It all started as a conversation with a friend. The next thing I knew I was on my way to Costa Rica. Literally not knowing what I was getting myself into! I had ran many marathons, but never in the mountains. During the next six days I would be running almost one marathon a day! Yes, I can do it of course. The voice of ignorance responded!
Day one: Qepos to Rafiki Lodge
We got dropped on an isolated beach, from there we would run 30 kilometers in the middle of the Costa Rican summer. Runners from all over the world gathered in cheer to achieve the ultimate goal of endurance. With cheers, smiles and lots of excitement we were ready to go!
Definitely these first 30 kilometer were challenging as we moved from the freshness of the beach to heat of the dense jungle. Always keeping an eye on the pink surveyor's ribbons. One wrong turn and it could have been a very long day. One by one we arrives to our camp in Rafiki, tired and hungry. This is when you start making friends. I remember people wanting to quit, I remember telling others it's only the first day we can do it! We sat our mind on recovery....taking a cold shower was part of it!
Day two: Rafiki Lodge to Dominical beach
Under 40 kilometers this days wasn't going to be a peach either. In order to beat the heat of the day we got up at 3:30. We got ready for the day with the proper gear and foods. We eat a good breakfast, tear down our tents and by 5:30 we were on the road. On this day we would climb two though hills.
After climbing hills, downhills follows up...yay! Still with the heat of the day, you begin to question yourself. Why am I doing this? However, until today. No running experience has matched the Coastal Challenge. Being deep in the forest, my instinct of survival kicked in! I was watching every step I took. I heard the most dramatic sounds produced by howling monkeys, and saw beautiful insects... almost out of this world. The leaf cutting ants were marching from the ground to the tress, and vice-versa. Except on their return all of them were carrying fresh cut leafs and marching down their nests. Occasionally when I was climbing in a ditch, beautiful glimmery blue butterflies would fly over my head with so much grace and precision. It was magical!
The last eight kilometers were ran on the beach. I knew I was getting closer. This was a thought area too. The day was really hot, and the beach was...well....hot! I saw vultures seating on dead trees, almost waiting for us to drop dead so they could feast in on international meats!
Once close to camp and after several hours of running, still on the beach. We needed to cross a water path that connect a river into the ocean. The tide was high already. Hmmm this is going to be fun! In order to go across we were handed a rope. It wasn't easy as felt the power of the ocean pulling me hard and I was already so exhausted. But it wasn't easy!
Reached camp and yet again, I just wanted to get clean, eat, sleep and get rid off my dam cold sore(s)...It was a galore of them!
To be continued...