Deciding to take the trip to Costa Rica was a decision based on pure need. It was time for this survivor to do something relaxing and fun. You may ask how a 40k race in the heat and humidity can be fun. The race proved to be harder than expected with temperatures hitting approx. 110 by the afternoon. I had finished by 11 but I can only imagine how hot it was when I was running. The 25 mile race began at 6am. The sun comes up very early there so being awake wasn’t a problem. I was with a group of 7 and 6 of were running one of 3 distances. I came across a local who was running the race at mile 5 who informed me that the up and down hills and valleys were consistent on the whole course. Thanks for the info Vincent! He let me know that he finished in 5 hours 30 minutes the previous year. I knew I did not want to be out in the heat on those hills for that long. I took off and left Vincent to run his race. By mile 7 I was reminded of how much long distance races can hurt. The course was either up or down. There were no flat places that I could find. The roads were either rock or dirt which is better than concrete or asphalt, I guess. The first of three water stops was an interesting experience. There were peanuts, water and Heed. No cups! The volunteers were enthusiastic and full of encouragement. I dumped some water down my throat and continued relying on my camel back for water. The next water stop was at mile 10 where I was saved by a wonderful competitor who had some Body Glide for my spine. Without a shirt, my camel back had rubbed two spots raw. Ouch! 15 miles left and I knew I could make it, I just wasn’t sure how fast I would be finishing. My goal at this point was to walk as little as possible. The hills were kicking my ass! Once I got halfway, I just started counting backward as the song La Tortura by Shakira played over and over in my head. This was courtesy of the ride to San Jose in the Taxi/van. I tried with all my might to keep my pace up the last 5 miles but watched it slip away as the heat burned my skin and the hills kept coming. I managed to finish in just under 5 hours. Not the best time for a 40k, but respectful considering the heat and the course. I found out that my friend, mentor and world class ulta runner Amanda had gone through the first loop almost 40 minutes before me. She was running 80k or 50 miles. I drank as much water as I could and enjoyed some fresh pineapple. Yummmmmy! I didn’t know my placement until almost 2 hours after the finish. They had pulled some participants of the course from heat exhaustion or whatever reason they had for not finishing. I ended being the first woman to finish the 40k race. I was stunned! What a great ending to a very difficult race. Amanda came in 4 hours later, 2nd overall and first female in the 80k. Wooohoooooo! First 40k under belt. Where are we going next?