Sunday, 9 February 2014

Day 1 (TCC2014): A kick in the n*ts!

Hot, nasty bus of sweaty runners. 
It started with a 2:30am wake up call and take out breakfast at Denny's to eat on a sweaty, stinky, humid cramped bus for the next 2.5hrs.. AWESOME! Finally, after many pee breaks for all the super hydrated runners, we ended up in Quepos where the beginning of the 2014 Coastal Challenge Race started. We didn't know if we were going to make it to the start line as we soon discovered the massive 3rd world greyhound-type buses had to 4x4 down a tiny dirt road to where we got dropped off to walk another 2km in the blistering heat to the start line at the beach. We saw crocodiles in the water beside us  and lizards as we walked towards the start of our race.. nothing to encourage you to run faster than crocodiles, right?? No scrawny runners for dinner Mr Crocodile!

At the Start Line. Go, Couple of Runners, Go! 

Finally, we reached the start line where we passed under the inflated archways to be welcomed by a beautiful sandy white beach. Wow! We aren't in Vancouver anymore! This isn't the BCMC.. THAT's for sure!!! With the count down of 10 we were off and running. We started off with a quick pace and started passing other runners while we felt like a million bucks! Then a few kilometers pass.. then the excitement and endorphins wear off and the heat kicks in.. we both looked at each other and the look in each others face said, "WHAT THE !@#$ DID WE SIGN UP FOR?!!?!!?" "THIS SUCKS!!!!" Talk about a kick in the n*ts!

Brutal Gravel road section.. open to the blistering heat. 
After what felt like an eternity, we passed the first creek crossing to cool ourselves off.. but we were still gun shy about throwing ourselves into water we had just seen crocodiles in so we dipped our baby toes and scampered off without cooling our body temperatures down.. that we shortly came to regret a few metres later.

After 16km we eventually reached our first aid station, not knowing how far we had to run until the end of the day. So we filled our packs, ate watermelon and pineapple, got chased by a turkey from the house, got laughed at when asked for a toilet and then tried to put on more sunscreen which dripped off from all the sweat.. so we pulled up our skirts and kept going.

One of many creeks/waterholes along day one. 
Next we got off the road and onto some trail.. YES... we found a hill!! We thought to ourselves this is what we are good at!!! Then Joel started getting goosebumps and shivers (heat stroke symptoms) so HE had a talk with himself and told himself to slow down.. where we saw another heat stoke victim who told us, "Look up! There's monkeys!" Well look at that! There actually was!! He wasn't hallucinating from heat stroke! Who woulda thunk it!? So that was our first encounter with monkeys.

First and only race injury for Joel: Bye-Bye Toe Nail!
Surviving the hill, more gruelling gravel road running and creeks, we found ourselves in a pretty low spot. This race was a bit more than we bargained for. Heads down and chins down we ran in silence.. all you could  hear was the birds or giant insects.. screaming at us. Joel then spotted a perfect feather on the ground and picked it up and told himself that this was his mom looking over us. He put it behind his ear and thought about why are we here. This gave us the strength to carry on til the end with renewed energy and determination. We finished the run, which ended up being 39km long with the walk in. What a way to start the first day!!

The first camp was Rafiki Camp.. the most stunning resort/lodge that we had ever seen. They had horses, a bar, pool, waterslide, little cabins with showers and bathrooms which could use the facilities at and got to taste the first food prepared by our chefs. YUM!!!

Relaxing in the Rafiki Tiki Hut before bed. 
We climbed into our pretty Canada flag lined tent and tried to fall asleep like we just ran all day in the blistering sun.. but it sounded easier than it was. We had a hard time sleeping and knew we had a 3:30am wakeup call coming the next morning.. for a race start at 5:30 (or daybreak).

Cheers from Costa Rica,
Shanny and Joel

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