop” of the TD 100 route. The trail route is located outside the cantonment area of Fort Magsaysay passing through Barangays Pag-asa, Dona Josefa, Bacao, Langka 1 & 2, Palale, Cattle Stock Farm, and Nazareth.
Practically, we left on the northern side of the camp and run through the trails on the eastern side of the camp and then re-entered the camp from the south direction. The route traverses through rolling hills and mountains with maximum elevation of 375 meters with lots of stream crossings through spillways and river crossings. What made the run very relaxing was the scenery, clean air, overcast sky, rain & showers on mid-day, and some conversations with the residents along the route.
We had two “pit stops” along the route. These “pit stops” are sari-sari stores that sell anything from assorted bread & chips to drinks. We took some time to eat solid foods on these stores and were able to talk to the owners. The people were surprised as they always asked us where are our bicycles as we tell them where we came from. Bicycles? What bicycles are they talking about? They told us that a group of cyclists on mountain bikes would usually pass along the said route. Well, we told them that we were running, jogging and walking along the said route. It appeared that we were the first ones whom they see (as outsiders/visitors) to be running & hiking the said route.
We finished our recon run before 3:00 PM as we reached our Starting Area. After a quick shower, we were out of Fort Magsaysay as we headed towards Eva’s Restaurant near the boundary of Zaragoza, Nueva Ecija and La Paz, Tarlac where the best and very hot Bulalo is being served.
Getting back from the result of our recon run on the TD 100 route. So far, I have run through a distance of 65 kilometers from the 80K-loop of the trail route with an aggregate total time of 13+ hours. And since the remaining 15K route is on an easy rolling and flat terrain, it could be covered in another 2.5 hours. Adding these times would total to 15-16 hours to cover one loop of the course! However, my recon runs had averaged a pace of 12-15 minutes per kilometer which was basically a “hiking” pace! So, from these data, an average ultra runner could finish one loop in less than 15 hours.
The actual measurement of the course is done! The next thing to do is to finalize the administrative and operational needs for the race!
Guys, I only need 25 “brave and hardcore” runners for this another historic FIRST 100-mile trail endurance running event in the country. Let us help one another in putting our country in the world’s map of ultra trail running.