WHEN DID I decide that this 70.3 was a wee bit more of an exotic adventure than I was used to? Was it when the tiny jellyfish tentacle gently stung my cheek in the Pacific Ocean swim? Or when the bright yellow butterfly as big as a gel pack smacked into my sunglasses during the bike? Or during the beach run when I almost slipped on the tail of a hot dog-sized iguana? No, I think it was the evening before, when we wheeled our bikes towards the transition zone, down the main drag of Playas del Coco cheek-by-jowl with pop-up stands selling rice and beans, steaming tortillas and mango-kale smoothies.
Who needs an alarm clock to get up at 3:45 a.m. when howler monkeys are screaming up a storm as they swing through the palm trees just metres from your bedroom window in the predawn hours?
This was the inaugural Ironman 70.3 triathlon in Costa Rica, and thousands of Ticos and Ticas had brought their families to this vacation town for the weekend-long party while 1,963 athletes, marimba bands, chirping crickets and those howler monkeys all competed for their attention.
When it was first announced that there was going to be a 70. 3 in Playa del Coco during