New Years celebrations have come and gone and everyone has gone back to their usual, resolution-breaking lives. Every year scores of people wax poetic about how this is the year they finally get in shape. This is the year they are going to get back to their high school weight (though why anyone would want to go back to anything pertaining to high school is beyond me). But come February, all great expectations are gone. But rejoyce! February is the perfect time to get a handle on your love handles and get moving. There's no pressure of resolutions, just the pressure of trying to get your jeans to zip because buying a new pair is too expensive. But never fear, as usual, we are here to help. Here's our brilliant idea. Wait for it. Running. Want to know why running is the answer? It is cheap, and who doesn't like cheap? You don't need to pay for a gym membership to run. You don't need to get a personal trainer to show you how to put one foot in front of the other. You can do this by yourself, with a friend (real or imagionary), or with your dog. The routes are endless. You can customize pretty much everything about running. It would be unfair of us to say "Go run!" and then leave you hanging; so we have compiled a sample list of local events to get you up and motivated.
Get your heart (and legs) racing in Cupid's Undie Run, which is exactly as it sounds: a Valentine's themed run in your underwear. We hope you signed up early for this event, as it has sold out for thr 6th straight year and for a good reason. It's a good event to start with, at right about a mile(ish), it isn't too taxing a length for beginners and out-of-shapers. The Undie Run, while not only fun, is charitable. The proceeds go to benefit the Children's Tumor Foundation and last year, the run raised over $2.8 million. If you didn't register early, keep an arrow-sharp eye out for it (and attractive, scantily clad racers) next year.
Running in your underpants not your thing? How about celebrating the birthday of George Washington with a brisk 10k? The course is guaranteed to be fast and flat, straight through Alexandria. If you feel physically and emotionally unprepared to do anything related to 10k other than cashing it, there is also a 2k walk. Starting 5 minutes after the race, you can take your time on the walk to ponder the difficulties good ol' George faced in establishing our great nation. Or you can ponder how to combat your Doritos craving. Up to you.
Tired of suggestions that your legs and lungs clearly aren't conditioned yet to handle? Don't blame ya. All those damn runners with their well-sculpted glutes and pretentious healthy life-styles. I shake my fist at you! And by shake my fist, I mean I-aim-my-rays-of-horrible-jealousy-at-you. Thankfully for those of us in poor to mediocre shape, the Tidal Basin Runs group is there to help us. These are free runs! Yes free, no using the 'But I can't afford the registration fee excuse'. The runs are the third Wednesday of every month and range from just under a mile to just over 3 miles. Informal, fun, and free. What are you waiting for? If you need something more structural, then try out of of DC's running clubs like the DC Road Runners (meep meep) or the Washington Running Club.
Beer. Got your attention, didn't I? This next one is in March, so you have a little time to prepare for the Four Courts Four Miler. It is, as the name suggests, a 4 mile race, the first half being downhill and the second half uphill, along Arlington's Wilson Boulevard. Located right next to the Courthouse Metro stop, this race is sponsored by Ireland's Four Courts Pub; a great watering hole for a race, a beer, or watching football (not the misleading American kind, the European kind that actually involves feet). Like the Cupid's Undie Run, this race supports a good cause as the bar makes donations to the Arlington County Police Benevolent Fund. Best of all, when you finish the race, the pub sponsors an after party complete with live music, Irish dancers, and of course, adult beverages. Go ahead, reward yourself!
Still wondering how January passed you by, and the mid-February greeting-card-company-holiday somehow crept up on you with your New Year’s resolutions still hanging from a proud sticky note on the fridge, no more in action than yourself? Resolutions are tough. They’re like your unfiled tax return – the longer you wait to start them, the easier it is to pretend like they don’t exist. However, there’s a light at the end of this list of grievances. The great thing about exercise is: the more you do it, the better you feel, and the more you want to keep moving. Getting started is definitely the hardest part, but small goals and fun events are the perfect way to get going and a 5k run is just the right, attainable distance to get you on the road or the running trail. Check out these fun 5k events with a festive twist coming up in February and March in the D.C. area, dust off your running shoes and get excited! As the snow melts and the springtime sun makes its first appearances, you’ll be tossing your leftover holiday candy over your shoulders and feeling ready to take on your goals.
Love Rox Half Marathon, 10k & 5k
Sunday, February 22, 10:00 AM, Richmond, VA
Get your workout on then get cozy at this special running event. The Love Rox half marathon, 10k and 5k races start and finish in the heart of downtown Richmond at the Greater Richmond Convention Center where finishers will enjoy a warm, indoor after-race party complete with complimentary soup, snacks, and most importantly: entrance to the Virginia Wine Expo! What better way to kick off your winter fitness goals and be ready for spring races? Check out the event website for more details and registration information.
St. Pat’s 10k, 5k, Double & Leap
Sunday, March 1, 8:15 AM, Washington, D.C.
Warm up for St. Patrick’s Day with this festive race. The course features classic monument views and stretches along the Potomac River. Bring the kids along for the Lil’ Leprechaun Leap Kids’ Dash and don’t miss out on free finisher photos, plus refreshments, festivities and a costume contest at the post-race party at Shake Shack in Union Station. Find more info here.
Rock n Roll D.C. Marathon, Half Marathon and 5k
Sunday, March 14, 7:30 AM, Washington, D.C.
Get rockin’ with this musical running event. With a scenic race course through the best of D.C., plus live local bands and cheer squads to keep you motivated along the course, the festivities at the Rock n Roll marathon, half marathon and 5k are not to be missed. Enjoy live music and celebration at the Finish Line Festival and Post Race Concert; and check out the Health and Fitness Expo (free to participants) on Thursday and Friday before the race. Find details and registration information here.
Run for Haiti 5k
Sunday, March 22, 9:00 AM, Reston, Virginia
Support you fitness goals and run for a cause at the 6th annual Run for Haiti 5k. Proceeds from this event benefit Project Haiti and GHATES (Global Haitian Advancement Through Education and Sports), two excellent initiatives that work to support health, wellness and strong communities in Haiti as recovery from the 2010 earthquake continues. Participants will receive event shirts and free post-race photographs, and will have the chance to meet Olympians Samyr Laine, Ayanna Alexander and Bershawn Jackson who will take part in the race-day activities. Event details and registration information can be found here.
The Runway 5K and 5 Miler: Where Fashion Meets Fitness (Women Only)
Saturday, March 28, 8:00 AM, Washington, D.C.
This one’s for the girls. Celebrate Women’s History month and show your style at this festive, woman-powered race. Participants receive a long-stem rose upon crossing the red carpet finish line, where they will pose for a photo shoot before joining the post race festivities. Event proceeds benefit Calvary Women’s Service. Grab the other fit women you know, check out event details and register here.
These are just a few examples of upcoming marathons, run races, and walks. For more information and a bigger list of upcoming local events check out Running in the USA's website for more local races then you can possibly fathom. So good luck, enjoy, and get up, get out, and get running!