Archive for the ‘Exercise’ Category

“Don’t worry, I already have everything I need for a triathlon” and other lies I told myself

When I decided to take the plunge and sign up for the Indiana Muncie 70.3 (Half Ironman race) this July 15, I told myself (and my husband) that it wouldn’t cost that much because I “already had everything I needed”.  Ha!  I seem to have forgotten that doing triathlons, like owning a boat, is something that always requires new investments.  First off, a coach.  I debated endlessly on getting one or not, but finally succumbed to it after reading 3-4 books on training and having no idea what workouts to do.  Coaches are expensive and will be paying >$150/mo to get coached.  This better be worth it (or I will have to get a second job at Starbucks).   Secondly, a GPS watch.  I had been operating with my cell phone to track my time, pace and other running related things for my Flying Pig Half Marathon training.  The problem is that it is incredibly inconvenient.  Since I’m running in cold weather, I would have to peel off my glove, open the back zipper of my running tights, wedge my phone out of there, enter the code, find the app- all of this without falling on my face or getting run over by a car.  After my sweet husband got me a heart rate monitor for my birthday, I decided to take the plunge and get a fully-triathlon ready watch that can handle running, swimming and biking.  I got the Garmin Forerunning 920x, which I really like, with the only exception that it’s HUGE! It constantly smacks into my wrist or gets caught in my clothes.  Thirdly: I need a new wetsuit.  This I knew when I signed up, but wetsuits are expensive (>$200 for a good one).    Fourth: after my first re-acquaintance with my bike & the bike trainer left me with numb hands and feet (and an achy bottom), I decided to get my bike fit.  I can’t train for 5 months on a bike that makes me miserable, but that was $200.

It’s only the first month and this sport has already wrangled me out of $600!  So much for “I already have everything I need”.  Sheesh.  (Sorry, hubby).

I’m signed up to complete a Half Ironman in July 2015

I can’t believe.  I finally did it.  I signed up to do a Half Ironman.

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A Half Ironman, like other triathlons, starts off with a swim (1.2 miles, 2112 yard or 84 loops around your 25 yd pool).  After the swim, you hop on your bike for 56 miles and then you finish it off with a half marathon (13.1 miles) – for a total 70.3 whopping miles.

Now, let’s start with the facts: I am out of shape.  While I have consistently exercised ~3x a week for a long time, 2 of those are in Zumba (completely unrelated) and the other was a walk/run around my 2 mile neighborhood.  My bike, when my husband dug it out yesterday from the basement, was full of spider webs and covered in dirt.  My bike shorts hang on my legs because the elastic has decomposed in the long time since they’ve been used.  I looked down at them and a giggle escaped my lips.  I can’t help but be equally amused and horrified at what I got myself into.

It wasn’t always like this, I used to be a triathlete.  I completed 10 triathlons ranging from sprints to olympic distances. I trained with the Cincinnati Triathlon Club (and then on my own).  While I was never the fastest, I held my own and was extremely proud to gain, inch by inch, determination and resilience.

Then the boys were born and while I completed a triathlon in 2013, I have to admit to myself that it was half-hearted attempt and I finished it only because I am vegan.  My body was able to respond better and hold up longer than previous events I was under trained for.  I under trained and the finish felt bittersweet, I knew I could do more, but hadn’t.

Then 2015 arrived.  2015, the year after my sabbatical, where I realized a LOT about what I want in life.  The year where opportunity knocks, changes are afoot and I have a chance to really push myself again.

I want to go big, because completing a Half Ironman and eventually a full Ironman is in my bucket list.  Because God gave me a healthy body and I want to care for it and to never underestimate what it can do.

I want to complete a Half Ironman because it sounds impossible.  Because it sounds really difficult.  Because the training sounds like it will be hard to keep up with.

I want to reconnect with my body, with my capabilities, strengths and weaknesses.  With my muscles as they strain to deliver what I’m asking.

I want to complete a Half Ironman because, even though right now I’m the slowpoke, I know I can do it.

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Field Trip: Woodland Mound Park and Caesar Creek State Park

This weekend we visited two other parks in our must-visit list: Woodland Mound and Caesar Creek State Park. 

Woodland Mound

Woodland Mound was AWESOME.  This park has got to be in my top 3 list of my favorite Cincinnati parks.  First of all it has a really cool visitor center that has a lot of information about Ohio’s creatures (small and large).  It even has a sycamore tree replica inside with little doors so you can learn more about animals you might encounter in the area.  I had a great time trying to identify the birds by their calls in one of the exhibits.  The boys and I have visited other visitor’ areas in other parks that had similar goals but there was something about the Woodland Mound visitor area that the boys really liked!  There are three floors of things to look at (you can even peek through some binoculars to look at the Ohio river!).  The areas around the visitor center and the Splash pad were beautifully kept and landscaped.  You know how there are places that are so nice and inviting that you just want to hang around and soak it up?  that was Woodland Mound for me.  

After checking out the Visitor’s center, we went to the Splash pad and the boys had a blast.  It was hellishly hot so perfect day for them to frolic in the water.  After the splash pad, we were going to go nature walking but I wasn’t feeling too well so we went home.  On the way out, we noticed the disc-golf areas.  While I have never done it, it seems like a really cool thing to do!  

Splash Pad at Woodland Mound

Caesar Creek State Park

Caesar Creek was just “meh”.  The lake is HUGE but they had a LOT of motorboats and jet skis just buzzing around, eliminating any possibility of listening to nature.  We got the canoe and paddleboard in the water in one of the calmer sides so we at least had a chance to move along without listening to the motorboats for a good 30 minutes.  Once we got to the main part of the lake, it was a challenge to stay on the paddle board.  By that point, Lucas was sitting at the front of the paddle board while I paddled and we had so many waves that his pants got drenched.  Of course, this is the part he enjoyed most of all (the waves).  Once we turned and headed back, the waves pushed us and it was like surfing! (which was my favorite part).

We looked around at some of the campsites, and they seemed wooded and nice.  Maybe we will come back and camp here!  Caesar Creek is a big drive for us, so we probably wouldn’t come back just to canoe/paddleboard but we might come back for a multiple day camp trip.  

 

Quick Visit to Ozo Cafe

As part of my sabbatical this summer, I set out to do as many Cincinnati things as I could with my 2 kids.  As I was flipping through the “Adventures around Cincinnati” book, I had marked “Ozo Play Cafe” as one of the places to visit.  I particularly liked their philosophy of a place where the kids could safely play and the parents could socialize and have a cup of coffee.  I invited my friend Lilah and her young baby – but due to our scheduling and Ozo having weird hours (they close at 1pm), we only just visited.

The place was smaller than I thought and I was worried that Alan would be bored.  Their information says that it is a 6 year and younger crowd but I do believe it should be a 3 year and younger crowd.  Their toys were mostly wood and of good quality and they had a small mat and play area for the 12 months and younger.

You take your shoes off when you come in, which I always find uncomfortable, but I did appreciate the thought that the floor was probably cleaner because of it.  Since they had only drip coffee, I ended up with a tea and waited, while looking through some free fashions magazines, for Lilah to arrive.  They have 2-3 seating areas (tables, sofas etc) and they are well appointed with up to date magazines that ranged from Parents to InStyle.

We stayed for a little over an hour and that was enough for Alan (he got bored halfway through).

I noticed that the person behind the counter (the owner?) had a baby and at some point started bottle feeding him.  That generated some discussion between Lilah and I on the brilliance of the Ozo concept.  They rented a “smallish” and manageable area, bought some high quality toys and then open only 9-1pm.  Hopefully it’s financially feasible for them because this would be a great find for people with small kids especially during the summer!

As for us, I think one time was enough given that Alan seemed too old for the toys, but I appreciated having a place to sit and talk to my friend while he played.

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Trip to Miami Whitewater Park

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Lucas and the Lily Pad

I continue to be amazed at Cincinnati’s series of parks!  Seriously, they are awesome!.  This time we visited Miami Whitewater, a very large park, which included a medium-size lake, a splash pad and playground.  People can rent paddle boats and even stand-up paddle boards!   There were some small motor water vehicles there but not enough to disrupt the nature-watching.  The park also boasts nature trails but we were too tired from canoeing/paddleboarding in the lake and later attending the splash pad to check them out.  While on the lake we found a huge Lily pad (which I had never seen before), it was beautiful!

While I was on the paddle board, I overhear two women on a paddle boat talking (the sound in the lake carries!) and the conversation went like this:

“I would like to try that paddle thing but I don’t have the balance”

“Yeah, it looks really hard”

“I think I would fall in the water!”

I tried to pretend I couldn’t hear their entire conversation and nonchalantly paddled on by.  Ha!

After being on the water for a while we loaded the canoe/paddleboard in the car, had a snack and then the boys went to the splash pad.  They said it was their favorite yet!

Miami Whitewater is definitely worth a (re)visit!

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Paddleboarding

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Dry Park

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Wet (Splash Pad)

 

 

Field Trip: Big Bone Lick Park

One of the places that Dennis and I had considered camping at was Big Bone Lick Park because they had some interesting hiking, a pool and a herd of bison.  Since we finally ended up camping somewhere else (Stonelick Park), we decided to go check Big Bone Lick just in case.  

The park is pretty large and has a very interesting nature informational center.  It was fascinating to hear about how silt and sedimentary layers collected underground when the area was covered by sea.  After the sea and glaciers retreated, the layers started feeding “salt licks” which in turn attracted Mastodons and Woolly Mammoths (and other large animals).  People soon followed the animals and settled in the area.  The salt licks, although providing salt for the huge animals, also ended up being deadly, since areas congealed into thick bogs that trapped the huge animals.  On the plus side, it conserved their remains in such a way that many years later, anthropologists were able to find them and answer many questions about Mammoths and Mastodons being different creatures that lived in similar time frames.  

IMG_2395Eventually, people started eating more off the land and less off the animals.  One of the exhibits, speculated that the native people could’ve had a hand in eliminating Mammoths and Mastodons by over-hunting.  

Big Bone lick has a large-scale exhibit of different animals caught in a bog (Giant sloth, Woolly Mammoth, Mastodon and Bisons) and the first of many hiking trails starts off right behind the exhibit and main visitor’s center.  

During the trail walk, we encountered many new wildflowers to identify (which we did, of course, after carrying our nature backpacks).  During our break, we found a bench and the boys and I sketched different things.   The hiking trails goes by a “salt lick” so people could see and experience what they were.  There was a time where Big Bone and other local salt licks were populated by hotels with bathhouses, which promised medicinal properties to the salt licks.  

IMG_2394The final part of our trip included seeing the local bison herd.  At one time, it was estimated that the US had huge herds of migrating bisons but they were severely hunted down to the brink of extinction.  The park has a small herd, which had 3 baby bison when we went there.

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After our hiking and visit to the visitor’s center, we drove around the park to see the campsites and I have to admit I was happy we camped at Stonelick and Lake Kincaid.  The Big Bone Lick campsites were very exposed (not a lot of greenery or trees), small and the pool was tiny.  We took down the 2-3 sites that would work, just in case.  If we were to come back, it would be for the great hiking!

Volunteering at the “Giving Fields”

Alan with green beansIMG_2359I’ve been looking for a summer volunteer activity that I can do with a 4 and a 6-year-old and through the Cincinnati United Way website, I found the Giving Fields.  The Giving Fields are the Freestore/Foodbank local food supplier (think farm to table).  They supply the local food banks with fresh fruits and vegetables and operate almost completely through volunteers (there is only one employee there).

Picking vegetables seemed like something the boys and I could do together so we spent 3 hours doing just that. We picked green beans, tomatoes, squash and zucchini. It was such a cool experience! The boys got to help (although Alan wasn’t into it as much as Lucas was) and to see where their food comes from. As vegans, this is even more important for us! I explained that we were helping needy families eat healthy.  The lone employee let the boys take pictures on their huge tractors and they were in heaven.

The Giving Fields accommodates both individuals and company groups (there were a couple of company groups there at the same time as us).

It was a really great experience, easy for little hands to do and (hopefully) makes the connection for the boys of where our food comes from and that it’s important to help others.  I plan on returning with the boys and with Dennis.

My connection to the Giving Fields was through Tawanda Rollins (trollins@freestorefoodbank.org) in case you are interested in volunteering there.

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