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The Real Illinois: Year II, Entry II

theHey everybody, welcome back to another edition of the Real Illinois: Year II Edition. In this weeks’ post, Beth will describe her transition to running in Colorado and Eric will illustrate for everybody how he is livin’ la vida loca out in Costa Rica. Unlike last year, where we only had one person who was living outside of the state of Illinois, it will be interesting to see how mostly everybody (4 out of 6) adjust to running outside the state as well as get used to the circumstances they have found themselves in. Anyway, hopefully everybody enjoys seeing what Eric and Beth are up to.

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Beth McGreal

Now that I have arrived in Estes Park, I have finally been able to start working and running. I have been in Colorado for about two weeks and summer running has been very different compared to what I am used to in Illinois. As I had hoped, there is a consistent group of about six counselors that have been running at six in the morning before work. Knowing that I will be meeting other counselors to run with in the morning has given me that extra push out of bed. Some of the challenges while running in Estes Park have been the altitude and hills. It has been very difficult for all of the runners to acclimate to both the altitude and hills throughout our runs and I am happy to know that I am not the only one struggling. Since being here, our group has not been able to complete a run without needing to stop. However, as time progresses I have been able to notice that breathing during the runs has become easier since the first week and the hills are not becoming as exhausting. In addition, we have been able to stop less and run farther than our previous timed runs.

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One other major difference that I have experienced while starting my “summer” running in Colorado has been the weather. Colorado has been very cold especially during the nights and early mornings which means running in below 40 degree weather with flurries during several of the morning runs. I knew that Colorado would be a bit chilly and it had been suggested to bring an extra pair of gloves for running which the movie “Dumb and Dumber” says best, duh “we’re in the Rockies.”

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Furthermore, being at the YMCA of the Rockies has provided many opportunities to run on several excellent trails. Our running group has been sticking to the horse trails that lead us right into the National Park which has been made our runs exciting since we have been able to explore some parts of the park. While running we have encountered a lot of wildlife such as several groups of elk and deer. The YMCA requires workers to go through wildlife orientation where they told us many stories about the animals in the area. One story that stood out was about a runner who was running alone that was attacked and killed by a mountain lion. This definitely caught my attention, but I am happy to inform you that I have not had any scary confrontations with animals. Running with a group has definitely helped me feel more comfortable running past the animals we do see and has eliminated my concerns because we will obviously be able to outrun the animals… am I right? Any who…

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Altogether, these past two weeks of easy running with our group has, for the most part, gone smoothly and has definitely been a comfortable pace. However, I know that in the near future I will be starting to run workouts where I am lucky to have two other female counselors that are training for their Cross Country season this fall. They both will be going into their senior years at Northwestern College in Iowa and I know that they will be great running partners throughout the summer in which we will be able to push and prepare each other for our future season. In addition, this week brings the end to our week and a half long day camp training which consisted of many lectures as well as fun activities that included a low ropes course, hikes, games, and even being trained in archery. I am excited to work along with the other 50 wonderful counselors and cannot wait for the campers to come this Monday!!

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Eric De Guevara

Hi Guys,

If you remembered, I am studying abroad in Costa Rica (CS) and, well visiting another country is just an amazing experience to take in. CRs culture, their food, the people, and the scenery are what make it perfect. I’ve been here for three weekends now and every weekend I have traveled to a different part. Of course being in between to oceans beach has been the number one choice. Since I had a 4 day long orientation that lasted until Saturday, we had the chance to go to one of CRs beaches and I have to say it was a good trip. Sun was hot, water was perfect, and I had a great group to hang out with. That was my first week!

Ever since the start of that weekend and my time here, it has been all about planning and traveling, and of course some school. I have overcome some of my fears here and feel accomplishment afterwards even if they are dangerous. Oops. With that, I have also done adventurous things I have never done like zip-lining and ATV driving! It’s just so amazing here. I am loving Costa Rica and everything that is available to do do. It’s a surreal feeling. Like what they say here, TUANIS (too nice).

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Beyond my trips, summer school here is fun. Not because of what you can do in CR but because of my professors. I am taking three classes here, and all three of my professors are wonderful. Even though I know Spanish, I am still learning here. They make it so easy to learn and entertaining as well with games. For example, in my composition class we play this game called Alto (stop). In this game our professor gives us a letter and then we race, as a class, to see who can write something (a fruit or vegetable, a color, an animal, a country, an adjective or a verb) with the corresponding letter the fastest. It seems like an alright game, but it gets intense, and don’t forget we have to write them in Spanish. This is just one of many games,  but my overall class experience here beats back home.

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Now I want to talk about my social life I guess and this includes my host family and the friendships I have made. My host mom, whose name is Rocio and well if I describe her in one word, it would be sweetheart. It took only one day to love her and feel at home. We have great conversations at dinner and in our evening walks. Plus her cooking is delicious. Because of her I have eaten so many different CRn dishes and crazy fruits and I am still not done. With my group of friends that I have made, they are all awesome. We have stayed together for our trips, Groups this big usually breakdown to smaller groups and well that tell you how much we have all bonded. Only three weeks and we’re like a family. I apologize for all this babbling about CR, but its just so awesome here!

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Classic E

Now to talk about the real thing about this blog: running. Like I expected, the streets here are not flat or safe. They have no sidewalks, people drive as if they are late to somewhere everyday, and the roads just go up and down. My first week here it was tough adjusting to the weather and to the roads, but with a nice steady pace everyday these roads are easy. Hills will be nothing for me this cross season. Cmon Hershey! Anyway soaked in sweat I still do my ab workout and planks, which is tough cause all I want is to take a cold shower . When I get back WATCHOUT! Running everyday gets a little lonely, so I have tried getting a small group going, but it failed. They all say I’ll go too fast, but they don’t understand that I will go at their pace and that I am just building my base. Whatever though, I will continue doing what I am doing. Well that is that, I have four more weeks here in CR and I am going to enjoy the rest of my time here. Pura Vida my friends, and I will be back to tell you more about how my training and how CR is going. Ciao amigos!

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Well, that is it for this week’s edition of The Real Illinois. I was glad to hear that Eric and Beth are each doing well in a new setting and hopefully everyone else enjoyed reading and looks forward to what they will write in the future. Next week, Monica and Henry will write, and hopefully our first guest contributor. I would write more, but I, myself am in North Carolina soaking up the view of the Smoky Mountains right now, so that is all for this week. Thanks for reading!

“My feeling is that any day I am too busy to run is a day that I am too busy.”
–John Bryant

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