Pura Vida

6 April 2012 12 Comments Category: Racing, Winning!

My invitation to race the Jungleman Marathon in Costa Rica came in early February, just as I was emerging from a full month of injured restlessness.  In addition to getting hurt, my enthusiasm had suffered from a mixture of Rocky Mountain winter and a lingering hangover from my heartbreaking shortfall at Bandera.  Nevertheless I was overjoyed to regain the ability to enjoy moderate amounts of suffering each morning, and the invitation certainly helped to relight the fire under my newly fat ass.

When I landed in Liberia last Thursday I was greeted by RD Roman Urbina, his partner from La Ruta Adventures, Erica, and crazy, stifling heat that would become  a point of major difficulty for me over the next couple days.  Roman and Erica were amazing ambassadors from the beginning and they spent the hour long drive to Tamarindo educating me on the race and all things Costa Rica.  It was a true privilege to meet these two even though I constantly felt like I was playing the role of ignorant gringo.

After setting up in my luxurious beach side accommodations, I laced up the sneaks for a quick 60 minute tour of the course we were to run on Saturday.  I returned to the hotel an hour later awkwardly sweaty and quite nervous about my prospects to run well during the race.  I came to find that the course was literally 100% sand and slippery reef with very little opportunity to find a legitimate rhythm.   Still though, I was beyond stoked to be there and embraced the fact that I was well out of my comfort zone, while  still honing my craft in a beautiful place.  Life is good.

Race day was quite memorable and the energy at the start line was fantastic.  Runners competing in every distance were dispatched simultaneously onto an endless expanse of soft sand and, since I had no way of knowing who was in the marathon, I decided to just run with the leaders from the beginning.  About two miles in, runners encounter a pretty interesting river crossing that was neck deep due to the morning high tide.  I successfully negotiated the crossing using a surprisingly skillful two-bottle freestyle stroke and soon found myself running alone down a pristine strip of  white sand beach. Pretty fun stuff.

The running was truly sloggish but still supremely enjoyable.  Very similar to a really snowy winter trail run. By the time I left the aid station turnaround at 21k, I determined that my lead had already grown to twelve minutes.  The win was all but sealed up but I was determined to stay focused and crush the second half, if only for mental practice. With Bandera memories still fresh in mind, it was not hard to stay motivated all the way across the river and back to Tamarindo.

Being at sea level certainly made me feel like a monster aerobically, but the heat was a really tough variable to deal with.   I crossed the finish line with my arms raised and, without breaking stride, ran directly to the water and dove headfirst into the Pacific, much to the delight of the gathered spectators.  It was a great way to cool off after a really tough effort.

Literally the only piece of dirt on the course.

I spent the rest of the day chatting with other racers and locals while enjoying several Imperial cervesas to rehydrate.  I am enormously grateful for my experience in Costa Rica and was humbled by the reception I received from those who call Tamarindo home.  What an amazing place in the universe.  Roman and his team have it totally dialed down there.  I would encourage anyone looking for a true running vacation to give his events a look.

The running community is truly a global family, which I more fully realized this weekend.  It’s always fun to meet new people and make new friends in such a supportive and inspiring atmosphere.  Costa Rica was no different.  It was great to see such a vibrant bunch of folks out there for some shared suffering.  I hope I can return soon.

Next up is the Leona Divide 50 on April 28th.  Major stokage.  Fire it up.


  1. Travis Liles

    Nice to see you posting again. Great work at the race! You are right, its always good to be treated with new obsticles to overcome and discover that we can overcome or have some things to work on. Heat does this to me every year. Guess I have a short memory. Good luck at Leona!

  2. scott ormond

    “Every time I climb a mountain and it turns into a hill.” Ronnie James Dio RIP This is an outstanding website and much appreciated. Your writing is killer and photos the bomb. Blog roll very cool. Just what I need. I wish Zeke would bust out the pen a little more. I believe your injuries will fade into the woodwork and you will stack up health success, not scares. Bring the stoke. scottyO

  3. Tricia Perez

    Truly a pleasure to have you join us for the Jungleman and even more of a pleasure to watch someone with not only your talent but your enthusiasm was just priceless! :) Also glad you got to enjoy just a bit of what this incredible country has to offer! Puravida!

  4. Zeke

    Nice Work D-bo!!! Smoking fast time in the sand. Must be due to the fact that your training partner is so fast too. As per Scott’s request that I “bust out the pen a little more”, I reply by quoting my college coach, Mark Wetmore, who always said to us, “we do our talking with our legs!” Plus my penmanship is poor. Keep rockin Dylan!

    • scott ormond

      Well stated Zeke. That’s what I need-good coaching. I have a tendency to go the other direction. BIG HAT—>NO CATTLE. Hope to hear a lot more moooooing around the ranch this summer. I look forward to meeting you. Run fast and run far. WS100. scottyO

  5. Schlarb

    Sounds like a great, great trip and race. My parents lived in Costa Rica for a few years and I absolutely love the country.
    Really looking forward to seeing you at Leona!

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