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.


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  • 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

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.

 

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