Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Akron Marathon Team Relay Recap 2015

Photos by OHventures

I always tend to geek out when it comes to the Akron Marathon. I can't help it. Since I have moved here just over 2 years ago, I have truly been smitten with the Rubber City and the energy that pumps through its streets. The Akron Marathon is a capstone event for me each year where I get to run with great friends through the city that just truly feels vibrant and alive - which in turn makes me feel vibrant and alive.

For the third year in a row, on September 26, 2015, I took part in the Akron Marathon through the relay team option (see previous Akron Marathon Relay posts from 2013 and 2014). And, for the third year in a row, I am running with 4 different people who have become great friends through the power of running (if you have not felt the power of running firsthand, you should look into it - it's pretty amazing).

My team this year was "Team Torchbearers" (named after the young professional leadership group that myself and my teammates are all a part of). The team was: Getta (Leg 1, 5.8 miles), Samantha (Leg 2, 5.7 miles), Patrick (Leg 3, 5.5 miles), Jonny (Leg 4, 3.6 miles), and Myself (Leg 5 - also known as the anchor - 5.6 miles)! The legs were completely different distances than in previous years. In the past, the legs varied greatly in distance, but now most of them were close to the same distance.

PB = Patrick B. or Peanut Butter?

We decided to don matching "I Heart PB" t-shirts, which are campaign shirts for our teammate Patrick, who is running to be re-elected as a member of Akron School Board (how is that for a plug?). The PB can also stand for "Peanut Butter" if you would like (there were many people who really thought that is what it stood for!). It's a simple thing, but having us all wear the same t-shirt definitely brings a feeling of unity!

Being the final leg of a relay has its pros and cons. Pros: get to sleep in longer, you get more time to stretch, the sun starts to come out so it's not so cold, and you get to take all the glory by crossing the FINISH line! Cons: you have to wait longer to start drinking beer with all of your friends (especially for those of us with FOMO), and you have much more time for the anxiety to build up anticipating the start of your leg!

The pros by and large outweighed the cons. However, I have come to realize that I have a major case of the "running jitters." I get knots in my stomach, I worry about injury, I panic about my time and pace, and I fret about whether or not I have trained enough (I didn't). It's definitely unnecessary worry that takes over my thoughts, but I can't help it. I just always want to perform to my potential and not let myself or anyone else down. I am sure I am not alone, and that many others also experience the pre-race jitters. I just never have time to think about it when the start gun is first thing in the morning!

Once I am off and running, all of those worries go out the window and I remember why I always sign up for these things. There was a definite pep in my step and I felt like I was floating through the streets during my leg of the Akron Marathon Relay.

The blue line making its way in to Canal Park!

For the first time in years, the Akron Marathon's blue line was painted on an almost entirely new course. My 5.6 miles started at Hardesty Park, turned on Market Street, to Castle, to Garmin, to Portage Path, and back to Market. There was a final turn on to Main Street and the finish line on the baseball diamond in Canal Park!

Photo by Akron Marathon. The finish line party at Canal Park.

It was a great feeling to cross the finish line with my teammates cheering! I gathered our finisher medals and distributed them to each member of Team Torchbearers. We found out that our final time was 4:38:25, with my 5.6 miles taking approximately 48 minutes (8:35/mile). I was extremely proud of my time, and proud of the team for finishing such a huge feat!

Celebrating with Getta and Kyle

We celebrated with some Michelob Ultra, pizza, and other finish line goodies, and we even got to appear on the jumbo screen! I think today might have officially cured me of my "running jitters" because this ended up being one of the most enjoyable runs I have ever done. My mind was in the zone, and there was no reason to worry with such a strong support system in my team. After all, worrying never has added a day to anyone's life. 

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Nuts About Tailgating (And Healthy Snacking)!

Photos by OHventures

It's officially football season, and there's not many places more football crazed than Ohio! Being an Ohio State grad, I get my fair share of tailgating in before games. And, also being that we are the Buckeyes, we also get our fair share of being called "nuts" for rooting for our team so hardcore!

Each fall, Saturday after Saturday, year after year, we all gather together to imbibe in some celebratory food and drink. And it's pretty wild to think about just how many calories we have consumed over the years - those hot dogs and lagers sure add up! 

And just because we do a couple 5K races each month, and go on scenic hikes from time to time, there's no better way to be healthy than by changing up the way we snack - including on football Saturdays! 

The Healthy Tailgate is possible, thanks to! You don't have to fumble when it comes to your food choices on game day. Healthy snacks are one of the keys to diet success. Snacking can help to keep you full, balance blood sugar levels, provide energy between meals, and even boost overall nutrient intake. However, what you choose to snack on and how much you are snacking can really make a difference.

The infographic above shows some of the healthiest - and tastiest - snack choices you can make that are a "touchdown" when it comes to your health. These include popcorn, pumpkin seeds, peanuts, jerky, trail mix, and fruit & veggie chips. You can get all of these healthy snacks on!

Monday, September 28, 2015

Kalahari Photo Blog

Who: Adults and kids alike! Groups of 2-36!
What: Kalahari Indoor Waterpark & Resort
When: All year 'round, rain or shine (or even snow - it's indoors!)
Where: Sandusky, Northwest Ohio
Why: To experience waterpark thrills any time of the year, to pamper yourself with its many spa options, and to drink & dine in style
How: Book an African-themed room and get your bathing suit ready!

All photos by OHventures

Time for the Lazy River

Ready to hit up the slides!

The Mud Hut 21 & Over Swim-Up Bar!

Outdoor hot tub area connected to the swim-up bar

Kalahari's very own bowling alley

Cheetah Race - dueling slides!

African-themed decor at Kalahari

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Kalahari Indoor Waterpark & Resort

Swahili Swirl

With the nation's largest indoor waterpark, a candy shop with seemingly endless amounts of treats and desserts, and one of the best arcade and gaming areas around, Kalahari Resort in Sandusky, Ohio is any kid's dream come true. However, if you're looking for a getaway without the kids, Kalahari has just as much excitement to offer couples or groups of adults. From world-class spa treatments, to a fitness facility, to a fine selection of adult beverages (including a swim-up bar), you'll be surprised how much fun can be had!

Kalahari Resort is primarily known for its impressive indoor water attractions, which makes it a year-round destination for travelers from near and far alike. To get the most out of your stay (especially if you came a significant distance), it's recommended you reserve a room to stay for a day or two (or three or more)!

There are 890 guestrooms and suites, which can accommodate anywhere from two to 36 guests. These room styles are unique and spacious, and are all beautifully decorated with an African theme. The largest room available is the Entertainment Suite, which is perfect for bachelor or bachelorette parties, a spring break destination, or celebrating milestones with friends.

All rooms include a flat screen TV, mini fridge and high speed internet access. Certain rooms also include a balcony patio, fireplace, whirlpool tub, wet bar, and other amenities. All rooms also include wristbands that grant you access to the waterpark.

I recently spent a night in the Nomad Room (which included an awesome patio overlooking the outdoor water recreation area) during a 2-day visit to Kalahari Resort. Of course, the first thing on my list to do was to visit the waterpark.

The indoor waterpark is the size of three football fields and jam-packed with colorful slides and contraptions! There are designated areas for children below a certain age, and other areas that are for all people above a certain height. There are several extreme rides, which were a priority for me and my friends. These included the Zip Coaster (basically a water roller coaster), FlowRider (stand-up surfing and body boarding on a simulated wave), and my absolute favorite, Swahili Swirl (a giant blue raft ride that can seat up to 4 thrill-seekers).

The Mud Hut Swim-Up Bar!

After the adrenaline pumping attractions were out of the way, it was time to relax on the Lazy River tube ride and wade in the Wave Pool, where every 15 minutes, waves pumped through the pool of water. It was also time to head to get a cocktail at the swim-up bar, the Mud Hut. Here, you can sit on an stool submerged just below the water and enjoy one of their special alcoholic concoctions, frozen or on the rocks. The water at the Mud Hut is warm, like a hot tub, so you can truly kick back and enjoy yourself.

Breakfast served all day at the Ivory Coast

All of the waterpark fun can work up an appetite, so thankfully there is a great restaurant selection at Kalahari. My favorites were The Reserve Restaurant & Bar, and the Ivory Coast Restaurant (with its adjacent Ivory Coast Lounge bar). The Ivory Coast serves breakfast all day and both locations have fantastic staff (Aimee and Trisha were superb)!

Every adult who visits Kalahari Resort should book an appointment at Spa Kalahari! There's a long list of massages (relaxation, hot stone, deep tissue, etc.), body treatments (herbal fusion detox, gentleman's sugar scrub, etc.), spa packages , and other ways to pamper yourself during your visit. Men and women both can enjoy facials, manicures, pedicures, or tanning sessions. If you do happen to have children with you, the Junior Spa can help make them feel like princes and princesses.

Next time you think about taking an excursion with friends or your significant other, consider Kalahari Resort so you can get the perfect combination of thrills and relaxation all in one place!