Designed by U.S. Special Forces and reality-show veterans, The Dirty Hog’s mud runs⎯held throughout the U.S. and Canada⎯promote teamwork and tenacity on untimed 9- to 12-mile treks through mudslicks peppered with obstacle-laden checkpoints. Participants shape their destiny at multiple checkpoint challenges, with each success potentially shortening the trek ahead and each failure earning burdens such as sacks of pig feed or a piglet that must be raised to maturity. As alternatives to the full course, a shortened, 5-kilometer option enables exertion on a smaller scale, and a half-mile piglet run grants children a chance to delve into the mud. The surpassing of tests earns mud navigators colored bracelets that are tradable for beer, hearty pork fare, and other delights at a free after party awash in live music and celebratory grunts from Lola, the event’s mascot boar. Teams cry out victory chants as solo entrants compliment each other on mud stains in the shape of Herbert Hoover’s silhouette.
Taking place on rugged, 10K–12K courses across the country, the Green Beret Challenge gives participants the chance to demonstrate the legendary toughness and endurance of the race's namesakes. In teams of two or four, male, female, and coed crews all take a stab at glory. Armed with backpacks, lengths of rope, and sturdy D-rings, each team must prove its mental and physical tenacity by tackling a series of challenges that require participants to scale obstacles and carry heavy loads across mud, sand, and other surfaces. Every race is followed by a celebration, during which winners are awarded prizes and every of-age finisher receives a complimentary beer to quench thirst and complement endorphin highs.
Before stepping onto the ice or the baseball diamond, members of the Carolina Hurricanes and the Durham Bulls pay a visit to Eye Care Associates, who have provided top-notch eyeglasses, contact lenses, and eye exams for nearly 35 years. Founded by Dr. Stephen Bolick, the team of vision specialists at the center help rid blurriness from pucks, balls, and signs held by adoring fans. When they?re not gazing into the eyes of athletes, they and their fellow doctors at a network of clinics stay busy correcting the vision of seniors, children, and adults. The company topped Indy Week's 2012 Readers? Choice poll for best optometrists in the area and received a Standing Ovation award as the best eyecare center in the Triangle in 2012 from readers of Metro Magazine.
At The Fitness Studio's 1,000-square-foot gym, experienced trainers work one-on-one with clients in 55-minute sessions to buff bodies with sustainable fitness strategies. During an initial round of body-composition testing, a bioimpedance analyzer is used to detect the client's level of body fat by measuring the body's resistance to low-level electrical currents and celery (a $20 value). Client and trainer will then use this information to craft personalized exercise and nutritional plans. Finally, they'll practice muscle-molding moves on the studio's gym equipment, where they'll share space with a maximum of one other trainer-client pair and two fitness-obsessed cockapoos. After each visit, tummy-crunchers can unwind with a long private shower or a sweaty session in the personal infrared sauna, whose low-intensity beams of photon energy can also soften butter in a pinch for on-the-go bakers.
Balance Through Movement's Pilates classes synchronize body and mind to maximize movement efficiency using a series of exercises tailored to stretch joints, tone muscles, and correct posture. Group equipment classes pair students with up to three like-minded workout buddies for 30- to 60-minute routines that utilize modernized exercise equipment to enhance the typical Pilates format. Traditionalists who refuse to be swayed by the good looks and tearful empathy of a mechanical trainer can opt instead for a 10-pack of one-hour mat sessions, open to students of all fitness levels, and held at nearby downtown dance studio Terpsichore. Check out the class schedule to reserve a coveted spot in the equipment class or drop in unannounced for the weekly meet up of mat-er-cizers.
At Hot Asana, more than a dozen instructors, most of whom are certified with Yoga Alliance, help unify minds and bodies with intense practice and disciplined techniques. Spiritual athletes can pick from a schedule of classes, some held within a room heated to more than 100 degrees, some designed for beginners, and some for seasoned backbenders. Start with a beginner foundation course, which focuses on the basics of hot yoga, including breathing techniques, standing and floor-series poses, and a gradual introduction to heat. The sweat-inducing environment allows for easier blood flow, looser muscles, and the ability to use your body as a slip 'n' slide. More advanced sessions, such as the 75-minute Aerial Yoga, which employs a fabric swing, or the 90-minute Fire Flow class, which employs the soothing calm of candlelight, help further yogic practice.