Today I will be long winded and inundate you with pictures. You’ve been warned. This last week was my official first week of marathon training. Kind of. As I mentioned in a previous post, I have several races that I am training for. The first race coming up will be the Rockville Twilighter 8k in July. The training plan I have been following for that race actually had me at a higher weekly mileage rate than the first week of my marathon training plan, so I thought I would stick with that. Things didn’t go quite as planned.
On Sunday everything went perfectly according to plan. I needed to run three miles and get in a strength work out. Given that I wanted to be at the gym for my strength workout, I decided to just do my three on the treadmill. Thanks to the cinema room at my gym, I had the pleasure of running my three miles while watching Waynes World 2. I don’t recommend it. The next step of the gym proved to be a terrible idea. Sean is the gentleman I’m planning on marrying this Fall, and he happens to be a former crossfitter. I thought, just for fun, I’d let him lead me through some of the strength exercises he does when he goes to the gym. I learned to do deadlifts, did some skin-the-cats on the rings, and did some shoulder presses and walking lunges. None if it sounds too intense, but given that I am not someone that tends to lift heavy things, I learned my lesson.
Monday morning I woke up and could barely move! I hobbled out of bed and off to work. While I was hurting (and hurting bad), I grabbed my gym clothes so that after work I could do my 45 minute tempo run. At 11am, I had an experience that most parents can commiserate with. The phone rang and I was informed my daughter was laying in the clinic with a fever of 102. It’s amazing how one simple act can obliterate all plans for a day. My day became a rush of finding someone to take her home and getting an afternoon doctor’s appointment. Did I mention that on Thursday we would be leaving the country for almost three weeks? Yup. Instead of running on Monday, my day turned into driving all over the place to see doctors and get prescriptions filled. Thus began my four days of forced rest. Between a kid with strep, finishing up the school year (I teach 3rd grade), and trying to figure out how to pack for the three of us for three weeks in rural Costa Rica, I neglected running. While I’m not terribly proud of that, I wanted to make no mistake of being honest about it here. Could I have gotten up at 5am to run? Absolutely. But dealing with kids and life became my priority. And by Thursday we were on an airplane, headed to Costa Rica.
Welcome to Tarcoles, Costa Rica! Tarcoles is a very small fishing town about 30 minutes north of Jaco. There are about six streets, no ATMs, no grocery stores, no gas stations. There are three small convenience stores, a co-op where you can buy fish straight off the boats, and two bars. And this is my home for the next three weeks. On Friday morning I was up at 6am (the sun is up here by 5, and by 8am it is HOT). I took off down the road toward the river.
Along the way I stopped to look at macaws in the trees and spoonbills in the river.
My plan was to run five miles – down to the next village up and back. The run was amazing, and I kept having to stop to snap pictures. The streets are a mix of pavement, gravel, and dirt. I only pass about five cars, and most of the people out are kids headed to school. As I turned down a road near my turn around point I suddenly hear a lot of growling. Luckily, the dog was small, but he chased me several houses down the road. And scared me enough to not want to run by again! I decided to just go ahead and run on the beach to get back home.
The beach I ran down to get back to Tarcoles was one of the saddest things I’ve seen in a long time. It is the rainy season and we are near a point where a major river hits the ocean, and the beach was an absolute landfill. After what seemed like a very long time, I made it back to the river near the house and found a trail back to the bridge.
Saturday turned out to be yet another adventure in running. The owner of the house where we are staying had given me two good running routes. The first was the route I took yesterday to the next town over, but this route would only be good for miles that are 5 miles or less. The other route, he said, I could go on as long as I wanted, but it went towards the mountains. For whatever reason the word “mountains” did not sink in as much as it should have. Today I needed to run eight miles. Given I was still a little gun shy about that dog, I figured I would do this longer run on the longer option. Off I go, with dog treats in my pocket for the sake of safety. This run starts off in more of the city streets. I know this picture is a bit hard to see, but those blobs in the road are dogs, and other animals on the sides of the road are chickens.
I spend a lot of time avoiding dogs and chickens. I found the road to turn on and off I went. I run passed huge fields full of tall grass, scaring crabs and being harassed by macaws (they are LOUD). I hit the highway, ran across, and I was off. It was shaded and cool and I was thrilled with this gentle dirt road. And then, it started going up. And up. And up. It became completely un-runable.
We’re talking mountain road switchbacks. Up and up I went, now hiking instead of running. Those views were absolutely amazing.
I knew that I wouldn’t be able to get eight miles in.
While I’m out running my parents are at home with my kids, and I promised her I’d be home within an hour and a half. This hike was taking a lot more time than just a run, but I decided I had to see what was ahead. I kept moving forward until I had gone three miles and gave up to head back down the mountain. At first I couldn’t even jog, the road was too steep and immediately I would feel my feet getting away from me. After about a half mile I was able to start jogging, and I ran the rest of the way home (very much enjoying those down hills).
Today is Sunday and is a planned rest day. This week will also be a little wacky as for a few days we will be in a different part of the country where it will be very hard to run. The takeaway from this week is just keep going. Days get missed, plans get changed, but just like in real life, you just keep moving forward. See you next week!