Costa Rica: land of pristine beaches, lush green mountains, fascinating wildlife and diverse vegetation.
My dream of vacationing in this tropical Central American country finally came true, and it was everything I had anticipated it would be.
I did all the traditional Costa Rican vacation stuff: soaked up the tropical sun, relaxed, swam in the ocean, saw the sights, zip-lined, ate the native foods and, of course, ran.
I had done some preliminary research on the various locations that we would be visiting and had scoped out a few potential running venues.
I knew I could run on the beach, that was a given.
But I was particularly keen on running some of the rain forest trails in La Fortuna and Monteverde, these being mountainous areas with numerous national wildlife and conservation reserves.
There was only one problem.
All these areas are regulated closely and allow guided tours only.
I could have paid the admission just to run but quickly realized that the tourists and guides might frown on me disturbing their wildlife viewing.
Not to be discouraged, I began asking the locals for advice on places to run and was able to find some scenic dirt roads that meandered through fields and forests.
I ran late in the afternoon thereby avoiding the traffic which can be challenging on the narrow Costa Rican roads.
While in Monteverde, I got excited while talking with a local guide about an ecological park close to our hotel.
Initially it sounded promising as he said there was a trail, and the admission fee was quite low.
I explained that I was a runner and was looking for some running trails.
He gave me a puzzled look and said, Oh these trails are not suitable for running. They have a lot of roots sticking up.
I explained that I run very rugged rocky trails where I come from and that would not be a problem for me.
However, after more discussion, I discovered that the trail was only about a mile long.
I chuckled about that one later on picturing myself going around and around the trail multiple times waving at the tourists as I went by.
I finally hit pay dirt when we arrived in Tamarindo on the Pacific Coast miles and miles of beautiful soft beaches broken up in places by a river that was easy to swim across.
This was my chance to do some real running.
Now I needed to figure out what time of day would be best, taking into consideration high tide and the daytime temperatures.
I set out the first morning at about 9 a.m. and realized about two miles into what I had hoped would be a six- or seven-mile run that the heat and humidity were really getting to me.
After about four miles, I decided to cut the run short and jumped into the water to cool off.
Later in the afternoon, I set out again with more success because the wind was blowing off the water and kept me much cooler.
Evidently coming from single-digit winter into hot and humid summer does require some acclimation.
Costa Rican running, indeed, was a wonderful adventure and one that I would gladly repeat over and over again.
Reach Marjorie Brinton at firstname.lastname@example.org