Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Pymatuning State Park

Photos by OHventures

Pymatuning State Park
6100 Pymatuning Lake Road
Andover, Ohio 44003

Pymatuning State Park (pronounced pie-ma-TOON-ing for those who are wondering) has a special place in my heart, as I used to visit this park with my friends as a teenager. The park is located in Ashtabula County on the border of Ohio and Pennsylvania. In fact, the lake in which the park is named for has the state line drawn almost directly down its center. Of course, this being OHIO adventures, we will be focusing on the OHIO side of the park!

Me and my buds from back in the day used to drive straight up Route 7 from my hometown in Trumbull County so we could spend long summer days doing everything from hiking to swimming to skimboarding the shoreline of Pymatuning Lake. We also would find ourselves camping in my buddy Paul's family's RV at one of the nearby campgrounds in the village of Andover.

Because Pymatuning State Park predominately consists of the lake itself on the Ohio side, and because the park was actually a swamp once upon a time, the official hiking trails are not very elaborate. There are two small trails you can take a stab at - Beaver Dam Trail and Whispering Pines Trail.

You can also find areas designated for fishing while at Pymatuning. But there area also propagation areas where fishing is prohibited. A boat ramp is located on shore so you can take your watercraft for a ride. A playground, picnic area, and nature center round out the rest of the amenities at your fingertips.
The Clark Family Reunion!

Recently, I revisited Pymatuning for the first time since I was 19 years old (that is a whole decade) for a mini family reunion! While I didn't go skimboarding (is that even a thing anymore?!) we did enjoy grilling out and picnicking on site. It was extremely nice to get back to one of my favorite parks from my pasttime to relax and enjoy the great outdoors.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Discover The Fashion Meets Music Festival

When one thinks of major “fashion” cities, Los Angeles and New York might come to mind. But you might be surprised to know that Columbus is emerging as one of the most fashion forward cities in America and the world. In fact, it is ranked as the third most fashion forward city in the country (right behind the aforementioned NY and LA), which is evidenced by leading brand companies such as The Limited and Abercrombie & Fitch that call central Ohio home to their headquarters.

Now, Columbus is making its mark in this flourishing industry by hosting the first ever Fashion Meets Music Festival, taking place August 29-31, 2014. Branded as “Three Days. Two Loves. One Place,” this progressive event is showcasing the city’s growing prominence in fashion and its already booming reputation in the music world.

According to Melissa Dickson, communications director for the FMMF, many companies are looking at Columbus as a growing and thriving market, and there is a great deal of new and exciting things on the horizon to look out for.

As one would imagine, there is an abundance of both fashion and music that will be taking over the streets of downtown Columbus and the Convention Center during this exciting event.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Warrior Dash Ohio II 2014 Photo Blog

Who: You and 10,000 fellow runners
What: The craziest frickin' day of your life (AKA Warrior Dash Ohio 2014)
When: Various dates across the country. These pictures are from August 9, 2014.
Where: North Lawrence, Ohio.
Why: To challenge yourself physically and mentally to run through crazy obstacles and get dirty!
How: Visit the official Web site to find out more!

Photos by OHventures and Gameface Media

Warrior Dash Ohio II 2014 Recap

Photos by OHventures and Gameface Media

Another year, another Warrior Dash come and gone!

Warrior Dash has certainly become a tradition for me and my brother (see 2011, 2012, and 2013 posts for proof). Each year, it becomes more and more familiar and really feels like a part of us!

If you are unfamilar of what Warrior Dash is, you might be living under a rock. I say this because it has blown up exponetially over the years and is one of the most popular and largest obstacle race series in the world. It is an event that is tailored to please the most novice of runners to the most extreme thrill-seeking athletes.

This year, the Warrior Dash seemed like old hat to me and my brother. Maybe it was because we have been doing it so many years, but we arrived on scene with no butterflies or worries! This also could be due to the fact that this year, there was a major change: the race was NOT timed. In years past, you would secure a timing chip to your shoelaces which would clock you in when you began and finished the course. The chip would later become your free beer token (thankfully the free beer still was offered despite there not being a timing chip).

Me, Curt, & Regina BEFORE the muddy madness!

This was somewhat disappointing that we did not have an official time looming over our heads, lighting a fire underneath us to force us to race the clock and beat our previous year's time. However, it also made things a bit more lighthearted. My brother and I decided to stay in pace with his wife who was joining us this year, and just have fun with it! We came to find that there is a special competitive heat that took place in the early morning hours, so that is something to keep in mind for the future.

Our start time was 9:00 AM Saturday, August 9, 2014. We lined up at the corral and we were off and running when the horn blew and the fire erupted!

Highlights of some of the 12 or so obstacles we encountered on the 3.2 mile course this year were as follows:

1. Storming Normandy: It took a while before we reached our first obstacle. A lot more running leading up to this obstacle than in prior years. We had to army crawl under barbed wire in mud with strong blasts of water shooting at us as we went through.

2. Great Warrior Wall: Wooden walls we had to hoist ourselves over top of. My brother had to help a couple of other strangers get over

3. Shock Top Unfiltered: Named after a major sponsor (Shock Top Beer), you had to crawl into a tube (like the top of a Shock Top bottle) and then crawl on your hands and feet under a large, heavy tarp that got lower and lower to the ground.

4. Iron Crossing: Climb sideways on cargo nets above a pool of water.

5. Slippery Ladder: I doubt this is really called Slippery Ladder, but I don't know the official name of the obstacle, and this is essentially what it was! A large wooden ladder with water being sprayed at you. I thought it was kind of dangerous because you could definitely slip off and crack your head open. Thankfully, that did not occur.

6. Trenches: Huge trenches were dug into the ground and covered with wooden boards. You had to squeeze in the trenches and make your way through. It was dark, and extremely wet and muddy. After we emerged, I wiped my muddy hands all over my brother's back and kept running ahead!

7. Giant Mud Pit: Up until now, I hadn't thought that many of the obstacles were all that difficult. But this one takes the cake! It was literally a giant mud pit you slid into from about 10-12 feet above ground. Then, you had to try to claw and fight your way out of the pit. But the walls were so incredibly muddy and messy that it was extremely difficult. I would climb up halfway then lose my grip and slide back into the water. This happened many times. There were plenty of failed attempts, even after getting assistance from strangers. Finally, I saw my brother at the top. He reached down and I grabbed his arm. He pulled me out! If it were not for him literally saving me from the pit, I would probably still be there to this day!

8. Cargo Climb: A large cargo net we had to climb up and then climb down on the other side.

9. Vicious Valley: Here, we had to grab a hold of a rope and climb on an inclined ramp. Then, we ran down the other side. A couple of runners dressed as Batman and Robin posed on the way up for some pretty awesome pictures reminiscent of 1960s Batman TV shows!

10. Goliath: Okay. This name fits this obstacle. It was the most massive and complex of all obstacles I've ever encountered in these races. First, you had to climb up a cargo net to the top of this contraption. Then, you had to cross a very narrow balance beam (literally a 2x4) with nothing to hold on to but loose ropes on either side. There was water spraying on you the entire time, and it was HIGH up! It was honestly the most frightening part of the race for me. Then, the grand finale was sliding down huge red tube slides full speed into a deep pool of mucky water!! It was the thrill of a lifetime!

Horrible form!

11. Warrior Roast: Simply jumping over two-foot high flames. Harder than you think after running for so long!

My bro looking intense

12. Muddy Mayhem: As with all Warrior Dash races, this is the final obstacle where you have to trudge through thick, goopy mud under barbed wire! It was, as always, glorious!

We crossed the finish line in about 45 minutes. I know this thanks to runners around us who had GoPro cameras on filming the shenanigans. You can check out a cool POV video of the Warrior Dash Ohio II that I found on YouTube HERE.

Kyle, Katie, & Me AFTER the run!

After getting our medals, we headed straight for the beer tent to get some Shock Top, and mingle with friends (such as Katie, Kyle and Jason). We enjoyed some live music and visited some of the vendors.

Completing a Warrior Dash is a strange feeling. You look like hell, much like pigs after rolling through mud. You feel beat up and banged up from the obstacles. And yet you feel like you just walked on the moon or won Olympic gold. These events make you feel like a warrior. They take you out of your day-to-day adult lives consumed with bills, deadlines, housework and work-work - and takes you on an escape where you can push yourself to your limits physically and mentally with thousands of others looking to have a good time. These are moments we need in order to keep us sane and keep us feeling truly alive. There's no better rush of adrenaline than tackling such a feat.