Kyle and Me after the Selfless Elf!
Friday, December 27, 2013
Thursday, December 26, 2013
Believe it or not, I participated in a total of 20 walk/run events in 2013, doubling the amount of races I ran in 2012! Most of the events had a fun element added in, such as running through foam (Logan 5K Foam Fest) or running with your dog (Run With The Pack 5K, Avon Lake Dirty Dog Run)! Many were done to support a cause, such as the Memory Walk for Alzheimer's or the Brace Against Hunger 5K. Most were 5Ks, but some were longer, such as the Capital City Patron Quarter Marathon, and some were shorter, such as the Boardman Memorial Mile. Each was fun and exciting in their own way, and I am happy to have successfully completed over 62.55 competitive miles in one year!
Below, you can find links to all 20 of these events from 2013, in chronological order! Hopefully these can give you ideas for races you can run in the New Year!
Tuesday, December 24, 2013
Photo by Green Elephant Photography
Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, and Happy New Year to all of my readers of OHventures! Thank you so much for your continued support in my quest to show everyone just how cool Ohio can be! See you in 2014!
Thursday, December 19, 2013
OHventures loves lists: we've told you the best ways to cool down during a hot Ohio summer, we've given you fun fall ideas, and tips for how to enjoy spring on a budget. And now we are here to let you know some of the COOLest ways to CHILL in winter in the Buckeye State (we should probbaly stop with the puns, and leave those to Arnold as Mr. Freeze). Yes, there are fewer daylight hours to keep us excited about the great outdoors, and yes our social calendars pile up with Christmas parties, cookie exchanges, Secret Santas, and the like. But we are not bears, so quit hibernating, and keep active!
1. Ice Skating: Ice skating outdoors beats any indoor rink hands down! There's nothing like having the brisk wintry winds blowing on your face as you zip around Akron's Lock 3 ice rink, Toledo's Ottawa Park, or Cincinnati's ice rink in Fountain Square, to name a few! If you are reluctant to go ice skating (either because you never have before, or because it's your first time in a long time), there is typically staff available to assist you. It's definitely something you should try so that you can scratch it off of your bucket list, and feel like a kid again! Admission is typically far cheaper than any skiing or snowboarding excursion. For a list of ice skating rinks in Ohio (both indoor and outdoor), check out Skating Fitness.
2. Polar Plunge/Polar Bear Jump: A polar plunge (also known as a polar bear jump) are for the bravest of brave and the craziest of crazy! Basically, all that this insane event consists of is jumping into an extremely cold body of water for a short amount of time and then hopping back out! It is a rite of passage for all adventurers, but sounds more like a result of one big game of "truth or dare" or perhaps an episode of Jackass. But, there are many positives to this frigid feat. Many of these events take place to race money for the Special Olympics. There are several polar plunges on the calendar for 2014: in Cortland, in Sandusky and Waynesville, inAthens, in Columbus, in Geneva, in Celina, and in Lakeview. A Polar Bear Jump takes place in Portage Lakes on to benefit the Ronald McDonald House of Akron.
3. Skiing & Snowboarding: I have been skiing for over 15 years - mostly in Ohio - and I can attest that although our slopes are mere bunny hills compared to the massive mountains in Colorado or Vermont, we have some pretty exciting places to ski! There are five locations you can ski or snowboard in Ohio: Boston Mills and Brandywine in Peninsula (this is where I have skiied most often, as I was a member of Ski Club all throughout high school), Mad River Mountain in Zanesfield (the highest point in all of Ohio, so you know it's fun), Snowtrails in Mansfield, Alpine Valley in Chesterland, and Clear Fork Resort in Butler (the newest ski resort in Ohio, and the only one I have not yet been to). All of these locations also offer tubing, which is a fun alternative if you are not very skilled at skiing or snowboarding!
4. Winter Hiking: Oddly, we have found ourselves hiking in the winter perhaps even more than we find ourselves hiking any other time of the year. This might lend itself to the fact that in the winter, there are no mosquitos, no ticks, no blazing hot temperatures, and no huge crowds to bother us! Some great spots to hike in the winter in Ohio are Alum Creek State Park in Delaware, Blackhand Gorge State Nature Preserve in Toboso, and Clear Creek Metro Park in Rockbrige, to name a few. Study our post on Winter Hiking 101 to get the basics on how to prepare to frolic in the frigid temperatures!
5. Sledding/Sledriding: Depending on where you are from, you either call it sledding or sledriding. You might even call it toboggoning. Either way, the thought of flying downhill on a sled will most definitely bring back childhood memories. But this activity is not for children only! It's intense, thrilling, and downright adrenaline-pumping. IF you find the right hills, that is! We used to go sledriding (that's what we called it) at my Aunt & Uncle's house in their backyard, where they had a pretty gnarly hill to zoom down. But there are plenty of other hills around the state that are sledriding hotspots, many of which located at state parks. You can find a list of state parks with great hills thanks to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources. OHventures is looking to plan a couple of good ones this January. Sledding will definitely be an adult sport again - we will leave the snowman-building to the kiddos.
Saturday, December 14, 2013
Thursday, December 12, 2013
Photos by OHventures
5252 Alliance Road
Malvern, OH 44644
Sometimes, simple is better. The Bluebird Winery at Little Forest Inn is quaint, cozy, and simple - in a good way. Found off the beaten path in Carroll County, the winery is quite a find! They produce 25 different wines from all over the world, and also offer a full bar and gift shop. The interior is rustic, like a log cabin, and there are tales of hauntings taking place here!
When I visited with a friend in October 2013, they had a full menu with elegant dishes like Chilean sea bass and pot roast (pictured below), however, the website now indicates that food is no longer served on site! I have been told that their doors will remain open through the end of 2013 for wine samplings, but that the winery itself has been sold and potentially will be moving to a new location.
Of course, OHventures will keep you updated if that is the case! This was a great spot, with a huge deck and beautiful scenery overlooking a pasture. Stay tuned!
Tuesday, December 10, 2013
Photos by OHventures
More specifcally, our "wobbling" takes place in the form of the Warren Kiwanis Turkey Trot, a 2 or 5 mile walk/run that takes part on the campus of Kent State Trumbull Branch. The gobble, of course, is the huge Thanksgiving meal that takes place afterwards at my grandparents' house in Vienna (Ohio, not Austria).
While the gobbling has been going on since long before my birth, the wobbling is a newer addition to our list of family traditions, dating back to 2012! This being just the second year made it truly a "tradition" and we hope to keep it going! Last year, it was my brother, my sister-in-law, myself, my nieces and my nephew in the race. This year, we added my mom, dad, and aunt! Hopefully we can add more family members, and even canine relatives in future years!
Unlike last year, when I wore a t-shirt and light athletic pants to run, this year there was snow all over the ground, and the temperature was therefore quite low! We all wore appropriate attire, but even that doesn't make for the most perfect of conditions. We even joked with my dad that his participation this year would probably result in snow, given that last year was so beautiful. We were right!
I decided to be "that guy" and wear an obnoxious foam turkey hat while I ran, which I got in my swag bag from the Kent State Stark Turkey Trot the previous weekend (it was very coincidental that I ran on 2 Kent State Branch campuses within one week!). But, I was most certainly not the only one with poultry fashions in mind! There were people with elaborate turkey hats, in both their live form and dead form, and even a guy wearing a full-on turkey suit, which must have been pretty warm! I had to get my picture with him, because it was that freaking awesome!
The announcer said that there were a record amount of people who registered for the race, but they clearly did not all show up due to the weather. Last year, there were 2700 runners, which was said to be the largest turnout in Trumbull County race history. The crowd was nearly not as large as last year's! We crowded together and when the clock struck 9:00 AM, our race began!
It was a simple course, and was exactly the same as the year before. We ran up a long road (slightly uphill), around a classroom building, and then back down the road to the finish line. It was difficult to maneuver around all of the young children "running" in the race (a pet peeve of mine), and also difficult to run on the slushy roadway. But, I managed. I was very pleased with my final time of 16:20, given the circumstances. I beat the rest of my family members, but was not near the front of the pack. It was a respectable time for me.
We did not stay around like we did last year. It was so cold that we just got in the car and left, even while people were still finishing! I am telling you, I was not made for winter weather! We all donned our neon orange race shirts over to my grandparents' house for the "gobble" portion of the day and we were sure to take the ever-important family photo in our matching attire.
My niece had us write down things we were thankful for, and then she read them outloud. One of my top things to be thankful for? Turkey trots, of course!
Wednesday, December 4, 2013
Photos by OHventures
The other day, someone told me I was like Superman because of all of these races that I do. While it was a flattering comment, and even though I did go as Clark Kent for Halloween, Superman I am not! I am merely human, and the fact that I sign up for all of these races is simply because I have such a strong passion and dedication for the spirit of running and competition. What I try to do through running is encourage those who think they can't that they indeed can. You don't need to be Superman - or Spiderman, or Wonder Woman, or Wolverine (although all of those would be pretty awesome). You just need to make a decision to get up and go.
I say this because on the morning of November 23, I had to get up bright and early (as I seem to keep doing) to run in the Kent State Stark Turkey Trot, taking place at 9 AM in North Canton (my new hometown)! The night before, I had a party to attend, and had a few too many vodka sodas, and also went to bed at a less than desirable hour. The morning of the race was supposed to be one of the coldest days of November. Sure enough, there was frost on the ground when I peered out the window.
It took everything I had in me to roll myself out of bed, shower, and put on enough layers of fleece, compression pants, technical shirts, long johns, and heavy duty socks to keep me warm. I coffeed up and begrudgingly drove to the Kent State Campus. I am not the type of person to want to quit anything, or not fulfill commitments. And, besides, I signed up for this race for the sole reason that I wanted to make sure that I had 20 races in 2013. The fact that it was so close to home made it very convenient.
I knew all along that I would be riding the strugglebus all the way to this race, because I knew when signing up that there was the big party the night before. But I wanted to make sure I accomplished my goal of having 20 races. I kept repeating that in my head whenever I had second thoughts that morning.
Arriving on campus, I got my bib and chip and wandered around for a bit when all of the sudden I heard someone call my name! It was my friend, Samira, who was there to run the race as well! I had no idea she would be there participating, but I was SO glad to see her. She immediately told me, "you look tired!" That was an understatement!
We got our picture with Flash (the mascot) and headed to the starting line. I wasn't ready for this race in so many ways, but that wouldn't stop it from happening. Once we started, I sucked it up and powered through. My body was hurting all over but I pushed myself through the course, which to add insult to injury, was mostly UPHILL! I huffed and puffed, and I winced and grimaced all the way around the Kent State Stark campus.
With bags under my eyes and frost on the ground, I finally crossed the finish line (which was atop of the steepest hill of the course) and couldn't have been happier. My time was not up to par. It was about 26 minutes. For me, this was not so hot, as I typically run a 5K in 23 minutes. But it is what it is! I did it, and that was the important thing.
Samira ran at a remarkable speed, finishing in I think about 24 minutes, which she said beat her personal record by 30 seconds!! I was so proud of her and kept congratulating her on the huge accomplishment. We went to the recreation center where there were refreshments galore (including my all time favorite - orange slices!!).
We ate our bananas and warmed up inside while the awards ceremony took place. Not surprisingly, Samira won FIRST PLACE in her age group and got a fancy shmancy gold medal! We were thrilled with that news. Soon, an announcement was made that I placed THIRD PLACE in my age group! I couldn't believe what I was hearing. How could that be? I got my bronze medal in shock and awe!
I think that the lesson learned today is that we are all human and we all face challenges. We can all think of a billion reasons to stay in bed and be sedentary. But with enough drive, determination, motivation, accountability, and dedication, you can do most everything you set out to do! Just keep your eye on the prize and push yourself to your limits. You might surprise yourself, and you might even feel like Superman when you cross that finish line :-).