1. Costa Rica is "the bee's knees", no doubt;
2. Running on the beach is good for the soul; and
3. Christmas rocks!
I'm back in the states and coming off a whirlwind holiday that began in Costa Rica on the 16th of December and ended on December 26 following a marathon Christmas tour through central Pennsylvania. Good to be home but missing the sunshine, fo' sho'.
|Love me some sugar.....Playa Pan De Azucar, Costa Rica|
My wife and I filled our honeymoon/vacation with a lot of sweet activities and a heavy dose of "beach time". We stayed at the Sugar Beach Hotel in the Guanacaste, Costa Rica. This secluded enclave away from the "Gringo Trail" gave us the ability to melt into Costa Rica and enjoy the country in a more natural and authentic way. The beach itself is beautiful with a consistent 5 to 6 foot break and on big swell days, waves up to 10 to 15 feet (the size on the final day). I hit the boogy board up a good bit; never got the surf lessons in but I didn't really care. The boogy board gave me the ability to enjoy the awesome power of the ocean on a daily basis for many fun-filled hours.
|Riding a big dog on the final day (middle of wave).|
While Sugar Beach was our home base in Costa Rica, we also got out and about exploring everything this central American paradise has to offer. We hit the zip-lines of the Congo Trail with our driver and guide, Martin'. The drive was literally over the river (creeks) and through the woods. While most of the roads were paved on our way to the coast, upon arrival we received a heavy dose of dirt roads and "barely there" roads. After arriving at Congo, we put on our harnesses and hit the trees. The longest zip line was 9 and 1/2 football fields long providing plenty of speed and a sweet view of this arid jungle. What a ride!!!
We also worked in more casual rides as well. My wife and I took a sunset / snorkel tour one day on a 45-foot catamaran. It was a really wild time. We were 1 of 2 couples on this huge boat and pretty much had it all to ourselves. Upon heading out to the open water we passed another, similar boat stockpiled with 30 or more people and we just smiled.
As we rolled out to our snorkeling location I was sitting in the netting on the front of the boat and noticed what looked to be a hand waving at us. Intrigued, I moved forward and realized the person wasn't waving to say "Hi", but was waving for help. Years of life-guarding kicked in and I alerted the Captain. We made our way to the stranded SUP boarder and pulled her in, moments later we rescued a second boarder (brother of the first). Wild! We were all very glad to have been at the right place at the right time to save these two kids. Needless to say they were very thankful and we contacted their resort to come pick them up.
|The two kids we rescued discussing how they got into trouble.|
|Recalling the days adventures...|
Each day of our journey was awe-inspiring and really recharged our batteries. From the fresh, juicy fruit served each day at breakfast to the picturesque beaches and sunsets, my wife and I really fell in love with this country. The staff on a daily basis were helpful and during our many drives to other beach locales (Playa Conchal - amazing seashell beach to Playa Grande - real surfers beach) the locals that we met were extremely friendly and just plain happy. Really, when you live somewhere this beautiful it must be really easy to see the beauty in life on a daily basis.
|Sunsets like this every day....so beautiful.|
So you might be wondering with all these activities and beauty, did I keep up with my running.....? Well, of course I did. Everyday, I hit the beach or back roads for a couple miles. The one thing that each run had in common, other than the endless beauty that surrounded me, was the fact that it was H-O-T. I can sweat with the best of them and I ended each run completely drenched. In addition, these dirt roads that I ran on were like a roller coaster with close to 45 degree inclines that tested my pain thresholds on a daily basis. So mission accomplished on the running project or as I have lovingly started to refer to it, "The Forrest Gump Project" (beard included).
|One view encountered during my daily runs...words just don't do it justice.|
|Wiest side of the family on Christmas Eve.|
|Christmas day with Mom & Dad|
|Prime Rib & twice-baked potatoes at the Gross's Christmas Night|
Costa Rica Runs
Day 24 (12/16/11) - 2 miles in 19:13 (9:35 avg.)
Day 25 (12/17/11) - 3 miles in 30:10 (10:01 avg.)
Day 26 (12/18/11) - 2.55 miles in 25.05 (9:49 avg.)
Day 27 (12/19/11) - 3.13 miles in 32:00 (10:13 avg.)
Day 28 (12/20/11) - 2.01 miles in 17:31 (8:41 avg.)
Day 29 (12/21/11) - 3 miles in 30:28 (10:08 avg.)
Day 30 (12/22/11) - 2 miles in 18:53 (9:25 avg.)
Day 31 (12/23/11) - 3 miles in 26.44 (8:53 avg.)
Back in the States Runs
Day 32 (12/24/11) - 5.01 miles in 42:21 (8:26 avg.)
Day 33 (12/25/11) - 5 miles in 43:15 (8:38 avg.)
Day 34 (12/26/11) - 2 miles in 16:01 (Mile 1 - 7:44 / Mile 2 - 8:17)
Day 35 (12/27/11) - 3 miles in 24:56 (Mile 1 - 7:47 / Mile 2 - 8:45 / Mile 3 - 8:24)
|December Run Totals|