When I first started writing about fitness and the outdoors back in the early 1990s, there were a handful of ways you could welcome the New Year in most communities. There was usually a 5K run, a bike shop sponsored a casual ride, canoe clubs held members-only paddles, there was a hike or two, and some oddball group was jumping into a local lake (and jumping right back out again). You had options for welcoming the new year, but not a lot.
We’re staring down the first steamy weekend of the summer. Frankly, I’m hard pressed to think of something to do outdoors that doesn’t involve water.
There’s swimming, of course. At your local pool (search for local parks and rec departments with pools at the North Carolina Recreation & Parks Association Web site), at a trusted swimming hole (find 76 in North Carolina at SwimmingHoles.org), at the coast (find Outer Banks beaches here, Wilmington area beaches here and assorted other beaches here.
It’s another diverse weekend in North Carolina: Take a preseason plunge into the chilly Atlantic, run up a quartzite monadnock, or spy on your feathered friends (in the name of science).
Here’s a good opportunity to see just how sturdy your cardio is: The 8th Annual Special Olympics Polar Plunge Saturday at Carolina Beach. Picture yourself at the Le Mans-style start, you in your fetching bathing suit making a mad dash for the 51.3 degree waters of the Atlantic — all in support of Special Olympics. Related festivities — live entertainment, costume contest, auction, food, drawings for prizes — start at 11 a.m., the plunge takes place during the heat of the day, at 3 p.m. (air temperatures around 60 are forecast).