Hi readers! This week we’re going to talk about cross training. Why? Well……because I didn’t run.
That’s right. I did not run. Not one single mile. This is not a great marathon training strategy and if we were closer to the race, or I didn’t have solid faith in the base I have built over the last several months I would probably be in some kind of panic over losing a week of training. Our bodies, however, don’t just immediately crash and burn. Anyone that has trained for a race knows that things happen. We get sick, we get injured, our families come to town. No matter how dedicated we are there are times when life or circumstance make us take pause – either for purposes of mental or physical health. For me, this last week was a mix of both.
Cross training is an important part of marathon training. Rest days are important as well. When you are pushing your body to its limit, it needs a day off. Bodies being worked hard need time to recover, and muscles occasionally need a change of pace. People do a lot of different things for cross training. When I’m at home I have a Zumba class I go to every week. I also occasionally drop in on yoga or pilaties classes, and now that it is summer I also love swimming. Here in Costa Rica I was looking for something a bit more, adventurous. And boy did I find it!
When we last spoke it was Sunday morning and I was musing about whether or not I was going to set off in the blistering jungle heat to run eight miles. The result of this waffling was I did not run nine miles. Instead we headed to the beach for some good old fashioned boogie boarding.
On Monday we headed the opposite direction to one of Costa Rica’s beautiful national parks for one of my other favorite cross training activities – hiking! I know of folks who even use walking as cross training, so I think a trek through a very hot jungle certainly counts as some decent cross training! Given that we are in Costa Rica we had some beautiful friends come to watch us hike:
The bird on the top is a crested caracara, and the monkey on the bottom is a white faced capuchin. Now, hiking in Virginia may not give you the same kind of wildlife viewing – but I would highly suggest hitting the Billy Goat Trail or even Old Rag sometime this summer if you have occasion to. They are both amazing hikes with beautiful views, and certainly make for good cross training!
While boogie boarding was fun, I felt like if I was really going to claim it was good cross training, I was going to have to do something a bit more intense. Enter surf school!
Tortuga Surf School in Jaco, Costa Rica came highly recommend from trip advisor, so three of us decided we’d try it out. If you have never had the pleasure of surfing, let me tell you – it is much more of a full body work out than one would imagine! The first day started off doing drills on the shore. Learning how to pop up properly to ride over the waves you don’t want to catch, how to get yourself up on your feet quickly once you’ve paddled hard enough to catch your wave, and how to properly squat down low enough to keep your balance long enough to ride your wave. Then we hit the water to learn how to catch the small breakers. After two hours we were totally beat and we called it a day.
The second day of surf school they had us paddle waaaay out and start catching swells to ride in. This was significantly harder, and any time you missed a wave you had quite a long paddle back out. This was an incredible full body work out, and after only two hours of this more intense surfing, we were about reading to throw up, as illustrated by the picture to the right. I was more exhausted than I can remember being and absolutely every body part hurt. Talk about a good work out!! I did manage to ride a wave or two pretty well.
I took the day between surf school lessons and the day after surf school off. During this last week I had my best childhood friend come down and hang out with us here, and my brother and his wife have also joined us. Today (Sunday) is our last full day here in Costa Rica so we went for one last hike in Manuel Antonio National Park and found this lovely friend –
Today will be my last post from Costa Rica. Tomorrow we will fly back home, and I imagine my training posts will be much more consistent! This upcoming Saturday I will be racing at the Rockville Twilighter 8k. I have set a goal for myself of 43 minutes – which would be a PR for me (I just realized we’ve never talked much about pace – I’m sure we’ll get into it more later). If any of you are planning on being there and happen to spot me – please come say hi! I’d love to know someone out there is reading my ramblings about running! Until next week – run well!