No time to play? Then read about it

The holidays are upon us: Year-end deadlines. Parties to attend. Gifts to buy.
When are you supposed to find the time to get out and play?
Last week on our Facebook page we shared a link to an Outside Online story on how to squeeze in a workout by condensing it. It covers a variety of pursuits with the theme of short (30 minutes) and intense (heavy on the interval work). I’ve been following it with my running and it’s been surprisingly effective, both physically and mentally.
What about when you don’t even have 30 minutes to spare? Try the next best thing: a little vicarious living.
Below are five stories we’ve read in the past few busy, rainy days that have at least let our psyche have some fun. The articles are good, the sources — Outside Online, and Adventure Journal — offer a springboard to more escapes.
And if you’ve come across a good escapist read that might benefit the rest of us, feel free to pass it along, below.

1. How Crazy, Drunk Swedes are Stirring Up Endurance Competition: The dirt (and freezing water) behind Sweden’s premiere event, ÖTILLÖ

“Swimrunning” begins this article in Outside Online by Eric Beresini, “is quickly becoming Sweden’s hottest endurance phenomenon, thanks in no small part to an event called ÖTILLÖ (prounced ah ‘till ah), or “island to island,” in English.”

Intrigued by the concept, though I’m not sure a frigid fjord is where I’d give it a try. Basically, it’s a mix of swimming and running, from island to island, across island and island. A new twist in the adventure racing world.

Read about it here.

2. Life After Cancer: Rediscovering the Backcountry

Kate Dowden became an avid outdoors person in college. Then cancer sent her and her body back to square one. She fought back, emerging with an even greater lust for getting out. Think you don’t have time to get out over the holidays? Dowden will make you realize you must grab your opportunities when you can.

Read about it here.

3. 10 More Reasons the Pilgrims Came to America

“Everyone knows that the pilgrims left England in order to escape laws enforcing worship under the Church of England,” begins this Thanksgiving leftover. “But the truth is, that’s only one of the reasons they hoisted their tights, buckled their hats, and set sail across the Atlantic. Yes, they left as an act of dissent—but also as an act of descent. Here are the other important reasons the pilgrims came to America.”

Our favorite reason? No. 3: “No roads, just tons of singletrack.” Worthy of a quick laugh.

Read about it here.

4. The Pursuit of Happiness: Launch the new year with these simple, life-improving strategies

Striving for a happier 2014? Science — including some conducted this year at UNC Chapel Hill — says you can make it happen by following some simple recommendations. Fourteen, in fact, suggests this article by Mike Steere.

Read about it here.

5. Weekend Cabin

Weekend Cabin is a somewhat regular feature of the online Adventure Journal that appeals to those wistful moments when you dream of  a little place of your own way out in the woods. This week’s cabin at Lake O’Hara, Canada, is a pricey weekend escape, most are about more permanent diversions.

Read about it here.

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