Lots of events on the fitness calendar in the near future. Check out these offerings …
Hootenanny on the Hill – Choose from a 3K, 5K, 10K or 1K fun run at Plum Creek’s Hootenanny on the Hill this Saturday in Kyle. All courses begin and end at the Plum Creek Dog Park. The 5K and 10K start at 7 a.m.; the 1K and 3K start at 8:30 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 11. Walk-up registration will be accepted at early packet pickup from 4-6 p.m. Friday at the Plum Creek Community Center, 450 Haupt, and from 6-6:45 a.m. race day. The race is part of an all-day event that includes a barbecue cookoff, chili cookoff, scarecrow contest, pumpkin carving contest and dog talent show.For more information go here.
Castle Hill Fitness will celebrate its 12th anniversary Oct. 16, when customers can bring a friend to a fitness class for free. Thursday class offerings include a version of high intensity training called Tabata, cycle barre, Anusara yoga, cardio Pilates circuit and Forrest yoga with instructor Ashley. Castle Hill members also get half off their purchase at the Food For Fitness Cafe on Oct. 16, and free mini spa treatments during the week. For more information go here.
I’ve always known that exercise kept me steady. But the past two weeks have been some of the hardest of my life, and my bike, my running shoes and swim practice have gotten me through it.
My dad is dying of non-smoker’s lung cancer.
He was diagnosed last December. After almost nine months of chemotherapy, doctors told him two weeks ago it wasn’t doing any good. They gave him about a month to live.
This sounds awful, and in many ways it is. My heart is broken. But as crappy as these days have been, they’ve also been magical.
We’ve made the most of the time he has left, talking about everything from whether or not there’s a God to the time when, as a newly minted Texan, he tried to grill a brisket in 45 minutes.
My dad, an aeronautical engineer with an insatiable desire to explore the world around him, made me who I am. He planned family outings to see dinosaur tracks, walk trails and pitch tents. He made me curious – and, I think, naturally happy. He taught me you don’t have to have a lot of money to explore, that seeing things within a few hours’ drive can be as gratifying as traipsing off to far-flung corners of the planet. He also taught me to jump at any chance to see those exotic, faraway places.
He taught me why it’s important to keep up with politics. He gave me a respect for and sense of awe about nature. He made me want to share those experiences, too. He made me a reporter.
These last few weeks I’ve been alternately weepy and giddy. I’ve learned that it’s possible to cry underwater and bike to work with tears trickling down my cheeks. Running gives me quiet time to think things over.
Thank goodness for the relief that comes with pushing my muscles and making myself sweat. Without that, this would be even harder.
Congrats to Austin athlete Andrea Nunez-Smith, the top female finisher at the 2014 USA Triathlon Aquathlon National Championships in El Reno, Oklahoma last weekend.
Nunez-Smith recorded a time of 1 hour, 1 minute and 55 seconds on the course, which featured a 1,500-meter swim and 10-kilometer run. (Unlike a traditional triathlon, an aquathlon doesn’t have a bicycling component.) The event was held in conjunction with the El Reno Route 66 Aquathlon.
“It was a great day,” Nunez-Smith said Monday. “The course and weather were perfect, and it was a lot of fun to race.”
She’ll head to Chicago next September to represent Team USA at the 2015 ITU Aquathlon World Championships – and she won’t be going alone.
“My mom who also won her age group and qualified!” she said.
Team USA is comprised of amateur athletes who represent the United States at each ITU World Championship event.
For more information on Team USA go to usatriathlon.org/teamusa. For more information about next year’s ITU World Triathlon Grand Final and World Championships go to chicago.triathlon.org.
The next race on my calendar? Run by the Creek in Dripping Springs.
The event is set for Sunday, Nov. 2, and if you’re thinking of registering, do it today. Entry fee is $35 for the 10K or $25 for the 5K through tonight, but prices increase by $10 tomorrow.
Or tell me why you want to join me. I’m giving away two free entries to run, and will pick the winners from the comments posted below this blog.It’s the third year of the run, which drew more than 300 athletes last year.
The course is one of my favorites – it follows Creek Road, a popular route for area cyclists. Expect rolling hills, a few kids in Halloween costumes possibly lurking in the trees, fields of cows, a gorgeous creek and lots of farmland.
I ran the 10K last year, and loved the small-town feel and rural setting of the event.The Dripping Springs Running Club and Pioneer Bank support the race, which this year benefits The Dripping Springs High School Cross Country team.
Packet pickup will take place Oct. 31 at Rogue Running Downtown, 410 Pressler, and Nov. 1 at Pioneer Bank in Dripping Springs.
The race starts at 8 a.m. Nov. 2 at 195 Roger Hanks Parkway in Dripping Spring. Look for me there!
The best way to travel to and from ACL Fest? Bicycle, of course.
Two giant, lighted areas have been set aside for bike parking – one on the southeast side of the festival, off of Barton Springs Road, and the other on the northwest side of the park, near Stratford Drive. Bring your own lock and remember that bikes will be removed the Monday after the festival each weekend.
Folks from Mellow Johnny’s Bike Shop folks will be on hand offering advice and selling locks, lights, tubes and other emergency gear.
The most bike friendly routes to the park are via the Butler hike and bike trail on either the north or south side of Lady Bird Lake.
That’s not the only bike parking, though. For the first time this year, Spinlister, an online site that fosters peer-to-peer bike rentals, is hosting free valet bike parking across the street from Uncle Billy’s Bar and Restaurant, 1603 Barton Springs Road. Cyclists attending the fest can drop off their bike and Spinlister will park and guard it in a secure, fenced lot. They’ll even have a separate indoor garage where they’ll park high-dollar bikes and bikes that have been listed on Spinlister.
Don’t have a bike of your own? B-cycle, the city’s bike share system, is offering special deals during ACL Fest. Customers can buy 24-hour access to the bikes for $8 or a special ACL 3-Day B-cycle access pass for $19.99 at Austin.Bcycle.com. All passes include unlimited 30-minute trips. If you keep a B-cycle undocked for more than 30 minutes, you’ll be charged an additional fee of $4 for each half-hour.
To make those check-ins easy, B-cycle will offer a special B-cycle valet at the Zilker Park B-station near the south festival entrance on Barton Springs Road. Customers can pick up a B-cycle from any of the 44 stations around Austin and check it in at the B-cycle valet. Locations and B-cycle availability can be found in real time with the free “B-cycle” app mobile app for iPhone and Android. The B-cycle valet will operate from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. each day of ACL Fest.
A new upscale fitness club with everything from a tricked-out spinning room to its own full-service bar has opened in downtown Austin.
Spark Fitness Club, at 111 Sandra Muraida Way, features a spinning room with high-end Body Bikes and a lighting and sound system. It also has private parking for members, eucalyptus steam rooms and an onsite coffee, smoothie and full-service bar called “Black Dog Bar.” (The bar hasn’t quite opened yet, but is set to open its doors in October.)
The 14,000-square-foot facility is located next to the new Luxury Gables Park Tower building and Luke’s Locker, near Lamar Boulevard and Lady Bird Lake. It offers specialized groups called Team Weight Loss, Team Performance and Team Elite, plus an array of fitness classes.
Owner Dan Yudin co-founded what is now Pure Austin in 2000. He sold his interest in that gym in 2007.
“With Spark I wanted to create an upscale and inspirational environment where people could accomplish their fitness goals that also included a social setting that makes Spark more than a gym,” Yudin said in a press release. “It is a downtown destination.”
The press release even noted that Brad Womack from the reality show “The Bachelor” has even dropped by for a visit. Seriously.
That’s bound to lure lots of runners to this year’s Hill Country Marathon, set for Oct. 19 in Marble Falls. Besides pie, expect a rolling course with some challenging climbs.
I heard lots of good reports after last year’s inaugural Hill Country Marathon, which attracted about 500 runners. Organizers say they expect to double participation at this year’s event, which includes a half marathon, 10K and Kids K.
The marathon follows an out-and-back course on paved roads, starting and finishing at Marble Falls High School Mustang Stadium. (Trivia: Olympic silver medalist Leo Manzano attended Marble Falls High School.)
The course is USA Track & Field certified and a Boston Marathon qualifier.Besides the race, the event includes live music and food from local restaurants – including that coveted slice of pie from Blue Bonnet Cafe for runners. A kids’ mile race is set for 6 p.m. Saturday, just after packet pickup.
Registration is $100 for the marathon, $80 for the half marathon and $60 for the 10K. (Prices increase Oct. 12.) To register, go here.
A portion of proceeds from the marathon will benefit Team Red, White and Blue, a non-profit organization that works to connect veterans to their community through social and physical activity. For more information go here.
Want to cuddle with your cruiser? Toast your touring bike? High-five your fixie?
You’ll be in like company at the Sixth Annual South Austin Custom & Vintage Bicycle Show, set for 2-6 p.m. Sunday at Independence Brewery, 3913 Todd Lane No. 607.
The free, family friendly event showcases antique or custom built bi-, tri-, uni-, small and tall cycles.Beer will be sold, as will $5 raffle tickets for prizes from sponsors Ancient Ink, Birds Barbershop, B.M.F. Customs, Frankenbike, Independence Brewery and Metalwork Austin. You can also buy a $10 raffle ticket for a chance to win a custom bicycle built by Chris Hunt. Local vendors will sell stuff, too.
The show will take place outdoors; bring lawn chairs and shade. And if you love your bike, bring it too and talk shop with other cyclists.
Other Lovers, Charlie Hurton and Stoic’s Descent will perform live music.
You think your latest long run seemed long, hot and dry? A visiting lecturer at the University of Texas just spent a week racing across Madagascar.
Robyn Metcalfe, who teaches in the School of Human Ecology in the College of Natural Sciences at the University of Texas ran through rain forests, along cliffs, through deserts and over savannas during RacingthePlanet’s Madagascar 2014 race earlier this month.
By finishing the race in 55 hours and 7 minutes, Metcalfe completed the 4 Deserts series of footraces put on by RacingthePlanet.
She also placed first in her age group and cut 15 hours off her previous race time. Officially, she placed 145th out of 189 athletes who crossed the finish line. (Several dozen others withdrew before finishing.)
A lifelong runner, Metcalfe and her husband Bob, a fellow at the University of Texas’s Cockrell School of Engineering, have two children.
During the race, competitors pass 30 checkpoints spread over 250 kilometers. They carry all their gear in a backpack. About 80 percent of the athletes are male.
Metcalfe, 66, is director of The Food Lab at UT, which explores the future of our food system. The lab’s projects include the “Food Challenge Prize,” a book, and “The Miracle of Feeding Cities,” a documentary film. She is also the author of “Meat, Commerce and the City: The London Food Market, 1800-1855.”