We did it! A group of about twenty-five including dogs and babies managed to slip between the raindrops and do an organized 6K! We are grateful for the efforts of the organizer, Susannah Achor, who comes from a running family. Her parents will run in Pennsyvania today; she ran with them in spirit this morning.
Don and I left Roca Verde in plenty of time for the 8:00 A.M. start. We drove by the landmark, Buen Pan Bakery, and looked for the promised sign to mark the start. We looked, and looked, and came to the end of the road. By now, I’m anxious! My American flag shorts are hot-to-trot. I’ll trot alone if I have to! Where oh where can the turkey trotters be?
We turned around and thought for sure we would see the sign coming from this direction. As the Buen Pan came into sight, I spotted a young, athletic -looking lady strapping on a knee brace. “Don, that’s it! Turn around. Hurry. I don’t want to miss the start. She looks like a runner! I think this is the place.”
We were happy to see her; she was happy to see us (even though we had never met before)! Big hugs, quick introductions, trail marking for the route explained, donation box for the cause (children’s home) passed around, and the group was anxious to get started. I asked if we could just wait a few more minutes for one of my new Facebook Friends who said he was coming, rain or shine, and he wasn’t there yet.
“I’ll just stand on the road for a while. People will see the shorts and know this is the place.” The sign that was to be put there the night before to mark the spot wasn’t there. We knew there could be several reasons why we didn’t see it:
- It blew down in the wind
- It was written in green and brown and blended in with the tree it was nailed to
- A dog ate it
- Somebody forgot it
After a while, Susannah said: “Well, yeah, I forgot it and I ran out of paper after marking the trail. Google maps had it clearly marked and I figured people could see the street sign.”
“Street sign?! How long have you been here? Ah, two months!” I chided her. “That explains it! Costa Rica has no street signs. Good job standing here so we could find you.”
I gave up being the landmark, walked up the hill to join the group, and there was my Facebook buddy, Sarge! I don’t know how he slipped past me. Perhaps, his military training stealthness, or perhaps me being so busy flaunting my shorts, I didn’t notice him going by on his bicycle. At any rate, I was happy he made it, and ready to hit the start.
While I listened for the start pistol or at least a “ready, set, go!”, Isa took off down the road and I chased her heels. She wasn’t waiting for anything or anybody; turns out she’s a real runner. Mario passed me on the left stopping to chat for a moment before I was chasing his heels as well. I hit my own pace and established a rhythm with a mom and her son, maybe 8 years old. Yup, found my niche.
After following the markings with loop-de-loops, u-turns on cul-de-sacs, revolutions at the Centro Park, and the final sprint to the finish, it turns out Susannah and I were the top finishers; not because we were the fastest, but because we completed all the loops of the course. My shorts got a lot of attention from the locals along the way, and a good time was had by all.
I will put them away until the 4th of July. Until then, “May the shorts be with you!”
Happy Thanksgiving, Expats, and fellow Boomers!