“West To East”: 5th Day/”Pain Is Temporary”

12:45 PM March 19, 2011/SCTEX Exit/Entry in La Paz, Tarlac to Santa Rosa, Nueva Ecija 

I got good signs that I would be able to continue my run on the 5th day when I saw my swollen left quadriceps had reduced in size and the pain I felt could be tolerable when I woke up in the morning with 9 hours of sleep. It did not matter if I was going to start at noon time for my day’s run as long as I can push my body to run a distance and bring myself nearer to my place of destination.

I was glad that I brought my Adidas Tech Fit Compression Shorts which has those shiny straps that are positioned on the buttocks & hamstring areas and connecting to my quadriceps muscle. The shiny strap has a way to compress and hold my muscles on the areas it covers and it relieves pain on such areas. I was lucky to have brought such compression shorts which I don’t normally wear on my training and road races. It was a blessing that I brought such compression shorts!

After taking my shower after I woke up, I tried the shorts and it perfectly solved my problem about my quads—the swollen portion is pressed by the strap and it minimizes the pain that I could feel every time I lift me left foot from the ground. At this point, I know I could reach my destination with the plan to use this compression all the way to the beach of Dingalan Bay.

After we checked-out from the hotel, we have to travel 35 kilometers from Cabanatuan City back to La Paz, Tarlac but along the way, we decided to take it easy for the day and observe how my swollen quads would react for the day’s run. In Zaragoza, Nueve Ecija (the first town of Nueva Ecija from Tarlac Province) and the town next to La Paz, Tarlac, we stopped by in one of the road side eateries which had been there for the past 40 years serving broiled catfish (hito) to people passing such area. These catfish are freshly caught and cooked as the place is surrounded with river and marshland.

Early Lunch @ Eva's Restaurant (Broiled Hito, Fried Pork Liempo, and...)
Beef Bulalo @ Eva's Restaurant (La Paz-Zaragoza Boundary)

We had our early lunch at 11:00 AM at the Eva’s Eatery which located near the Zaragoza Bridge (there is a lot of bridges though in Zaragoza in between La Paz and Santa Rosa). As we entered the place made of bamboo, wood, nipa hut, and concrete floor, I observed that the place is clean and had improved a lot since my last visit here when I was still a Lieutenant/Captain. The Inihaw Na Hito and broiled Pla-pla wrapped on an aluminum foil are still the favorite dishes in the place. We ordered Bulalo, Inihaw Na Hito, and Fried Pork Liempo and the food was great. We stayed in the place longer as we had planned as more customers entered the establishment. There was this group of motorbikers who stopped for lunch, two families in two separate commuter vans also joined, a middle-age couple, individuals, and seemingly businessmen and travellers passing along the said road.

After lunch, I prepared myself inside the restaurant by wearing my running shoes and arm sleeves and I knew that my trip to the starting point will be a short one. I started the run at 12:45 Noon after the usual photo-ops. It was hot but I was used to it already. At this time, I was wearing the “A Runner’s Circle” (BOA USA) Technical Shirt from Joe Matias, Raul, and Perkins of the said Specialty Running Store. I know, wearing this shirt is some sort of advertising the place and most of the people at the Eva’s Eatery were able to see my shirt, moreso, on all the places that I have passed along the way. It was a way to give back the favour of what ARC Manila had supported to the Elite Team Bald Runner, BDM and PAU Races. Thanks, guys! You are doing great to serve the running community of the country. Please continue helping others!

@ The SCETX Exit/Entry in La Paz, Tarlac

 I was glad my swollen left quads are holding up with the continuous pounding of my left foot on the road. I tried to shift my “more dominant” running leg to my right leg/foot and tried to run with my left leg with a very light touch on the ground. The counting of strides was still there and the “drill” on the road was followed religiously without let-up. Everything that I was doing on the road was already automatic and the support crew was already expert on providing me everything that I needed.

On The Road To Santa Rosa, Nueva Ecija
Running Alone On The Road
Entering The Province of Nueva Ecija

Along the La Paz-Zaragoza-Santa Rosa Road, I was consistently passed by wide trucks that carry US Marines’ mobility equipment, generators, and water treatment facility which I suspect to be proceeding to Fort Magsaysay. There must be a Joint Military Exercises which is about to be conducted with the US Armed Forces and the Armed Forces of the Philippines inside the vast areas of Fort Magsaysay. Even if I was running on the right side of the road, these wide trucks really give some space as they passed me. The trucking company has good and disciplined drivers.

Passing On Those Parked Trucks Carrying US Armed Forces Assets
Passing Trucks Giving Me Space On The Road
Resting While Having Some Photo-Ops With The Ricefields
I Love The Pain and The Scenery Along The Road

I passed by the Eva’s Eatery and had some photo-ops outside of the place. The traffic of vehicle on the Nueva Ecija side is lesser as compared with the Tarlac side. The road from Zaragoza to Santa Rosa is bounded with vast ricefields on both sides and it was refreshing to see the colors of green and yellow as most of them have already grains on it. The rice will be ready for harvest in a few weeks’ time. 

Signs That I Was Near The Poblacion of Santa Rosa
Running As I Crossed The Santa Rosa Bridge
And Then Walking Up To The End of the Bridge
Finished 30K At This Point But I Need To Run Some More!

Since this day’s run is for me to observe the condition of my swollen quads, I made it a point that this is my recovery run. I decided to cover a distance of 32 kilometers. Once I crossed the Santa Rosa Bridge, I was able to complete 30 kilometers. I needed to run another 2 kilometers and crossed the Maharlika Highway as the road leads me to Fort Magsaysay.

It was already dark when I reached the last kilometer post for the day. My swollen quads had passed the test and they have maintained its present condition. The pain was still there but it was tolerable. A longer sleep/rest will surely do the trick for me to be ready again for the next day’s run. The Adidas Tech Fit Compression Shorts did its job to hold my leg muscles during this recovery run lasting for 5 ½ hours actual time of running. I highly recommend this kind of compression shorts for those who are ultra runners and planning to do their multi-day adventure runs in the future. I decided to have it washed immediately and have it as my running shorts for the next day!

Continued To Run, Passing Along the Santa Rosa Public Market
Finally, Sitting On Top Of the Last Kilometer Post of the Day!

My dinner was in one of the road side eateries in Cabanatuan City with Sinigang Na Baboy, Lechon Paksiw, and our left-over of our Bulalo from the Eva’s Restaurant in the La Paz-Zaragoza boundary. After the dinner, we had to go back to the Hotel where we stayed the previous day because of its Wi-Fi Connection and clean rooms.

I did not had my swollen quads massaged but placed an Ice Bag to it for a duration of 30 minutes and then apply a thin layer of Omega Pain Killer and I took one capsule of Alaxan FR before going to bed.

So far, I’ve completed a distance of 207 kilometers after 5 days of running from the beach of Bolinao, Pangasinan. I knew I would be running another 70+ kilometers until I would reach my destination. I had mixed emotions before going to bed as I knew the places I will be passing along will be bounded with mountains and the roads offer more steep inclinations and therefore, will be more challenging on my part. There is only one way to think about the challenges for the next days—think positive!

Some of the additional data/information on this day’s run:

Weather: Very hot but becoming colder during night time.

Distance Covered For the Day: 32 Kilometers

Duration of Actual Running: 5 ½ Hours

Average Pace: 5-6 Kilometers Per Hour

Running Apparel: A Runner’s Circle (BOA USA) Shirt; Adidas Tech Fit Compression Shorts; Adidas White Soccer Socks; Headsweat Running Cap; Local Buff; Arm Sleeves; Nathan Hydration Belt; and Sunglasses by Ray-Ban

Running Shoes: ASICS Gel-LyteRacer


Dinner (Previous Day)—P 450.00

Early Lunch @ Eva’s Restaurant with Softdrinks—P 640.00

Hotel Accommodation—P 900.00

Dinner @ Cabanatuan City Roadside Eatery—P 160.00

Gasoline @ Cabanatuan City—P 1,000.00

Total Expenses For The Day—P 3,150.00

Total Distance Covered (After 5 Days)—207 Kilometers

To be continued…


“West To East”: 4th Day/Swollen Quads!

 9:45 AM March 18, 2011/From Camiling, Tarlac to SCTEX Entry/Exit in La Paz, Tarlac

I was able to sleep for 9 hours at the Royal Blue Hotel in Camiling, Tarlac and it was really a sound sleep. I felt energized again for the day’s run from Camiling, Tarlac up to the Kilometer Post where I could decide to stop to end the day’s run. The plan was to run leisurely without thinking of the number of kilometers that I have to finish for the day. I also started not to follow the Galloway Ratio of Run-Walk. I just simply ran an average pace of 7:30 to 8:00 minutes per kilometer and take a brief walk few meters before reaching my support vehicle. However, I maintained my ritual of walking the uphills and running through the downhills. My brief pit stops would last from 2-4 minutes and checking my blog through my laptop would last up to 15 minutes. And eating in those carinderias/road side eateries would last me for a stop/rest of 20 minutes!

After the usual “drill” upon waking up from bed, my team was ready leave the hotel for a brief breakfast at Jollibee. After breakfast, I was brought to the last kilometer post where stopped the previous night for the regular photo-ops as a part of the starting regimen of every daily run. I started my run at 9:45 AM.

@ Camiling, Tarlac: Start of the 4th Day

 It seems that Camiling, Tarlac is the “melting” pot of the western portion of Tarlac Province. Once you pass along the commercial district of the town, you could see the slow movement of vehicles due to traffic. There was a parade of vehicles advertising some sort of Hog’s Feeds and a new business establishment for farm needs and supplies. It is also the crossroad of vehicles going to the central towns of Pangasinan and the western towns, too! So, vehicles and mass transport/buses coming from Manila and from the Western & Central Pangasinan would converge in this town. Due to the heavy traffic of the main road, I had to walk for about 2 kilometers on the sidewalk trying to observe the people, the vehicles, and the environment. It is good to see 2 PNP personnel manning the crucial intersection to see to it that the traffic is done in orderly manner. All the vehicles are moving but with a crawling speed, at least, all the vehicles are moving.

Running On The Gravel Sides of the Road

After two kilometers of walking and another right turn towards Tarlac City, I started my jog as I met a lot of vehicles coming from the opposite direction. The usual ritual during the previous run was followed—drink water every 2 kilometers where my support have advanced; drink sports drinks every 1 ½ hours; and eat solid food during my longer duration of pit stops. Just like in the previous days, I see to it that I have to urinate at least every hour and observe how my body is perspiring. Since yesterday, I opted not to take any Tylenol tablets to ease the pain on my running legs.

The road from Camiling to Sta Ignacia, the next town, and towards Tarlac City is famous for those rolling and long ascending and descending slopes that I have to force myself to walk on those ascending portions and run through the descending parts. It was a repetitive process to be doing this to preserve the strength of my leg muscles. On those walking breaks on the ascending portions, I would also count my strides just to be able to have a continuous rhythm and pace throughout those inclined portion. Although I was still on the right side of the road, I would go to the shoulders when I have my walking breaks. But on those descending parts of the road, I have to continue my running on the paved portion of the road. If there is white-line paint on the edge of the road, then this is the place where I have to land my foot during running. Those white lines are surprisingly rubberized that it has some bounce on my running shoes. There were lots of ascending and descending parts of the road for today’s run.

Leaving The Town of Camiling, Tarlac
Running Alone On The Road...Again!

At Barangay Nambalan in Sta Ignacia, Tarlac, in front of one of those High School compounds, I passed by a group of students who were walking towards the direction where I was going. As I passed them, I waved my hands at them and they cheered at me and they were shouting words of encouragement. After 300 meters ahead, my support vehicle was waiting for me. While the group of students were walking behind me, I stopped at the support vehicle and started to have my “ritual”—drink and sit on my stool. As I was sitting and resting, the group of students reached me and one of them said,

Student: Uncle, adda met gayam napintas a lugan mo. Apay nga agtar-taray ka? (Uncle, you have a nice car and why are you still running?)

BR: Exercise ko lang daytoy! (I am doing this as a part of my exercise)

Student: Uncle, Ban-banogem lang dayta bag-bagim! (Uncle, you are just punishing yourself!)

BR: (Silent. No words to think of)

The student is smart and he has a point! After that conversation, I was already thinking of stopping my adventure run and go home to have my rest. But as a “warrior” I don’t want to be distracted in accomplishing the mission that I have set to myself.

Time To Eat...
Shaded Road With Acacia Trees
Nice Road & Back Of A Runner
Time To Eat...Again!
Time To Update My Blog...On the Road
Entering The Boundary of Tarlac City

 I resumed my run and running and walking through the ascending and descending portions of the road that leads to Tarlac City. Later, I was already entering the city limits of Tarlac. The Aquino Bridge is the target to cross and I am already within the Commercial Center of Tarlac City! But something is bothering me on my feet. It seems that my feet are burning and I could feel that they are getting hot and had expanded. With one kilometer to go before the Aquino Bridge, I decided to stop by my support vehicle and changed my socks and running shoes. I opted to use the Adidas Adizero Mana for the day but it was my first time to feel such burning sensation and expansion of my feet after running with it for about 32 kilometers. I was using my ASICS running socks which I’ve been using for my long runs but I knew it was the shoes that was causing the problem. I immediately changed my socks with the local PUMA running socks which are thicker and used the always reliable stability-cushion properties of my ASICS Gel-Kayano 14 shoes.

Starting To Feel The Traffic In The City

After changing my shoes and socks, I was back on the road, crossing the Aquino Bridge, walking along the commercial district of Tarlac City and later I was already entering the road that goes to La Paz, Tarlac and to the SCETX Entry/Exit. As I was running along the La Paz-Sta Rosa Road, I felt I was hungry and decided to stop in one of the Carinderia/Turo-Turo Eateries. I ate a big bowl of Bulalo Mami/Noodle Soup with Ice Cold Coke. The simple meal energized me and I resumed my running.

It was already getting dark and the main task at hand was to reach the SCTEX entry/exit where I’ve decided to end the day’s run. I think I walked on the last 3 kilometers because of the heavy traffic on the said road, the dark sidewalk, and most of all, those gravel filled sidewalk where the foot hurts when I step on those big and small stones!

Last Kilometer Post For The Day

 Finally, I reached my target, SCETX! At this point, I was already thinking of ending the adventure run and head towards Metro Manila. For today’s run, I was able to cover a distance of 45 Kilometers and in a Total of 175 kilometers in 4 days. I could feel that there was some pain on the mid foot portion of my left foot and my left knee was also in pain. After changing to drier clothes, I decided to look for a place where we could sleep with a Wi-Fi connection and I was back on my mission.

At La Paz, Tarlac"s SCETX Entry/Exit

After eating my dinner, checking in a cheap hotel with Wi-Fi Connection in Cabanatuan City, and taking a shower, I observed that the lower portion of my left quadriceps had swollen. I thought it was my left knee that expanded in size but as I compared it with my right leg, I could see and feel that it was my lower left portion of my quads (it connects to the knee) that have been bloated and had some pain when it is pressed by the thumb. It was my first time to experience this and I knew that I got it from those descending roads in Sta Ignacia and Tarlac City. I would say this is the description of ultra trail runners of what they call as “fried quads”. There is no panic! I told my support crew, Marlon, to put some ice in my ice bag and have it strapped on the swollen part of my quads and then to massage it lightly with Omega Pain Killer. And lastly, to remind me to take one Alaxan FR capsule before I go to sleep.

After 9-10 hours of sleep, the swollen quads had reduced its size and there was no more pain that I could feel on my quads. It’s a “Go” again for the 5th Day!

Some data/information during the day’s run:

Weather: Still hot but there are some places that were shaded with trees.

Distance: 45 Kilometers

Duration of Run: 9 Hours (due to more walking on the last 3 kilometers)

Average Pace: 5 KPH

Running Apparel: Team BR Technical Shirt; Adidas Adizero Running Shorts; ASICS Running Socks & PUMA Spots Socks; Local Buff; Headsweat Running Cap; Sunglasses by Ray-Ban & Oakley

Running Shoes: Adidas Adizero Mana (For 32 Kilometers) & ASICS Gel-Kayano 14 (For 13 Kilometers)

Total Kilometers Covered (4 Days)—175 Kilometers


Hotel Accomodation—P 750.00

Dinner (Previous Night) & Breakfast—P 700.00

Gasoline—P 1,000.00

Total Expenses—P 2,450.00

To be continued…

Travel Advisory

Do not travel along the SCTEX (Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway) from Subic to Clark or vice-versa during nighttime. There are unidentified persons along the expressway who throw stones at your car. If your car’s windshield or one of your window panels is broken, it creates shock and panic to the driver and to the passengers! The breaking of a glass of a car at a speed of 80-100 KPH is a horrible experience. It seems that somebody had shot you with a gun or a rifle. And the burst of those tiny glass fragments inside the car landing on your body seems that you were hit with shotgun pellets!

But what is worst is when you are shocked and get panic, it is either you suddenly stop your car or bump your car along the side railings of the expressway. Either way, you will end up as a casualty. There were reports that these unidentified persons who threw stones to passing vehicles are members of  a “hold-up” syndicate. Once you stop your car at the shoulder of the highway, this is a chance for these persons to approach your vehicle and divest you with your things. In a few seconds, they could escape along the fields and trails leading to the hills beside the highway under the cover of darkness.

Last week, I was a victim of these “stone-throwers” but I did not stop along the expressway even if I was in the company of Mr Sig Sauer. It was 7:30 in the evening when I heard a loud explosion of a broken glass and knowing that my windshield was untouched, I continued driving until I reached the Clark Exit to NLEX. I found out that the quarter panel glass on the side of my car was broken and there was a trace that a stone had hit it. I am glad the stone did not hit my windshield or my window glass panels.

After the broken glass was replaced by the car company’s repair service, I went back to the place where I believe the incident happened. It is the place in between Dinalupihan & Floridablanca Exits. This was the very same place of the first 10K of last year’s Subic International Marathon! One of these days, I’ll have that hut/nipa house situated on a hill and the rock-crushing facility inspected by the soldiers during nighttime.

So, if you have plans of travelling along the SCTEX from Clark to Subic or vice-versa, do not do it during nighttime! Stay safe!