Outdoors

Four ideas for an active Valentine’s Day date

Saturday, Feb. 14, is Valentine’s Day.

I know. I, too, am surprised I remembered.

I’ve set the bar pretty low over the years. So low, in fact, my wife’s idea of a perfect date involves me, the kids and a movie.

She’s just happy to be home enjoying a few hours of peace and quiet.

Clearly, I’m not the best person to go to for dating advice, but I do know this much: Dinner and a movie is uncreative.

Want a date that will be more memorable and more engaging? Try injecting a little physical activity into your Valentine’s Day? (No, that’s not what I’m talking about.)

From a new workout class to a walk or bike ride on one of the South Sound’s scenic trails, there is no shortage of ways to put together a date that will help you bond while burning a few calories.

Here are a few ideas.

THE ROCK GYM

Rock climbing can be a great active date. Not only is it a more accessible activity than you might realize if you’ve never tried it before, but it can be exhilarating.

And counting on your partner to belay you while you’re two-stories off the ground is definitely several levels of trust higher than letting them order for you at your favorite restaurant.

A climbing gym can offer lessons and gear rentals to get you started. The South Sound has several options: Edgeworks Climbing, 6102 North Ninth Street, Tacoma, $16, edgeworksclimbing.com; Climb Tacoma, 102 S 24th Street, $14, climbtacoma.com; and Warehouse Rock Gym, 315 Jefferson St. NE, Olympia, $13, warehouserockgym.com.

Climb Tacoma is a bouldering gym, so you won’t have to worry about getting belayed.

VALENTINE’S DAY 5K

Olympia loves running like few other Northwest cities, so it’s no surprise that it knows how to make Valentine’s Day active.

The Olympia Valentine’s Day 5K is designed for the entire family and for all levels of runners and walkers. The race starts Saturday at 9 a.m. at Priest Point Park, 2600 East Bay Dr. N.E., with registration an hour beforehand.

Registration is $30 through Feb. 12 then increases to $35 on race day.

The race supports the Thurston County Food Bank. Money goes to the food bank’s kids program. Participants are requested to bring donations such as cereal, juice boxes, dried fruit, pudding cups, soup cups and cereal bars.

For more information, visit olyvalentinesday5k.com.

STP ENTRY

The Seattle to Portland Bicycle Classic isn’t until July 11, but registration opens Feb. 10. And you better get on it right away if you want to do this ride. The ride usually sells out its 10,000 spots in a matter of days.

The ride can be a fun bonding experience for a couple depending on their cycling skills. Not only is there the challenge of pedaling 200 miles in a day or a weekend, but you’ll spend many hours training together too. Well, you should, at least.

I would be remiss if I didn’t point out here that being fit enough to face the physical challenge of this ride should be just one part of the preparation. This ride has a reputation for having an abundance of inexperienced riders.

It’s quite frightening to hit the road surrounded by newbies. Increase your chances of staying safe by knowing and understanding the rules of the road and how to ride safely in groups.

Entry into the ride is $145 and opens Feb. 10 at 10 a.m. at cascade.org.

NORDIC SKIING

It hasn’t been the best winter so far for skiers and snowboarders, but there are still plenty of places to enjoy the snow. All of the Cascade ski areas are operating, even if conditions aren’t ideal. And resorts are hoping February lives up to its reputation for being generous with snow.

One place where the skiing has been ideal is the Methow Valley. According to the Methow Trails, 140 miles of trails were groomed Wednesday morning. (It also has trails open for fat biking — mountain bikes with oversized, low-PSI tires that allow them to travel over compact snow.)

Not only is cross-country skiing a better workout, quieter and arguably more laid-back than resort alpine skiing, if you’re looking for a secluded romantic winter getaway, the Methow Valley is tough to beat.

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