Posted by: wheelywonka | November 26, 2011

In Celebration of Wacko Fitness Challenges for the Energized Weekend Warrior

It’s the middle of the long Thanksgiving weekend, a time when most of us will eat more than we should and then waddle over occasionally from the table to the couch to watch other people exercise on TV. It’s all well and fine to take a break from your fitness regime and to spend some time with friends and family. But, just as a gentle reminder of the work in the gym and on the road that hopefully awaits you when the holiday season is over, here’s a quick survey of some past and present wacko fitness challenges for the energized weekend warrior that lurks in all of us (unfortunately, buried at the moment under way too much turkey and gravy).

Why Don’t We Do it in a…Cave?

The Natural Bridge Caverns Dualthlon is the only event I know of that starts and finishes in a cave. This event actually occurred on November 20th, and was apparently quite a hoot. I had some co-workers do the 2 mile run + 15 mile bike ride + 2 mile run, and they had a great time. Here’s a report from Angelina:

This was the 2nd annual race and my 2nd participation as well. Total participation went from 220 to 360 so the word is getting out about this unique event which is the ONLY event in the world to start in a cave. There are 4 races, with different run and bike distances, and all start 600 ft in the belly of Natural Bridge Caverns. The start was a time trial start with an athlete starting every 5-8 seconds. There were a few no pass zones and switchbacks uphill in the cave where only walking was allowed. Running them meant automatic DQ!
I chose the Cave bear again since it’s shorter than the others but still tough! The cave part was tough since the out part was very steep. It felt like someone was sucking the wind out of you! Both runs were on a caliche road so you had to watch your footing or you’d sporting scrapes and blood for the rest of the race. The first run wasn’t too bad since you still had some spring in your step. Although the bike course was advertised as 15.5 miles, my odometer read 15.75 miles. It was tough with all the hills out on the course with the one coming back to the park on FM 3009 the toughest. Once off the bike for the final run the legs were wobbly and they made us run down stairs – talk about cruel! Traversing through the caliche road REALLY became a challenge. It felt like my legs were made of lead. I almost tripped twice but managed to avoid it. Whew! I was able to defend my title from last year and placed 2nd female overall and 1st in the masters division (those over 40 yrs old) with a total time of 1:28:05 and 13th overall.

Wow – I get pumped just reading this description. Definitely put this one on the calendar for next year! And register early – I’m sure the word is getting out about this unique challenge.

Santa Claus is Running to Town

Next Saturday, December 3rd, is the first ever Santa 5K in San Antonio, an event that lets you get into the Christmas spirit by running a 5K through McAllister Park dressed as Santa (all registered runners get a suit). This event raises money for cancer research at the incredible MD Anderson center in Houston, and is being organized by some great folks who I’ve been cruiser biking with for years. NOTE: I won’t be running this event this year because I was asked by event organizers to play some funky Christmas tunes at the start and finish via my alter ego, DJ Vanilla Thunder.

Discover your inner Kris Kringle on December 3rd!

The Thrilla as a Gorilla

The Austin Gorilla Run will be held on January 21, 2012. It is a fundraiser for the Mountain Gorilla Conservation Fund, but more importantly, it’s also a great opportunity for you to run a 5K in the middle of winter dressed as a gorilla. I signed up for it last year because I planned on being in Austin any way that day. It was amazing to see all the runners dressed as gorillas (many with highly accessorized costumes) and then to wander downtown Austin in the same garb afterwards to take advantage of all the drink specials offered to runners.

Runners channeling Flavor Flav approaching the finish line

Wheely at the start of the 2011 Gorilla Run

Let’s Get Lifted!

The 27th Annual San Antonio Tower Climb and Run will be held on February, 25th, 2012. This unique event allows you to run a quick mile through Hemisfair Park, and then scale the 952 steps and 58 stories of San Antonio’s iconic Tower of the Americas. It’s a fundraiser for Cystic Fibrosis, and gives you a great fitness goal to start the new year out with. I’ve done the event 4 times now, and I still get goosebumps when I think about entering the stairwell with my heart pounding and my adrenalin gushing, knowing the effort it will take to get to the top.

Valero volunteers and climbers at the 2011 Tower Climb

You know you want to climb this puppy!

Playing in the Dirt

Finally, the Muddy Mayhem is coming to San Antonio on April 12, 2012. This is one of many different events popping up on the calendar let you get your cardio on and play in the dirt. This year they are planning more mud and more obstacles then ever. It’s a fundraiser for the Wounded Warrior Project, which is a truly great cause. I have not done this one, but I think I’ll get shamed into doing it this year.



  1. Pete, As always you hit it on the head, glad to be a guy of guys in a world where we can be ourselves, big men with little ego’s and say it like it is!

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