Shortly after moving to Costa Rica last year I wrote the blog post A new Addition to my life – walking. In the post I discuss my newfound fondness of walking and the benefits I received from the activity. My first hike here was a gruesome 1 miler that left me spent, but I had slowly worked my way up to 4 miles by the time I had written that post 2 months after arriving in Costa Rica. That 4 mile hike that took me an hour and 40 minutes, last August, now only takes an hour and 10 minutes, and I tack on 3 to 4 additional miles for good measure.

My fitness level has increased tremendously since that first, can’t-catch-my-breath, 1-mile hike. I have lost weight, increased my stamina and improved my cardiovascular fitness level greatly, and have become accustomed hiking in the thinner air and mountainous terrain where we live.

BeastSo I have decided to train for a half marathon that will take place in early December in the capitol city, San Jose.

Call me a glutton for punishment but after I read this entertaining account of last years race I was even more motivated. I mean what could be more fun than running 13.1 miles on a December Sunday afternoon.

As my fitness level and distance of hikes have increased there has been a corollary drop in weight – to the tune of roughly 40 pounds. Even with my new svelte self I weigh a hefty 210 pounds. Having a 6’4” frame I wear the weight well (at least that is what I tell myself), however that is a lot of weight pounding on my knees as I run.

Add to that the fact that I am training in the mountains and you can see that training for this race will be an uphill battle. That is why hiking will be a large part of my training. Unless I make my way down to the soccer field (1 kilometer down the mountain and, more importantly, 1 kilometer back up) there is not a quarter mile stretch of land anywhere near where I live that is flat.

Even with the new thinner me I am still in a class all by my self. It is true, in running circles I am in the class of runners eloquently called Clydesdales. In General, a Clydesdale runner is a male runner who weighs more than 200 pounds and therefore is going to be slower, much slower, than the other competitors. I have never felt the need for speed in any of the events I have run before – why set yourself up for disappointment?

My goal has always been a simple one: get through it.

Not only is there a unique running group for me, there is even a shoe made especially for big, heavy runners (who also happen to overpronate). The Brooks Beast (of burden) has been my go to shoe ever since I trained for and ran my first marathon at the age of 27.

It is a great shoe, but sadly it is no longer made, but thanks to the magic of the internet I can still buy my favorite shoe on Amazon… for a significant price of course. And I did just buy a pair and a friend was kind enough to mule the size 13 shoe (what he calls skis) to Costa Rica with him.

I have 4 months of training left and I am excited to become an International Half Marathoner. I write this post, as I do many of my posts, as a way to stay motivated – to put it out there so that I am less likely to succumb to my lazy nature.

Runningly Yours,

Gregorio