I say it all the time: You don’t have to pay a lot of money to get in shape.
Every Monday for the next four weeks, Dancers Shape will offer free outdoor workouts at Bee Cave Central Park,
13742 Bee Cave Parkway in Bee Cave.
The free four-week fitness series, Pilates in the Park, starts with a mat class at 9:30 a.m. April 30 and continues at the second time the next three Mondays.
The one hour, full body classes will combine traditional elements of pilates, yoga and barre into a quick-paced flow on the mat, according to a press release. The classes will focus on functional movement to build core strength. Bring your own mat, water and full length towel. The group will meet under the pavilion at the park.
I prefer a sleeping bag in a tent to high threadcount sheets at a fancy hotel, especially when I can roll out of that tent the next morning, jump into a river or go for a run. And eat a yummy breakfast.
That’s all on tap at the upcoming Fit City Campout, set for April 28-29 in Johnson City.
Fit City is partnering with REI and the Lower Colorado River Authority to put on the campout at Pedernales River Nature Park in Johnson City, a 220-acre piece of Hill Country heaven about an hour’s drive northwest of Austin.
We’re planning an entire day of fun, outdoorsy stuff (my fave!), from guided mountain bike rides, kayaking, rafting, standup paddleboarding and rock climbing to fishing, hiking and swimming. We’ll have star gazing Saturday night, and I’m going to lead a (non-competitive) 5K trail run Sunday morning, too.
Lots of local companies are getting involved, including Kammok, which will set up a hammock lounge in the trees near the river, and PackIt Gourmet, which will serve up some of its backpacker’s breakfasts on Sunday morning. Subaru is providing dinner on Saturday, and we’ll have live music and s’mores around the campfire, too.
Never camped before? Not a problem. The event is designed to help you get comfortable pitching a tent, setting up camp and diving into some cool outdoor activities. My motto has long been “get your hair wet,” and by that I mean don’t sit on the sidelines and watch everyone else have fun. This is your time to have fun, too.
Gear for the activities will be provided; participants must bring their own tents, coolers and camping supplies, including sleeping bags, pads and pillows.
REI traditionally hosts a campout each spring. This marks the first time the Austin store has partnered with other companies to put it on.
“The primary goal has always been to give multi-faceted time outdoors and a good introduction to camping confidently, even for people who have not had previous experience,” says Ivey Kaiser, outdoor programs and outreach market coordinator at REI in Austin.
Pedernales River Nature Park is one of more than 40 parks that LCRA operates along more than 600 miles of the Colorado River between the Hill Country and Matagorda Bay.
“This is a rare chance to spend the night in a park that is normally open for day visitors only,” says Drew Pickle, manager of business and product development at LCRA. “I’m looking forward to paddling, campfire cooking, and listening to some live music at the campout with other folks who enjoy being in the outdoors.”
The campout kicks off at 10 a.m. Saturday April 28 and finishes at 10 a.m. Sunday. Cost is $79 per REI member ($89 for non-members). Kids 6 and under are free. Registration includes all activities, plus dinner provided by Subaru on Saturday and breakfast from PackIt Gourmet on Sunday. Sign up here.
“It is going to be a beautiful setting next to the Pedernales River, with lots of options for activities and relaxation as well. It’s a great opportunity to reconnect with family or have some downtime in a pristine Hill Country environment,” Kaiser said.
Thinking about heading to the Barton Creek Greenbelt, but unsure if recent rains have filled your favorite swimming hole?
A website created by a former University of Texas student provides current water depth and flow rate information for eight popular natural pools along the creek, where people flock each summer to cool their heels.
“People like that it’s a quick way to check if there’s enough water to swim,” says Serena Nguyen, who created the Greenbeltnow.com website as a final project for a coding bootcamp she took at the University of Texas.
Nguyen loves to hang out with friends on the Greenbelt, and came up with the project idea after hiking there one day, only to find out her favorite swim spot had gone dry.
Greenbeltnow.com pulls data from the U.S. Geological Survey website, which is updated automatically every few minutes. You can check the status of eight popular swimming spots, including Gus Fruh, Twin Falls and Sculpture Falls.
Because the pools are irregularly shaped and there is not a USGS measuring station at each location, the measurements may not be exact. Still, they give hikers a general idea of swimming conditions.
The website, which went live in June 2017, also gives the temperature and current weather conditions.
A recent check showed that the water is 1.67 feet deep at Gus Fruh Pool on the Greenbelt, and flow is 1.84 cubic feet per second, less than ideal swimming conditions.
The website does more than let you know how your favorite swimming holes are faring.
It got Nguyen, 24, a job. Thanks to the bootcamp project, she now works as a web developer for Mutual Mobile, a downtown tech agency.
Don’t expect to dip a toe in the swimming pool at Bastrop State Park this summer.
The pool, which opened in 1937 and was last renovated 20 years ago, has closed for a major renovation and will remain shuttered all summer.
In recent seasons, officials had to make temporary fixes to leaks and broken mechanical equipment at the pool. Officials say a major remodel was needed to keep the facility operating. Crews will resurface all three sections of the pool and install new plumbing, pumps, filters and chemical systems.
“We came to a point where a significant project had to be undertaken to keep the facility in operation,” Jamie Creacy, superintendent of Bastrop State Park, said in a press release. “We look forward to having swimmers back in an efficient and modernized pool facility that the community will be proud of.”
The rest of the park will be open as usual.
The Bastrop YMCA has managed the pool for the past six seasons, offering swim lessons, summer day camps and community events. With the pool closure, Bastrop YMCA members will get free day-use entry to Bastrop State Park from Memorial Day to Labor Day; free entry to all YMCA of Austin facilities and pools during that same time period; free entry into the East Metro park pool in Manor; and swim lessons at the Cub Scout Pool at the Lost Pines Boy Scout Camp during the month of July, according to a press release.
The Bastrop YMCA will also offer youth, family and health and wellness classes, including summer camp at Bastrop Church of Christ for children ages 5-12 and summer youth sports leagues in July and August. The club will also unveil a new Aire Fitness outdoor gym at Fisherman’s Park, with outdoor fitness classes that are free for YMCA members and available to the community for a per class fee.
“We understand the challenge of not having access to a pool during the summer, but we’re committed to providing Bastrop County residents a variety of fun, healthy and engaging experiences that will keep them active while still helping to beat the heat,” said Terry Moore, executive director of the Bastrop YMCA.
A year ago this month, I peeled off my clothes and ran a naked 5K race, just to see what it would feel like.
It felt great.
The most awkward moment came when I initially removed my clothing. After that, it was just running as usual as I scampered over pine needle-covered hills, sandy expanses and a hay field. I wore running shoes and a straw cowboy hat, which blew off my head at one point.
Although runners can wear whatever clothing they want (sports bras for women, for example), most go nude except for shoes. Last year’s race drew about 120 runners, most of whom didn’t live at the park. The residents were enthusiastic, though, handing out timing chips and directing athletes along the course. Afterward, everyone gathered by the newly-renovated swimming pool for a celebration and burger cookoff.
This year’s Bare Buns 5K Fun Run is set for April 14 at the Star Ranch Nudist Resort in McDade, a private residential community that opened in 1957 in McDade, east of Elgin.
The resort is member resort of the American Association for Nude Recreation. The Bare Buns 5K is part of a series of naked races in the organization’s southwest region. This year, for the first time, Star Ranch will also host the closing race in the series – the Fall Bare Buns Fun Run on Oct. 13.
The chip-timed race starts at 1 p.m. A 1K kids fun run is set for 10 a.m. Entry fee is $35 for adults. Sign up online at http://www.starranch.net. Registration fee includes a T-shirt and goodie bag. Margie’s Nekkid Cafe will serve food beginning at 8:30 a.m. Refreshments will be available at the pool, with burgers starting at 2:30 p.m.
Have you registered for this year’s Statesman Cap10K?
On April 8, the largest 10K in Texas will snake up Congress Avenue, head west toward the big hill on Enfield Road, swing south near MoPac, then fold back along East Cesar Chavez Street.
If you’ve done it before, you know it’s much more than a run – it’s a rolling party. Costumes are encouraged, fans cheer on family and friends, and somebody along the route always tries to tempt participants by shoving a tray of doughnuts or bacon under their noses as they stream past.
As of Monday, roughly 20,000 people had registered for this year’s run. That’s about 1,000 people ahead of registration at this time last year. Race organizers hope to top off at 22,000.
The finish line festival will feature the circus-themed party band Electric Circus, followed by The Matt Wilson Band, which plays soul, R&B, rock, blues, funk and gospel.
The first Cap10K took place on March 12, 1978. Eight hundred runners were expected; 3,400 registered.
The crowd grew steadily in subsequent years. At its largest, 28,341 people registered for the run on March 29, 1987. Anyone who ran that year certainly remembers it: Temperatures hovered around 33 degrees and sleet fell.
Today the race ranks as the seventh largest 10K in the country.
Thinking of joining the fun? Registration is $50 for adults or $35 for ages 10 and under. (Prices increase next Tuesday). To register, go here.
Imagine a foot race where nobody really cared about pace. You simply trotted 5K through a neighborhood, getting to know a new part of Austin, then someone handed you a beer while a band played live music.
That’s the Texas Brewery Running Series, and this week’s race is set for 11 a.m. Saturday at Southern Heights Brewing Co., 6014 Techni Center Drive.
The series started in Minnesota in 2012. Founders Nate Herrington and Morgan Jappe wanted to combine their favorite things – being active, drinking beer and supporting their community, so they organized a series of casual runs at local breweries.
Gabbi Lindgren participated in the races when she lived in Minnesota, and missed them when she moved to Texas four years ago. She reached out to organizers, who agreed to help her launch the series in Austin last years. The races started small, but have grown to draw between 80 and 100 runners each.
The key, she says, is keeping them small and friendly.
“It’s a really simple, fun idea,” says Lindgren, founder of the Texas edition of the Brewery Running Series. “Our motto is ‘Be active, have fun and give back.’ People come and do the 5K, and afterward everyone drinks beer.”
Ten percent of proceeds are donated to a local charity of the brewery’s choosing.
“A lot of people get this idea of running a 5K, and they’re not sure they can do it,” Lindgren says. “This is casual and non-intimidating – and you get to drink a beer at the end.”
The course is open; roads are not blocked to traffic. Runners must obey all traffic laws. Volunteers will help direct athletes. Bring a valid ID or driver’s license. Registered runners age 21 and up get a free beer. Those who are under 21 get a free non-alcoholic beverage.
Add this to the list of free fitness opportunities around Austin – classes from Dance Waterloo, designed to improve your base fitness and alignment.
The What the Fit?! classes (fitness is better than cussing, we agree) combine techniques used in yoga, restorative yoga, Pilates and Barre classes. They take place inside a store that sells used books, which (we think) makes it even cooler. And they’re taught by Laura Merkel, who mashes up a blend of yoga, Pilates and barre techniques in the sessions. It’s an all-body workout, but each week she turns the focus to strengthening and stretching a separate area.
“It’s super fun,” she says.
The classes take place at 1:30 p.m. Saturdays at the Austin Public Library’s Recycled Reads Bookstore, 5335 Burnet Road. The March 24 class will focus on hips, the March 31 class on shoulders, the April 14 class on core and the April 21 class on spine. No class is scheduled for April 7.
The classes are open to all ages, levels and abilities. Bring a yoga mat, a towel and water. Thera-Bands, support blocks and yoga straps will be provided. The classes are free, but RSVP in advance here.
The small, Austin-based dance company offers performances and classes in public spaces. The lineup includes a dance-making class that combines story telling and activities for families with young children, a dance in public spaces class, and a modern dance class at Mueller Park.
“We’re trying to use either underutilized or under-appreciated spaces. The idea is to bring dance, fitness and education to people instead of making them come to us,” Merkel says. “All of our programming and performances are either free or pay what you can. We’re really trying to make dance accessible to everyone.”
The group’s next performance will take place in May on the patio behind Epoch Coffee in the Village Shopping Center, 2700 West Anderson Lane.
Dance Waterloo is part of the Austin Creative Alliance. The classes are funded in part by a grant from the City of Austin Cultural Arts Division. For more information about Dance Waterloo, go here.
Corrects date of Science of Sports exhibit to April 14.
Have you stepped outside, people? Do it, now. And check out these upcoming events, all of them either set outdoors or celebrating the outdoors.
1. Run through a working organic garden at Johnson’s Backyard Garden Spring Picnic and 5k Garden Gallop on March 31. From 11 a.m. until 2:30 p.m., enjoy picnicking, the run, music by Johnny Nicholas, Scrappy Judd and Oscar Ornelas, plus an egg hunt, arts and crafts and a sand pile for the kids. The farm is located on the banks of the river at 4008 River Road in Garfield. Bring your own blanket. Tickets are $5; free for kids under 12. For more information and tickets, go here.
2. Practice your downward dog and more at Whole Lotta Yoga Austin from 8:30 a.m.-3 p.m. March 24 at Pease Park, 11 Kingsbury Street. Join Onnit, Austin Fit Magazine and instructors from local yoga studios at the one-day yoga festival benefiting the Pease Park Conservancy and the Whole Planet Foundation. Six different 30-minute classes will be offered, plus smaller group dance and acro yoga workshops and a vendor expo. A $20 donation gets you into all the classes and workshop. For more information go here.
3. Celebrate the original dirtbag with a free screening of “Dirtbag: The Legend of Fred Beckey,” at 7 p.m. March 24 at Austin Bouldering Project, 979 Springdale Road. The documentary film follows the first ascents and other exploits of old-school, “dirtbag” mountaineer Fred Beckey, who died last year at age 94. Snacks and drinks available, plus a chance to win a pair of new climbing pants.
4. How about an outdoor birthday bash? Enjoy refreshments, live entertainment, cake, children’s activities, yoga and giveaways at the Trail Foundation’s 15th birthday party. The free, family-friendly celebration of the non-profit organization that works to protect and enhance the Butler Hike and Bike Trail along Lady Bird Lake starts at 10 a.m. and wraps up at 2 p.m. at Festival Beach, 2101 East Segovia Street. Bring your own blanket. Dogs on leashes welcome. For more information go here.
5. Learn more about what makes our bodies tick at the Science of Sports exhibit at the Science Mill in Johnson City on April 14. Visitors can test their balance, measure reflexes, improve focus and more at eight stations designed to foster a better understanding of the scientific principles behind movement. The stations will be open from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. The museum stays open until 4 p.m. Admission is $10 per adult, $8.50 ages 3-18, $8 for seniors and military, and free ages 2 and under. The Science Mill is located at 101 S. Lady Bird Lane in Johnson City. For more information go here.