Category Archives: Sporty Mike

in costume before the 5k began

simmonscollage

Participated in my second 5k this morning. I ran a whole lot more than the last one. This, as you can see from the picture, was a costumed race. A bunch of us from work went as a gang of Richard Simmons’. I think I look more like a crazy person than Richard Simmons. It was cold and rainy for the race. But there was a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, a pancake breakfast. As I mentioned on facebook earlier today, I would participate in way more 5k’s if they ended with a pancake breakfast. And for anyone keeping track, this is the first time I have worn any type of costume on Halloween since I was in middle school. Now that I’m the owner of a “deluxe” afro wig, maybe I’ll be dressing up more.

mission complete

hikingsticks

This past Sunday Greg and I completed the Summit County Metroparks Fall Hiking Spree. After false starts for the last 9 years, we finally saw the process through.  We went beyond the minimum eight trails required; and hiked every last one on the list. It’s given us a real sense of accomplishment. I picked up our hiking staffs and shields on Monday. Now we’re already looking forward to next year.

parksign

park

parkbridge

parksun

on golden pond

duckpaintedwater

I had a free afternoon today, so I thought I’d venture across the street to the park to capture some of the essence and colors of autumn. I think I must have picked the most perfect afternoon.  Temps were in the 60′s, some clouds were in the sky and the sun was in just the right spot for me to catch some pretty good photos at Alder Pond. The reflection from the changing leaves on the water was stunning. I don’t think these photos really do them must justice. There’s not a more beautiful place in the city of Akron than this park.  Greg and I are so lucky to have it right across the street from our house. I’m so glad the more motivated and active me didn’t spend the afternoon on the couch watching television. The real show is outside.

alderpond

boardwalk1

birdhouse

smallfalls

duckshake

skyoverpond

the hiking spree continues: trails 6,7,8 & 9

spree sign

It’s been quite a busy weekend. Friday night was, of course, bowling league. This week we bowled against a fun group of guys named David, Adam, Fred and Jonathon. We had a lot of fun.  I wasn’t so sure I was going to have fun after my first game of bowling only 8′s and 9′s. It was frustrating. I found my groove in the second and third games.  Greg was pretty proud of my progress.  And here’s a secret…bowling is way more fun when you are playing against a nice group of guys and doing well.  Who knew? Our team lost the first game…badly. But came back to win the second and third. Thank goodness for handicaps.

Saturday morning began with a hike in Norton at the Silver Creek Park.  We did the Chippewa Trail.  It’s a very diverse trail of forests and fields. At one point you come up on an old farm. That’s were I took the pictures of the barns below. After the trail we headed down the road to Wadsworth to check out the new Giant Eagle grocery store that opened last week. I’m a sucker for new grocery store openings. It’s a wonderful store. You can tell that they are going after the Whole Foods merchandising display philosophy. Greg and I made a couple of delicious salads and headed home.

After a brief rest, and an Ohio State win, it was off to Hudson to do another trail.  This time, the bike and hike trail.  Trail plusses: it’s flat and paved. Trail minuses: It’s straight and boring and once you reach the end, you turn around and come back the way you came.  But horray for two trails in one day. On the way home we stopped at the Cafe in Stow. Greg had raved about their turkey club sandwich. And after tasting it, I have decided that it is, in fact, the greatest turkey club sandwich in the world. To make it even better, it’s only $5.29. Seriously, if you have a hankering for a great turkey club, this is your place. Restaurant bonus: you get to dine with a great group of local senior citizens. 104 year-old Mr. Henry was there for dinner this night. He’s a legend at the Cafe in Stow.

Sunday morning after a great homemade breakfast of eggs, bacon, toast and iced coffee (have you tried the Pumpkin Spice creamer? So delicious.) we tackled the strenuous Sand Run Parcours Hike. It wasn’t so bad. There was a steep drop into the ravine and then, thankfully, a gentle climb back to the top.

Since we were already in the west Akron area, we headed out to another hike in near by Peninsula. The Deep Lock Quarry. It’s situated along a rail line, and legend has it that the area was once used as a Hobo Camp.  Every July the Metro Parks celebrates the Hobo lifestyle at the park.

So, in just three weeks we’ve accomplished the minimum number of trails to earn our hiking staff and shield for this year. Huzzah! But as I mentioned in an earlier post, we plan to hike all of the trails on the spree.  That leaves us just five more trails. Here’s our summary up to this point: 3 weeks, 9 trails, 6 cities, 15.1 miles of trails, 2 pretty-proud-of-themselves guys. Want to join us in on our final trails in the coming weekends? Drop me a line and I’ll send you the details on where we’ll be.

silvercreeksign

smallbarn

fullbarn

hudsontrailsign

flowers

sandrunsign

deeplocksign

trails 4 & 5, hiked

In our continuing quest to finish the Summit Metro Parks Fall Hiking Spree, we tackled two more trails this weekend. Saturday morning was the Firestone Metro Park. I, of course forgot my camera. Sunday we hiked the challenging Deer Run Trail at O’Neil Woods Metro Park. 1.8 miles of very rugged and steep terrain.  Below are some pictures from the hike. You can hear an audio podcast of this trail produced by the Metro Parks and 91.3 the Summit here.

trailmarker

stairsdown

gregsteps

crisscrosspath

yellowcreek

yellowflower

mikebridge

have you met Joe H.?

ballgrass

This is my “new” old bowling ball. I found it at a thrift store in Tallmadge this afternoon. Where I found out that, “everything is negotiable.” The sprawling store smelled of stale cigarette smoke. The overpowering stench was probably helped because the aged clerk was smoking her Virgina Slim as she took me around the store to locate the two bowling balls she remembered they had.  Yes, out of the many cramped rooms of junk she knew that there were two bowling balls. One ball came with a bag, not in good shape. The ball wasn’t a great fit, but could work.  Then we strolled up to the second ball, sitting on the floor by the front door.  I had walked right past it when I entered. It fit my hand wonderfully, and had its own name…Joe H. Smokey the Cashier let me have the bag from the other ball plus Joe for only $9. Brought Joe H. home and gave him a good scrubbing. He’s got some scratches, but that gives him character, He’s in no worse shape than the provided “community balls” at the Alley. You know, the H1N1 spreaders.  No, thank you.

bowling bag

The vintage bowling bag that I scrubbed the hell out of, goo-goned, and buffed with leather conditioner. I think it’s looking much better than when it came home. There were several paint smudges on it. Now they’re gone. It could still use a new zipper, but other than that, I am very pleased with the new “Recession Mike’s” find.

hitting the lanes again tonight

cooders logo new

Week two of the bowling league tonight. In case you’re wondering, our team name is mash-up of all of our last names.

our hiking spree began

forest path

Greg and I began our task of tackling the Summit County Metro Parks Hiking Spree. You have to complete a minimum of eight trails from the beginning of September through the end of November. As mentioned in previous posts, we attempt this every year with the intention of finishing the spree and earning our hiking staff and shield. It’s never happened. This year, Greg has set our goal to not just hike the minimum required, but to hike all thirteen trails. Well this weekend, we got three out of the way. Saturday, we hiked the Goodyear Heights Metro Parks trail that is right across the street from our development. Sunday morning we hiked a beautiful trail at the Gorge.  That’s Greg below, pictured beside one of the great rock cliffs in the Gorge. Finally on Monday we headed out to the Hampton Hills Metro Park and hiked one of the more strenuous trails in the system. It was worth it.  The rest of the pictures in this post are from that park. Including the picture above. That was my favorite part of the trail. It was like a forest wonderland. I particularly loved the bright green moss on the fallen trees. Little did we know of the hike up the many steps once you pass through this area.

sign

The entrance to our Labor Day trail. And boy did we labor through it.

forest steps

This set of steps at Hampton Ridge was a breeze compared to the very steep incline just a few hundred yards ahead of us.

gregbridge

Greg at the Gorge Metro Park on Sunday morning.

morning photo project 8.31.2009

falls

Greg and I hiked 3.5 miles through the Sand Run Metro Park on Sunday morning. With temps in the high 50′s it felt like the end of summer and the beginning of fall.  A transition that I look forward to every year.

On a separate note, we are so fortunate to live in a community with such a great and diverse park system. It’s one of the things that Greg appreciates most about moving to, and living in, the Akron area. And this year, we will finally complete the Fall Hiking Spree and earn our staff and shield. We’ve been after them for nearly a decade now, and always come just a few trails short. Anyone else want to join us?

woods

creek

picnic area

the journey has just begun

mikecollage

So today marks the end of my 12-week Weight Watchers session at work. I’ve lost 16.6 pounds in that time.  Less than I’d hoped, but hey an average of a little over  a pound a week is not too bad. Clothes aren’t fitting well, I’m down a pants size and at the last hole on my belt.  It’s exciting and I look forward to the next session that begins next week.  I know that there are no quick fixes and I’m learning to approach food and fitness with a new perspective.  It’s actually been a lot of fun.  I’m lucky to have had such great support from family, friends and most of all Greg. We’re in this together.

(I’ve also learned that I need to mix up my photo posing in the future.)

See you at the salad bar.

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