Staying active is very important to me. I always feel better, physically and mentally, when I can exert my energy into exercising. For runners studying abroad in San Jose, it can be difficult to find a safe route, either because the roads are too busy, the sidewalks are crumbling, or the neighborhoods aren’t safe for a solo gringa runner. Early into my stay here, I created my own little loop of a route along the main road and through a small neighborhood. It’s nothing like running along the Charles River at home, but it is safe. I encourage you to try out a couple of routes, check your surroundings, and ask around. You will always find some route, even if it’s not exactly ideal!
More recently, I have invested in a membership at Diamond Gym, which is just a 5 minute walk from the Veritas campus. The monthly membership can be a little pricey for some people ($30-40/month), but if you are dedicated to working out and you want to be in a safe environment, this is a great option. At Diamond Gym, there are treadmills, bikes, ellipticals, weighted machines, free weights and mats to do independent exercises. In addition to this, there are always classes going on, such as: spinning, popular dance, aerobics, kickboxing, abdominal class, etc.
If you are seeking a more competitive environment or just an awesome experience in general, then you should check out the many road races (carreras) here in Costa Rica every weekend. The length of these races typically ranges anywhere from: 5 kilometres (3.1 mi), 8 kilometres (5.0 mi), 10 kilometres (6.2 mi), 15 kilometres (9.3 mi), 20 kilometres (12 mi), 21.097 kilometres (13.1 mi, half marathon) or 42.195 kilometres (26.2 mi, marathon).
Two weekends ago, a couple of my friends and I participated in El Dia Internacional Mujeres, which was a free 5K road race in honor of International Women’s Day. It was a really cool experience, and so many women participated. The route was scenic, and there were many people cheering us on. Water was provided by volunteers on the sidelines, and at the finish line, there were medals, packed lunches, fruit and snacks for the competitors. To top off the whole experience, we were blessed with absolutely beautiful weather.
I also participated in the 10.5K for Los Juegos Deportivos Centroamericanos (The Central American Games) in downtown San Jose this past Sunday. It cost $30 to sign up, and this included a t-shirt, medal, water throughout the race and an electronic timing. It was a hot day, but I finished and felt so accomplished after. I strongly encourage running in a race while you’re here, whether your motivation is competition or just to have fun! If you are interested in finding out more about the upcoming races, everything you need to know is provided at this link: http://www.abuenpaso.cr/index.php/san-jose-2013/.
~Written by Cammie Brown, Social Media Journalist