Archive for the ‘Sports’ Category

Exercises for Pregnant Ladies

I have been trying to keep up my exercising as much as possible while pregnant, but my god everything seems to be somewhat against me in accomplishing what I wanted to do! I’ve been into Pilates for years and was very much looking forward to the prenatal Pilates experience while pregnant. Unfortunately that just hasnt seemed to happen at all.

Well, now Im kind of lying. During the first trimester I did a little bit but in the end I was just too nauseous to really enjoy it. Second trimester of course our car had to be out of action for most of it, meaning I didnt manage to get to my classes at midday. And here we are in third trimester now, with no Pilates under my belt yet thanks to too much work and again car troubles!

I will make another effort next week (my last week working before the start of my maternity leave) and hunt down my teacher and beg her for at least a few classes before D-Day.

I also had great plans to do a bit of swimming during my pregnancy as I hear that is supposed to be great for pregnant ladies as well. Unfortunately I have only gotten so far as to identify where the closest pool is, but have not yet actually ventured over to see it with my own eyes…

Well, according to today’s doctor’s appointment I still have about 1.5 weeks to go before my maternity leave kicks off, but once that begins I am definitely going to do a bit more. At the moment work is eating up too much of my time and in the evenings I am basically just too tired to do much.

Meanwhile, little E is putting me to shame with all the exercises that she is doing on the inside. My gosh, I can barely keep up! The hiccuping episodes have diminished but she has basically just replaced the hiccuping with kicking instead. It feels like she might kick her way out of the bump soon via my right hand side! However, I guess its not just pregnant ladies who benefit from exercise.  Little ladies are also in need of some action in preparation both for D-Day as well as for all the new adventures that await on this side.

Family Trip to the Beach

Yesterday was our first “Family Trip to the Beach”. We haven’t been to the beach in AGES so this was definitely quite an exciting deviation from the norm. The main reason we havent popped down to the coast in ages is that our car has been having x, y and z issues it took till now to get it all sorted out.

Anyways, with the car back in business, purring like a kitten, we packed the car and prepared for the day out. With surfboard in the back, doggies in the boot, snacks and water for Linda, along with water for the doggies and general beach stuff for all we were on our way.

Sofia isnt used to travel in the boot so the downgrade from Linda’s Lap to boot was quite a shock for her while Fuzzie seemed to take it all much better, even if he did end up being sick in the car by the time we got to the beach. We headed down to Corralillo by Caldera and it was great to be back by the beach, and on such a beautiful morning as well.

Joel spent his time in the water catching waves while I entertained myself alternatively with my book and alternatively with throwing the doggies into the water. I was so pleased to see that Sofia hadnt forgotten the lessons “water is your friend” from our time spent down in Esterillos while Fuzzie, who we were not sure if he even liked water,  didnt seem to mind it at all and happily jumped around in the waves.

After a couple of hours on the beach we dragged two tired doggies home, back to the rainy central valley. Its amazing how the mornings over here usually start off very nice and sunny, only to descend into rainy afternoons as of approximately 1pm at the moment. The rainy season is definitely here again. But I really don’t mind at all as long as I can have some sunny mornings and some weekends at the beach!

A Tropical Christmas

The only thing missing from my Tropical Christmas was the calypso music. (Gotta remember to get the “Calypso Christmas” CD for next year..) We rented our usual beach house down in Esterillos Oeste to spend our first Tropical Christmas by the beach and it has been absolutely wonderful although slightly strange. And I regret not bringing my fairy lights, as we have some terrific palm trees over here that would be very suitable as tropical Christmas trees. (Mental note: Bring them down on Friday when we head back to the beach)

I got a beautiful surfboard from my wonderful boyfriend and a delicious set of organic cotton sheets from my mum, a fantastic Putumayo Family Christmas music CD from my dad and some small bits and pieces from my loved ones back home. Unfortunately I was a terrible girlfriend and forgot (!) my wonderful boyfriend’s Christmas present at home…I hope the present in itself will make up for it (it is something that has to do with the other love of his life – His 1977 Toyota Landcruiser so it should make him pretty pleased). Once he gets it that is…

I got to have a surf on Christmas day which was pretty amazing. There would not have been ANY chance of that if we would have been back home in the UK. I think I am spoiled for life now after having surfed these warm waters in just a bikini. Unfortunately me and my new board didnt really get along that well on Christmas Day morning. I think the main problem was a communication error that meant it didnt understand what I wanted and I didnt understand what the hell it was doing. Our differences of opinion were solved by me as I got out of the water, marched home and changed it to my old board. Unfortunately my second tour to the beach happened too late and the water had already retreated too far out, making the waves so small that even on a larger board it was just not happening at all.

My second encounter with my new board ended in a slight disaster (although this was following some pretty good waves before!). I thought I could ride the board prone into shore but that was just a stupid idea I soon figured out. Being as light as it is my new board threw me off and bounced up in the air before landing on my head and calf muscle, giving me a big bleeding bump on the head and a throbbing calf muscle that was soon almost twice the size of my usual pathetically small calf muscles.

So no more surfing for a few days for me 😦 Which I am feeling quite devastated about. I feel its a complete waste just sitting here without having the chance to enjoy the beach and the water that is just around the corner from me now… I will give my leg a few more hours to heal, but god damn then Im going in again.

My mum is also here celebrating her first tropical Christmas in ages and its been really nice to show her where we live, show where we usually go when we go to the beach, to introduce her to Sofia and to just have her around (She makes amazing food so I am slightly taking advantage of that as well…)

I dont think it really feels like Christmas, but then again, who cares when you can have iguanas, monkeys, hummingbirds, BBQing by the pool, surfing and great company anyways? Ok, time for a little nap and then let’s see if this leg and head can manage some more waves..

Weekend in Bocas del Toro

This past weekend we did a little stopover in Panama in order to renew our tourist visas for Costa Rica. Having already been to the US, the UK and Nicaragua during this year, we wanted to check out what our southern neighbor Panama had to offer. Having heard a lot of good things about the Bocas del Toro archipelago on the Caribbean side of Panama and considering the fairly cheap air tickets that you can get for Bocas with Nature Air, we decided to try it out.

We left the mountain on Friday afternoon to catch the 1pm plane from the smaller Tobias Bolanos airport. I very much liked the smaller size of the airport and the more laid back attitude, even if it did seem a bit too laid back at times. I did find out though that I weigh approximately 128pounds with clothes on. Interesting as that is the first time I have even been weight in pounds! I guess its good to know.

Irazu Volcano seen from airplane

Irazu Volcano - Volcan Irazu, Costa Rica

Anyhow, the flight was just amazing! We were so lucky with the weather; no strong winds made the take off super smooth and the sunshine and clear blue skies for most of the ride meant we got to see loads of this beautiful country. We flew out over Pavas, Escazu, Alajuelita, Cartago and saw incredible sights of the cities, the gorges, the Volcano Irazu etc etc etc..

The Nature Air plane was a two propeller plane with seating for about 25 people. Most of us were foreigners, most likely on a necessary 72hrs long stopover in order to obtain yet another stamp for yet another 3months stint in the beautiful country of Costa Rica.

Anyways, this is about Panama and Bocas del Toro. We had booked ourselves into the Master Suite at a lovely little B&B, Bahia del Sol,  located in Saigon Bay, close to the airport but about 10minutes walk from Bocas Town city centre. The B&B along with the cabins next door and the “Koko Resort” (that I never really located or got a good idea about) were all owned by an American couple, Jack and Lee, who had decided to up their lives in Ohio State and take the plunge and try their luck in the Panamanian tourism industry. From what we experienced, how pleased the other guests seemed and from how enthusiastic Lee and Jack were I think they have found a winning formula!

Sunset view of the "House that Blew Away"

Sunset view of the House that Blew Away from our jacuzzi

The flight from Costa Rica only takes about 50mins so we had the chance to go for a swim as well as see a bit of the town that same afternoon we arrived. Having unpacked and gotten ourselves somewhat familiar with the place with the help of a few maps and the advice of Lee and Jack, we headed out to have a drink at Rip Tide before having a lovely dinner at Casbah next door. But unlike most of the younger crowd in Bocas, we happily headed back to our room following the dinner and a fairly long day of all kinds of activities, we crashed into our wonderful and huge bed to have a long nights sleep so we would have lots of energy for the following day and all the adventures that would bring with it.

A starfish in Bocas del Toro

One of the many, many starfish we saw in Bocas del Toro

The next day meant an early start and a whole day trip with Jampan to see dolphins, starfish, corals, and beaches while snorkling, taking pictures and enjoying delicious dishes. We had decided to go on the Adventure Tour 1 to see Dolphin Bay for dolphin spotting, Crawl Cay for snorkling, Punta Solarte Jungle Tour for a tour of one of the islands (where we spotted lots of teeny tiny red frogs!) followed by a brief stopover at Slot Island before ending the day at Red Frog Beach. The 9am till 4pm day proved to be an excellent introduction to the Bocas archipelago for $25 per person with a knowledgeable guide and spacious boat with snorkling equipment provided as well.

Sunday started off with yet another of Jack’s massive breakfasts (he used to cook breakfast for about 400 students at one point in his youth, and you could tell he knew what he was doing in the kitchen) before we ventured out in the kayaks that were available for all guests for free. We headed out to”The House that Blew Away” for some snorkling before doing a little tour of the mangroves at the other end of Saigon Bay. All in all we were not away for more than about 1.5hrs I think, but my god did I realize how tiring paddling a kayak is! Christ.. Although, my pilates teacher would have been proud, I tried to focus on keeping my shoulders down and free of any tension while activating my lats for every stroke of the paddle..

The rest of the day we wandered around Bocas Town, had lunch out before heading back to chill out in our new room for a bit. This B&B was so popular that I only managed to book us into the Master bedroom for two nights of the three we were there for, so for the last night we switched over to a room at the front of the house (towards the street instead of overlooking the bay like the Master Suite). I think both rooms were excellent, although the Master Suite was definitely something special with its balcony with jacuzzi along with open air shower next to it. Sinking into the jacuzzi after a long day under the hot Panamanian sun was definitely an experience (that made me agree with J that it would definitely be nice to have a jacuzzi…).

But the last day away always reminds us that these Visa runs are just not really that nice in the end. You start off with the mindset that its a great way to experience something new, a little adventure that you get to have, and trying to make the most of it. But in the end it never really feels like a holiday, you start missing home and your own bed, its a bit uncomfortable and most of all, its compulsory and not actually your choice. Not to mention the fact that it does cost money, money you could have spent on one or two big holiday trips a year instead of four smaller ones.

Then again, as always with J, I had a great time and loved spending some time away from everyday life with Joel, but boy was I ready to head home on Monday afternoon when our 72hrs were up. I was missing Sofia, and as I already mentioned, my bed.. I couldn’t think of anything nothing nicer than cuddling up in my own bed… Mmmm… So for now, I just want to spend time here at home and in Costa Rica. At our house but also down by the beach with J, my mum and my new surfboard! Only a few days to go now!

4920 46xx xxxx xxx5

Ah, I just want to go shopping!! Over the last few weeks I have little by little started noticing things that I need to buy/replace as well as a growing craving for shiny new things… Its nothing I am proud about, but my god how I want to acquire some lovely new things…

I really want is a bikini. I want another surf bikini, but I also want a non surf bikini. Something that doesnt have to be “wave-proof” (i.e. “waching-machine-tumble-in-waves-proof”) and that can just look pretty without being too practical. Sometimes a girl needs unpratical things – That’s just the way it is.

The problem is, I want this one. Well, at least something like this, with this cut. I think this is the reason I dont do that much shopping, I am too picky with what I want when it comes to the cut of clothing.

Unfortunately, I dont really know where to go around here to find items like this… I think its from Calzedonia, but Im not sure, nor am I sure if they even have Calzedonia here. But surely there should be something like this in the shops over here, after all Costa Rica is a fairly tropical country with quite a high amount of days that qualify for beach visits and hence beach wear.

Ironically, this is exactly the opposite to what I was going on about in a past entry about Surf Wear, but I think you need to be prepared for everything – and hence have swimwear to suit every occasion. Especially in a warm country. Even in Spain where the bikini season was “only” something like 7 months I had about five bikinis. Here, where I spend time in the water all year round, I have one that I can use. Something has surely gone a bit wrong here.

So that is to be amended this weekend. I do want a new surf bikini as well though as another thing I have learned over these last few months is that a white bikini is not the best option for surfing rivermouths like Barranca or in general surfing during the rainy season when the water is the colour of a strong latte at its best. Hence I would like to change my slightly brownish white bikini with blue stars on it, to something that looks a bit, well at least cleaner.

I think my whole urge to shop has been building up slowly thanks to me having had to do some online shopping for other people. While browsing for Christmas presents and Birthday presents I came across all kinds of beautiful things, and here we now are with me longing for a proper shopping trip – and missing my credit card! The good thing is that I wont be buying on credit this weekend, but the bad thing is that me not having a credit card totally limits me to the shops that do exist around here, with no access to the wonders of the virtual world.

But with or without credit card, at least I will get a little fix to my shopping cravings this weekend as well as a surf with the wonderful J! What more can a girl ask for…?

Losing my NFL Virginity

Yesterday I lost my NFL virginity. It was going to be a very special lovely event that I could cherish in my mind for ever. My company organised a wonderful, intimate NFL kickoff party at one of the bars between Santa Ana/Escazu with open bar, raffle and general merriness as the Vikings met the Saints in this year’s NFL season opener.

It all started so well, but turns out this event was actually not a very intimate, private matter at all. Turns out, this game was NBC Sports most-watched ‘NFL Kickoff’ ever and the most-watched regular season primetime game ever on NBC, according to official national data released today by The Nielsen Company! My special moment and loss of NFL virginity happened with 27.5million others tuning in as well!

Ok, fair enough, Im not that upset. 🙂 Rather I had a great time! I think I can get used to this whole NFL thing, and actually, the sooner I do that the better because my company has given all of us here some cash to bet with, giving whoever has the most money at the end of the season some fabulous prizes! All the more reason to get involved, learn more and become an expert on this product! Ill keep you posted on how well I am doing. I just hope this will go better than what the Fantasy football c0mpetition is going!

How to Duck Dive

Yesterday I was getting bruised and battered in the messy waves while trying to learn how to duck dive. I guess it went alright, but as I was saying to Joel through gritted teeth, I have real trouble “feeling” the flow of this move and hence accepting that I might possibly be doing it correctly like he says I am. My duck dive doesnt feel like a smooth flowing move I assume it should be, just like the duck has in the video above, it feels more like a huffing and puffing and hoping for the best exercise before the wave catches my bum and I slide off the board.

I am impressed though that I managed to get the board down under the water a few times, and I bet once we go back to practicing in real wave and not just in a quiet section of the lava pools in Esterillos Oeste, Ill hopefully get the hang of it. I am quite curious to see how much this might help my surfing and help me win the battle against the waves..

Yesterday’s session did take my breath away though, literally! I was karate chopped in the right side of my waist by the board as a wave threw it straight at me and lost my breath for a moment from the pain and shock of the beating. My god, I am used to bruises on my legs and dont really mind them anymore, but my appendix, small intestines and liver hasnt had that much experience of physical pain so this did leave me breathless.

To be fair, yesterday’s session just ended up being a bit crazy with messy waves all over the place, so I was quite pleased when I managed to paddle out with my super floaty board AND managed to ride one wave quite nicely during the short session. Like a colleague of mine says: “Even One Wave is a Session” so this day will go down in the diary as yet another succesful outing!

And hopefully next time I will be as gracious as the duck in the video when I plow through the waves to get out there..

Esterillos Oeste

This weekend is a real treat. We are spending it down at Esterillos Oeste with some friends just lazying around, surfing, BBQing and well, just enjoying life in general! Its been a while since we were here last and I have almost forgotten how fantastic this place is for relaxing and really recharging your batteries. Not to mention the surf, I loved coming down here before, because the waves are quite big, but still fairly soft, making it perfect for me on my epoxy.

I got down here already on Friday since my company was doing a team building outing in Jaco for the day. It was a fantastically fun day at the beach surfing followed by cocktails, arm wrestling and dancing at The Backyard Bar in Playa Hermosa. I had so much fun and I feel like I know a few of my colleagues much better now as well.

Anyhow, J picked me up from The Hookup at Los Suenos around 8.30pm and we headed down to the beach. This time we have rented a gorgeous house all the way at the end of one of the dead end streets off Calle Canada, and turns out its absolutely fantastic! Three floors, pool, gorgeous large terraces on each floor and all of them looking out over the jungle.

Having got here pretty late we didnt really properly see the house until the next day, but my gosh did we hear the other inhabitants during the night! We have massive lizards living in the ceiling and they were making a glorious noise all through out the night while the cicadas were playing their tunes all around us in the jungle. The noise did wake me up a few times, but its actually nice waking up to the sounds of nature, especially since it will lull you back to sleep as well pretty much immediately.. Its a nice give an take.

This morning Sofia was up and demanding to get outside already at about 4am. She hasnt stopped since then.. She has explored the jungle, run around meeting other dogs, swam in the pool, been to the beach, run around some more and had a face off with a local capuchin monkey. We were having so much fun watching her and the monkey battle it out, one on the ground, one from the top of a palm tree.

I had a few wonderful waves down at the beach as well. Its been a while since we have been surfing here so at first I was a bit worried about the size of the waves, but I soon “got back to normal” i.e realising that they might seem big, but actually they are pretty soft. Had quite a few just for fun and a few that were excellent even by my own high standards of self criticism. And I finally managed to really get one pop up done PROPERLY! I.e. without dragging my damn knee behind me. Oh my gosh the feeling of that beats anything! Well, almost anything.

Tonight we have had a BBQ and now its just relaxing in the warm night to the sounds of cicadas while watching a beautiful lightning display in the distance. The rain hasnt reached us yet. I cant wait till tomorrow when I will get to do some more waves!! And ah, the sleep I will have tonight after a couple of hours in the waves and a day in the humid heat of the coastal area.. I do love our life in Costa Rica.

Fantasy Football

So I am playing Fantasy Football again this year. Last year I attempted it, I started off, I picked my league, I checked game week 1 results, and… Hmm… Then I have no recollection whatsoever of the whole thing anymore. Oops. Even if I dont know how things turned out for my team, my guess is they did not perform any miracles.

This year I am a bit more dedicated. At least I have chosen my team with care, I have joined two leagues to keep the excitement and competition going, I have even done a reshuffle of the team based on some good advice I got in order to be ready for game week 2. I even checked who is playing when AND have two bets placed for upcoming games. U-huh.. A Fantasy Football expert in the making…

My newly found interest in football (soccer, just to be a bit more specific and not confuse some people on this side of the pond) comes mainly from my work. I am sitting in the midst of a marketing department, which is nothing out of the ordinary or a big change from my previous work setting, but this time the people are much more focussed on the sports products we have rather than the other entertainment elements we also offer. And all I hear about is football. Both Soccer and American Football.

So I thought, if you cant beat them, join them. And here I am, with my fabulous team TheBarnacleBoys ready to beat the competition! Come On!

I am actually finding this regular ocurrance that sports is now having in my life quite interesting and fascinating. Working in such close contact with sports related products, the experience the Fantasy Football, the betting on sports and the reading about it is providing me with. Is actually helping me learn a lot about what our typical customers go through each day when they use our product.

So its all quite exciting. Unfortunately this is not really great for someone with such a short attention span as I have. The Fantasy Football League thingie goes on for months, in other words, its no sprint, its a full marathon! So we shall see how long I can keep my interest up. But for now, I think I am doing pretty well. Now bring on Game Week 2!!

The Pep Talk

A Personal Pep Talk

Right. Its time for a good personal pep talk! God damn, I can do it! And I can do it DAMN WELL! Hear me ROAR!

Well, something like that… 🙂

So today is an absolutely wonderfully sunny Sunday and we are a few hours away from hitting the beach with our boards. It’s Barranca time again, and apparently the swell is excellent for me as a beginner. At least that is what my personal surf coach says 🙂 And that’s what this pep talk is all about, giving me the ooomph to hit those waves and not be scared about the steepness of them, or the force or them, or of my board hitting me, or of other surfers getting in my way, or of me getting caught in the leash, or of… Well, you get the point. Its a scary world out there for us beginner surfers.

But today I feel GRRRRREAT! And I am ready to hit those waves 100%! I am NOT going to pull out at the last minute and I am not going to bail on any great waves and I am not going to let a few waves taken over the head get me down. I am going to be as buoyant as my bloody board always is (making it oh so hard to get out there!) and not let any of this pull me down.

I am keeping my fingers crossed now that this pep talk will work and that I will have one of my BEST days EVER out there in the swell today! And if it doesn’t work, I will go with the “Eat Ice Cream” option from the card above.. HäagenDazs super premium ice cream (as they modestly describe it on their website..) always works… 🙂