Sunday, February 22, 2015

Portage Lakes Polar Bear Jump

AGMC Orthopaedics Team at the Polar Bear Jump 2015

Chalk this up to one of the wildest things I've ever done: The Portage Lakes Polar Bear Jump

Now in its 12th year, the Portage Lakes Polar Bear Jump is the initiation into the Polar Bear Club, which consists of warm-hearted people willing to freeze their bodies to raise money to feed people and fight hunger! That's right, like all of the off-the-wall challenges I get myself into, it's all for charity. Every dollar that is donated to someone who signs up as a jumper provides four meals to the Akron-Canton Regional Foodbank (also the benefiting organization in the Selfless Elf 5K).

On Saturday, February 21, 2015, I joined a group of co-workers to "Go Polar" for the Foodbank. Our team was called "AGMC Orthopaedics" and it included doctors, residents, and other young professionals from the hospital and health system (I figured if medical professionals were on my team, I had safety on my side).

An aerial view of the event - courtesy of Portage Lakes Polar Bear Club

You may remember that last year, I took part in the Polar Plunge at Mosquito Lake in Cortland. The main difference between that event and this one was: the depth of the water! In the event last year, we simply had to run through freezing cold water that went up to our knees at its deepest. The Polar Bear Jump requires you to literally JUMP off of a dock into the freezing cold water of Turkeyfoot Lake! The entire lake is frozen with a thick layer of ice, so the event organizers had to carve out a special area for us to jump!


2015 carved in ice - courtesy of Portage Lakes Polar Bear Club

The weather at Portage Lakes (located in Summit County) was especially severe this week, with temperatures as low as -20 degrees below zero! By some miracle, the temperature on jump day was around 30-35 degrees (balmy!), but there was still a great deal of snowfall and accumulation, which made the roads pretty rough for traveling! This, coupled with a prior engagement I had to attend earlier in the day, caused me to get to Portage Lakes at approximately 2:15.

Our scheduled jump time was supposed to be 3:25, so I figured I had made it in enough time. However, for some reason, the event was WAY ahead of schedule. When I arrived, I called my friend and fellow jumper Ashley and she told me that our team was already in line to jump! I immediately ran to the line, threw my bags down, tore off my clothes (into my bathing suit), and joined my team for a group photo (they were easy to spot because many of them were wearing scrubs!).

Our team jumping in!


In the blink of an eye, we were making our way down the dock to the jumping platform, and just like that it was "bombs away" into the frigid water. I didn't even have time to think, it was such a blur!! In retrospect, it was the best way to go, because my fear wasn't able to set in, and I didn't have to wait around in the cold for an hour leading up to my jump.

After making a quick swim to the ladder, I ran to the men's heated changing tent and got myself dry and warm. I honestly was barely bothered by the cold (maybe I was in shock or had lots of adrenaline). I then worked backwards and hung out with the group, had a beer, took some photos, and watched other jumpers.


It was great seeing the hilarious costumes: superheroes, pirates, Vikings, chickens, and more. I even saw my friend Eric jump in while wearing a full business suit. The dedication was unreal. Over 700 people jumped this year, and collectively, we raised over $110,000 - more than any other year. Proud to say I contributed to that total, and that I am now an official member of the Portage Lakes Polar Bear Club!

See the shenanigans of the event thanks to WKYC, including our team in the water around the 3:00-3:15 mark (I am shown climbing out of the water on the ladder).


101 Things To Do In Columbus (by Activity)

All Photos by OHventures

Having lived in Columbus for an entire decade of my adult life (ages 18-28), I have a strong bond with this city - one that can never be broken. It's a city of excitement, culture, adventure, and history. In my opinion, it's one of the best cities in the world. But I am surely biased.

It's hard not to be a huge supporter of all things Columbus: Ohio State University (my alma mater), the hustle and bustle of Cap Square (where I worked for many years), the character and charm of neighborhoods like German Village, Short North, and Grandview (where I lived). Every corner of the city is packed with things to do: eclectic watering holes, tantalizing dining spots, breathtaking parks, and one-of-a-kind experiences.

Here is my personal comprehensive and diverse list of 101 THINGS TO DO IN COLUMBUS that will be just the start of a beautiful friendship between you and Ohio's capital city. You can thank me later.

The items on this list are categorized by ACTIVITY TYPE. For the same 101 items categorized by NEIGHBORHOOD, visit: 101 Things To Do In Columbus (By Neighborhood).


Landmarks
1. The Ohio Statehouse - Where state laws are made - take a guided tour
2. World’s Largest Gavel - A giant silver gavel by the Ohio Supreme Court
3. The Santa Maria - A replica of Christopher Columbus' ship to America
4. Greek Orthodox Cathedral - Gorgeous architecture & host of Greek Festival
5. The Oval - Central courtyard on OSU's campus - frisbee, studying, etc.
6. Mirror Lake - Iconic pond on OSU's campus - great for picnics & strolls
7. Franklin Park Conservatory - Indoor exotic gardens with Chihuly glasswork



Parks
8. Columbus Commons - Green space with festivals & a carousel
9. Scioto Mile - Hike, bike, run, play chess, or enjoy riverside views
10. Bicentennial Park - Home of some of the best fountains in the nation
11. Topiary Park - An artsy park with impressive hedge sculptures
12. Schiller Park - Outdoor live theatre, a dog park, fishing pond, & more
13. Scioto Audubon Metro Park - Hiking trails, a rock wall, and a dog park
14. Wheeler Park - A centrally located dog park that's great for socializing
15. Goodale Park - A hub of community activities, including ComFest
16. Arch Park - Historic park with arch salvaged from Union Train Station
17. Whetstone Park of Roses - Picturesque park with hundreds of roses
18. Pooch Playground - Everyone's favorite playground especially for dogs
19. Hoover Reservoir Park (Westerville) - For sailing & other watercraft


 

Coffee Shops
20. Café Brioso - Expertly poured coffee with an aroma that lures you in
21. One Line Coffee - Sip on some superior coffee & learn how its made
22. Stauf’s Coffee Roasters - A great meeting spot with even greater java!
23. Crimson Cup Coffee - Cozy coffee cafe with locally roasted bold coffee



Beer, Wine, & Spirits
24. 16-Bit Arcade - Dozens of classic video arcade games to play for free 
25. Club 185 - An after-work favorite with great cocktails & a photo booth
26. Columbus Brewing Company - The 1 remaining brewery in Brewery District
27. World Of Beer - Literally hundreds of beer choices from around the world
28. Camelot Cellars - Drink, buy, or even handcraft your very own wine
29. Brother’s Drake Meadery - Honey-based "wine" and spirits made on site
30. Middle West Spirits - The makers of top-notch Ohio whiskey and vodka
31. Short North Tavern - A divey bar with dart boards and cheap brews
32. Kingmakers Board Game Parlour - Play any board game you can think of
33. North High Brewing - Drink or make your own craft beer!
34. Ohio Taproom - Get a growler filled to-go from a selection of Ohio beers
35. O Patio & Pub - Hotspot for fraternity & sorority students 
36. Powell Village Winery - Quaint winery definitely worth a visit
*for more ways to imbibe in Columbus, visit Drink Up Columbus*


 

Dining Discoveries
37. Market 65 - Made-to-order salads with ingredients chopped in front of you
38. Dirty Frank’s Hot Dog Palace - Wild and crazy hot dog creations
39. Grass Skirt Tiki Room - Polynesian themed bar & restaurant - with Spam!
40. Yellow Brick Pizza - Hand tossed pizzas with fun signature creations
41. The Angry Baker - Gourmet bakery with high quality ingredients
42. Thurman’s Cafe - Home of the famous & ginormous Thurmanator burger
43. Schmidt’s Sausage Haus Und Restaurant - Autobahn buffet and cream puffs
44. Katzinger’s Delicatessen - A traditional deli with enormous sandwiches
45. Marcella’s Ristorante - Fantastic Italian eatery with massive veal meatballs
46. North Star Cafe - Organic diner known for its breakfasts & veggie burgers
47. Hubbard Grille - On the corner of High & Hubbard - perfect atmosphere
48. Surly Girl Saloon - Taste the cupcake of the day & creative concoctions
49. Aab India Restaurant - Indian buffet with off-the-charts spiciness
50. Local Cantina - Mustaches, tasty tacos, and all-you-can-eat nachos
51. DK Diner - Donuts! Including a bacon cheeseburger w/ glazed donut bun
52. Adriatico's Pizza - Greasy goodness that tastes just like college

Just Desserts
53. Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams - Literally the nation's BEST ice cream
54. Pistachia Vera - Top notch macarons made in every color of the rainbow

Shopping & Specialty Stores
55. Spoonful Records - New records & unique gifts made out of old records
56. Book Loft - A labyrinth of 32 rooms of floor-to-ceiling books
57. Homage - Apparel store dedicated to all things vintage & nostalgic Ohio
58. North Market - Collection of various shops, restaurants & specialty stores
59. The Oilerie - Sample from dozens of flavor-infused olive oils & vinegars
60. Clay Cafe - Paint and create your very own pottery pieces
61. Rag-O-Rama - Consignment store w/ very eclectic & designer clothes
62. South Campus Gateway - An inviting alley w/ shops, restaurants & movies
63. Candle Lab - Make candles by mixing wax w/ any scent imaginable
64. Celebrate Local (Easton) - A shop with nothing but Ohio-made goods



Arts & Entertainment
65. The Ohio Theatre - Go see  professional musicals & Broadway plays
66. Columbus Museum of Art - Cool exhibits that captivate 
67. Shadowbox Theater - Live musical comedies with dinner served up 
68. Grandview Theater - Old-school 1-screen movie theatre w/ indie films
69. Wexner Center for the Arts - Modern art, cool events & interesting design
70. Hollywood Casino Columbus (Hilltop) - Feels like the Vegas strip!

Musical Experiences
71. Newport Music Hall - Decades-old campus concert hall w/ popular bands
72. Big Bang Dueling Piano Bar - Huge crowds cheer on these talented pianists
73. LC Pavilion - An indoor/outdoor music venue with huge national acts
74. The Bluestone - An old church transformed into a music hall 
75. Skully’s Music Diner - Put on your dancing pants, especially on Thursdays




Museums & Education
76. Center Of Science & Industry (COSI) - Ride the tight rope unicycle
77. Columbus Metropolitan Library - One of the most used libraries in the US
78. Segway Tours of Columbus - A futuristic way to take a tour of the city
79. Vern Riffe Center for Government & Arts - Art galleries + civics
80. The Governor’s Residence - Tours of the mansion & gardens on Tuesdays
81. Olentangy River Wetlands Research Park - Educational and serene spot
82. Columbus Zoo & Aquarium - Approved by Jack Hanna himself




Active Lifestyle
83. Go Fitness Center - Colorful fitness center w/ great classes & instructors
84. Yoga On High - This yoga studio is great for beginners or expert yogi
85. Creekside Gahanna Paddleboating - Paddleboat on a lovely creek
86. Outdoor Adventure Center (OAC) Rock Wall - Gym & indoor rock wall
87. Cap City Half Marathon - Signature half & quarter marathon event
88. Project 908 Paddleboarding - Stand up paddleboarding rental service
89. Olentangy River Trail - Multi-use trail that runs along the Olentangy
90. Pure Barre - New workout craze centered around isometric movements
91. SkyZone Indoor Trampoline Park (Lewis Center) - Bounce your heart out
92. Trapper John's Canoe Livery (Grove City) - Rent kayaks & canoes!
93. Summit Vision (Westerville) - High ropes obstacle course!



Sporting Events
94. Huntington Park - Take me out to the Columbus Clippers baseball game
95. Nationwide Arena - Catch a Blue Jackets hockey game or a concert
96, Arnold Sports Festival - World renowned fitness and sporting convention
97. The Ohio Stadium - AKA "The 'Shoe" - where the OSU Buckeyes play 

Unique Experiences
98. Columbus Food Adventures - Guided tour of Columbus restaurants 
99. Columbus Brew Adventures - Guided tour of Columbus breweries
100. Ohio State Fair (Fairgrounds) - Animals, fried food, & people watching
101. Columbus Pedal Wagon - Pedal a contraption from bar to bar to bar

Sunday, February 15, 2015

101 Things To Do In Columbus (by Neighborhood)


All photos by OHventures

Having lived in Columbus for an entire decade of my adult life (ages 18-28), I have a strong bond with this city - one that can never be broken. It's a city of excitement, culture, adventure, and history. In my opinion, it's one of the best cities in the world. But I am surely biased.

It's hard not to be a huge supporter of all things Columbus: Ohio State University (my alma mater), the hustle and bustle of Cap Square (where I worked for many years), the character and charm of neighborhoods like German Village, Short North, and Grandview (where I lived). Every corner of the city is packed with things to do: eclectic watering holes, tantalizing dining spots, breathtaking parks, and one-of-a-kind experiences.

Here is my personal comprehensive and diverse list of 101 THINGS TO DO IN COLUMBUS that will be just the start of a beautiful friendship between you and Ohio's capital city. You can thank me later.

The items on this list are categorized by NEIGHBORHOOD. For the same 101 items categorized by ACTIVITY TYPE, visit: 101 Things To Do In Columbus (By Activity Type).

 

Downtown
1. The Ohio Statehouse - Where state laws are made - take a guided tour
2. World’s Largest Gavel - A giant silver gavel by the Ohio Supreme Court
3. Columbus Commons - Green space with festivals & a carousel
4. Scioto Mile - Hike, bike, run, play chess, or enjoy riverside views
5. Café Brioso - Expertly poured coffee with an aroma that lures you in
6. 16-Bit Arcade - Dozens of classic video arcade games to play for free 
7. Market 65 - Made-to-order salads with ingredients chopped in front of you
8. Bicentennial Park - Home of some of the best fountains in the nation
9. Spoonful Records - New records & unique gifts made out of old records
10. Dirty Frank’s Hot Dog Palace - Wild and crazy hot dog creations
11. The Ohio Theatre - Go see  professional musicals & Broadway plays
12. Center Of Science & Industry (COSI) - Ride the tight rope unicycle
13. The Santa Maria - A replica of Christopher Columbus' ship to America
14. Segway Tours of Columbus - A futuristic way to take a tour of the city
15. Vern Riffe Center for Government & Arts - Art galleries + civics

Discovery District
16. Topiary Park - An artsy park with impressive hedge sculptures
17. Columbus Museum of Art - Cool exhibits that captivate 
18. The Bluestone - An old church transformed into a music hall 
19. Columbus Metropolitan Library - One of the most used libraries in the US
20. Grass Skirt Tiki Room - Polynesian themed bar & restaurant - with Spam!

Old Towne East
21. Yellow Brick Pizza - Hand tossed pizzas with fun signature creations
22. The Angry Baker - Gourmet bakery with high quality ingredients



Bexley
23. The Governor’s Residence - Tours of the mansion & gardens on Tuesdays
24. Franklin Park Conservatory - Indoor exotic gardens with Chihuly glasswork

German Village
25. Schiller Park - Outdoor live theatre, a dog park, fishing pond, & more
26. Thurman’s Cafe - Home of the famous & ginormous Thurmanator burger
27. Book Loft - A labyrinth of 32 rooms of floor-to-ceiling books
28. Schmidt’s Sausage Haus Und Restaurant - Autobahn buffet and cream puffs
29. Pistachia Vera - Top notch macarons made in every color of the rainbow
30. Katzinger’s Delicatessen - A traditional deli with enormous sandwiches
31. Club 185 - An after-work favorite with great cocktails & a photo booth



Brewery District
32. Shadowbox Theater - Live musical comedies with dinner served up 
33. Scioto Audubon Metro Park - Hiking trails, a rock wall, and a dog park
34. Columbus Brewing Company - The 1 remaining brewery in Brewery District
35. World Of Beer - Literally hundreds of beer choices from around the world

Victorian Village/Harrison West
36. Wheeler Park - A centrally located dog park that's great for socializing
37. Goodale Park - A hub of community activities, including ComFest

 


Short North
38. Marcella’s Ristorante - Fantastic Italian eatery with massive veal meatballs
39, Arnold Sports Festival - World renowned fitness and sporting convention
40. Homage - Apparel store dedicated to all things vintage & nostalgic Ohio
41. North Market - Collection of various shops, restaurants & specialty stores
42. Greek Orthodox Cathedral - Gorgeous architecture & host of Greek Festival
43. Skully’s Music Diner - Put on your dancing pants, especially on Thursdays
44. Camelot Cellars - Drink, buy, or even handcraft your very own wine
45. North Star Cafe - Organic diner known for its breakfasts & veggie burgers
46. One Line Coffee - Sip on some superior coffee & learn how its made
47. Brother’s Drake Meadery - Honey-based "wine" and spirits made on site
48. Middle West Spirits - The makers of top-notch Ohio whiskey and vodka
49. Yoga On High - This yoga studio is great for beginners or expert yogi
50. Hubbard Grille - On the corner of High & Hubbard - perfect atmosphere
51. Short North Tavern - A divey bar with dart boards and cheap brews
52. Surly Girl Saloon - Taste the cupcake of the day & creative concoctions
53. Kingmakers Board Game Parlour - Play any board game you can think of
54. North High Brewing - Drink or make your own craft beer!


 

Arena District
55. Huntington Park - Take me out to the Columbus Clippers baseball game
56. Nationwide Arena - Catch a Blue Jackets hockey game or a concert
57. Big Bang Dueling Piano Bar - Huge crowds cheer on these talented pianists
58. LC Pavilion - An indoor/outdoor music venue with huge national acts
59. Arch Park - Historic park with arch salvaged from Union Train Station


Grandview
60. Aab India Restaurant - Indian buffet with off-the-charts spiciness
61. The Oilerie - Sample from dozens of flavor-infused olive oils & vinegars
62. Clay Cafe - Paint and create your very own pottery pieces
63. Stauf’s Coffee Roasters - A great meeting spot with even greater java!
64. Ohio Taproom - Get a growler filled to-go from a selection of Ohio beers
65. DK Diner - Donuts! Including a bacon cheeseburger w/ glazed donut bun
66. Go Fitness Center - Colorful fitness center w/ great classes & instructors
67. Local Cantina - Mustaches, tasty tacos, and all-you-can-eat nachos
68. Grandview Theater - Old-school 1-screen movie theatre w/ indie films

Clintonville
69. Rag-O-Rama - Consignment store w/ very eclectic & designer clothes
70. Crimson Cup Coffee - Cozy coffee cafe with locally roasted bold coffee
71. Whetstone Park of Roses - Picturesque park with hundreds of roses

Gahanna
72. Creekside Gahanna Paddleboating - Paddleboat on a lovely creek
73. Pooch Playground - Everyone's favorite playground especially for dogs

 

University District
74. The Oval - Central courtyard on OSU's campus - frisbee, studying, etc.
75. Mirror Lake - Iconic pond on OSU's campus - great for picnics & strolls
76. Adriatico's Pizza - Greasy goodness that tastes just like college
77. The Ohio Stadium - AKA "The 'Shoe" - where the OSU Buckeyes play 
78. Olentangy River Wetlands Research Park - Educational and serene spot
79. Outdoor Adventure Center (OAC) Rock Wall - Gym & indoor rock wall
80. Newport Music Hall - Decades-old campus concert hall w/ popular bands
81. O Patio & Pub - Hotspot for fraternity & sorority students 
82. South Campus Gateway - An inviting alley w/ shops, restaurants & movies
83. Wexner Center for the Arts - Modern art, cool events & interesting design

 

Various Locations
84. Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams - Literally the nation's BEST ice cream
85. Candle Lab - Make candles by mixing wax w/ any scent imaginable
86. Cap City Half Marathon - Signature half & quarter marathon event
87. Columbus Pedal Wagon - Pedal a contraption from bar to bar to bar
88. Project 908 Paddleboarding - Stand up paddleboarding rental service
89. Olentangy River Trail - Multi-use trail that runs along the Olentangy
90. Pure Barre - New workout craze centered around isometric movements
91. Columbus Food Adventures - Guided tour of Columbus restaurants 
92. Columbus Brew Adventures - Guided tour of Columbus breweries



Powell
93. Powell Village Winery - Quaint winery definitely worth a visit
94. Columbus Zoo & Aquarium - Approved by Jack Hanna himself

 

Around The Loop
95. Hollywood Casino Columbus (Hilltop) - Feels like the Vegas strip!
96. SkyZone Indoor Trampoline Park (Lewis Center) - Bounce your heart out
97. Trapper John's Canoe Livery (Grove City) - Rent kayaks & canoes!
98. Celebrate Local (Easton) - A shop with nothing but Ohio-made goods
99. Hoover Reservoir Park (Westerville) - For sailing & other watercraft
100. Summit Vision (Westerville) - High ropes obstacle course!
101. Ohio State Fair (Fairgrounds) - Animals, fried food, & people watching

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Tackle The Tower Recap

Photos by OHventures

Tackling the tower is NO easy feat! 

On Saturday, February 7, 2015, Team OHventures supported the Ronald McDonald House of Cleveland by participating in its signature stair climb event, Tackle The Tower!

The challenge was to climb 37 flights of stairs at the Galleria & Tower at Erieview in downtown Cleveland as fast as you can! It might seem like a simple task, but it was anything but!

The Tower at Erieview in Cleveland!

There was really not much of a way to practice for this event, other than to perhaps climb stairs in your office building on your lunch break. I have been doing a great deal of leg workouts (squats, lunges, calf raises, etc.) and running, but even that couldn't quite prepare me for the difficulty of this stair climb! In the past, I participated in a similar event, the Fight For Air Stair Climb for the American Lung Association, so I did have an idea of what to expect.

Team OHventures consisted of myself, and my friends Marc (my gym buddy), Chad, and Johnny (AKA my resident "Tough Mudder Expert"). These are guys who I knew would excel at such an obstacle, as they are pretty physically fit. 

Chad thought it would be a great idea to have coordinating outfits or shirts to show that we were a team. Since my last batch of OHventures t-shirts have sold out, we couldn't use that option. Instead, Chad suggested we all wear a superhero costume of some sort to indicate we were a pack. Since the charity we were climbing for, the Ronald McDonald House, is to help children who are ill, the superhero idea seemed like a no-brainer. Thus, Johnny was Spider-Man, Marc was The Punisher, Chad was Captain America (complete with a mask and shield), and I was Superman (apparently the only non-Marvel character of the bunch, which could upset certain comic book nerds).

Posing for the Ronald McDonald House of Cleveland

The superhero costumes were a big hit! Random folks wanted our picture, as well as Ronald McDonald himself (pictured above)! We also were interviewed by the local news (WKYC Cleveland), and stretched with the gals from ZenWorks Yoga (they were helping many participants with a mini yoga session before their climb - how cool!).

Stretching with ZenWorks Yoga

The competitive heats began at 9AM, with runners starting every 10 seconds. I was first for our team, and I began at 9:46:50 - on the dot! Following me were Johnny, then Marc, then Chad. It was a GRUELING and painful run up those stairs. To call it a "run" is being generous, because I got gassed out after only a few flights, and from there on, it was just a matter of keeping yourself moving. Every flight that I climbed, I would see the floor number SLOWLY progressing until I finally reached the 37th floor! It was a glorious moment when I finished at the top.


My legs were sore, but the most discomfort came from the burning sensation in my chest and lungs! Like many other folks at the top, I was coughing up a storm! Something about powering through hundreds of steps in a dusty stairwell must really affect your breathing somehow!


Our individual times were: 5:38.2 for Johnny (he was 1st in his age group), 6:35.9 for Chad, 6:48.9 for me (about a minute better than my climb in 2013), and 9:07.9 for Marc. All were impressive times. We managed to get 4th place overall male team, which we are very proud of. I was told there was close to 1,000 participants (including those in the fun walk prior to our heat).\

Later in the morning was the mascot race (with mascots from every local sports team, including my favorite - Slider of the Cleveland Indians), and a firefighter race, where they all climbed with their heavy gear!


We were happy to support the children of the Ronald McDonald House of Cleveland in the Tackle the Tower event. Felt like a real-life superhero that morning!