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Field Notes: BOOcamp, PumpkinHead Regatta

Staff Writer
Austin 360

Scare yourself into shape

It's almost Halloween, so trainer Cody Butler is trading kettlebells and free weights for pumpkins at his BOOcamps. Think pumpkin-centric core work, squats, pushups and planks.

Butler, 31, owner of H.E.A.T. Bootcamps and Personal Training, has been experimenting with spooky boot camps for five years.

"We always did some sort of funny obstacle course, and one of the stations used pumpkins for workouts. It was everyone's favorite part, and we decided once we built our studio that BOOcamp would revolve entirely around using pumpkins," he says.

Participants can pick from an array of pumpkins for their workouts. You can grab a 2- or 3-pounder or a 15-pounder, depending on how challenging of a workout you want.

"Anything you'd do with a stability ball, we can do with pumpkins," Butler says. "We can hit every single muscle in the body, and it's all modifiable. You can take the pumpkin out of it or change the weight if you need to. It's all about creating a workout that has a fun environment around it."

The studio will be decked out as a haunted house, too, with scary music piped in. Costumes are encouraged, and a costume contest is planned. Prizes include free bootcamp sessions.

BOOcamp is open to the public. Cost is $15 per session.

Camps are scheduled for 5:45 and 7 p.m. Thursday, 5:45 and 7 p.m. Friday and 9 a.m. Saturday at the RunTex Warehouse on South First Street at Riverside Drive. A special Halloween-themed Zumba session is scheduled for 10:30 a.m. Saturday. ("You will be dancing with a pumpkin," Butler notes.) You can RSVP at heatbootcamp.com.

And beware.

"There have been broken pumpkins," Butler says. "You never know what's going to happen."

— Pam LeBlanc

Good for body, better for soul

One of the best things about running is the way it builds friendships. You can't run with someone without winding up knowing all the best kinds of things about them.

It starts with a little joyful complaining. Who really wants to get up at 5:30 a.m. and run down a street in the dark, after all? Wouldn't we all rather be in bed?

But we know it's good for us, and so we do it. And then slowly, over days and weeks and months and years, we learn to love running.

When you run alongside someone, you hear about all those mundane things that runners obsess about, like shoes and pace and digestive ailments and cramps. You also learn their hopes, their worries and their dreams. Pretty soon you crave the run, and it's not just about the exercise. It's about the friendship and sharing time with someone you care about. Suddenly it's a lot easier to push yourself up a hill.

Did you run this morning? I did.

We ran before dawn, as the first cool front of the season slid in, all blustery breath and crispy airborne leaves.

This run wasn't about the seven hilly miles, though. It was about hashing out rough edges in a friendship that has felt lately like it was slipping away with all those blowing leaves.

The whipping wind fit the mood.

My running buddy and I argued for 10 minutes straight.

The wind blasted in response. The hills beneath our feet slipped away, unnoticed.

Then something shifted.

The temperature dropped. The edge of the sky brightened along an orange seam, like someone pulling back the curtain on a whole new day.

And that frayed spot in our friendship felt like it mended, just a little bit.

I love the run. It always makes things better.

— P.L.

FEATURED EVENT

Everyone can row in this race

An Austin Rowing Club tradition for 27 years, the PumpkinHead Regatta is a 5,000-meter race for high school, collegiate, open, adaptive and and master level rowers. junior, collegiate, open, adaptive and masters rowers; single or double racing kayaks; and stand-up paddle boards. The race, which starts at the Barton Springs inlet east of the Texas Rowing Center, will course through six bridges on Lady Bird Lake. Great locations to watch the fun include the bridges, Auditorium Shores and at Festival Beach Park, near the end of the race. For more information, including volunteer signup, go to austinrowing.org.