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.