Wednesday, January 11, 2012

The Places I've Run: Costa Rica

I left the house – our castle on a mountain – and started down the much-too-steep driveway. Immediately I knew that running was a bad idea. I’d slept too late, waited too long, and now at 8:30 am the Costa Rican sun was already too high, my shoulders too exposed, the sky too blue and the jungle too green to make a run anything but an overheated sweaty mess.

But I’d put on my shoes and sports bra, so no turning back. I made it down the driveway to the Intercostal Highway, hastily applied sunblock already dripping in my eyes. It reminded me of running in Burkina Fasso – the heat and humidity and a general feeling of internal ickiness.

The wide road provided no shade at all, and as I slowly and steadily put one foot in front of the other I could feel my face going all blotchy red and white (as it so flatteringly does when I’m overheated).

I jogged along, past the semi-hidden beach entrances, past the palm-thatched ceviche stands promising “camarones, pescado, mix.” Whizzing by on the road were passenger cars and 18-wheeler trucks, making their way up and down the Pacific Coast towards Panama or Nicaragua, and they in turn were passing each other  –  sometimes multiple cars at once  – with complete disregard to blind turns…or lanes (the Ticos are not known for cautious driving).

I plodded along for 15 minutes before turning around in defeat. Ugh, I’ll finish this run in the pool later. I gasped, wheezed, and struggled up the hill to the house (did I mention that it’s on top of a mountain?), my blood pounding in my ears for minutes after I finally finished.

Immediately I stripped off my sweat-soaked clothes, put on a bathing suit, and plunged into the cold water of the pool. I pushed off towards the edge of infinity (literally), feeling my body temperature normalize and my sense of well-being return.

Welp, that was a bad idea. No more late-morning Costa Rican non-pool runs for me.

Read other "The Places I've Run" posts: Niger 1, Mammoth CA, Brooklyn NY, Niger 2, Petaluma CA, Vermont, Colorado, Burkina Fasso, Boston MA