A hardcore runner might laugh at the idea of a race that's only five miles long??until they realize the course has more than 25 obstacles designed to challenge the runners' physical and mental strength. That's the Siege Race, an event designed by elite law enforcement to help athletes feel more courageous and confident in their abilities. The obstacles include everything from scaling walls and inclined monkey bars to challenges such as climbing cargo nets and carrying weighted poles. Participants aren't required to conquer each obstacle, but those wanting to give it their best try can sign up for pre-race training events where trainers help runners practice on the actual obstacles.
Already an award-winning photographer, Cindi Hobgood also spent 25 years scouting locations for Hollywood studios and TV programs. Her locations were showcased on The Amazing Race, used by Disney, HBO, and Columbia Pictures, and shot by Spike Lee and Sam Shepard. As a location scout, Hobgood recorded her finds with a camera, carefully composing each shot in order to convey each scene’s mood, landscape, and lighting.
Today, she teaches others how to hone a similarly discerning eye during instructive photo expeditions. Magic Hour walking tour send participants snapping shots of the Korean War Veterans Memorial and the Potomac just as the sun comes up. Memorials by Moonlight takes walkers on a nocturnal jaunt past sites such as the Lincoln Memorial, and Intro to iPhoneography helps pupils get the most out of their iPhone cameras. There are even a few out-of-town trips for adventurous shutterbugs.
Terrapin Adventures never fails to live up to its name—even their swing set gets the stomach fluttering with excitement. To be fair, though, the swing in question is anything but the traditional apparatus you'd find at a city park. It seats three people and starts its trajectory 40 feet above the ground, generating 2Gs of force as it swishes riders back and forth over the landscape. The park's other attractions are equally exhilarating. On the high ropes course, visitors attached to sturdy safety harnesses cross 18 traverses situated between lofty platforms; some must be tackled via a rickety bridge, while others require leaps of faith. The 43-foot high climbing tower offers 10 routes up and down, including a head-first downward climb over the Rainbow Serpent. Otherwise, the 330-foot-long zipline sends visitors gliding through the treetops at speeds of up to 20 mph, fast enough to beat the USA track team's star squirrel.
Since its 1965 founding in Venice Beach, California, Gold's Gym has dotted the globe with more than 600 locations where professional athletes and exercise newbies gather under the umbrella of personal strength. Nearly 3.5 million Gold's members chart and aim for their fitness peaks, perspiring beneath the gaze of certified personal trainers or pedaling beside peers at cycling sessions. In a diverse lineup of group classes, patrons strengthen cores with Pilates, finger-paint pictures of ninjas in martial arts, and amp up heart rates along to the pulsating soundtracks of Les Mills routines. Many Gold's Gym locations stockpile futuristic amenities, such as cardio machines with individual iPod docks and televisions that help keep patrons motivated.
As her fourth child neared the end of his first year, Miss Gina decided to be a home-based mom full time. She loved being closer to her kids, but it had its challenges: life was busy, but there weren't many kid-friendly public places where she and her tots could relax together. Sure, she could sign them up for classes or for the toddler-only division of the UN, but if she wanted to spend time with them, the options were limited.
One night, inspiration struck, and Gina stayed up all night jotting down ideas that seemed to flow faster than her own thoughts. She wanted to create a warm and welcoming place where parents, nannies, and children could come, create, and relate with one another.
Three years from when her pen hit paper, Playseum opened its doors. Attractions that welcome kids and caretakers include the imagined village of CityShops, where little ones can make pretend Domino's pizza and pop their heads into Safeways and pet shops. Likewise, Playseum Upstairs at the Bethesda location hosts activities such as billiards, baking, art, and music for tweens and teens. An on-site bookstore caters to both kids and adults, with cookbooks, fiction and non-fiction offerings, and school books.