Thursday, March 29, 2012

Indoor Trampoline Parks

Photos by OHventures

Sky Zone Indoor Trampoline Park
459 Orange Point Drive, Suite E
Lewis Center, OH 43035

Remember when you were little and the coolest kid on the block was the one with the giant trampoline in his or her backyard? It was an absolute blast gathering the neighborhood friends together to try our best flips and twirls and see who could jump the highest...that is, until we got yelled at by the adults for having too many people on the trampoline at once, or doing dangerous stunts. No matter how big that kid's trampoline was, it was never big enough. 

But now, there's a new cool kid on the block: indoor trampoline parks! And while there are a great deal of child and teen oriented events (like birthday parties) that take place here, these massive warehouses of fun are not just for kids! 

These indoor funhouses typically consist of a massive arena with a giant trampoline court, oftentimes with trampolines even on the walls! At these facilities, you can participate in trampoline aerobics, dodgeball (pictured above), free jump (pictured below), or a number of other awesome activities. 

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Der Dutchman Restaurants

Dutch Valley Restaurant & Bakery 
1343 Old Route 39
Sugarcreek, OH 44681
(330) 852-4627

There is something inherently intriguing about a culture that lives so modestly without many of the luxuries of modern technology that they choose to ride horse and buggies over driving in cars, and opt to not use electricity (thus not reading this blog entry). A prominent Amish (or Amish Mennonite) population of approximately 50,000 people exists throughout the rural parts of Ohio, which is more than any other state in the Union (despite many of them speaking a language referred to as Pennsylvania Dutch). Thus, it is only logical that those of us who are not familiar with this sub-sector of our state to take a road trip to areas of the state where we can learn more about them.

The perfect place to become educated and experience the minimalist lifestyle of the Amish is at one of the five Der Dutchman Restaurants in Ohio (one also exists in neighboring Indiana). The restaurants are: Der Dutchman Restaurant & Bakery in Walnut Creek, Dutch Valley Restaurant & Bakery in Sugarcreek, Berlin Farmstead Restaurant in Berlin, Der Dutchman Restaurant & Bakery in Plain City, and the Dutch Kitchen, also in Plain City.  In case you feel you live too far to one of these locations, there are also inns on site so you can stay overnight. Shops and entertainment are also at each location, so you are sure to have plenty to do if you decide to make a weekend out of it.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Training Thus Far

Photo by OHventures

It's just a little over a month until the big day: The Capital City Half Marathon in Columbus on May 5! As you may know, I signed up to run the half marathon as part of the American Cancer Society DetermiNation Team back in January. I did it in order to scratch off my Buckeye Bucket List, but I have come to find it is much more than just that!

First of all, during my training, I have discovered that this will hands down be the most difficult physical challenge of my life! I feel like you have to be crazier to sign up for a half marathon than you have to be to jump out of an airplane skydiving! It really takes a great deal of commitment, focus, strength, and fittingly, determination!

As a follow-up to my Running Tips for Beginner Runners, I have compiled the following list of Running Tips for Intermediate Runners who may be training as I am for an endurance race.

1. Get the Right Gear: I started training in the frigid winter months of January and February. Most of my running took place indoors on the treadmill, but I found myself losing interest just running in place in the gym! For me, it is much more enjoyable to run outdoors with the scenery changing. So, step one was to purchase some outdoor running attire like Under Armour running tights (pictured above). These clothes are also good in warmer weather for when you are sweating, because the material is non-restricting and allows your body to breathe. Brands other than Under Armour also work just as well, and are probably much cheaper. With the new running clothing, coupled with my perfectly fitted shoes from Fleet Feet I wrote about before, I was ready to hit the pavement!

2. Injury-Proof Yourself: Running such long distances, longer than I have ever before, has been taking a great toll on my body. While stretching is of utmost importance, it seems like no amount of yoga or ballistic stretching can fully prepare my legs for the beating they are about to take on my long haul through town. Personally, I have been experiencing pain on the side of my right knee after a day of training. The pain was pretty intense, so I had to figure out what I was doing wrong. First, I took the liberty of purchasing a knee brace to help keep my legs in line and less prone to injury. Next, I researched proper techniques and learned that the key to drastically lowering the stress running puts on your body is to take more steps, because taking short, quick steps rather than long slow ones means your feet are spending less time in contact with the ground, and create smaller impacts (Source: The Art of Manliness).

3. Stagger Your Workouts: One of the first things I was told when talking with the Marathoners In Training (MIT) coaches for my half marathon team was that you should create a running calendar with your distance goals. Ideally, you should have between 12-16 weeks of training before a half marathon and there should be 2-4 (ideally 3) days a week. One day of the week should be dedicated for your "distance run" while the others are reserved for "shorter" runs. Each week you should be sure to add a mile here and there so that you eventually build up to the 13.1 miles at the actual half marathon event! This is easier said than done, and I will be the first to admit that I have not adhered to my running schedule as best as I should. However, this does not mean I am not extremely dedicated to my race. I am sure to try my hardest and stick to my calendar as best as possible. Runner's World offers great examples of running calendars.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Writers Talk

On the set of OSU's "Writers Talk" with host Shantay Piazza and Nicholas Dekkar of the popular Ohio blog Breakfast With Nick

I had the distinct honor and privilege to appear as a guest on Ohio State University's "Writers Talk," a talk show dedicated to discussing all things writing. The show is put on by the OSU Center for the Study and Teaching of Writing (CSTW) and since I am an alumnus of OSU, I was extremely excited to appear on the show to discuss web writing with fellow blogger Nicholas Dekkar of the popular Ohio blog, Breakfast With Nick.

The show was taped in February and the audio version aired March 19 at 7 PM on WCRS radio, 98.3 & 102.1 FM and again on Wednesday, March 21 at 8 PM on WCBE radio, central Ohio's NPR station, 90.5 FM.

This was my first ever recorded interview for OHventures, so I was a bit nervous. There are a lot of "uhs" and "ums" at the beginning of the show (which is very uncharacteristic of me), but it doesn't take long until I warm up and get more comfortable. Shantay was a great interviewer, and I may be taking her or another Writers Talk staffer on an OHventurer to be featured soon as a B-side! The video version of the show will soon be uploaded to the official YouTube site.

You can also download the audio file of the show by visiting this link. The half hour segment also includes an interview with OSU basketball player turned author, Mark Titus, who discusses his new book, "Don't Put Me In, Coach." 

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Bexa Body Fitness

Photo by OHventures. Pictured are: Bootcamp Trainer Rich Klingel, Mike Evans of OHventures, and Rebecca Black, fitness instructor and founder of Bexa Body Fitness.

Bexa Body Fitness
695 McCorkle Blvd.
Westerville, OH 43082

Bexa Body Fitness in Westerville has what it takes to shine and stand out from all the rest. It's not your typical cookie cutter, shoebox gym like Urban Active or Planet Fitness, which are found on seemingly every corner you look. Unlike those dime-a-dozen gyms, Bexa Body Fitness exudes energy, excitement, and entrepreneurship on a level that makes you feel like you're right at home working out and exercising with longtime friends.

Much of that spunk comes from the gym's owner and founder, Rebecca Black ("Bexa" being a play on "Becca"), an American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) Certified Personal Trainer and American Council on Exercise (ACE) group fitness instructor. Rebecca makes sure that her gym is welcoming to people of all shapes, sizes, and walks of life so that everyone feels comfortable and determined to better themselves. She said that everyone has that inner flame burning inside of them that is waiting to be unleashed and become larger and larger, which is why she incorporated a flame in the company's logo.

Although Bexa Body Fitness is just a "baby," having been established just under a year ago in 2011, it has already made quite a splash in Central Ohio. Much of this comes from its varied, unique class offerings, and describing themselves as not just a gym, but rather a "fitness boutique." Aside from one-on-one personal training, Bexa Body Fitness also has group training, intense boot camps, zumba (and zumba toning), and various yoga classes, among others.

Additionally, Bexa Body Fitness has become one of very few gyms in the entire state of Ohio (and one of the only in Central Ohio) to offer the newest workout craze, piloxing, which is a combination of pilates and boxing wrapped up in one bright and shiny calorie-burning package. Piloxing originated all the way in Hollywood, and is popular amongst celebrities. It is such a new concept, that Rebecca and fellow trainer Jill Forster (zumba, yoga, cardio choreography) had to travel out-of-state to get professionally certified in piloxing. The class has been creating a ton of buzz, and was even featured in a recent segment on 10TV news.

Piloxing Session at Bexa Body Fitness

Piloxing is mostly popular amongst women (which was made evident with the pink weighted gloves used during class), but is a hardcore workout that left me curious. Rebecca and Jill insisted that I give it a shot and see for myself how different piloxing is from any other workout I have experienced. I was more than willing to give it a try, as I am up for any sort of physical challenge that can be added to the Buckeye Bucket List. Plus, how could I pass up an offer from one of the very few professionally certified piloxing trainers in the state?? It also did not hurt that I had a fellow male joining me in the workout, Charlie Jones, who is a trainer at Bexa Body Fitness.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Urban Hiking

Me with the Columbus Outdoor Adventurers on an Urban Hike in Columbus

By the time many people come home from work at the end of the day, or finish the dozens of necessary errands on their dreaded to-do list, little time is left for taking a hike, going on a bike ride, or participating in any other OHventure. Our hectic lives easily discourage us from being active and enjoying the outdoors. However, doing so does not require traveling hours in the car to a state or metro park! Taking a hike along the paved roads of your hometown can be just as rewarding.

This ingenious concept is known as "urban hiking" and is becoming more and more popular in our fast-paced, always-connected, twenty-first century society. I learned about urban hiking by joining the "Columbus Outdoor Adventurers" one evening. This particular urban hike took place on a portion of the Olentangy Greenway Trail, which took us through the most gorgeous scenes of the Columbus skyline plastered against an amazingly azul sky and along the striking Scioto River. Our pathway spanned for approximately 3 miles (starting and ending at Confluence Park) and lasted just over an hour.

The concept of the urban hike is pure genius, as one gets to experience the great outdoors and the wonder of nature juxtaposed by the majestic skyscrapers and concrete jungle of one of the many major cities in Ohio. The hike plucks you out of the hustle and bustle of work and allows you to step back, clear your mind, and reprogram yourself to come back down to reality.

Taking an urban hike can offer things that traditional hikes can not. For instance, if nature calls, you won't be limited to using nature itself to get the job done (pardon my manners). Run out of food or water? Stop in a convenience store in the city, or even a fun diner. You also get to see some of the city scenery and architecture that you might overlook when you are usually driving by in your car. It's a great way to get to know your city on a more intimate level, or discover an entirely different city altogether.