Something Was Wrong!

WC 200: First Attempt

As you all know, I stopped this run after covering the distance of 40 kilometers after being bitten by an astray dog at the Poblacion of San Narciso, Zambales at around 7:40 PM of September 14, 2011, Wednesday. However, I would like to relate what transpired, in detail, from the time before I started the run up to the time when I reached the Poblacion of San Narciso.

The day before I started this first attempt, I was having some problem with my stomach as I’ve been having a LBM for the past days and I was taking Loperamide tablets on a daily basis but to no avail, my condition did not improve. I was wondering if I had a stomach virus that was keeping me from being cured from such predicament. The solution that I could think of was to take a Loperamide tablet every time I have to eat and drink something few hours before I took off. Such move relieved me somehow.

Not Smiling While It Was Raining

However, my aggressive drive was not there when I started for my “photo-ops” inside the Remy Field’s Oval Track at the Subic Freeport. You can’t see a smile on my face and for the first time in my adventure runs, I was nervous of the uncertainty of the challenge I was going to face. I guess, my biorythm was not synchronized with what was in my mind. But it suddenly rained while I was about to finish one lap on the oval track and my mood changed a little with the fact that this could be a “blessing” from heaven that it was a “GO” for me to continue this run. I finally started my run at 9:50 AM which is barely 10 minutes earlier from the usual 10:00 AM Elite runner’s realease for the Badwater Ultramarathon. (Note: If ever this will be an official running event, the race will start at exactly 10:00 AM)

I purposely walked while I was leaving the oval track and making my way to the Kalaklan Gate which is located on the northern end of the former US Navy Base of Subic. As I passed the Gate, I waved to the Security Police that was guarding the gate, he responded with a smile and I was out of the base. As I passed the bridge and turned left towards the Olongapo-Bugallon Highway, I was still walking and I was on the ascending portion that goes to the Gate of the Olongapo City Public Cemetery. I came to realize that the whole portion of the hill occupies the

Once I reached the peak, I started my slow run in the descending portion. I was always on the left side of the road making sure that I can see what is infront of me. The road to Olongapo City was a busy one and I was very careful of the incoming traffic because the road was wet due to the brief rain in the area.

Busy Road On The Stretch of Olongapo To Subic

My support vehicle was prepositioned in front of me in every 3 kilometers and I had to stop and cross the road to the other side in a careful matter in order to refill my handy Nathan “Sprint” Bottle and eat some solid foods. I was fortunate enough that the sun was covered with clouds for the first hour of my run. The first 4-5 kilometers was a “roller-coaster” where I strictly followed walking on the ascending portions and then running the descending ones. However, I have to regularly check on my Heart Rate Monitor Watch to be able to maintain a certain range of beats per minute. I made 135 bpm as my upper limit on my first 10 kilometers of the run.

Along the stretch from Olongapo City to the town of Subic (actually I was surprised that there is a town named after the former US Naval Base/Facility) which is a distance of about 10 kilometers, I could see only two things along the road—entrance to the beach resorts and bold & colored names of night clubs/bars. There are also commercial establishments and cafes where you can see “senior white” guys drinking their coffee and smoking their cigar (not cigarettes!). A typical “Cool”-look of retired US servicemen who knew their way around in the country and in Subic/Olongapo area. They are good contributors to the economy of the place. You could just imagine how they could spend their monthly retirement pay with a business to manage, a young wife/partner, a nice house with maids, a nice car, and a beach/sea where they could relax. Such kind of life way back to their country of origin would be a fortune and luxury only for the rich and famous!

Waving To A "White" Guy Who Was Hiking On The Other Side Of The Road

It is along this stretch where I made my first status on Facebook, telling something about being “horny” while running on the hot and humid stretch of the Olongapo-Bugallon Highway and I received a lot of comments immediately after I posted it. Actually my feeling during the run was the complete opposite of what I’ve posted. I was trying to entertain myself and taking some positive vibes as the sun was already hot and it was noon time already. My hydration and nutrition strategy was strictly followed in order to last for the distance and I was feeling fine and strong.

No Need To Explain..I Was Simply Tired Due To The Heat

I have to rest in waiting sheds along the road and most of them are located on my right. After eating and hydrating myself, I have to open my laptop computer to find out if my Internet connection is strong. I was glad I was able to post a brief summary and some pictures about my run where the signal is strong. It took me at least 30-35 minutes for these “pit stops” and had only a few remaining minutes to complete my targetted number of kilometers in every hour of my run. At least, I would be able to run or cover a distance of 5-6 kilometers per hour to include my rests/”pit stops”. For the next hours, this ritual had been repeated all the way as I covered more towns of Zambales. But I did not meet the required targetted mileage as hours passed by.

Resting Outside A Cemetery!!!!

After Subic, the next place to go was the town of Castillejos, the birthplace of the Former President Ramon Magsaysay. The place is clean and it has paved sidewalks. I did not bother to pay attention that the preserved old house of the former President was on my side which I learned later on my next attempt. The next town would be San Marcelino, a big towm which serves as the meeting point/junction for the towns of San Antonio and San Narciso. If you turn left from the junction of the town near its Municipal Hall and Public Market, you would go along the Old Route that goes to the town of San Antonio but if you go straight, it will lead you to the new highway which is a “shortcut” to the town of San Narciso. This stretch of the Highway is wide, flat and with lesser traffic but the view of the ricefields on both sides of the road was very refreshing. On the east you would see the Zambales-Tarlac Mountains and the west would be endless sight of ricefields and some hills.

The Entrance To Castillejos, Zambales
Favorite Picture Of The Day

After my hourly “pit stops”, I was already on the boundary of San Narciso but I need at least 6 kilometers more to reach the Poblacion and it was starting to get dark. I had to use my Eddie Bauer Headlamp and hand-held flashlight to illuminate the ground about 2 meters ahead of me and I was comfortable with my run. As I slowly reached the Poblacion of San Narciso, I told my support crew that we need to have a decent and “hot” dinner along the first eatery (carinderia) that we could reach. That would be my first complete meal for the day. I decided to pass on the first one because there was a loud Karaoke with an out-of-tune and out-of-beat singer/performer. The place is crowded, too! So, I have to stop on the next eatery where there is no customer.

Scenery Refreshing To The Eyes
Time To Update My Blog & Post Status On Facebook
Getting Dark Approaching San Narciso

The owner of the carinderia was generous and kind that she allowed us to charge my laptop and heat up our electric thermos. For meals that cost us P 120.00 (rice and pork sinigang) and free use of their electricity for about an hour, it was something to cherish when you are in the province. I took some time to update my blog in this carinderia while talking to the owner and to the waitresses who happen to be the nieces of the owner. From our conversation, they were informed that I was running from Subic all the way to their place and hopefully end up in Iba, Zambales. (I did not tell them that I’ll be running further north from their province and end up in Alaminos, Pangasinan!).

Inside The Roadside Carinderia

Fresh from a decent meal and after changing my wet ARC shirt to a dry one, I was ready to continue my run. After almost one kilometer from this carinderia, I was attacked and bitten by an stray dog along a dark portion of the highway, barely 500 meters from the Municipal Hall and Public Plaza of San Narciso. “Houston, we have a problem!”

My first instinct was to stop on a lighted part of the road and see the wound clearly with my hand-held flashlight. I asked for some wet wipes from my support crew and immediately cleaned the wound as there was no blood coming out from the wound. One thing that I failed to prepare and bring was my basic first aid kit. This could be one of the reasons why there was something wrong in me! We had to rely on the services of an open drug store where we bought Betadine, Cotton and Bandage. After buying such medical needs, I walked to the Public Plaza where the park lights are stronger. I just sit on the steps that lead to the park while treating and cleaning my wounds.

My Souvenir On My 1st Attempt

It was time to call the doctors whom I know. Not only one but three of them and they gave me identical recommendations and procedures to follow. After I dropped my phone, I immediately decided to stop the run and go back immediately to Manila for my immediate treatment. In less than 18 hours, I had my anti-tetanus shots first and then my first anti-rabies shots, not after going in 3 different branches of Mercury Drug Store. The anti-rabies shot is not being carried by all Mercury Drug Stores and they are very expensive! For a 1/2 cc of injectable drug that costs P 1,630.00, the company that manufactures it would be making a lot of profit.

As of this writing, I was able to complete the required number of shots within 14 days after the 1st injection and the scars of the dog’s bite leave as a memory/souvenir of my first attempt to run the WC 200.

Stupid as it may seem, I put the blame on me for deciding to use the Ipod Shuffle during this run. For years, I’ve stopped using any wires on my runs but I brough it back last June of this year. (Reading Phil Maffetone’s training influenced me to go back to hearing music during my runs). As I said in previous post, using some kind of music on one’s ears disrupts ones depth of perception on his/her surroundings and it brought me to be complacent on the threat of the barking dogs. Thanks to the late Steve Jobs for inventing the Ipod as I owned a lot in the past and gave them as “gifts” to those who would like to have one when it came to the point that I finally decided to stop having wires during my runs. (It’s amazing that this post ends up to the visionary Steve Jobs! May he rest in peace.)

To be continued.


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:

Walking While Leaving Remy Field @ Subic Freeport
Approaching The Town Of Subic, Olongapo
"Pit Stop" @ Subic, Olongapo; Eating Hard-Boiled Egg with Salt
Entering The Town of Castillejos, Zambales; Birthplace of President Ramon Magsaysay
Cooling It Off In One of My Pit Stops
Entering The Town of San Marcelino, Zambales
Flat & Straight Road in San Marcelino, Zambales
Updating My Run @ Facebook...You Can Do This, Too!
Entering the Town of San Narciso, Zambales

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.

Letter "V" Wound by a Dog Bite

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.