Planning Is Everything (Adventure Run)

In the military, planning is the most important aspect before the conduct of any operation or any activity. Being a former military officer, planning is already a part of my system. In every thing or activity that I do, there is a thorough planning involved as a guide for the execution of an operation or activity. Without any good planning, mistakes, errors and lapses occur every step of the way during the execution of your intended action or operation.

When I finally executed my “adventure run” from Monumento, Caloocan City to Baguio City, I prepared an operational plan for the said activity. In the military, every planner is guided by the letters S-M-E-A-C. These are five letters of each of the following words—Situation; Mission; Execution; Administration & Logistics; and Command & Control. In the said run, I used these words as my guide for my planning.

Situation guided me to find out the prevailing situation along the road from the starting point to the finish line. The weather, road condition, security and peace & order, pollution, noise, and traffic/density of vehicles along the road. Situation simply answered the question—who/which are my friends and enemies along the road? Mission is very simple, to run from point A to point B and be able to document the activity in near “real time” so that my readers could read and see what I did along the road as soon as I had a break or rest. Execution involved my schedule guide to run from Monumento, Caloocan City to Baguio City on a daily basis with an average of 50 kilometers covered within a day. This includes my strategy for my food & fluid intakes and the expected towns/cities where I would end my daily runs or take a mid-day break. Administration & Logistics would deal with my support system from my financial support up to my logistical support in terms of food, accommodation, gasoline, running attire, shoes, supply of ice, availability of Internet load to my SmartBro connection and what hydration system to use in every leg of the run. Command & Control would deal with Communications & Coordinating Instructons with my Support Crew/driver and the availability of access and signal to the Internet. during my “breaks” and rest over night (RON).

As I am used to be travelling to the North through the North Luzon Expressway (NLEX) since it was constructed, I did not know what the old MacArthur Highway looks like nowadays. Pedestrians are not allowed along the NLEX and the only option is to run along the old MacArthur Highway. I had to recon the road/MacArthur Highway from Caloocan City up to Mabalacat, Pampanga for two times just to be sure of the exact road to take and to pinpoint towns/cities with convenience stores/fastfoods along the road. I had to make sure that my designated driver/support crew will not get lost along the road as there are tricky overpasses, road crossings and U-turns along the way. My support has to “leap frog” as far as 2 kilometers during daytime and at least 500 meters during nighttime. Driving through or travelling along the route is the best way to orient and find out the situation along the road as part of the planning process. Studying the route through maps is not enough!

In my execution of my plan, I was guided with the two most important Principles of War—Simplicity and Surprise. Simplicity means running alone. I was responsible for myself only. Surprise is exemplified when I did not warn or give any hint as to when I am going to start my adventure run. Nobody would believe that I was capable of starting this event a day after I finished the Condura Marathon. My security along the road was my most concern as I did not want to advertise this event. What was most important in this run is to be able to journalize or document my run through this blog/site on a near “real time” through my accounts and pictures.

I really don’t care if somebody in the future would run this distance in one day or two days. What I’ve proven here in this adventure run is that I could immediately inform my readers what transpired in my run immediately during my “breaks” or rest periods within the day or before I start another leg of my run. If you can run this distance in two or three days and then publish your account in your blog after you finish the whole adventure run, then that’s another view/perspective of the said experience.

Rest Over Night (RON) was the most important factor to be considered in order to have a rested and recovered body before the start of the next leg of the run. During the two occassions that I conducted an actual drive/recon up to Mabalacat, Pampanga, I pinpointed and planned to rest overnight (RON) at the MacArthur Hotel in San Fernando, Pampanga which is located along the highway. However, on the night I stopped my first leg, there was no available room and I opted to look for a hotel at the very center of San Fernando City. I was able to look for one but my standards for a decent sleeping facility/room was not met but I was able to rest/sleep for 7 hours.

On my second night, Mr Blue Pension in Capas, Tarlac was a perfect place to rest. The place has big rooms and I was able to use the Butane-fed Stove I brought to cook additional foods and prepare hot water for my instant oatmeal, coffee, and mami noodles.

On my third night, I checked in at Jijis Pension/Hotel in Carmen, Rosales, Pangasinan. There was a brownout that time but the electricity was restored after 20 minutes. The available room was cozy without any windows but the air-conditioner was perfect. I overslept in this hotel because of the lack of natural light coming from the outside but I was able to sleep the required 7 hours for the night.

On my last night along the road, I stayed at the Five Star Apartelle in Urdaneta, Pangasinan. So far, this was the best place where I had my rest overnight. The place is spacious and each unit has two bedrooms upstairs with laundry & drying areas on the first floor.

As for my meals, I was a loyal customer of Jollibee for the first two days. I had my lunch at Isdaan Restaurant in Gerona, Tarlac on my third day. I had my lunch and dinner at Matutina’s Restaurant in Urdaneta City on my fourth day. And had my breakfast at the Rivervue Restaurant at Saitan, Rosario, La Union.

I had a daly intake of Multi-Mineral & Vitamin tablet, Vitamin C, and Glucousamine. Before going to bed, I had to drink one glass of Ensure.

Lastly, I was protected by Mr Heckler & Mr Koch USP9 from Germany with their 19 powerful 9mm rounds and a spare of two magazines in case of extreme emergency. However, my daily prayers to the Lord had greatly protected me from any harm or injury.

For those who are intending to experience an adventure run, good luck and I hope you can document your experience on a near “real-time” on your blog or site. Always be safe on the road.

Fourth Day: Mid-Day Run

1. I was not able give my readers a brief description of my run on the 4th day of my adventure run. I was able to post my pictures as “teaser” for what had transpired during the run.

2. I slept late on the 3rd day as I was frustrated to have not reached the boundary of Tarlac and Pangasinan due to the stones/gravel and sand along the sidewalk of the National Highway and finally stopped at Km Post #160, barely 8-9 kilometers to the boundary line. While at the Hotel, there was a 30-minute “brownout” which disturbed my sleep. However, I was able to extend my sleep by waking up late in the morning. I ordered a full breakfast meal and ate it without any hurry.

3. Since I slept in one of the roadside hotels in Carmen, Rosales, I had to be driven back to San Manuel, Tarlac, a 10K-drive, at 9:00 AM. Finally, I started my run from Km Post #160 on or about 9:30 AM. It was already too hot during the day but I was able to endure by incorporating walking breaks during my run. As practiced and done in my previous days, I had to drink water from my Nathan Hydration bottle every 2 kilometers and drink half-bottle of Gatorade every 5 kilometers.

Banana (Lacatan) as The Most Powerful Energy-Boosting Fresh Fruit

4. I was very strong during the morning run because I had a full breakfast with steamed rice, fried eggs, & longganiza (local sausage). After running straight for 12 kilometers, I have to incorporate walking breaks while eating SkyFlakes crackers and Cloud 9 chocolate bites. At 12 noon, I reached the City of Urdaneta and decided to check-in to an apartelle recommended by my friend, Cecil Morella. I had my cold shower and prepared for my lunch. I had my lunch at Matutina’s Restaurant where I ate Pusit Adobo, Fried Bangus Belly, and Pork Barbecue with Rice. After lunch, I was able to sleep at the Apartelle for almost 2 hours.

Be Careful With The Sand & Gravel On The Sidewalks!
Km Post Markings In Pangasinan Are Accurate.

5. At 4:15 PM, I prepared to continue my run from the Apartelle, going towards Urdaneta Poblacion and Binalonan. It was still very hot and the sidewalk was still the same—sand & gravel but I endured the surface of the road and the sound/noise, pollution and traffic of vehicles along the National Highway. Those narrow bridges between Urdaneta and Binalonan are accident-prone areas because the width could exactly accommodate two vehicles abreast with each other. I took extra precaution on crossing these bridges making sure that there was no vehicle crossing on the bridge with me on both traffic. Most of the old bridges don’t have any space for pedestrians on both sides of the road. I really wanted to stop by on those makeshift stores selling boiled corn on the sidewalks of the road between Urdaneta and Binalonan but I was in a hurry to finish my run. The boiled corn being sold there are sweet and fresh. They are produced/harvested locally on those cornfields along the highway. However, I did not miss these boiled corn as I bought some on my way back to Manila. I finally reached Km Post # 192 in Binalonan, Pangasinan at 6:00 PM. I ended my run very early because of a dinner appointment with Rey Jimenez in Urdaneta City.

6. Days before I reached the Province of Pangasinan, Rey Jimenez of Dagupan City contacted and invited me for dinner in Urdaneta through my cellphone and he was a generous host and very persistent to join me on my last leg from Saitan, Rosario, La Union to Baguio City. It was my second time to meet him as he joined the 2010 BDM 50K Test Run from Mariveles to Abucay, Bataan last month even if he did not finish a full marathon distance yet. He is a good runner as he finished the BDM Test Run in 7+hours. During the dinner, Rey showed seriousness in joining me on the next day’s last leg to Baguio City.

7. As scheduled at 6:30 PM, Rey and I met at the Matutina’s Restaurant, the very same restaurant where I had my lunch! Rey ordered the following dishes for the dinner: Inihaw na Bonuan Bangus, Sinigang na Malaga, Lechon Kawali, and Kilawen na Pusit. It was a heavy dinner but it was enough as my food replenishment for the day and “carbo” load for the next day. I told many stories to Rey about my experiences on the road for the past 4 days during our dinner. Rey, thanks for the dinner!

8. At about 9:30 PM, after posting my “teaser” pictures and my day’s evening edition, I immediately went to bed with an intention to wake up early for the last day of my run. I was decided to finish the run on the 5th day in Baguio City.

9. This leg was my shortest run in terms of my daily mileage but it was one of the hardest days because of the heat of the sun and the condition of the sidewalk along the National Highway. I was told that this day was the first day of summer for the year! My total mileage was 32 kilometers. The mileage was short but I was able to conserve my strength and energy for the last leg of my run.

10. On political and campaign posters in Pangasinan, I did not see much posters along the highway. Almost all the barangays along the National Highway from Urdaneta City to the Pangasinan-La Union Boundary has a posted notice from the Barangay Captains that they prohibit the display of campaign posters nailed/stapled on trees and I believe that this notice was strictly implimented. Instead, I’ve seen the following “writings on the walls”:

This Is An Indication of A Problem!
Very Interesting!!!