Known for it's flat and fast course, Chicago is a great place to run your first marathon.
Surfing in San Diego
Standing erect on a 10-foot board while it
shoots along the crest of a break is a pure adrenaline rush and a rare
American experience. The accompanying laid-back surf and sand lifestyle
is an added bonus and always on display at the neighborhood coastal
bars and cafes in Ocean Beach (OB), Pacific Beach (PB), and La Jolla.
True, adequate surf spots line both coasts. But to find the real
deal, the best beginner breaks and a metropolitan destination for the
rest of your non-surfing crew, head to sunny San Diego.
Finest City sports at least half a dozen reputable surfing schools (see
below) and the ride-worthy waves consistently roll in year-round.
Winter water temperatures average 58 to 62 degrees F, so a summer or early fall
trip may be more comfortable. Go to School
Learning from an expert will save you hours in the water, try these
reputable companies: San Diego Surfing Academy (surfsdsa.com
); Surf Diva (surfdiva.com
).Body Board First
If you arrive a day or two early, body boarding before your surf lessons will give you a feel for the water.Start with a Foam Board
They may not look as cool, but a softer foam board will spare your body from beginner's bruises.
Mountain Climbing at Mt. Rainier
a 14,410 foot summit that is only half the elevation of Mt. Everest,
driving your ice pick into Mt. Rainier's peak is an exhilarating
experience and worthy challenge for the rookie climber. Beginners will
welcome Rainier's gradual slopes and relatively warm air temperatures
(vs. Alaska's frigid Denali, for example).
Novices need not
fret the big stuff--lodging, food, climbing techniques, even equipment.
Rainier Mountaineering Inc. (rmiguides.com) has helped thousands of
mountaineers summit (80% success rate) and is the only outfit that the
National Park Service permits to run year-round Rainier ascents (RMI
also owns exclusive rights to preferred climbing routes).
your time on one of the highest peaks in the contiguous U.S. is spent
climbing and not watching by arriving in good physical condition (RMI
will evaluate your endurance to ensure you can keep up with the group).Begin With a Medical Check-up
Mountaineering requires cardiovascular and muscular fitness; make sure your doctor agrees you are up for the challenge.Experiment With a "Walk Up" Mountain
Before strapping on crampons (ice shoes) get a taste of thin air on the
dirt trails of California's Mt. Whitney (14,494 ft.) or Colorado's Mt.
Elbert (14,433 ft.).Bring Drugs
Diamox can help alleviate the headaches and nausea associated with
Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS); commonly experienced at altitudes above
Golfing at Pinehurst Resort, North Carolina
tuning up your beginner's swing at the hometown driving range, plan to
hook and slice some balls on the eight courses that meander through
thousands of heavily wooded acres at Pinehurst Resort. With 144 holes,
Pinehurst offers more "tin cups" than any other resort in the world.
Opened in 1894, this golfing grand dame hosted the 2005 U.S. Open
challenging the likes of Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson. Enroll in the
resort's Golf Advantage School to minimize "lost ball syndrome." And,
don't leave the non-golfers at home, there's plenty of fun to be had
off the fairways too:Tennis Anyone?
24 courts and formerly the home of the 1994-96 U.S. Clay Court Championships.Getting Wet
Seasonal water activities include swimming, fishing and sailing.Be Pampered
Skin, hair and massage treatments, among other bodily spoils are provided at Pinehurst's Spa/Fitness Center.Kid Friendly
Teen adventure activities and a Kid's Club keep the sons and daughters
busy with kayaking, paintball, scavenger hunts and the like.
Diving at Key Largo, Florida
only living coral reef in North America, impressive Spanish galleon
shipwrecks, diverse marine-life and the underwater Christ of the Deep
Statue are just a few of the reasons Key Largo is America's most
popular diving and under water enthusiast destination. Add calm surf
and 80F degree crystal clear water to these unique attractions, and
freshman divers will enjoy this Florida isle as a beginner's paradise.
While full scuba certification requires 3-4 days of classroom
and in-water training, short-cuts are available. Consider one-day
Discover Scuba courses, which certify students for two weeks of diving
accompanied by an instructor, and are offered through local schools. Or
better yet, complete the class work at home. Then earn your fins by
fulfilling the 2-day open water requirement in Key Largo.Use a dive flag
Safety first, it may even be the law where you dive.It's All About the Ears
Pressure equalization is often the most difficult task; experiencing some ear discomfort is not unusual.Relax
Remaining calm and moving slowly will make breathing easier.Use Proper Fitting Equipment
A loose mask or an uncomfortable regulator will ruin your experience
options on Key Largo do not compare with the 5-star diving. Expect
budget to moderately-priced hotel chain accommodations featuring bland
décor and unimpressive amenities. But with Miami only 60 miles away,
piggy-banking a few bucks for a posh night or two in South Beach's lap
of luxury is a fantastic reward for your adventurous spirit and a
perfect end to your getaway.
Running a Marathon in Chicago
Windy City's mid-October marathon
is an ideal venue for any 26.2-mile
virgin. A flat and fast course through downtown neighborhoods, typical
45- to 55-degree F air temperatures and enthusiastic spectators attract
over 40,000 runners annually. Your personal cheering section--family
and friends--will appreciate the route's out and back loops, which
create easy and multiple viewing opportunities. And, Chicago's
legendary Art Institute, historical museums, Lincoln Park nightlife,
deep dish pizza and Michigan Avenue shopping provide plenty of
On race day
: Wear Throw-away Clothing to the Start
Keeping warm in the early dawn hours before a race is always a challenge.Stay Hydrated
If you wait to drink when you are thirsty, it's too late.Have Fun
Completing a marathon is much more than running 26.2 miles.