Mental Running

I’ve heard it said that running is 99% mental. I’m trying really hard to make it 100%, because then I’d be able to do it right now. All I want to do right now is RUN! And I almost feel up to it. My “friend”, the machine I’m currently attached to in the hospital is not though. We did just take a stroll around the hallway, nothing picture worthy but it was nice to get out of bed.

Last week before this hospital fiasco Ross and I discovered some great runs. One of my newest favorites is this never ending dirt road right off the main road that goes through farms and forests and rivers. It turns out both our host Mom and Dad grew up in the town we run by on this road, just a couple miles away from our home in Zeta Trece. It’s simply gorgeous and perfect for running. Here are some pictures we took from our most recent jaunt:

Hmmm... let's see whats down this road!

Ross is a city boy, and felt uncomfortable being totally surrounded by cows

I really wanted to join these kids diving into the river! They were totally showing off for the camera 🙂

No matter how far we run, we can't escape our volcano.

Cute Chicks!

Ross, probably trying to out run a cow.

So I may be physically sitting here in a hospital room waiting for results (hopefully by this afternoon, tomorrow at the latest!) But mentally, I’m here doing this:

Speaking (and fantasizing) about running, I’ve been doing some research online and found this list of “mental running” rules that I really enjoyed, and though you might too!

1. Don’t think.Schedule your workouts if at all possible. Mornings work best for me because nothing can get in the way. I operate on automatic pilot. Dress, drive, run. No thinking allowed.
2. Think. I find I do best if I imagine my long runs in detail. I can tell you early in the week if a long run on Saturday will be good or bad. For me, it has to do with how confident I feel on Monday about Saturday. Visualization techniques have long been used in competitive athletics. I don’t know how exactly it works … I just know that it does. So imagine yourself running that long mileage with a smile on your face. It just might happen that way.
3. Surround yourself with supportive people. I still remember my first 20k like it was um … three weeks ago. (It was three weeks ago.) I was afraid of racing that distance and was once again tempted to treat the race as a training run. But I remembered the words of my mentor and coach telling me I can do more than I think I can, that I had such long legs, that I was built for running. Who knows if she was lying? Who cares? Her words gave me the stamina and courage I needed—exactly when I needed them. And I had the time of my life.
4. Lose the losers. Similarly, you don’t need to be around people who doubt your abilities. You don’t need to read articles or comments on running boards from people who are critical of your achievements or speed or athleticism. When you’re new to running, unless you are blessed with an abundance of confidence and natural ability, harsh comments can really cause you to doubt yourself. Don’t go there.
5. Sign up for an event. Sign up for several events! And make sure one is just beyond what you think you can do. I ran my first 10 miler last spring, never having run 10 miles. Until I crossed that finish line I was pretty sure I couldn’t do it. But I did. Finishing a distance you never thought you’d be able to run is an amazing confidence builder.
6. Learn to forget. Forget yesterday’s rotten run. It’s a new day and you get a free do-over.
7. Remember. Learn from yesterday’s rotten run. What went wrong? Not enough sleep? Too many weeks of junk food? Whatever it is, if you can isolate it, you can learn from it.
8. Whatever you do, don’t wear headphones.
9. Whatever you do, make sure you wear headphones.
10. You’ll never find your answers in a list. That’s because you need to experiment and come up with your own ways to prepare mentally. Pick and choose those things that sound right to you. And then follow your intuition.


Updates and Oscars

Happy Oscar Sunday! One good thing about being stuck in the hospital tonight is the fact that I can actually watch the Oscars in Costa Rica!

Today was day number 3 here, and I’m definitely getting a bit antsy. Due to the fact that it’s Sunday, I didn’t really get anything done medically, no tests results, no talking to Dr.s, no answers I just got my blood pressure and temperature checked 5 hundred million times and gave blood once.

One GREAT thing that happened was a surprise visit from my field director and several WorldTeach friends who were in or around San Jose this weekend. I’ve definitely been missing those girls (and guys, but it’s mostly girls in our program) and it was great to get to see some of their faces. They came bearing books, smiles and a beautiful Lucky Bamboo plant for my room 🙂

Thanks Girls 🙂

One sad thing that happened today was that Ross had to leave San Jose and go back to Fortuna to go to school tomorrow, and let them know I wont be in. I know that I’ve written about how difficult it is to be together all the time, but it’s times like this that make you appreciate how lucky you are to have someone there to help you and be there for you in situation like this. I miss him already :/

Love him!

I do have plenty of entertainment here to keep me busy while I’m alone in the room:

My entertainment

I also have a new “friend” here. This machine has to come with me everywhere I move (Ross is a little jealous). This is a picture of us on one of our walks today:

My new amigo

Okay, that’s the update for now. It’s difficult to be alone here and feel so far away from home, but I’m definitely being taken care of. Now on to a night of watching the Oscars, and enjoying the chocolate Ross smuggled in here for me 🙂

Hotel Clinica Biblica

Hola Bloggers!

Sorry I haven’t been able to update much as of late. Remember how I got sick in Orosi? I was feeling a lot better for awhile, but some health issues came up again the past few weeks, and this time no amount of medicine/working out/ eating normal could help me.

I really am okay, and I’m getting fantastic care at Clinica Biblica in San Jose. I won’t go into too much gory detail on the blog, but if you are dying of curiosity feel free to email me! I had some tests done last night and today, and since most of the lucky Dr.s have weekends off, it looks like they’ll be keeping me here until Monday or Tuesday.

The good news: They are going to make me all better AND while I relax and wait for them to do that, I have my own private room in the hospital (with a view of San Jose, all the free wifi and green jello I want, and a flat screen TV with a great selection of American TV shows and movies). Oh, and I have a pretty fantastic boyfriend who is incredible enough to hang out with me here ALL weekend. The Dr made sure we had a room with an extra bed for him, and he is REALLY enjoying the tv (maybe too much futbol, but I’ll let that slide for now).

Now, don’t go thinking this disease can be blamed on the great country of Costa Rica! I’d been having some problems back at home, and had trouble getting any doctor to really pay attention. The move and total life change probably just exasperated the problems I was already having, it has nothing to do with the food, the sanitary conditions and no, it is NOT a parasite or scary bug bite. I think I’m getting much better health care here than I was at home, and I know I’m getting much better WiFi than I was in Fortuna 🙂

So expect some blogs from me coming the next few days, I have a lot of fun stuff to update on in addition to the boring medical stuff. The only thing I’m really worried about is missing some days of school next week. I was really just getting into the swing of things, and I hate the thought of the students falling behind because of me. I just have to keep telling myself that I will be much better at teaching them when I am healthy!

Gardening in English

I am about to teach a class on gardening in English. This will involve taking the 4th graders outside on the school lawn to garden. The students will no doubt be wielding machetes and/or other dangerous gardening tools (rakes, hoes, etc.), and I can only hope they will understand enough English to recognize words such as “careful” or “ouch”. If they learn anything about the steps involved in gardening, I will look at that as a bonus.

If I survived 1st grade Science in English this morning, I can make it through anything!

Chickitica and other cuteness

Meet my new puppy, Chicki:


Sadly, she is not actually my puppy. Chicki belongs to one of my 3rd grade students who is also our neighbor. On all of our runs I make Ross run by their so I am able to see this dog, they probably find it strange we run by there house several times a day, but whatever. My host Mom already gave me the okay to keep a dog in our room, so I just have to get Ross to agree with this.

Oh, and this guy is pretty cute too. He bites sometimes, but his little besotitos make up for it:

Now don’t be too jealous, not EVERYTHING in Costa Rica is this cute. Take for instance:

Live Volcanoes

Poisonous Snakes

This Guy!

Just kidding Ross!

True Love ❤


I am exhausted and my throat is killing me. Am I sick again? Nope. It’s just a common side effect of screaming at 3rd graders all morning. And I was actually not screaming, but rather just singing “Head and shoulders , knees and toes” at the top of my lungs, for a long period of time.

The only remedy for this is an extra-large Dunkin Donuts iced French Vanilla coffee with milk. Please. I’ll pay for your plane ticket if you can deliver it cold.

Namaste, on the front porch!

I hope you are having a wonderful weekend so far! Today was a great day here. We slept in (until 8:30) had a small breakfast of coffee and pastries and then went for a long run. This was my favorite run here so far, about 5 miles long , it takes us into Fortuna, down the road towards San Ramon, up the access road to Cerro Chato and then back home through Zeta Trece. A lot of trees and cows and horses and mountains and rivers and beautifulness!

Feeling great after the run, I led us in a yoga class on our front porch. We’ve been stretching there and doing some yoga moves the past week, but today was the first day we tried a full hour, full on Vinyasa. I think it went really well and Ross is a great student 🙂

Sure, the neighbors think we’re nuts but we love it.

Right before we left we started doing yoga at Prana in Central Square almost everyday and I knew I wouldn’t be able to give it up here. I DEFINITELY highly recommend that place if you are in the Boston area (they have 3 locations). I recommend even more strongly coming to Costa Rica to do yoga with us!

Have a happy and fun Saturday night- Namaste!

Gringo Giants

Today is a sunny, gorgeous day in our little part of the world! We woke up really early this morning, because Ross had his very first Science class with the 4th graders at 7AM! Breakfast at our house is usually served around 7AM, so we might have to buy some cereal or something quick and easy on hand for the really early days because scarfing down Gallo Pinto and eggs at 6:59AM just isn’t working for me, and if we don’t eat I am deliriously hungry, and insanely grumpy, by 9:30AM. Also, I just really kind of miss cereal. I really miss my yogurt and granola I would have every morning but they don’t have Chobani here (or pasteurization?) Costa Rican dairy scares me. Except the ice cream, ice cream never scares me and it is always kept frozen and not left out on counters and shelves for days. Even if it was, I would probably still eat it.

I was observing a 3rd grade English class with one of the Costa Rican teachers, so I wasn’t able to watch Ross in class, but I heard he did great! He only got through 1/2 the material planned he had planned for the 80 min class, but I think that is much better than having too much extra time. It is so important to keep the students attention, because once you lose them it is nearly impossible to get them back on track.

I am really impressed by Ross, he has had almost no experience working with children but he’s doing so well with them. You will also be happy to know he is attempting to start his own blog. He plans to post some pictures he takes with his fancy schmancy camera and write about this experience from his point of view, and if he ever figures out how to get the blog started I think you will be in for a treat!

Welcome to the blog world Ross Donovan!

One thing that is working against Ross here (other than his lack of blogging skills) is his height. Costa Ricans, for the most part, are short. Perhaps it’s the fact that they start drinking coffee out of their baby bottles around the age of 2? Anyway, I feel like a GIANT here, and Ross is even bigger. It kind of works well in the classroom ( I think the students are intimidated a bit) but it makes for a lot of uncomfortable bus rides with your knees up to your chin, not to mention the headaches that come with constantly bonking one’s head.

Ross almost fits through our new door.


I have a goal for this year in addition to successfully teaching children, becoming fluent in Spanish, and making the world a better place, and that goal is to read a lot of books during my time here. There is no better way to keep learning while also being entertained and giving my mind a break from all the Spanish, since at least most of the books I will be reading will be in English (though as my Spanish improves I may attempt something easy and fun, like reading Twilight or Harry Potter in Spanish.) I have read a few books during our first month here (almost a month and 1/2 at this point!)

The Girl Who Played With Fire: I started this 2nd book in Steig Larsson triology on the plane ride here (in addtion to the Star Magazine and Cosmo also required for long plane rides). It took me much longer than expected for finish this book, and I don’t know if it was just my frame of mind at the time, being distacted settling into a new country and all, but I just couldn’t really get into this one. I read The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo about a year ago, and remember really enjoying it. This sequel was very similar in it’s violence (perhaps too violent?) and shocking style, but I found myself bored at times and not as involved with the characters. For this reason, I’m glad I didn’t bother buying the expensive hard copy to the 3rd book and having it weigh down my luggage on the way here, though I might purchase it if I see a cheap paperback somewhere.

The Lost Symbol: It’s a Dan Brown book, enough said. Ross picked this up at the Otiac’s book swap in Orosi and we both read it. Almost all hostels have a book swap of sorts, where travelers can donate books they have already read in exchange for someone elses donated books. It really works out well for everyone as traveling with books is necessary, but very inconvenient (hence the wonder of Kindles. We have one here to share, I still prefer books though). It turns out this particular book was donated by another WorldTeach volunteer in our group who had brought the huge hardcopy all the way from England. Like all Dan Brown books, it was an easy, interesting read and as usual his facts are so enlightening that they almost make up for the cheesy story line at times. If you liked the Da Vince Code or Angles and Demons, or if you have any interest in Washington D.C., the FreeMasons or Robert Langdon, you will probably really like this book. f you are a blog/facebook or twitter fanatic you might enjoy the connection made between Noetic Science and Twitter/social media (I know I did!).

The Runner’s book- This book was given to me at our going away party by two very great friends and fellow runners. Like the author of the book, running has been a big part of my life during both good and bad times. Each chapter includes it’s own unique story and inspiration, and so instead of reading this book through from beginning to end I’m savoring it and reading one chapter at a time (and some chapters over and over again many times). This book, along with actually physically running, has already motivated me and helped me through a few difficult times here. Thanks again J & J 🙂

The Motorcycle Diaries- Ross and I both received copies of this book as a present from a wonderful friend and history teacher. Although I just started reading this yesterday, this early diary of “Che” already has me captivated. Of course I’d heard about him and his revolutions, but I wasn’t too familiar with the motorcycle voyage around ‘America’ that stared it all. The first chapter describing his need and want for travel and adventure (and not knowing why) and some of his early experiences traveling around Latin America have really hit home for me. Definitely more updates to come on this one!

Read any good books lately? Tell me about it!

Welcome to our virtual bookclub!

Agua Caliente

Our host family here in Zeta Trece is in the process of making some major upgrades to their house. The have extended the living room, are installing a new kitchen and have done a lot of work on our room and bathroom, including: new floor tiles, ceiling, paint and door.Our area of the house isn’t totally connected to the main house, and up until a few days ago we didn’t have electricity in our room. This meant in addition to no lights, we also didn’t have hot water in our shower.

Not that long ago, hot water showers were considered a luxury here in Costa Rica. I mean, it costs extra money and it’s pretty hot here, so do you really NEED hot water? My personal answer to this is YES, yes you do. While the cold showers felt great and refreshing after a hot sweaty run, they did not feel so great in the morning and I never felt really clean. This was probably due to the fact that in cold water showers I am only capable of washing one body part at a time, making me much more likely to miss a spot, or an entire half of my body.

This past Sunday, after nearly a week straight of cold water showers, we got electricity and hot water in our room and bathroom. It is glorious! It was also perfect timing, because the past few days have been rainy and colder here (high 60s?) making the cold showers even less appealing if that’s even possible. That first hot shower I took was one of the most amazing feelings, and I couldn’t believe that I had taken so many hot showers in my life without realizing the absolute awesomeness of them.

I urge you to try to take cold showers for a week (but for those of you at home in the North East wait to do this until June or July, I don’t want anyone catching hypothermia for the sake of this experiment). I guarantee that it will help you appreciate the smaller things that you take for granted everyday,like hot water showers, that perfect cup of coffee or clean laundry.

I know this feeling is fleeting, and in a weeks’ time I will probably once again be taking hot water showers for granted. I hope that over the course of this year though, I will learn and retain knowledge from some of the sacrifices I’m making; whether it be appreciating hot water or other privileges of living in los estados unidos (like understanding the language and not speaking like at “semi-literate child” at all times). or getting to spend time with loved ones and having them close by.


Typical Costa Rican shower, AKA "suicide shower" it might electrocute you, but it's still totally worth it! (j/k they are totally safe, they just look scary!)