It's been two weeks since my adventure in Costa Rica...plenty of time to reflect and mentally compose a blog post in my head, but unfortunately I haven't actually had the time to write anything down! Here is a day-by-day summary of the highlights:
Day 1: Wednesday, February 16th
- Early morning flight, SLC to Houston...escaped with no fee for the bike!!!
- 6 hour layover in Houston (joyful)
- Landed in Liberia, Costa Rica at 8:30pm in excitingly windy conditions.
- Tiny open-air airport in Liberia, customs were on the casual end of the spectrum.
- 1 hour 20 min. shuttle to Hacienda Panilla with Sebastian, the friendly tour guide.
- Met strict security at the entrance gate to the resort but eventually admitted.
- Randomly drove around the resort for a while before finally finding Casa de Golf.
- Settled in for the night!
Day 2: Thursday, February 17th
- Nice light breakfast with yummy fresh Costa Rican papaya, mango, grapes, & banana.
- Went for a run in the resort, which is also a wildlife preserve. It was HOT.
- Saw some anorexic cows.
- Met two of the other girls in the house, Bree and Annie.
- Built bike and rode it. Saw a squashed iguana in the road. :(
- Hitched a ride with some other athletes to the race site resort, Reserva Conchal.
- Even tighter security at this place. They did not want to let us in!
- Finally allowed into Reserva Conchal, did a really fun group ocean swim.
- Had my first experience with sea lice. Luckily the stinging does not last long.
- Grocery shopping on the way home. Great time to practice my measly Spanish!
- Arrived home to discover that the oven and stove do not work.
- Cooked a mean microwave chicken instead (the trick is to put it in water).
Day 3: Friday, February 18th
- Short run in the morning. Adjusting to the heat.
- Met more of my housemates at breakfast. Went for a ride with Kelly W.
- Afternoon at the race site: race meetings, media, etc. Another refreshing swim!
- Dinner at Reserva Conchal. The anorexic cows are lovely. :)
Day 4: Saturday, February 19th
- Mid-morning swim with Bree, Annie, Kate and Amanda at Playa Longosta.
- Collected shells, played in the surf, missed our shuttle & were almost stranded.
- Annie discovered a frog living in her toilet!
- Legs up the rest of the day...now I see why people enjoy tropical vacations.
Day 5: Sunday, Februsry 20th...Race Day!!!
- Up at 3:30am...ugh.
- Sublime moonlight beach run for warm-up, complete with a mariachi band.
- The race: stunning and memorable course! Swim was long, but I don't mind a little extra time in the ocean. Bike course came complete with killer hills, a 200 meter unpaved section (x2), cows, chickens, and other random animals in the road, and a bombing descent back into transition. The run was spectacular and included a section on the beach and a jaunt through a dusty little beach town before returning to the resort and zigzagging through the golf course. I was treated to a breathtaking view of a tall ship out on the ocean when I reached the peak of the course on the second loop before diving down the hill to the finish line. Finished in 8th place after holding 6th most of the day...simply didn't have the fitness to hold it together the last 2 miles of the run. Not a great performance, but an honest reflection of the training I have under my belt so far this year so I have to be satisfied with it.
- Post-race: 20 min. beach jog with Annie, where we were mistaken for being the lead women in the Half Ironman. Oops!
- One more ocean swim with the girls from Casa de Golf. Saw a stingray.
- Surfing in Tamarindo! A great way to spend a post-race afternoon.
- Ghetto taxi ride back to Hacienda Panilla...that car was running on pure fumes!
- Was convinced to join Facebook...21st century, here I come.
- Microwave pancakes for dinner...who knew you could do that?
Day 6: Monday, February 21st
- Another 3:30am alarm, this time to catch the 4am shuttle.
- 4am shuttle does not appear.
- Finally leave at 5:15am with a different taxi service...muy rapido por favor!!!
- A nailbiter of a taxi ride...the driver took "muy rapido" muy seriously! 100km/hr, complete disregard for stopsigns, no passing zones and school zones.
- Made it to the airport in 55 minutes, luckily in one piece and without killing anyone or anything.
- Paid departure tax, checked bags, poked around the gift shop, boarded plane.
- 3 hours flight to Houston over gorgeous tropical waters, 9 hour layover (who booked these flights?!), 3 hour flight to SLC, 45 min. drive home with a 75 lb. German Shepherd in my lap, a foot of snow in the front yard...welcome home. :)
Thanks to REV3 for their hard work in making such a unique race happen, to the other athletes for making it a good race and a fun trip, to the AWESOME spectators lining the course, and to PowerBar, BlueSeventy, Rudy Project, and Maxxis for their continued support.