Sunday, February 12, 2012

Ziplining, Surfing, and Peanut M&M's

Well..... back to reality.

Pat and I had a fantastic trip to Costa Rica and we both agreed it was our favorite trip to date. There was so much to do there, the weather was beautiful, the people were nice, and the food was delicious. However, in the back of my mind, I was a little nervous about how I was going to keep up with training that week. We had a full week of activities ahead, so I figured as long as I was doing something active, I would be ok!

We stayed in Tamarindo, which is on the Pacific side of the country and it is a very popular spot for surfing. I was so excited to learn how to surf, and took a lesson on our first day there. It was myself and 2 guys from Canada in the lesson and we had a blast. I actually got up on my first try, which I didn't expect to do! The lesson was 2 hours long so by the end of it, I rode a bunch of waves and was so tired, and my legs were pretty banged up from some good falls. We rented boards a few more times that week and now I can't wait to surf up here once the summer comes!

Later in the week, we went on a snorkel cruise and had a blast. It included an open bar, food, and 5 hours on a beautiful catamaran, so in a nutshell, it was perfect! We didn't see much in the water when we were snorkeling, but at least the swim was refreshing and a nice break from the sun. On the way back, the sun was just setting and it was breathtaking. Pat and I sat at the back of the boat and just watched it set as we made our way back to shore.

On our last full day there, we had a day full of activities planned. We drove 45 mins on unpaved roads to a ranch where all of our excursions were based out of. We started the morning off with a 2+ hour horseback ride up a mountain. It was a nice and relaxing ride.... until the horses had to make their way up a steep, narrow, winding trail to the top. The horses do this everyday so they are used to it, but we don't do this everyday and were a little freaked out, only because the horses were slipping on the gravel beneath their hooves. However, the view from the top of the mountain was worth every heart attack I had on the way up. It looked like the mountains just went on forever and ever. The way down was just as steady as the way up (not so much!) but we made it down safe and sound.

Our next activity was an ATV tour. It was just Pat, myself, and our guide barreling through trails, water, hills and dirt. LOTS OF DIRT. We saw lots of monkeys, and actually ate fruit right from a tree as a little snack. We took a break to enjoy the view and to document how dirty we were....

Our last activity for the day was the one I was most terrified about and that was ziplining. I am petrified of heights. I don't even like looking out the windows of tall buildings. I don't do rollercoasters. So what do I do? I sign up for a zipline tour. On the tour, it was just Pat and I and our guides. We took a bumpy 15 minute truck ride to the very top of the mountain, where we got suited up (aka waist harness and helmet) and were informed of safety instructions (aka don't let go).  When I realized I didn't understand anything he said because of the language barrier and I also realized I was REALLY going to have to do this, I freaked out! If Pat wasn't there, I would have asked for a ride back down the mountain and bought the man a drink for wasting his time. However, Pat talked me off a ledge (no pun attended) and I did it. The first line was scary because I didn't know what to expect. I closed my eyes for the first 10 seconds, then mustered the courage to open one and was amazed by the view. There were 11 lines in total and each one got a little easier to do because I was getting used to it. I won't lie, I was so happy when it was over, but I am very happy I did it!

I did manage to make it to two yoga classes while I was down there. With all of the different sports and activities we were doing that week, yoga felt amazing. The teacher spoke mostly Spanish but translated a lot for myself and a few other english speaking students. It was a really beautiful studio and the teacher was excellent. As well as making it to yoga, I was able run twice, even though it was on the "dreadmill". I don't like running on treadmills for longer than 30 mins but I didn't have a choice. I wasn't too comfortable running by myself in an area I didn't know too well, plus it was 90 degrees and sunny everyday, which I am not used to! I was happy I got a couple runs in because it made me feel a little better about all of the drinks and food we consumed that week! But thats what vacations are for, right?

So, now we are back to reality, which also means I am half way through marathon training! I drove out to Wellesley yesterday for the Dana-Farber group run, which they have every weekend at different locations. This was the first one I have been able to make and I was anxious heading in to it because I didn''t know what to expect, it was snowing/raining and I didn't really know anyone. I walked into the gym and there were 70 runners signed up, all on the Dana-Farber team! Everyone was so energetic and positive, even at 7:45am on a Saturday. I talked to some other first time marathoners and we all shared our training progress, setbacks, and worries. Once 8:30 hit, we were off and running! I ran with a guy from Hopkinton for the first 6 or so miles. He has run 19 marathons and was giving me a lot of helpful advice from what to eat, to where my family should watch the marathon along the route, to how to fundraise. Along the training route, Dana-Farber volunteers set up aide stations every 2-3 miles full of water, gatorade, pretzels, peanut m&m's (YES, peanut m&m's!) and other goodies to make you smile. The volunteers were amazing and cheering us on and I felt like I was running in a race instead of a training run.

I ended up running 12 miles along the Boston Marathon course, and it included 2 of the 4 infamous "Newton Hills". Because of my mileage, I didn't get to run up heartbreak hill but I got more than my fair share of hills in yesterday. The best part of my day (besides the peanut m&m's) was coming home after running outside in the snowy weather for 2 hours and Pat surprising me with an early Valentines day gift... a gift card to the spa! It was a very generous gift so I can get a few massages between now and the marathon. Perfection!

Anyways, busy week coming up that I will surely be blogging about.... Dana-Farber In-Memory dinner (so much to share about that topic), and the Hampton Beach Half Marathon next Sunday! Have a great week !

Happy running!

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