Monday, 10 February 2014

Day 3 (TCC2014): Sandy Super Heroes

Super Heroes!
As 3:45am came by to us lying in the tent on our sleeping mats we smiled to ourselves as we lay in bed happily not having to rush to get up right away like the Expedition runners, who had to start at daybreak again while we got to start at 9am as announced the night before. We slowly started moving and soon discovered that breakfast would be put away soon after the Expedition runners left so we had better eat while it was still available around 5:30am. We then went to the foot doctor, Pete, a highly entertaining Northern Irish doctor to get all bandaged up for the day. Joel got his feet taped up and Shannon went to get her back wrapped up to prevent more damage from chaffing. Joel went back to the tent to be shocked with the surprise that the trucks were going to be leaving with all of our gear that was supposed to be transported to the next campsite in a few minutes.. meanwhile all of our stuff was fully scattered around our set up tent! GAAAAAH!! Talk about a shock! What was supposed to be a nice relaxed morning turned into a gong show within a few minutes! He moved with the speed of Spiderman though and as I walked back into the campground with my dressings complete it was almost all packed up and ready to go! Phewf.

From the campsite, the bus took us to the start of our race at the beach a few kilometres away. We had our Superhero shirts on and felt like we were ready to take on the world.. and then we realized we didn't have our chip timers because they were on our other shoes!!! GAAAAAAAAAAHHH!!! How were they supposed to get our time without our timers?! Luckily, one of the staff members hooked us up with new ones and we prepared to race at the beach front. This was the first time we had been able to start with just the Adventure racers, so it was interesting to learn who we were competing against. It was a bit confusing because there were some runners who had dropped down to the Adventure distance after attempting the Expedition runners. These runners were not able to qualify to win a medal in our race so they weren't our competition, but were great runners so it was good to be pushed by them. We started off strong on the beautiful beach.

Pura Vida: Costa Rica
The sand was a lot easier to run on that we had originally thought after discovering that closer to the water edge it was hard packed and provided good traction. We took off with a cracking pace and soon left the others in our dust.. maybe the super hero shirts had something to do with it.. or maybe we do have super powers..

Go Superman Go!
Tom, who was previously in the Expedition race, but had dropped the day before, soon caught up to us and pushed us to run harder. He was sticking in a straight line right on the waters edge while we tried to meander a bit to find better sand to run on as it had begun to sink with each step. Talk about running backwards. The beach kept going and going and going and going... and then going some more. We looked over at Tom and he looked over at us as we tried to figure out if we had missed a turn. Regardless, we continued on in hopes we would find a pink flag at the end of the beach and sure enough.. there it was!! Right by a beautiful cool pool to cool down in! Ahhhhhhhhh! We jumped right in and prepared to kick some butt on the hill we knew was coming. We got a bit too excited and didn't look around for the flagging; instead, we just started tearing up the creek. It was amazing climbing over these small waterfalls, slippery rocks and surrounding jungle. Now this was the type of jungle adventure we had signed up for... until we realized there wasn't any markers.. and the bush started closing in on us.. wait.. where were we? It might have been the Spiderman shirt, but Joel's "Spidey-senses" told him that this wasn't right and we needed to turn back.

Going down wasn't as much fun as going up... especially when we made it to the bottom to see all the people we had passed going up the correct trail. Doh! This didn't stop these superheroes though. We blew by the girls on the hill as Joel shouted encouragement to Miss Superwoman who felt the push of the hill, but knew we had to kill it to make up time and make the win. It was incredible to see how strong our climbing skills were as we flew by the other runners. Eventually, we made it to the summit and onto the road to be greeted by an aid station.

Go Spiderman Go!
Now at this point, we thought there was only a couple km left (as we were told in the briefing that it was only a short road run) so we didn't bother to fill our camelbacks or grab anything more than a slice of watermelon each. So on the road we go and right away we spotted the last girl to pass and we closed the distance quickly and zoom zoomed by her. We both thought we were in the clear, but then saw one of the guys who had dropped down ahead of us. After a kick, we realized that we didn't need to pass him because his placement didn't affect ours so we stepped off the gas a little. By this point the sun was pretty much blistering our face and Joel looked at his watch and realized it had been more that two km and the guy ahead of us way still on the road and hadn't turned off yet... what the heck?! How long was this road???? Cars, semi trucks and crazy Tico drivers raced by as there doesn't seem to be any speed limits here. It was scary having them come right beside you.

We started to feel like we were at the ends of our ropes as the sun was waaaaay too hot and there was no escaping it on the open road. It just went on and on and we started to worry about overheating and crashing since we hadn't refuelled at the aid station and were running almost on empty for both water and calories. Finally, we looked up and saw the guy make a turn off the road onto a dirt one.. could this be our way into the park where the finish line was?? Please, please, please!

We made the turn and found some relief in a bit of shaded road and then continued on knowing the beach couldn't be more than a km away. Sure enough we made a turn and there it was: the finish line! We started running in and what do we hear?? Monkeys howling!!! I thought they must have been gorilla's because of the deep scary noise they were making!! All I could think was I'm hommme! Kidding! I'm not a gorilla.. just a monkey. A running monkey. Anyways, the race ended up being longer than the 10km we thought.. more around 13km with extra distance on the beach and road... and then the extra time we spent running up the waterfalls! Don't worry.. we survived! ;)

Joel stretching
After completing the race, we almost blew past the park ranger (it was a national park that you had to register to be in) and got in a ton of trouble as we were distracted by the sight of the most beautiful beach we had ever seen! I couldn't believe they wanted us to stop and fill out forms.. I was on the verge of over heating and just wanted to jump in the water so I could cool my body down.

Nature's drying machine

Shannon stretching
Once we made it to the beach, the sweet relief of the ocean water was amaaaazing! We splashed around for a while and then set up camp and put our clothes out to dry as it was only around 10:30am. We had all day to relax on the beach and were stoked about it! A day filled with recoup and proper stretching and rolling allowed us to really prepare for the days to come as we knew this was our easy day.

A Couple of Runners
We sat down to dinner to get a warning from one of the runners, Mike, that rain was coming and we should make sure our rain cover was on. Immediately, we jumped to it and prepared our tent for the elements, even though some runners didn't seem to think the threat of rain was real. All I can say is.. THANK GOODNESS WE DID! Soon enough the clouds began to dump buckets of rain on the campground. Now normally this would be an exaggeration, but in this case, it literally was BUCKETS of water. It was a monsoon like we had never seen before! Those runners who hadn't believed the warning soon found themselves in trouble as their tents and belongings became flood victims. Even some of those who had put rain protection on their tent had their tents collapse with the weight of the rain coming down. It was so intense that just walking to grab a bowl of stew left us completely drenched and dripping. We sat huddled under the shade tents eating our dinner and avoiding the rain making sure we stayed warm and not gettin chilled to prevent getting sick. Joel was nice enough to ease my worrying that our tent would be getting wet too and kept checking it to make sure we were in the clear.

Light bulbs exploded as the wet rain hit them inside the tent... one even blew up behind Joel and I. Pieces hit him in the head and cut my leg bit, but nothing more that a scratch thank gosh. People tried to scrape gutters into the dirt to stop the rain from pooling under everyone. It was one miserable group... except for us who made the best of it... including trying to feed a giant bug the size of humming bird stew and cake. Bon appetit! We might have gotten a few glares as we laughed our pants off, but heck, it is what it is and you have to make the best of life.

About an hour later the rain eased off and we went to bed early to get a good night's sleep for our race the next morning.
Sunset at the park

That's all for now,

Shanny and Joel

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