Off to the Races
I am for sure not a gym rat. I haven’t been to the gym since June 2013, when an upcoming vacation terrorized me into going every day. But, I have lots and lots of friends who are much more committed, and many have vocalized their slight frustration at the onslaught of new gym members. You know — the people who make a New Year’s resolution to get in shape, so gyms enjoy a 1,428% increase in sales during the month of January.
We’re lucky that here in Orlando there are plenty of things to do outdoors to get or stay in shape, so you can easily avoid the gym until February or March, when it clears out again. January in Orlando has some pretty awesome endurance races that almost almost make me wish I was in better shape and could attempt them.
Coming up real quick is Masters of the Urban Terrain: The Metropolitan Adventure Race on Jan. 18 at 12 p.m. at Don Jefe’s Tequila Parlour on Church Street in downtown Orlando. “An urban adventure race with challenges and clues,” this particular race begins with an upside-down red Solo Cup on top of a list of clues that lead you to different places around downtown — some are common knowledge, some are totally obscure. Oh, and instead of starting the race with … racing … you start with a quick round of flip cup. Yessss! You’ll also be challenged at five other games, like corn hole, ladder ball and a three-legged race, and these count more than the clues, so you better be good at them. You have two hours to beat the games and solve as many clues on the list as you can. Then you have to be back at Don Jefe’s by 2 p.m. I mean, if this doesn’t make you want to compete in an endurance competition, I don’t know what will.
Good news! You have a week off until you tackle Mud Mingle: Orlando, a 5K and 10K(ish) course that includes trails, mazes and lots of obstacles. Oh, and it’s the only mud run with free bacon and margaritas during the race. Ummmm, Heaven on Earth, anyone?! It takes place at Rock Springs Run State Reserve on County Road 433 in Sorrento (about 35 minutes north of downtown Orlando) and starts at 8 a.m. There’s mud, mud and more mud, and obstacles include knife throwing, an electric mud pit, vertigo walls, rope swings, monkey bars over a water pit, cargo net traverse, and much much more. There’s also a high probability you’ll get ambushed by the noodle/water patrols. But did I mention the bacon and margarita stations along the route?! It’s about $70 for the 5K and $80 for the 10K, and that also gets you a shirt, dog tag, beer, entry to the after party, bar and food trucks, and entry to the Mud Mingle event that night at Tier in downtown Orlando.
Mud Mingle: Orlando involves a lot of mud, more mud, and a ridiculous number of obstacles. Oh, and beer.
Fine, fine, fine. If “traditional” endurance events are more your thing, the next day, Jan. 26, is the inaugural Town of Celebration Marathon & Half Marathon. It starts and 7 a.m. in downtown Celebration. Basically it’s lots of running … and then more running. But hey! There’s an after party that includes lots of food from great restaurants, as well as beer and mimosas.
Like I said, I’m not going to participate in any of the above events, mostly because I would probably need to be evaced during one of the obstacles. But if you’re in good shape and want to spice up the workout routine, January in Orlando is the perfect time to take advantage of bearable weather and attempt some of these endurance competitions.
As for me, I have my sights set on Highlander VI by Rock On Adventures at Roper Ranch on YMCA Road in Winter Garden, just west of downtown Orlando. It's March 15, 2014, so that gives me plenty of time to train. Right?! Highlander VI is for anyone age 12-older (if a 12-year-old can do it, I’m sure I can?), and there are 3- and 6-mile courses through mud, woods, more mud, water, more mud, wooded trails, mud, pastures, mud, mud, mud — you get it. There’s also obstacles made from wood, plastic, ropes, swings, telephone poles and more. There are competitive and noncompetitive heats for both the 3- and 6-miles courses. One guess which one I’ll be in? And everyone is encouraged to wear a costume or Scottish attire. Woo hoo! Anyone who knows me knows I love a good theme! Wish me luck!
*Photos courtesy of Mud Mingle: Orlando