It was estimated that participants in this challenge would burn in excess of 30,000 calories, be physically challenged and mentally taken to beyond where they thought possible…I can confirm that all of this presented as very true.
We have returned from the Coastal Challenge in one piece…over the next few days I will be blogging the experience, sharing some pictures and also editing video footage captured along the way. I will share this in stages. Here’s a recap of Stage 1 – 3 of this 6 Stage, 235km Eco-Race in Costa Rica – what an experience!
Bryce and I eagerly arrived in San Jose (interior Costa Rica) and were pleasantly surprised by the climate….dry and warm during the day (not overly hot and not humid) then cool enough to wear a jacket at night = good running conditions! We got in a few training runs prior to having to head out to the coast on a 4 hour bus ride to a place called Quepos where our thoughts soon changed.
Quepos was right on the beach where we would begin the race…the moment we stepped off the bus we were hit by 100 degree temperatures and a wall of humidity – the kind of humidity that has you sweating instantly even when sitting still. My thoughts….we should have got out to the coast a few days earlier to acclimatize as running in San Jose did next-to-nothing for us! Here’s a shot at the start of the race prior to everyone gathering at the start line.
Loading up with some ActivFuel prior to race start. To hydrate and maintain electrolyte levels throughout this adventure, we kept a steady intake of ActivFuel+ and Alete .Without this replenishment of essential electrolytes we wouldn’t have made it through the 1st day.
Stage 1 of this race presented a hilly tour through a small Costa Rican town, and an interesting entry into the rain forest through an old logging road that lead us to Savergre Valley which presented the beginning of jungle elevations to conquer….which only got worse as the days went on! Total mileage for Stage 1: 33.5km (definitely NOT flat!). We made it through the day into camp, however; as later discovered Bryce began experiencing extreme pain in his lower leg. After a night of agonizing discomfort, we later discovered he was experiencing compartment syndrome which lead to very serious issues, even amputation. If you have ever experienced this, you know how agonizing it can be. After hobbling to the camp doctor the next morning, it was confirmed that Bryce was in no condition to continue onto Stage 2 – very frustrating as there was nothing else preventing him and he felt great otherwise.
Early around 5:30am prior to sunrise – I began on my own into Stage 2 which immediately entered the jungle mountains for a challenge that I was not expecting (or probably ready for). For me this was probably one of the most ecologically interesting courses as it required bush-wacking through thick jungle through areas that were marked but no official path. A combination of thick (and sometimes very sharp) vegetation, two extremely steep climbs and decents and the loud piercing sounds of cicadas and other jungle creatures (I have never heard such a loud, intense and consistent sound like this – EVER)…the jungle was full of life. By the end of this stage my quads, feet and calves were on fire and didn’t have much more left, but I survived this 39km stage that ended up at camp on Dominical Beach where we would replenish with dinner and rest up for the next day.
Stage 3 Route: 52.5km – Steep Inclines and Long Beach Run…Ouch!
Stage 3: It was 3:30am in the morning and my alarm once again went off so that we would have enough time to get up pack up our tents, have breakfast and be ready for race start. Today I was glad to have my race partner back in action…his calf had miraculously mended after taking a full day of hydrating and resting at camp – Bryce was ready to go. What lay ahead us was a much longer route; 50km of jungle and coastal craziness that would take us from Dominical Beach down the coast to Ventanas Beach – today the sun and humidity would be felt by all…there was no escaping. We both completed the day exhausted, yet exhilarated and relieved that we were now half way through this journey of endurance and pain. The next few stages would present a true test of physical and mental endurance….recap to come in following posts.
What kept us going – Mentally:
We continually reminded ourselves of why we got into this race in the first place (the challenge, sense of accomplishment and life experience) but more importantly our mental challenge to persevere was routed in the support of a great cause to raise awareness for Children’s mental illness through Mindful Charity. Any support that you can provide to Mindful Charity would be greatly appreciated. To donate click here Mindful Charity