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Category Archives: Outdoor fun

Lungs, I apologize

Seattle is having some COLD weather. Last night it got in the 20s. BRRRRRR. This means I have been running in the cold, which I normally like. I run warm (meaning, I am usually warmer than the average person), so I prefer to run in cooler weather. (why I love Bikram yoga so much then, is beyond me). The last couple of days, however, my lungs have not been too thrilled with the chillier temperatures.

Tuesday night was sprints. I went from a really warm house, to a warm car, directly to the track. It was 39 degrees. I started my first lap, sprinting, immediately. Less than one lap in, and my chest started to feel extremely tight. Before I had finished the second lap (4 laps in a mile), I was on the verge of having trouble breathing. Nearing panic or hyperventilation, or quite possibly death, (okay, that’s me just over dramatizing), instead of stopping to rest (I physically just don’t know how to do this…I swear), I reminded myself, “You practice yoga. Use your yoga breathing.” So, I changed my breathing, which almost instantaneously helped. My breaths got deeper, and I actually felt like I was getting some air in my lungs. I started to calm down, and then I finished the first mile: 6:59. I did a full lap to cool down…er, warm up my lungs. I figured my lungs were in shock. Each subsequent mile felt a bit better.

What did I learn? And what can I teach you? If the air outside is much cooler than your lungs are used to, give them some time to acclimate. Starting a run without warming up is shock enough, but jumping right into a sprint? Cruel. Oh, lungs, I am so, so sorry. 😦 Next time, I will walk one full lap of the track, breathing deeply, giving the frigid air time to mix with my warm lungs. Lesson learned, and hopefully lesson taught to you. 🙂

Happy running!

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Posted by on January 12, 2012 in Outdoor fun, Running, Training

 

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How to run happy in the rain

We knew it wasn’t going to last, we live in Seattle, for goodness sakes. What? Our dry spell. We were on par to have the driest December EVER, but today, everything changed, and looking ahead…it appears we will fill our December rain quota in the next few days. GREAT news for the mountains and us skiers, but bad news for us runners. I am both, so I have mixed feelings about the rain.

Today I started week 5 of training with hills. Interval training. Not my favorite, but I do it because it is an important element of my training. It keeps things spicy. And with today’s rain, it definitely was interesting. I have been spoiled with dry runs over the past month, but living in Seattle, I knew it would eventually end. Running in the rain, dark, wind and cold is pretty standard this time of year. Sometimes I dread it, but I always do it. Rarely do I turn to a treadmill to escape the elements. Running on a treadmill is almost worse. It is sooo boring. At least running in the rain and cold and wind is NOT boring. It’s challenging, and I like it. It makes me feel like a bad-a$$ and a little crazy, too. I like looking at the array of facial features staring at me from passing cars. I can hear them now, “She is f’n crazy.” “Show off.” “What an idiot.” “Is she okay?” “I wish I had balls like her.” “Does she know it’s pouring?” “She’s going to die.” “Should I ask her if she needs a ride?” (AND, last time I ran in the pouring rain, someone actually DID pull over and ask me if I wanted a ride. I was dumbfounded, and didn’t really know what to say. Obviously, they weren’t a runner. I said, “No, thank you,” and continued to run in the torrential downpour).

Growing up in Seattle, I am used to the rain. That’s not to say I like it, per se, but I am used to it and know how to deal with it. I would much prefer to run in the sunshine, but we don’t get a lot of that up here, so I use the rain to my advantage. It makes race day (assuming it’s nice weather) that much better, and it really does help with my training. Also, as long as my face and feet are dry, I really don’t mind running in the rain. As long as there is no wind, I actually kind of like the rain.

Key to (trying to) enjoy a wet run: Keep your face dry. Having water roll down your face is not fun, in my opinion. I have been on the hunt to find the perfect hat to keep my face dry. So, at the expo for the Seattle half marathon, I was ogling all the cool Brooks gear (I am a BIG fan of Brooks), and was haphazardly looking for a hat for race day. There was a 90% chance of rain, which meant a 100% chance of being wet. My eyes caught a hat with a really long bill, ideal for keeping the rain FAR away from my face. It was $20, which seemed a bit steep for a hat, especially since I can get a discount, but I purchased it anyway. It wasn’t until I got home that I noticed the bonus. It had a battery pack…which controlled the LED light! Amazing. Not only is it a good rain hat, but also a good night running hat. And something else amazing? Online it is $35, so I scored BIG. I give Brooks’ Nightlife Hat, two thumbs UP! (especially for $20)

Another must for enjoying a wet run are dry feet. It’s nearly impossible to avoid the puddles when it rains up here, and wet, soggy feet are NOT fun, especially on long run days. Not only is it squishy, but it makes blisters pop up too easily. The best socks in the world cannot keep your feet dry if it is pouring in Seattle. I discovered something very cool, however. I run on Brooks Ghost 4, which I love. Ghost GTX, however, is the same shoe, only in Gore-Tex! How cool is that?? A waterproof shoe! A must have for a Seattle runner. I haven’t run in the shoe…yet. I will need new shoes in the next couple of weeks, and that shoe will be my next shoe. Stay tuned for my review.

I don’t worry about rain gear when I run. I get wet with sweat even if it’s not raining, so I don’t care if my body is wet. All I care about is keeping my feet and face dry. 🙂

What do you do to stay dry while you run?

 
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Posted by on December 27, 2011 in Outdoor fun, Running

 

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My last full day in Costa Rica

Thanksgiving in Costa Rica. My last day in Costa Rica. My ninth day in Costa Rica. One of the funnest days in Costa Rica. 🙂

We slept in a bit, and I decided to skip my 8 mile run. It really wasn’t a tough decision, and I knew I wouldn’t feel guilty about it. It was my last day and I wanted to fully enjoy it without the stress of figuring out when to run, where to run, and feeling too exhausted to do all the other fun stuff we had planned. So, I said, “I have trained my butt off, I would actually benefit from NOT running today”. I think I needed the rest more than I needed to get that last 8 miler in. I was in shape. I was trained. I was as ready as I was going to be. My body needed this rest. My mind did, too.

After breakfast at the hotel, we got ready to go canyoning! I was SO excited for this! Canyoning is…rappelling down through waterfalls. Some of them 150 feet!!! I climb (and have rappelled) and I love the water! So, I was very excited. It was cold (lower 70’s) and cloudy and the water was cold, but I didn’t care! The whole experience was AMAZING! This was my favorite adventure activity we did, and I highly recommend the adventure company we went with. Desafio Adventure Company.

The tour guides were knowledgeable, and funny! It was such a fun day. I had a smile on my face the entire time. Even after I had to jump, and fully submerge myself, into the not-warm-at-all water. They fed us lunch after, and they drove us directly to…THE SPRINGS! We went BACK to The Springs to soak in the hot springs. We got to see the beautiful resort in day light, and…it was gorgeous. Unfortunately, it was cloudy and we were only able to see the base of the Arenal volcano, which on a clear day is right in front of the hotel!

We all donned glow sticks and had an awesome time in the springs. We even dressed in togas (towels) and got a tour of the wildlife preserve, where we saw (wild) cats and monkeys. Some of the monkeys were not very nice and others were so sweet and shook our hands. I wanted a monkey hand shake, too! So, I stuck my hand out and the monkey went straight for my (glow stick) bracelets! He grabbed them, and it became a tug of war between us. S was telling me to give up (he didn’t want the monkey to bite me), but I didn’t want the little guy to get to the glow in the stick! I didn’t want him to get sick. I won the fight without a handshake from the little guy. 😦 It was very exciting!

We went back to the springs and played and sang and threw our glow sticks in the sky and had so much fun! None of us wanted to leave, but we all needed to eat. So, we went back to the hotel and changed for Thanksgiving dinner at Don Rufino.

We celebrated: Thanksgiving, a birthday, our last night in La Fortuna, my last night in Costa Rica, and an AMAZING day.

Back to the hotel and to bed. Everyone was getting up early in the morning to go our separate ways.

 
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Posted by on December 13, 2011 in Food/Restaurants, Outdoor fun, Travel

 

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CR, Day Five

WEDDING DAY!!! Wake up call at 5:45AM for run wasn’t too bad since we went to bed early. 🙂 S, and our new friend, A, came and ran part of my 8 miles with me…it was nice having company. 🙂

My plan was run 4 miles out and back. I was hoping I had 4 miles of road to run! I did…and it was a very interesting 4 mile stretch. I encountered GIANT road-width puddles, mud, pot holes, rocks, more puddles and mud, and beautiful scenery. I avoided all mud/puddles very well on the way there, the way back, however, was a different story. I misjudged where to step and I sunk in the mud up to my ankles. Luckily, I only had a mile left to run in my squishy shoes. Other than the mud, I had a very nice run. Slow, to avoid all the obstacles, but it was nice. It felt good to be moving that early in the morning, and for over a mile, the road was directly parallel to the beach, so I had the ocean as my view; it was lovely. 🙂

I got back to the hotel, and everyone was already dressed in their white (the bride and groom requested everyone to wear white for the ceremony). Since I was covered in mud, I opted to shower everything, shoes, clothes and all, at the outdoor pool shower. I rinsed off all the mud and sweat and went to don my white clothes.

We waited for the bus to pick us up to take us to Montezuma where we would all zip line down to the waterfall where the bride and groom would marry. It was all very exciting!

We did 5 zip lines (I think? someone correct me if I am wrong) down to the waterfall, in our white outfits.

We then set ourselves up around the waterfall and waited for the bride to change into her dress and make her entrance. 🙂 The ceremony was sweet and beautiful. The weather cooperated beautifully for us.

After the ceremony, we all walked to the larger waterfall below and cliff jumped! We played, jumped, swung on the rope swing, and then the new Mr. and Mrs. made their grand entrance: they jumped in the water in their wedding attire! The bride even went on the rope swing in her wedding dress! It was awesome! We all played a while longer, before heading back…4 ziplines back to where we started. S and I went tandem, which made us go REALLY fast and made our butts scrape the tree tops. It was so cool being above the trees in the jungle. 🙂

We all boarded the bus and went back to Brisas del Mar for the reception late lunch/early dinner. Again, we were blown away with the amazing views and food.

After dinner, we went back to da Mon Key to take over the bar again. The owner loved us! She gave each of us girls t-shirts. We danced on the bar, danced with the dogs, and celebrated the bride and groom. It was fun. 🙂

 
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Posted by on December 5, 2011 in Happiness, Outdoor fun

 

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CR, day cuatro

Ouch. Getting up this morning after the fun festivities the night before hurt a bit. Getting out of bed was a bit painful, BUT we were on vacation so it really wasn’t TOO horrible. 🙂 Eating breakfast made me feel a bit better, but what REALLY made me feel better was the 3 mile run I headed out for after breakfast. It was hot, and it was humid, and I sweat every bit of toxic from the previous night out of my pores. The run was great. It was cool to run down and see a part of Costa Rica I hadn’t been able to see yet. After my shower, I felt like a new woman! Seriously, I felt like 10 million colones. 🙂

We headed down to the beach, where half of the group was. The other half was out on the five ATV’s we rented. When we walked down to the beach to meet up with everyone, I felt like I was in SoCal. They had set up a volleyball net, and were deep into a game of Vball. Some of us relaxed on the beach, some of us played volleyball, and some of us went surfing/boogy boarding. It was a fun day at the beach. When the group with ATV’s came back, those of us who wanted a turn ventured out on our adventure.

S and I hopped on our ATV, which immediately gave us some trouble: idling VERY high. We finally got going and caught up to our group. We were on a hunt to go see monkeys!! As we turned the corner, we found our group…er, part of it. One ATV had miscalculated a turn and ended up on its side in a ditch (a lot of ditch falling on this trip so far). Both driver and passenger were okay, but passenger (female) was not going to let driver (male) drive anymore, and she took control. 🙂

And, we’re all off…in a long line, down the road, through mud, over puddles, up STEEP hills, through small rivers. WHEEEEE! It was my first time on an ATV, and I was having fun! We drove some more and came to another river, and well…our ATV didn’t like it very much. We got to the other side, and the engine was steaming…a LOT. And then, it died, and didn’t want to restart. Everyone else had taken off, and we were stuck. We let the ATV rest for a bit, and then tried to restart…success! And we were off again, alone, but still having fun! And then, we came to another river, and the ATV died IN the river. We had to get off and push it across. Our ATV was sick, sick, sick. We then decided to turn around. We pushed it across the river, let it rest, peed in the bushes (I did), found a banana tree, picked a banana and peeled it (NOT ripe), let the ATV rest some more, looked around and talked about how cool it was we were IN THE JUNGLE, and waited. Not once was I mad, sad, or upset our ATV was broken. I thoroughly enjoyed the company, and we were on vacation! I felt great. Our group then met up with us, and by that time, our ATV started back up and we ventured back to the beach. I even drove at one point! It was awesome! What wasn’t so awesome was looking up and seeing a monkey…dead on the power line. It had fried. 😦

For our welcome dinner, we went to Brisas del Mar. http://www.buenosairesmalpais.com/restaurant.html

I don’t think most of us were anticipating the loveliness we encountered. The restaurant was situated HIGH above everything with a panoramic view of the sea and beyond. It was absolutely breathtaking. We drank passion fruit bellinis, and ate some incredibly delicious food. For appetizers, we were served chips with homemade hummus, baba ganoush, and a cabbage slaw. For our main course, I had ginger seared tuna (YUMMMMMMM) and S had seabass with almond butter. They both were fantastic! And for dessert, warm chocolate brownie with vanilla ice cream. Oh, boy. Good thing I was running 8 miles in the morning. The whole experience was truly amazing, and it was a fun evening.

We all made it an early night since TOMORROW was wedding day!! And, I had an 8 mile run before the van picked us up at 8AM. Hello, 5:45Am wake up call. 🙂

 

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CR Adventure, Day 3

We slept in, had a leisurely breakfast, and then headed down to the beach for a S and J day. 🙂 The beach was still covered in debris and the ocean was still a shade of brown, but it looked better than it did the previous day, AND the sun was shining!!

We walked down the beach soaking in the warm sun, and enjoying the sand beneath our feet. We explored, climbed rocks, took pictures (all the pictures taken today were taking on S’s Go Pro cam), enjoyed each others company, and eventually went swimming! The surf was a bit rough, but the water felt amazing! We meandered down the beach a bit further until we spotted some hammocks on the beach and some people relaxing in chairs. We were curious, so we walked up to check it out. It was a yoga resort! We walked through the grounds, past a pool, until we came to their center bar and ordered…mimosas. 🙂 Ordering a mimosa was not a simple task with the language barrier. What we got was an entire bottle of champagne and a glass of fresh-squeezed orange juice, squeezed right before our eyes. Absolutely delicious. (Unfortunately, I didn’t catch the name of the resort. 😦 ) A bottle of champagne later, we were ready to get back on the beach and in the sun.

We walked along the beach some more stopping so I could (attempt to) walk on my hands. We then walked off the beach and up to the road, seeing a part of town we hadn’t seen yet. We walked by a cool place that served smoothies and sat at a low table. I ordered banana/berry and S ordered papaya. Mine was yummier, we both agreed. It was delicious! As we were sipping our smoothies, I noticed a child, probably not more than 2 years old, naked in the side yard of the cafe. Seeing her naked didn’t faze me one bit until I noticed her squat down, and poop. She then stood up, walked a little further, and pooped some more. She did this for several more minutes as S and I stared, jaws wide open. Her mother was standing a good distance from her, holding her daughter’s underwear, smoking, and deep in conversation with someone. When her daughter was finished doing her thing, she walked over to her mom, and her mom proceeded to wipe her…in the cafe. It was quite a sight! Only in Costa Rica, I guess. You just let your kids out in the yard to go poop.

We walked back to the hotel, lounged by the pool, had some nachos, and went into town to grab lunch. We ventured into Da Mon Key, and had the most amazing food! I had a salad filled with delicious fresh veggies and S had tacos. The bartender was from So Cal. Highly recommend the food here: https://www.facebook.com/damonkeycr

We had dinner at Pasta Basta: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Pasta-Basta-Real-Food/100836066669212?sk=wall. The place itself was very hip, and the food was absolutely AMAZING!! I ordered the Amberjack, a fish local to Costa Rica, and it was SOOOOOOOO good! It reminds me of swordfish…thick and steak-like. I basically licked my plate clean. I did manage to share a bit with our dinner guest, Reef. Dogs are not kept on leashes, nor in yards (neither are children, apparently) in Costa Rica. All dogs are just wandering the streets…and the restaurants. Reef was so sweet, that we just had to share our meal with her. 🙂 Dessert was scrumptious as well.

After dinner, we headed out, in the rain, and back to Da Mon Key, which we quickly took over. It was dead in there, but we quickly livened the place up! They had no music, but we changed that. We bet someone in our group he couldn’t make it back the hotel, grab the boom box, and bring it back in less than 5 minutes. It was pouring, too! Well, he made it, way under time, actually, and the party was started. There was dancing on the bar, there were some champagne showers, some beer showers…there was a lot of fun being had.

Our night ended after 1AM.

*This was one of my favorite days…it’s actually tied with another day*

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Not Costa Rica related, BUT I went back to the Seattle Marathon website today to look at the pictures that are now up (I look in pain in every single one), and my chip time…the time I actually ran the race in, is…1:39.59! SO, I actually broke BOTH goals: place in top 10, AND break 1:40.00! I am one happy little runner who is looking ahead to (hopefully) win the Jingle Bell Run next weekend…

What were your 2011 goals, and did you meet/break them?

 
 

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Costa Rica Adventure, Day 2

5AM wake up call begins the longest day EVER. S was already up snapping pictures of the beautiful grounds. Margarita was already up and offered us coffee. She also packed us each a breakfast. She is awesome. I highly recommend her place.

We all piled in the van to make the short drive to the small airport, SantaAir, to catch our flight to Tambor. Our small, single prop plane seated 9 (I think?), and was a little freaky at first (the plane bumped around a bit), but then I relaxed and took in the amazing scenery. It was BEAUTIFUL! The flight was about 30 minutes, and when we started our descent, we noticed the runway in front of us. It started right at the beach, so it felt like we were landing on the beach! It was awesome. 🙂 We were greeted by hot, humid air when we departed, and then we piled in our van for our next adventure. We thought we were making the drive to our hotel in Mal Pais. We had no idea of the small hiccup we would encounter….

For the past few days, it had been raining extremely hard in Costa Rica. Torrential downpour rain. The most rain Costa Rica has seen in 20…100 years (we heard both accounts). Well, luckily it was dry for us (now), but we were reaping the aftermath. The rain had washed out a lot of the roads, including the road that took us to our hotel. Less than a mile from our hotel, we were stuck and couldn’t go any further. We came up with all sorts of ideas, each one getting shot down. Hours later (but it still was before noon), when none of us wanted to sit at the gas station any longer, a couple of the boys went to check out the damage. When they came back, they came up with a plan: we walk. I was so down for this adventure! I had purchased water shoes for this purpose! And, we had packs, so trudging through mud/water would be much easier. We donned our water shoes and packs and set out, S and I leading the pack. It was fun!

We came to the scene of the crime (er, damage), and it was a mess. We waited for quite a while two bulldozers cleared the road, one working from each side. They finally cleared a path for us to walk through, and there, just on the other side was our hotel! We checked in, and then came the next adventure…where to run!

I had an 8 mile run, and the roads were underneath mud/water! What was I going to do?? I was exhausted from traveling, and just wanted to run. Someone suggested running on the beach. Not ideal, but I would take what I could, so down to the beach I trekked. What I found was not what I was expecting. The once beautiful beach was covered in debris washed up from the storm. The, what I am sure is usually beautiful blue/green, water was brown from the mud washed off the roads. It was sad. But, I looked past it and started running, imagining I would run 4 miles down the beach, turn around and run back. I was met, however, with obstacle after obstacle. The water coming off the roads had washed out the beach and there were giant rivers going along the beach. Barefoot, I could have run through these without too much difficulty, but I had my brand new running shoes on. After tiptoeing over river after river, I came to a river I just couldn’t pass. It was far too deep and moving pretty fast. I had barely run 1/2 mile. I was becoming discouraged. Yet, I turned around, and ran the other way, until, I met another river I couldn’t pass. I was sad and frustrated, but I didn’t give up. I don’t know how to do that. I quickly problem solved. I would find the longest stretch of beach I could run, and just run it back and forth and back and forth. The stretch was barely 1/4 mile, and it wasn’t fun, but as I did it I kept repeating, “This is making you stronger. This is making you stronger.” 3 miles into it, and having felt like I had already run 10 miles, I decided I didn’t need to do this for 8 miles. 5 would be enough. So, I ran that 1/4 mile stretch back and forth for 5 miles, hopping and skipping over all the debris. I jumped over (and sometimes into) the smaller rivers, which were growing rapidly. I had given up on trying to keep my shoes dry. They’ll dry eventually. This training run was one of the hardest things, both physically and mentally, I have ever done.

I dragged my cranky, but exercised, self back to the hotel where everyone was eating/drinking. I couldn’t get in the pool fast enough. My crankiness quickly dissipated. I was so ready to relax. Day 1 of running in Costa Rica DONE! It can only get better/easier, right??

I had my first real Costa Rican meal, and I was exposed to “Tipico.” Typical (tipico) Costa Rican food is rice and beans with any meat you’d like. I chose fish. It tasted delicious and hit the spot! I washed it down with tons of water, and an Imperial.

We all hung out at the hotel/pool bar for a while and talked about our evening/dinner plans. The rain had started again, and apparently everything was closed because of the storm/closed roads. We talked about just having dinner at the hotel, but then discovered a restaurant in town that was open: “Las Piedras. It’s the $hit.” Yup, this place was called, “It’s the $hit.”

We all put on our rain gear and walked the short distance to the restaurant, over a bridge that was almost completely washed out. So…we’re walking along and I look up and someone in our group (we’ll call him FinANCE), was standing in a ditch. He had fallen in a ditch! There was a ditch right in front of the restaurant and apparently he didn’t see it and fell right into it! He was lucky the ditch was filled with water, but not so lucky because he lost his flip-flop. After I saw he was okay, I found it hilarious he didn’t see the ditch and fell in it! We would all give him $hit for the rest of the trip. 🙂

We all sat at a giant table at the back and had fun and got loud and obnoxious. Apparently you can bring your own liquor into restaurants, so at one point a couple of people made a run to the store and came back with liquor, beer and champagne, which just made us more obnoxious. We were having fun. It was our first night together in Costa Rica!

It was FINALLY time to head home to bed, and thus ends the LONGEST DAY EVER!

 

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