From 5Ks to festivals, things to do outside in spring

LUIS SANTANA   |   Times
The Wyrdwood Vikings demonstrate Viking shield fighting techniques during the Bay Area Renaissance Festival in Tampa. [Saturday February 11, 2018] [Photo Luis Santana | Times]
LUIS SANTANA | Times The Wyrdwood Vikings demonstrate Viking shield fighting techniques during the Bay Area Renaissance Festival in Tampa. [Saturday February 11, 2018] [Photo Luis Santana | Times]
Published February 21
Updated February 21

What’s that smell? Could it be the fragrance of leggings going back in the drawer? The faint perfume of flowers drinking in sunshine, and you drinking in a mojito?

The "cold" season (it’s relative) seems to be long gone for the year, but temperatures are not yet stifling and sticky, either. We’re celebrating the joie de vivre spring brings with a host of festival schedules, from Busch Gardens Food and Wine Festival to Epcot’s Flower and Garden Festival, plus local events celebrating all things floral. Click here for a complete guide.

While you’re spending so much time outside this month and next, consider a few more diversions.

Train for a race

There’s no time like now to bust out of your indoor gym rut and hit the pavement. If you’ve never run before, the Couch to 5k app is a great way to start, easing you into jogging between increments of walking. The Gasparilla Distance Classic is back this weekend with a 5K and 15K Saturday, and an 8K and half-marathon on Sunday. Also coming up on March 4, it’s the first Skyway 10K across the Sunshine Skyway bridge. This event is sold out, but if you were lucky enough to get registered, please share your tips on running "uphill." It’s a rarity around these parts.

Have a cocktail outside

Hey, no exercise, no judgment. I spent a few lovely hours Sunday with a fruity drink (Jam Session, with blackberry jam, gin and basil working together for a greater good) on the back deck of the recently remodeled Kelly’s Craft Kitchen in Dunedin. The breeze was perfect, and there were dogs present for maximum fawning. Everyone needs a little mental vacation, even if just for an afternoon.

Catch a fly ball

Ah, spring training. The time of year for baseball fans to be hopeful, to see what their teams will be made of this year, to hold onto faith before it all falls apart. Catch the New York Yankees at Steinbrenner Field in Tampa, the Philadelphia Phillies at Spectrum Field in Clearwater, the Toronto Blue Jays at the Florida Auto Exchange Stadium in Dunedin and the Pittsburgh Pirates at LECOM Park in Bradenton. If you want to catch the Tampa Bay Rays in training, head to Charlotte Sports Park in Port Charlotte.

See a friendly joust

The Bay Area Renaissance Festival is up and running weekends through March 25 at 11315 N 46th St. in Tampa, so snap on your elf ears and get going on that turkey leg. Themed weekends coming up include Pirates and Pets, Time Travelers, Barbarian Brew Fest and Shamrocks and Shenanigans. All outside, for your fair-weather prancing pleasure.

MORE IDEAS: 28 things to do outdoors in Tampa Bay

STAY COOL: Places to chill out indoors in Tampa Bay

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