Sunday, October 11, 2009

A Cyclist Changes Gears and Goes on a Running Vacation - Day 1 of The Coastal Experiences

Did I sign up for a running trip or dance class? Keep reading to find out why samba dancers and runners are parading poolside on the opening day of The Coastal Experiences.

 I AM AFRAID -and excited! I am safe here in the Best Western Irazu hotel in San Jose, Costa Rica, but tomorrow I - along with 70 others from the U.S., Canada, Germany and Great Britain -  will embark upon a challenging, week-long adventure called The Coastal Experiences. 

  These tents served as our registration and check-in area today at Best Western Irazu here in San Jose, Costa Rica. I felt like I was about to do the Hawaii Ironman Triathlon World Championship.

During the course of seven days, I will run 40km total, all off-road, through the jungle and on rocky, volcanic land. The company's website says this adventure trip for the active traveler is geared towards those of us who have competed in community 10k (6.2-mile) races - perfect, that's me! But wait! The last time I ran a 10k was nine years ago. My muscles will remember my triathlon days, right?

The organizers of The Coastal Experiences gave us a fabulous SURPRISE welcome by having a troupe of dancers come perform, then dance with us! A brilliant ice breaker.

I am scared that I will be the last runner, that I will be bitten to a pulp by insects and that I might melt in the tropical heat. But most of all, I am concerned about the running. My goal is to walk-run each day and avoid injury. I have discovered there are others who plan to walk the entire week. Maybe those are My People?  The competitor in me resists the idea of being at the back of the pack, whether I am walking or running.  But at this point I have little choice since my training plans fell by the wayside.

I am an avid cyclist - I have 5 bikes - and I left them all at home in order to come on this running vacation. I kept meaning to train for this event. But somehow the siren call of singletrack mountain bike rides with friends was stronger than my plan to go for a solo run.

Back in August, it seemed like a great idea to push myself out of my comfort zone of bicycling just before my 40th birthday, October 26. What better way to greet a new decade?

Maybe I can pick up a few new dances steps while I am here!

We shall see what happens tomorrow! Here is what is on tap for me - it's the longest day of running with a 10k (6.2-miles). It's midnight now and I am getting up at 5 a.m.!

Monday, October 12, 2009
Race Day 1
Depart the Best Western Irazu in San Jose and head for the volcano. The 10K run will be near the volcano of Turrialba.  A narrow unpaved road will take you through the hills and past small villages that sit above San Jose.  Your finish line is the home of Turrialba Lodge, where we’ll be staying that night.  Relax at the indoor pool, go horseback riding or trek up to the volcano.