Y Notes

New activities at the YMCA

  • Over the new few months, I will be highlighting the different activities and programs available at the YMCA.

    There are simply too many to properly showcase each fitness class or youth activity in one column.

    But to kick things off, I would like everyone to consider something trying something new. It’s that first step which is often poses the biggest hurdle.

    And people come up with a variety of excuses from lack of time to intimidation of walking into a new group of people to waiting for a day not ending in Y.

    But there is never a perfect time to try something different, to venture out of your comfort zone.

    So instead of waiting for the New Year or even the first of the month, visit the YMCA website for a complete list of fitness classes or the pool schedule.

    There are ample opportunities to dabble in something different, to take a new challenge.

    Consider the fitness class, Strong by Zumba, which returns in October, allowing you to test your dance skills as well as your cardio-fitness levels.

    And rest assured what happens in Zumba, stays in Zumba, especially since the blinds are pulled shut and there are no video cameras in the exercise room.

    Trying something new and different isn’t just limited to adults.

    Naturally, many of the activities at the Y will expose kids to something new.

    There is Child Watch, the child care program for kids while their parents are using the facility.

    For some kids, this may be their first time separated from their parents or their first time around other kids who aren’t their siblings.

    Swim lessons are another natural first for many kids.

    It’s impossible to know how many kids have dipped their foot into a pool for the first time at the Y.

    But thousands of kids over the years have received their first taste of a swimming pool at the Y, whether at swim lessons or venturing into the kiddie pool in the arms of their parents.

    And you don’t have to be in the Y to try something new.

    The Heritage Days Road Race, sponsored by the YMCA and Parker Hannifin, will be next Saturday, Sept. 29 at 7:30 a.m.

    If you have never competed in a road race or covered 3.1 miles, the Heritage Days run/walk is the perfect opportunity to check that off your list.

    The weather is usually beautiful…not too hot, not too cold…although I’ve probably jinxed myself by promising that Mother Nature will cooperate.

    The course provides a challenge, offering downhills, uphills and everything in between.

    Many people think of McCook as flat, but there is a reason there is an “upper” and “lower” shelter house at Kelley Park, which the road race crosses through several times.

    And finally, the route follows the walking trails and McCook streets, so the chances of getting lost are lessened.

    Not eliminated, just lessened.

    And if all else fails, there will likely be a float or antique car passing by on the way to the parade, so you can catch a ride back to Norris Park.

    Heck, you may even end up making a new friend, getting asked to ride the float in the parade and end up with your picture on the front of the Gazette.

    Just consider all the possibilities if you simply try something new.


     Text

  • 21-Sep-2018

Over the new few months, I will be highlighting the different activities and programs available at the YMCA.

There are simply too many to properly showcase each fitness class or youth activity in one column.

But to kick things off, I would like everyone to consider something trying something new. It’s that first step which is often poses the biggest hurdle.

And people come up with a variety of excuses from lack of time to intimidation of walking into a new group of people to waiting for a day not ending in Y.

But there is never a perfect time to try something different, to venture out of your comfort zone.

So instead of waiting for the New Year or even the first of the month, visit the YMCA website for a complete list of fitness classes or the pool schedule.

There are ample opportunities to dabble in something different, to take a new challenge.

Consider the fitness class, Strong by Zumba, which returns in October, allowing you to test your dance skills as well as your cardio-fitness levels.

And rest assured what happens in Zumba, stays in Zumba, especially since the blinds are pulled shut and there are no video cameras in the exercise room.

Trying something new and different isn’t just limited to adults.

Naturally, many of the activities at the Y will expose kids to something new.

There is Child Watch, the child care program for kids while their parents are using the facility.

For some kids, this may be their first time separated from their parents or their first time around other kids who aren’t their siblings.

Swim lessons are another natural first for many kids.

It’s impossible to know how many kids have dipped their foot into a pool for the first time at the Y.

But thousands of kids over the years have received their first taste of a swimming pool at the Y, whether at swim lessons or venturing into the kiddie pool in the arms of their parents.

And you don’t have to be in the Y to try something new.

The Heritage Days Road Race, sponsored by the YMCA and Parker Hannifin, will be next Saturday, Sept. 29 at 7:30 a.m.

If you have never competed in a road race or covered 3.1 miles, the Heritage Days run/walk is the perfect opportunity to check that off your list.

The weather is usually beautiful…not too hot, not too cold…although I’ve probably jinxed myself by promising that Mother Nature will cooperate.

The course provides a challenge, offering downhills, uphills and everything in between.

Many people think of McCook as flat, but there is a reason there is an “upper” and “lower” shelter house at Kelley Park, which the road race crosses through several times.

And finally, the route follows the walking trails and McCook streets, so the chances of getting lost are lessened.

Not eliminated, just lessened.

And if all else fails, there will likely be a float or antique car passing by on the way to the parade, so you can catch a ride back to Norris Park.

Heck, you may even end up making a new friend, getting asked to ride the float in the parade and end up with your picture on the front of the Gazette.

Just consider all the possibilities if you simply try something new.


 Text

Not 12 anymore? Say it isn't so

  • With every stroke into the water, a tinge of pain shot through my left shoulder. I had avoided the YMCA pool for more than a week but dove in Wednesday morning for a brief workout.

    At the end of the first lap, my shoulder pulsed with a dull pain but I wanted to see if the discomfort would ease up after I got warmed up.

    Twenty laps later, I pulled myself out of the pool, glad that I had completed the swim workout but grateful that the hot tub around the corner was ready and waiting for me.

    My shoulder doesn’t normally hurt when I’m swimming. But last week, I learned that I’m no longer 12-years-old.

    I learned - make that relearned - that I don’t heal as quickly after I injure myself.

    I quickly learned that I cannot hit the ground and just pop right back up like I did when I was young. I learned that I can be covered in mud, riding down the highway after wrecking a bicycle, and no one will bat an eye…but that is an issue for another column.

    In the midst of all the rain last week, a couple friends and I decided to ride the gravel roads south of McCook on our bicycles.

    We were training for a race in an area which had also seen a lot of rain, so we figured our muddy roads would perfectly replicate the conditions.

    After an hour on the gravel roads, we had just a four-mile stretch before the ride ended. But that four-mile stretch was muddier than everything we had ridden all day.

    On just the second hill, my bike went out from under me in the soft layer of mud.

    In the blink of an eye, I had flown over my handlebars, slamming my shoulder into the dirt road, which may have been soft on the top but was hard-packed just under the surface.

    Over the next week, I glanced at the pool every time I entered the YMCA, but knew the movement of lap swimming would test my pain tolerance.

    But I also knew the water would limit stress on my joints and help heal my muscles.

    Many people underestimate the value of the pool, both as a form of exercise and for recovery.

    But every day, the aquatic area sees a constant stream of people using the pool and hot tub for a variety of reasons.

    Every weekday morning, the exercise classes fill the shallow end of the pool, offering both fitness and socialization.

    People on the mend after surgery use the pool as a way to rebuild strength, stamina and movement. And lap swimmers criss-cross the pool for hours on end, finishing with miles and miles to their credit.

    Thankfully, my shoulder is on the mend after the bike accident and lap swimming is back on my training schedule.

    I’ll try to take it easy and remain grateful that there is equipment and a great pool at the YMCA to help me both stay in shape and recover after these somewhat frequent mishaps.

    But I can’t make any claims that I have learned my lesson; nor that I won’t do something to remind me that I’m not 12 anymore.

    After all, it’s not like this is the first time I have injured my shoulder.

    This isn’t even the first time I’ve injured my shoulder this year.

    An injury to the same shoulder from a treacherous sledding accident in February is still nagging me.

    Guess, I’ll never learn.

     Text

  • 14-Sep-2018

With every stroke into the water, a tinge of pain shot through my left shoulder. I had avoided the YMCA pool for more than a week but dove in Wednesday morning for a brief workout.

At the end of the first lap, my shoulder pulsed with a dull pain but I wanted to see if the discomfort would ease up after I got warmed up.

Twenty laps later, I pulled myself out of the pool, glad that I had completed the swim workout but grateful that the hot tub around the corner was ready and waiting for me.

My shoulder doesn’t normally hurt when I’m swimming. But last week, I learned that I’m no longer 12-years-old.

I learned - make that relearned - that I don’t heal as quickly after I injure myself.

I quickly learned that I cannot hit the ground and just pop right back up like I did when I was young. I learned that I can be covered in mud, riding down the highway after wrecking a bicycle, and no one will bat an eye…but that is an issue for another column.

In the midst of all the rain last week, a couple friends and I decided to ride the gravel roads south of McCook on our bicycles.

We were training for a race in an area which had also seen a lot of rain, so we figured our muddy roads would perfectly replicate the conditions.

After an hour on the gravel roads, we had just a four-mile stretch before the ride ended. But that four-mile stretch was muddier than everything we had ridden all day.

On just the second hill, my bike went out from under me in the soft layer of mud.

In the blink of an eye, I had flown over my handlebars, slamming my shoulder into the dirt road, which may have been soft on the top but was hard-packed just under the surface.

Over the next week, I glanced at the pool every time I entered the YMCA, but knew the movement of lap swimming would test my pain tolerance.

But I also knew the water would limit stress on my joints and help heal my muscles.

Many people underestimate the value of the pool, both as a form of exercise and for recovery.

But every day, the aquatic area sees a constant stream of people using the pool and hot tub for a variety of reasons.

Every weekday morning, the exercise classes fill the shallow end of the pool, offering both fitness and socialization.

People on the mend after surgery use the pool as a way to rebuild strength, stamina and movement. And lap swimmers criss-cross the pool for hours on end, finishing with miles and miles to their credit.

Thankfully, my shoulder is on the mend after the bike accident and lap swimming is back on my training schedule.

I’ll try to take it easy and remain grateful that there is equipment and a great pool at the YMCA to help me both stay in shape and recover after these somewhat frequent mishaps.

But I can’t make any claims that I have learned my lesson; nor that I won’t do something to remind me that I’m not 12 anymore.

After all, it’s not like this is the first time I have injured my shoulder.

This isn’t even the first time I’ve injured my shoulder this year.

An injury to the same shoulder from a treacherous sledding accident in February is still nagging me.

Guess, I’ll never learn.

 Text

Struggling to Resume Exercise Routine

  • Since Monday was a holiday, everyone gets a free pass this shortened week to put off the inevitable: resuming a routine. (Who else kept thinking it was a Monday until at least 2:14 p.m. on Tuesday?)

    With school back in session and sports practices underway and music lessons resumed, it is time to get back on a routine - on a healthy routine with more sleep, more exercise, nutritious meals and, in general, less chaos.

    Monday, let’s aim for Monday with a full, glorious week ahead of us to establish a good, healthy routine.

    But there is a lot of work ahead and a lot of bad habits to combat.

    As summer progressed, bedtime at my house got later and later. It’s hard to go to crawl in bed - much less go to sleep - when there is still light in the sky.

    As the first day of school approached, I tried to get my kids to bed earlier.

    But even two weeks in, we are still struggling to eat dinner before 8:30 p.m. and get to bed at a decent time.

    But I am determined to get the family back on a routine, whether it’s a meal plan for the week or making sure the designated homework area is clear of clutter.

    And resuming a routine won’t just benefit the kids.

    My exercise routine has taken a hit as of late because of disorganization, lack of sleep. and a general lack of enthusiasm.

    People think I jump out of bed when my alarm goes off at 4:30 a.m. so I can arrive at the Y when it opens at 5 a.m.

    In reality, I’m lucky if I’m on a treadmill by 5:30 a.m. these days.

    I will readily confess that I didn’t show up until 5:48 a.m. Wednesday…and left at 6:06 a.m. for coffee. Priorities.

    There are a variety of reasons why I’m struggling to get back into a good exercise routine.

    Washing dishes late into the night, helping with homework that was “misplaced” until it was time for bed, or the inability to not watch whatever random Netflix show my husband is watching.

    The excuses are infinite.

    And it’s not just me who are struggling to get back into a routine.

    Throughout the day, I regularly see people who were dedicated 5 a.m. exercisers, but have fallen out of practice over the summer.

    After a variety of excuses, the conversation boils down to that they are out of their normal routine.

    They swear they will get back into a regular regimen after school gets back in session or after the holidays or when they can get more than 5 hours of sleep.

    Again, the excuses are infinite.

    But the time has come to dig out those sweatpants from the bottom of your laundry basket.

    While we all know the drill, here’s a few gentle reminders to get you back on track, whether it comes to exercising or just trying to fit something healthy back to your life:

    Lay out your workout clothes the night before.

    Whether it’s a swimsuit for a few laps in the pool or biking shoes for the indoor cycling class, you are more apt to fit in your exercise session if the clothes are out in the open and ready to go.

    Develop a training schedule.

    If you know you are supposed to do an hour on the treadmill or 20 minutes on the bike, you are more likely to stick with the plan.

    Join a fitness class or find an exercise buddy. There is nothing like the guilt of missing a few classes or knowing that someone is waiting for you at the gym to motivate you.

    And there is no time like the present.

    If we don’t get a routine established now, we will soon be derailed by other important priorities, like giant pumpkin flavored lattes, endless Christmas cookies, countless holiday parties, where you are going to try just one…of everything.

     Text

  • 07-Sep-2018

Since Monday was a holiday, everyone gets a free pass this shortened week to put off the inevitable: resuming a routine. (Who else kept thinking it was a Monday until at least 2:14 p.m. on Tuesday?)

With school back in session and sports practices underway and music lessons resumed, it is time to get back on a routine - on a healthy routine with more sleep, more exercise, nutritious meals and, in general, less chaos.

Monday, let’s aim for Monday with a full, glorious week ahead of us to establish a good, healthy routine.

But there is a lot of work ahead and a lot of bad habits to combat.

As summer progressed, bedtime at my house got later and later. It’s hard to go to crawl in bed - much less go to sleep - when there is still light in the sky.

As the first day of school approached, I tried to get my kids to bed earlier.

But even two weeks in, we are still struggling to eat dinner before 8:30 p.m. and get to bed at a decent time.

But I am determined to get the family back on a routine, whether it’s a meal plan for the week or making sure the designated homework area is clear of clutter.

And resuming a routine won’t just benefit the kids.

My exercise routine has taken a hit as of late because of disorganization, lack of sleep. and a general lack of enthusiasm.

People think I jump out of bed when my alarm goes off at 4:30 a.m. so I can arrive at the Y when it opens at 5 a.m.

In reality, I’m lucky if I’m on a treadmill by 5:30 a.m. these days.

I will readily confess that I didn’t show up until 5:48 a.m. Wednesday…and left at 6:06 a.m. for coffee. Priorities.

There are a variety of reasons why I’m struggling to get back into a good exercise routine.

Washing dishes late into the night, helping with homework that was “misplaced” until it was time for bed, or the inability to not watch whatever random Netflix show my husband is watching.

The excuses are infinite.

And it’s not just me who are struggling to get back into a routine.

Throughout the day, I regularly see people who were dedicated 5 a.m. exercisers, but have fallen out of practice over the summer.

After a variety of excuses, the conversation boils down to that they are out of their normal routine.

They swear they will get back into a regular regimen after school gets back in session or after the holidays or when they can get more than 5 hours of sleep.

Again, the excuses are infinite.

But the time has come to dig out those sweatpants from the bottom of your laundry basket.

While we all know the drill, here’s a few gentle reminders to get you back on track, whether it comes to exercising or just trying to fit something healthy back to your life:

Lay out your workout clothes the night before.

Whether it’s a swimsuit for a few laps in the pool or biking shoes for the indoor cycling class, you are more apt to fit in your exercise session if the clothes are out in the open and ready to go.

Develop a training schedule.

If you know you are supposed to do an hour on the treadmill or 20 minutes on the bike, you are more likely to stick with the plan.

Join a fitness class or find an exercise buddy. There is nothing like the guilt of missing a few classes or knowing that someone is waiting for you at the gym to motivate you.

And there is no time like the present.

If we don’t get a routine established now, we will soon be derailed by other important priorities, like giant pumpkin flavored lattes, endless Christmas cookies, countless holiday parties, where you are going to try just one…of everything.

 Text

Running through a mid-life crisis

  • Recently, a friend shared a post about extreme exercise as the new mid-life crisis. Rather than buying a new sports car, people are turning to exercise and participation in extreme sporting events as they reach middle age.

    The article featured 40- and 50-year-olds who had taken up ultra running, usually 50 to 100 mile races, and Ironman triathlons, where you swim, bike and run for 140.1 miles.

    They were squeezing in countless hours of training between jobs, family and involvement in the community.

    But it’s the “why?” which is different than from mid-life crisis’ of the past when a husband would trade in his wife for a newer model to prove he wasn’t getting old.

    Today’s 40 year olds aren’t trying to reclaim their youth.

    Instead, they want to know that they can still accomplish something difficult; that you don’t have to be young to complete these extreme events; that they aren’t dead yet and still have a lot to prove.

    And at many of these events, the 40 year olds are posting faster times than the 20-year-olds.

    How is this possible?

    Maybe it is dedication.

    Maybe it is more time to train.

    Maybe it is a greater tolerance for pain.

    Or maybe it is simply because we don’t care what we look like in a swimsuit anymore so we spend less time fussing in front of a mirror and more time in the water.

    Faster times by the older crowd also hits close to home.

    As part of the Republican River Fitness Series, a collaboration between the YMCA and Community Hospital, the winners are routinely from the 40 and 50-year-old division.

    In fact, at Randy’s Run two weeks ago, a 60-year-old won the half-marathon. Yes, I just gave away Ray Chmiel’s age but he was so fast, he deserves the kudos.

    As I finished the article, I glanced at my schedule for the month of September and realized it could have been written about me and my friends.

    Over the next three weekends, my hubby, friends and I will participate in several long-distance events in three different states.

    We will travel to Kansas for a 70-mile gravel grinder, because riding 70 miles on a smooth, paved road just isn’t tough enough.

    We will complete (hopefully) a half-Ironman distance triathlon in Colorado.

    And then we will participate in a 60-mile bike ride from Omaha to Lincoln, to benefit MS research.

    We will actually stay home the final weekend of September for Heritage Days.

    (Here is my shameless plug for the Heritage Days Road Race, which is Saturday, Sept. 29, at 7:30 a.m. near Norris Park.)

    And it is a reasonable, doable 3.1 miles on the streets and trails of McCook.

    Bring the strollers, your dogs, it is just a great way to start off a fun weekend for Heritage Days.

    Why are we putting in all this time training and traveling and discovering new aches and pains as we push our bodies to the limit?

    It is not because we need more medals and t-shirts or the recognition.

    Instead, we enjoy being among friends who understand the pain after you’ve been on a bicycle seat for six hours.

    We treasure that push of a tailwind after riding 25 miles into a 20 mph headwind.

    And we hope that leading a healthy, active lifestyle now will pay dividends down the road, so we are able to stay active when we are older.

    Especially, when we hit that late-mid-life crisis a few decades from now when we take up hang-gliding or bobsledding.

     Text

  • 31-Aug-2018

Recently, a friend shared a post about extreme exercise as the new mid-life crisis. Rather than buying a new sports car, people are turning to exercise and participation in extreme sporting events as they reach middle age.

The article featured 40- and 50-year-olds who had taken up ultra running, usually 50 to 100 mile races, and Ironman triathlons, where you swim, bike and run for 140.1 miles.

They were squeezing in countless hours of training between jobs, family and involvement in the community.

But it’s the “why?” which is different than from mid-life crisis’ of the past when a husband would trade in his wife for a newer model to prove he wasn’t getting old.

Today’s 40 year olds aren’t trying to reclaim their youth.

Instead, they want to know that they can still accomplish something difficult; that you don’t have to be young to complete these extreme events; that they aren’t dead yet and still have a lot to prove.

And at many of these events, the 40 year olds are posting faster times than the 20-year-olds.

How is this possible?

Maybe it is dedication.

Maybe it is more time to train.

Maybe it is a greater tolerance for pain.

Or maybe it is simply because we don’t care what we look like in a swimsuit anymore so we spend less time fussing in front of a mirror and more time in the water.

Faster times by the older crowd also hits close to home.

As part of the Republican River Fitness Series, a collaboration between the YMCA and Community Hospital, the winners are routinely from the 40 and 50-year-old division.

In fact, at Randy’s Run two weeks ago, a 60-year-old won the half-marathon. Yes, I just gave away Ray Chmiel’s age but he was so fast, he deserves the kudos.

As I finished the article, I glanced at my schedule for the month of September and realized it could have been written about me and my friends.

Over the next three weekends, my hubby, friends and I will participate in several long-distance events in three different states.

We will travel to Kansas for a 70-mile gravel grinder, because riding 70 miles on a smooth, paved road just isn’t tough enough.

We will complete (hopefully) a half-Ironman distance triathlon in Colorado.

And then we will participate in a 60-mile bike ride from Omaha to Lincoln, to benefit MS research.

We will actually stay home the final weekend of September for Heritage Days.

(Here is my shameless plug for the Heritage Days Road Race, which is Saturday, Sept. 29, at 7:30 a.m. near Norris Park.)

And it is a reasonable, doable 3.1 miles on the streets and trails of McCook.

Bring the strollers, your dogs, it is just a great way to start off a fun weekend for Heritage Days.

Why are we putting in all this time training and traveling and discovering new aches and pains as we push our bodies to the limit?

It is not because we need more medals and t-shirts or the recognition.

Instead, we enjoy being among friends who understand the pain after you’ve been on a bicycle seat for six hours.

We treasure that push of a tailwind after riding 25 miles into a 20 mph headwind.

And we hope that leading a healthy, active lifestyle now will pay dividends down the road, so we are able to stay active when we are older.

Especially, when we hit that late-mid-life crisis a few decades from now when we take up hang-gliding or bobsledding.

 Text

Don't forget these activities in the fall

  • While we may be elbow deep in fall sports right now, we should not forget that there are other opportunities available for kids at the YMCA.

    For example, high school swim teams don’t start practice until November, but the YMCA youth swim leagues will kick off their first practices right after Labor Day.

    Registration is now open for the McCook YMCA swim team, which is open to anyone who can swim the length of the pool without assistance, using any stroke with fairly good form.

    There is some leeway on “good form” because anyone who has watched me swim, especially when fatigue has set in, may wonder if they should jump in and save me from drowning.

    The purpose of swim team is not teach someone how to swim, but to rather develop and improve their swim form.

    But swim team also instills a life-long love of swimming, whether for fun or competitively.

    While the season is rather long with practices and meets from September through March, the schedule is very flexible.

    Practices are Monday, Tuesday and Thursday evenings.

    But life does get in the way, so participants are encouraged to attend as many days as possible.

    After all, the old adage still holds true: you get of something, what you put into it.

    Because the swim teams travels to other YMCA pools for swim meets, participants are required to be YMCA members.

    But otherwise, there are no age restrictions or skill level requirements. Just a desire to get better and to have fun.

    After taking a hiatus for the summer, Rookie Sports resumes next week.

    The league is open to four- and five-year-olds as a way to introduce them to a variety of sports throughout the year.

    The skill-development program is designed to introduce children to the basics of sports in a fun and inviting environment, featuring a new skill and sport each session, which is one month long,

    The league is designed to teach the fundamentals of sports and other activities such as yoga and Zumba, while emphasizing learning, confidence building, socialization and most of all - having fun.

    Parents can sign up for a month at a time or for the entire school year or just for the sports they would like their child to try.

    Rookie Sports takes place every Wednesday from 5:15-6 p.m., long enough to cover a skill or two, but short enough to keep their attention.

    Well, keep it as long as you can keep a four-year-old’s attention.

    And another event taking place right now might be overlooked and seem out of season.

    Typically, lifeguard training hits high gear in the spring as kids and adults get ready for the summer swim season.

    But the YMCA is offering an American Red Cross lifeguard training session the next two weekends (counts as one session), as well as a second session over Christmas break.

    The YMCA pool does not close down just because the weather turns colder.

    In fact, the swimming pool is just as busy - if not busier - over the winter.

    Between swim lessons, fitness classes and swim team practices, the pool is scheduled every moment of the day with some sort of activity.

    If we could add another lane or two to the pool, I’m sure we would be able to fill it with something…and not just water.

    For more information about any of these activities, please check out the YMCA website, www.mccookymca.org.

     Text

  • 24-Aug-2018

While we may be elbow deep in fall sports right now, we should not forget that there are other opportunities available for kids at the YMCA.

For example, high school swim teams don’t start practice until November, but the YMCA youth swim leagues will kick off their first practices right after Labor Day.

Registration is now open for the McCook YMCA swim team, which is open to anyone who can swim the length of the pool without assistance, using any stroke with fairly good form.

There is some leeway on “good form” because anyone who has watched me swim, especially when fatigue has set in, may wonder if they should jump in and save me from drowning.

The purpose of swim team is not teach someone how to swim, but to rather develop and improve their swim form.

But swim team also instills a life-long love of swimming, whether for fun or competitively.

While the season is rather long with practices and meets from September through March, the schedule is very flexible.

Practices are Monday, Tuesday and Thursday evenings.

But life does get in the way, so participants are encouraged to attend as many days as possible.

After all, the old adage still holds true: you get of something, what you put into it.

Because the swim teams travels to other YMCA pools for swim meets, participants are required to be YMCA members.

But otherwise, there are no age restrictions or skill level requirements. Just a desire to get better and to have fun.

After taking a hiatus for the summer, Rookie Sports resumes next week.

The league is open to four- and five-year-olds as a way to introduce them to a variety of sports throughout the year.

The skill-development program is designed to introduce children to the basics of sports in a fun and inviting environment, featuring a new skill and sport each session, which is one month long,

The league is designed to teach the fundamentals of sports and other activities such as yoga and Zumba, while emphasizing learning, confidence building, socialization and most of all - having fun.

Parents can sign up for a month at a time or for the entire school year or just for the sports they would like their child to try.

Rookie Sports takes place every Wednesday from 5:15-6 p.m., long enough to cover a skill or two, but short enough to keep their attention.

Well, keep it as long as you can keep a four-year-old’s attention.

And another event taking place right now might be overlooked and seem out of season.

Typically, lifeguard training hits high gear in the spring as kids and adults get ready for the summer swim season.

But the YMCA is offering an American Red Cross lifeguard training session the next two weekends (counts as one session), as well as a second session over Christmas break.

The YMCA pool does not close down just because the weather turns colder.

In fact, the swimming pool is just as busy - if not busier - over the winter.

Between swim lessons, fitness classes and swim team practices, the pool is scheduled every moment of the day with some sort of activity.

If we could add another lane or two to the pool, I’m sure we would be able to fill it with something…and not just water.

For more information about any of these activities, please check out the YMCA website, www.mccookymca.org.

 Text

Nothing to do? Not in McCook

  • Today, I dropped off the third Graff child for college at UNL.

    A few weeks ago, we were talking about all the things he would be able to do in Lincoln, from meeting new people to participating in new opportunities to attending new events.

    That is when he lamented that McCook didn’t offer those same options.

    It is true that McCook doesn’t have the same range of restaurants and shopping and can’t host the same number of activities; we simply don’t have the population base to support everything we want here.

    But you cannot say we don’t have anything to do.

    This past weekend is a perfect example of amply opportunities and activities in the area, from Old Settlers in Indianola, to the Malleck Memorial Thrashing to the Prairie Roots Festival in Barnett Park.

    And those are just a few of the events around the area.

    But it took people coming up with an idea. It doesn’t have to be complicated, but it does take willingness to devote time and energy to a plan.

    For example, look at the Dive-In Movie, the YMCA hosted Friday with Youth Change Reaction as a back-to-school event for 11-19 year olds.

    It’s a simple idea: show a scary, water-themed movie while sitting in the water.

    But the idea involved collaboration between the YMCA and YCR and McCook High School, which loaned the video and audio equipment.

    It took organization to figure out how to create a movie theater in the pool area.

    And it took people willing to give up their night to host the event.

    A huge thank-you to YMCA Aquatic Director Anna Sis and her lifeguards, Alex Erickson, Alissa Erickson and Moriah Payton, for guarding the pool during the movie.

    The response before and after has been great to the event and it is something the YMCA hopes to again, perhaps showing Finding Nemo and Little Mermaid for the younger crowd or Sharknado (so bad, the original made-for-TV-movie has three sequels) for an adult-themed evening.

    People wants things to do for themselves and their families, but that requires stepping up to help when asked or when you see an opportunity.

    Another great example is youth sports at the YMCA, which cannot function without volunteers.

    With youth flag football and youth volleyball registration ending Friday - hint, hint parents - teams will be forming, which means coaches, assistant coaches and officials will be in high demand.

    We need parents and adults willing to step in and coach their child and someone else’s child. (O.K. it’s not always necessary to coach your own child and in fact, I’ve discovered it can actually be easier to not coach your own child.)

    It is a commitment of time, of expertise and most importantly, of patience.

    Without those willing to step up, we wouldn’t have a program.

    So thank you in advance to those volunteering this fall for youth sports.

    Many people will say they are already busy.

    And that is true.

    But if we want to have a vibrant, successful community, we need to people willing to volunteer for these events and activities.

    And then - and this is almost just as important - take the next step:

    Show up for these activities.

    I’m not making this last part up:

    While standing in the middle of Prairie Roots Festival concert on Sunday, someone lamented to one of the organizers that there was nothing to do in McCook and that we needed more fun events.

    It would have been funny if he didn’t have to shout his concern over the music.

     Text

  • 17-Aug-2018

Today, I dropped off the third Graff child for college at UNL.

A few weeks ago, we were talking about all the things he would be able to do in Lincoln, from meeting new people to participating in new opportunities to attending new events.

That is when he lamented that McCook didn’t offer those same options.

It is true that McCook doesn’t have the same range of restaurants and shopping and can’t host the same number of activities; we simply don’t have the population base to support everything we want here.

But you cannot say we don’t have anything to do.

This past weekend is a perfect example of amply opportunities and activities in the area, from Old Settlers in Indianola, to the Malleck Memorial Thrashing to the Prairie Roots Festival in Barnett Park.

And those are just a few of the events around the area.

But it took people coming up with an idea. It doesn’t have to be complicated, but it does take willingness to devote time and energy to a plan.

For example, look at the Dive-In Movie, the YMCA hosted Friday with Youth Change Reaction as a back-to-school event for 11-19 year olds.

It’s a simple idea: show a scary, water-themed movie while sitting in the water.

But the idea involved collaboration between the YMCA and YCR and McCook High School, which loaned the video and audio equipment.

It took organization to figure out how to create a movie theater in the pool area.

And it took people willing to give up their night to host the event.

A huge thank-you to YMCA Aquatic Director Anna Sis and her lifeguards, Alex Erickson, Alissa Erickson and Moriah Payton, for guarding the pool during the movie.

The response before and after has been great to the event and it is something the YMCA hopes to again, perhaps showing Finding Nemo and Little Mermaid for the younger crowd or Sharknado (so bad, the original made-for-TV-movie has three sequels) for an adult-themed evening.

People wants things to do for themselves and their families, but that requires stepping up to help when asked or when you see an opportunity.

Another great example is youth sports at the YMCA, which cannot function without volunteers.

With youth flag football and youth volleyball registration ending Friday - hint, hint parents - teams will be forming, which means coaches, assistant coaches and officials will be in high demand.

We need parents and adults willing to step in and coach their child and someone else’s child. (O.K. it’s not always necessary to coach your own child and in fact, I’ve discovered it can actually be easier to not coach your own child.)

It is a commitment of time, of expertise and most importantly, of patience.

Without those willing to step up, we wouldn’t have a program.

So thank you in advance to those volunteering this fall for youth sports.

Many people will say they are already busy.

And that is true.

But if we want to have a vibrant, successful community, we need to people willing to volunteer for these events and activities.

And then - and this is almost just as important - take the next step:

Show up for these activities.

I’m not making this last part up:

While standing in the middle of Prairie Roots Festival concert on Sunday, someone lamented to one of the organizers that there was nothing to do in McCook and that we needed more fun events.

It would have been funny if he didn’t have to shout his concern over the music.

 Text

Going out on a limb - blog post image

Going out on a limb

  • Trying something new and different can be daunting, but the next two weeks will include two vastly different events that will test nerves, stamina and will-power…and that is just the participants.

    The first event is the movie, “Jaws,” which will be shown on Friday at the YMCA.

    The back-to-school event is open to students 11 to 19 years old, who will sit on floaties in the pool and watch the film on the west wall of the YMCA pool.

    There will be blood.

    There will be detached limbs. (Get the headline yet?)

    There will be scary moments as the movie-goers watch Jaws from the comfy confines of the pool.

    We have had more than one person offer to swim underneath those floating in the pool. Rest assured, we have turned them all down, although it was mighty tempting.

    The event is a collaboration between the YMCA and YCR (Youth Change Reaction, a youth organization with the McCook Community Foundation Fund).

    With a limit of 100 students, you can take a chance and sign-up the evening of the movie. Doors open at 8 p.m. with the movie to begin at 8:30 p.m. But parents are encouraged to stop by the YMCA before Friday night and sign the release for students.

    There is no charge for the movie, although a free-will donation will be accepted.

    The “Dive-In” movie is open to both YMCA members and non-members, but participants must also be able to swim.

    One of the most interesting parts of this whole project has been the realization that “Jaws” is rated “only” PG. \It was released in 1976, before the PG-13 rating was created.

    This movie is a known entity about a shark which terrorizes a town.

    Spoiler alert: townspeople die and the shark does meet her demise at the end, quite graphically.

    So, parents need to consider whether the movie is suitable for their child.

    Despite the chewy subject matter of the movie, response to the “Dive-In” movie has been tremendous. Actually, people are upset that it’s not open to all ages.

    But if this event goes well, we hope to host future water-themed movies at the YMCA, such as Finding Nemo or Little Mermaid. There is the potential of a flood wet fun.

    Randy’s Run

    Also, brand new is Randy’s Run on Saturday, Aug. 18, which includes a 5K, half-marathon and a four-person team category.

    The course covers 3.1 miles at Red Willow State Recreation Area north of McCook.

    There is no easy way to say it: the course is tough as it covers the trails around the lake, the hills on the lake road and the uneven ground across a field.

    But it is the turn-around we are most excited about: the new bison viewing area with the potential of running up to the herd of bison at Hugh Butler Lake.

    Randy’s Run is being held in memory of Randy Andrew who passed away last August.Randy was the coordinator for the Bison Alumni Newsletter, hence the race logo featuring a bison and created by Tara Peterman, art teacher at MHS.

    Those who participate in this latest addition to the Republican River Fitness Series will also be testing their nerves, stamina and will-power, just like those watching Jaws.

    But on the plus side, there will be fewer sharks involved.

     Text

  • 09-Aug-2018

Trying something new and different can be daunting, but the next two weeks will include two vastly different events that will test nerves, stamina and will-power…and that is just the participants.

The first event is the movie, “Jaws,” which will be shown on Friday at the YMCA.

The back-to-school event is open to students 11 to 19 years old, who will sit on floaties in the pool and watch the film on the west wall of the YMCA pool.

There will be blood.

There will be detached limbs. (Get the headline yet?)

There will be scary moments as the movie-goers watch Jaws from the comfy confines of the pool.

We have had more than one person offer to swim underneath those floating in the pool. Rest assured, we have turned them all down, although it was mighty tempting.

The event is a collaboration between the YMCA and YCR (Youth Change Reaction, a youth organization with the McCook Community Foundation Fund).

With a limit of 100 students, you can take a chance and sign-up the evening of the movie. Doors open at 8 p.m. with the movie to begin at 8:30 p.m. But parents are encouraged to stop by the YMCA before Friday night and sign the release for students.

There is no charge for the movie, although a free-will donation will be accepted.

The “Dive-In” movie is open to both YMCA members and non-members, but participants must also be able to swim.

One of the most interesting parts of this whole project has been the realization that “Jaws” is rated “only” PG. \It was released in 1976, before the PG-13 rating was created.

This movie is a known entity about a shark which terrorizes a town.

Spoiler alert: townspeople die and the shark does meet her demise at the end, quite graphically.

So, parents need to consider whether the movie is suitable for their child.

Despite the chewy subject matter of the movie, response to the “Dive-In” movie has been tremendous. Actually, people are upset that it’s not open to all ages.

But if this event goes well, we hope to host future water-themed movies at the YMCA, such as Finding Nemo or Little Mermaid. There is the potential of a flood wet fun.

Randy’s Run

Also, brand new is Randy’s Run on Saturday, Aug. 18, which includes a 5K, half-marathon and a four-person team category.

The course covers 3.1 miles at Red Willow State Recreation Area north of McCook.

There is no easy way to say it: the course is tough as it covers the trails around the lake, the hills on the lake road and the uneven ground across a field.

But it is the turn-around we are most excited about: the new bison viewing area with the potential of running up to the herd of bison at Hugh Butler Lake.

Randy’s Run is being held in memory of Randy Andrew who passed away last August.Randy was the coordinator for the Bison Alumni Newsletter, hence the race logo featuring a bison and created by Tara Peterman, art teacher at MHS.

Those who participate in this latest addition to the Republican River Fitness Series will also be testing their nerves, stamina and will-power, just like those watching Jaws.

But on the plus side, there will be fewer sharks involved.

 Text

YMCA closing for much needed work

  • We are going to cover a lot of ground, both literally and figuratively, so hold on for another short-attention-span column…

    As all house and building owners know, maintenance and improvements are simply needed, whether daily, monthly or yearly.

    The YMCA is no different.

    Once a year, the entire YMCA gym floor is receives a new coating so that it retains a nice, shiny appearance.

    Rocks and dirt from people’s shoes take their toll over the year, so it is necessary to close down and refinish the floor to prevent further damage and keep it usable for years to come.

    The gym will be closed Friday for the refinishing project and remain closed through the weekend.

    The YMCA plans to remain open Friday until its regular closing time of 7 p.m.

    But if the fumes from the gym project become too overwhelming, the YMCA will close so please call if you are worried about the Y being closed upon your arrival.

    And I don’t claim to be a gym-floor expert but evidently the fumes get stronger as they dry, so the Y will be closed all day Saturday to air out the building.

    This is never a fun process but simply something that is needed if we want this facility to last.

    Another not-fun-process: closing down the locker rooms. Very few areas in the YMCA are used as much as the locker rooms so it is hard to do major improvements without disrupting service.

    But the locker rooms will be undergo further renovations next week, starting with the women’s locker room closing on Monday and Tuesday, followed by the men’s locker rooms on Wednesday and Thursday.

    Those with closed locker rooms are asked to utilize the family locker rooms near the entrance to the swimming pool.

    Now, anyone who has done renovation projects knows unsuspecting things inevitably arise, especially when it involves electricity and water, which this project does.

    So changes to the schedule are possible, so please contact the YMCA if you have questions.

    And thank you to everyone for your understanding as these improvements are made, but they will be worth the inconvenience in the end.

    *

    The fall sports season is right around the corner, which means teams are forming for the youth flag football and volleyball teams.

    The registration deadline is Tuesday.

    Games don’t start until Sept. 8, but between forming teams and practicing, that time will fly by, so get those first through sixth-graders signed up today.

    The volleyball games are played at the YMCA with the football games behind the McCook Junior High and Hiigh School.

    A few years ago, out of necessity because of flooding at Barnett Park, McCook High School allowed us to use the practice football fields behind the high school and junior high for football.

    It has been a blessing to have both sports located so close together…just ask any parent who previously darted between the Y and Barnett Park, trying to catch multiple children’s games.

    *

    Live Y’ers is the YMCA’s child care program, offered for elementary-aged school children after school or all-day when school is not in session.

    The YMCA staff is exploring the possibility of adding before-school hours, where children would be transported from the Y to their respective elementary schools in the morning. If this is something you need and would use, please contact the Y service desk for more information.

    *

    Finally, while the Y will be closed this weekend, next weekend is the last of the summer hours.

    Regular hours resume Monday, Aug. 13, which means later hours during the week and extended hours over the weekend including opening on Sundays.

    People have been outside all summer, enjoying the nice weather and tolerating the not-so-nice weather.

    It is time to venture inside more with school resuming and winter right around the corner….both thoughts which may make people cringe.

     Text

  • 03-Aug-2018

We are going to cover a lot of ground, both literally and figuratively, so hold on for another short-attention-span column…

As all house and building owners know, maintenance and improvements are simply needed, whether daily, monthly or yearly.

The YMCA is no different.

Once a year, the entire YMCA gym floor is receives a new coating so that it retains a nice, shiny appearance.

Rocks and dirt from people’s shoes take their toll over the year, so it is necessary to close down and refinish the floor to prevent further damage and keep it usable for years to come.

The gym will be closed Friday for the refinishing project and remain closed through the weekend.

The YMCA plans to remain open Friday until its regular closing time of 7 p.m.

But if the fumes from the gym project become too overwhelming, the YMCA will close so please call if you are worried about the Y being closed upon your arrival.

And I don’t claim to be a gym-floor expert but evidently the fumes get stronger as they dry, so the Y will be closed all day Saturday to air out the building.

This is never a fun process but simply something that is needed if we want this facility to last.

Another not-fun-process: closing down the locker rooms. Very few areas in the YMCA are used as much as the locker rooms so it is hard to do major improvements without disrupting service.

But the locker rooms will be undergo further renovations next week, starting with the women’s locker room closing on Monday and Tuesday, followed by the men’s locker rooms on Wednesday and Thursday.

Those with closed locker rooms are asked to utilize the family locker rooms near the entrance to the swimming pool.

Now, anyone who has done renovation projects knows unsuspecting things inevitably arise, especially when it involves electricity and water, which this project does.

So changes to the schedule are possible, so please contact the YMCA if you have questions.

And thank you to everyone for your understanding as these improvements are made, but they will be worth the inconvenience in the end.

*

The fall sports season is right around the corner, which means teams are forming for the youth flag football and volleyball teams.

The registration deadline is Tuesday.

Games don’t start until Sept. 8, but between forming teams and practicing, that time will fly by, so get those first through sixth-graders signed up today.

The volleyball games are played at the YMCA with the football games behind the McCook Junior High and Hiigh School.

A few years ago, out of necessity because of flooding at Barnett Park, McCook High School allowed us to use the practice football fields behind the high school and junior high for football.

It has been a blessing to have both sports located so close together…just ask any parent who previously darted between the Y and Barnett Park, trying to catch multiple children’s games.

*

Live Y’ers is the YMCA’s child care program, offered for elementary-aged school children after school or all-day when school is not in session.

The YMCA staff is exploring the possibility of adding before-school hours, where children would be transported from the Y to their respective elementary schools in the morning. If this is something you need and would use, please contact the Y service desk for more information.

*

Finally, while the Y will be closed this weekend, next weekend is the last of the summer hours.

Regular hours resume Monday, Aug. 13, which means later hours during the week and extended hours over the weekend including opening on Sundays.

People have been outside all summer, enjoying the nice weather and tolerating the not-so-nice weather.

It is time to venture inside more with school resuming and winter right around the corner….both thoughts which may make people cringe.

 Text

Comraderie is Key

  • As you read this, I am among 25,000 people who get me, who get my family as part of the annual bike ride across Iowa.

    Every single one of them owns at least one bicycle and, more than likely, owns several bikes. Every single one of them has spent 5 or 6 hours on their bike seat for several days in a row, just this week. And every single one of them has crested a hill, thinking it is the last one for the day, only to discover another hill to descend and then climb.

    And we are loving it ...well, most of it.

    As we stood in line this week (one of the downsides to so many people descending on a small town), someone asked my group why we do the bike ride year after year.

    The initial answer is simple: it’s fun.

    My friends and family enjoy riding bikes, seeing the countryside, being outside for hours on end.

    But as I thought about it more, I realized that we return to these multi-day bike rides for the same reason that people participate in team sports, that people join service organizations, that people will travel with their entire family: Because they love the comraderie of being with people who are like them, in good times and bad.

    On these bike rides, we are with people who also have a passion for bicycling. They are willing to chance a ride in bad weather, knowing that the clouds will part and good weather will return. They are willing to try a route with hills which will make their legs scream in agony, knowing that they will get to feel the wind through their hair as they fly down the next hill.

    As people drag themselves through the front door of the YMCA at 5 a.m., they know others are there who feel the same way, whether it’s weary-eyed because of the early hour and oddly giddy because their workout will be tough but will be an accomplishment for the day.

    Yes, we exercise to look good, to feel good, to exercise the demons, but we also go through all of the struggles and challenges becaues nothing make you feel close to someone like facing your limits next to them and knowing they are also facing their limits, and between the two of you, you’lll get through it.

    There is a camaradrie of suffering, an understanding shared only by those who choose to do what others won’t or can’t. A cararadrie of people who are willing to suffer for the feeling of accomplishing something great. People who will run, bike, swim or lift weights while others sleep, or suffer the heat while others sit in air conditioning, just to know the satisfaction of pushing themselves to do what they don;t want to do.

    Whether inside on a spin bike at rYde class or on a road bike somewhere in Iowa, it is that comraderie which gets you through, the comraderie which is key.

     

     Text

  • 27-Jul-2018

As you read this, I am among 25,000 people who get me, who get my family as part of the annual bike ride across Iowa.

Every single one of them owns at least one bicycle and, more than likely, owns several bikes. Every single one of them has spent 5 or 6 hours on their bike seat for several days in a row, just this week. And every single one of them has crested a hill, thinking it is the last one for the day, only to discover another hill to descend and then climb.

And we are loving it ...well, most of it.

As we stood in line this week (one of the downsides to so many people descending on a small town), someone asked my group why we do the bike ride year after year.

The initial answer is simple: it’s fun.

My friends and family enjoy riding bikes, seeing the countryside, being outside for hours on end.

But as I thought about it more, I realized that we return to these multi-day bike rides for the same reason that people participate in team sports, that people join service organizations, that people will travel with their entire family: Because they love the comraderie of being with people who are like them, in good times and bad.

On these bike rides, we are with people who also have a passion for bicycling. They are willing to chance a ride in bad weather, knowing that the clouds will part and good weather will return. They are willing to try a route with hills which will make their legs scream in agony, knowing that they will get to feel the wind through their hair as they fly down the next hill.

As people drag themselves through the front door of the YMCA at 5 a.m., they know others are there who feel the same way, whether it’s weary-eyed because of the early hour and oddly giddy because their workout will be tough but will be an accomplishment for the day.

Yes, we exercise to look good, to feel good, to exercise the demons, but we also go through all of the struggles and challenges becaues nothing make you feel close to someone like facing your limits next to them and knowing they are also facing their limits, and between the two of you, you’lll get through it.

There is a camaradrie of suffering, an understanding shared only by those who choose to do what others won’t or can’t. A cararadrie of people who are willing to suffer for the feeling of accomplishing something great. People who will run, bike, swim or lift weights while others sleep, or suffer the heat while others sit in air conditioning, just to know the satisfaction of pushing themselves to do what they don;t want to do.

Whether inside on a spin bike at rYde class or on a road bike somewhere in Iowa, it is that comraderie which gets you through, the comraderie which is key.

 

 Text

Appreciating the indoors

  • I have a confession to make:

    Sometimes...especially during the summer...I exercise outside, rather inside at the Y.

    When the weather is nice, it is hard to beat a nice bike ride to Culbertson for breakfast. There is the joy of a run on the trail through Kelley Park and spotting deer or turkey among the trees. And the other night after a swim at Red Willow SRA, my friends and I sat around and watched the sunset over the lake. It was the perfect way to end the day.

    But Mother Nature must be cooperating and she’s not always that nice. When the wind is howling, the rain is pouring or the snow is blowing, that is when you truly value the Y.

    And sometimes, it’s even things we wish for such as sun and warmth, which can make you dream of being inside.

    A couple weeks ago, I participated in a triathlon in Boulder. Leading up to the event, my friends and I had two primary concerns: the lack of oxygen and the mountainous terrain. After all, we more than double the altitude from training in McCook to swimming in the Boulder Reservoir. And a 15-percent-grade hill seven miles into the bike ride forced some participants to walk to the top.

    But it was a third element which really took its toll: the heat and sun. As we embarked on the 6-mile run, the sun was beating down in all its’ glory. While organizers tried to be prepared at aid stations, they quickly ran out of the most coveted item: ice cubes. We finished but were not sure if we were dehydrated from sweating so much or water-logged because we tried to drink so much.

    With people are outside more during the summer, they may not immediately notice the changes when they return to the Y.

    But hop on a treadmill or a rowing machine and you will notice a difference. Dozens of new pieces of exercise equipment arrived earlier this week, either replacing older models or adding to the units already in place.

    All the bikes for the rYde class - the indoor spinning class - were replaced with the most current models available. The excuse for going so slow because of the bike has been removed; now, it’s all on the rider.

    Several of the treadmills were replaced with new models, including two with distinct features.

    In addition to one already in the Y’s line-up, one of the new treadmills will both incline and decline. Many people assume running downhill is easy. It is at first. But do it for a while and parts you didn’t know exist will start to hurt.

    Another treadmill is going retro - partially. It needs no electrical hook-up because it is manual. However fast the runner or walker is going, that is how fast the treadmill will turn. It still has a display to measure distance and speed, but if you want the treadmill to move, you must get moving.

    And for those fond of the rowing machine, the Y has doubled the fun. The original rowing machine was actually a used model, donated to the Y. It has been replaced with a new unit with a second rowing machine added because of the its’ popularity.

    So even if the sun is shining, stop by to try out the new equipment. I’ll even provide the ice.

     

     Text

  • 20-Jul-2018

I have a confession to make:

Sometimes...especially during the summer...I exercise outside, rather inside at the Y.

When the weather is nice, it is hard to beat a nice bike ride to Culbertson for breakfast. There is the joy of a run on the trail through Kelley Park and spotting deer or turkey among the trees. And the other night after a swim at Red Willow SRA, my friends and I sat around and watched the sunset over the lake. It was the perfect way to end the day.

But Mother Nature must be cooperating and she’s not always that nice. When the wind is howling, the rain is pouring or the snow is blowing, that is when you truly value the Y.

And sometimes, it’s even things we wish for such as sun and warmth, which can make you dream of being inside.

A couple weeks ago, I participated in a triathlon in Boulder. Leading up to the event, my friends and I had two primary concerns: the lack of oxygen and the mountainous terrain. After all, we more than double the altitude from training in McCook to swimming in the Boulder Reservoir. And a 15-percent-grade hill seven miles into the bike ride forced some participants to walk to the top.

But it was a third element which really took its toll: the heat and sun. As we embarked on the 6-mile run, the sun was beating down in all its’ glory. While organizers tried to be prepared at aid stations, they quickly ran out of the most coveted item: ice cubes. We finished but were not sure if we were dehydrated from sweating so much or water-logged because we tried to drink so much.

With people are outside more during the summer, they may not immediately notice the changes when they return to the Y.

But hop on a treadmill or a rowing machine and you will notice a difference. Dozens of new pieces of exercise equipment arrived earlier this week, either replacing older models or adding to the units already in place.

All the bikes for the rYde class - the indoor spinning class - were replaced with the most current models available. The excuse for going so slow because of the bike has been removed; now, it’s all on the rider.

Several of the treadmills were replaced with new models, including two with distinct features.

In addition to one already in the Y’s line-up, one of the new treadmills will both incline and decline. Many people assume running downhill is easy. It is at first. But do it for a while and parts you didn’t know exist will start to hurt.

Another treadmill is going retro - partially. It needs no electrical hook-up because it is manual. However fast the runner or walker is going, that is how fast the treadmill will turn. It still has a display to measure distance and speed, but if you want the treadmill to move, you must get moving.

And for those fond of the rowing machine, the Y has doubled the fun. The original rowing machine was actually a used model, donated to the Y. It has been replaced with a new unit with a second rowing machine added because of the its’ popularity.

So even if the sun is shining, stop by to try out the new equipment. I’ll even provide the ice.

 

 Text