Tag Archives: dog park

My Favorite Place to Run

10 Oct

I don’t talk much about Huntington on this blog, as was the intention when I started it. As you know, Huntington was named “America’s Unhealthiest City” in 2008, and since then the city has tried to outrun that embarrassing label. I can’t say we’ve completely turned ourselves around, but we have made significant strides:

  • The P.A.T.H. (Paul Ambrose Trail for Health), a 26-mile bike and pedestrian pathway that is being constructed, providing free health and recreation for Huntington and surrounding areas. In addition, an annual 5k, 10k and walk (dubbed “Fit Fest”) is held to raise money to continue construction on the trail.
  • Jamie Oliver came to our town to film his Health Revolution reality show, building us a state-of-the-art kitchen downtown which provides free healthy cooking classes for people of all ages.
  • In general, I see more and more people out walking, running and biking on a daily basis in town.

There is much more, but those are our largest accomplishments.

Surprisingly, Huntington may have one of the best areas I’ve ever seen for outdoor fitness: Ritter Park. I live exactly one block from the park, and it’s my very favorite place. I’ll attempt to give you a ‘virtual tour’ of our lovely park:

When you enter the park at 10th street, the first thing you see is the fountain:

Photo credit: This amazing blog post about Ritter Park.

The park is a wide, open grassy area with an awesome playground (trust me, my nephew will. not. leave. it. when he’s visiting) on the East end, and is surrounded by a wide gravel running/walking path that is (I’ve heard) 9/10ths of a mile. If you follow the path under the 8th street bridge:

This bridge was painted pink a few years ago for Breast Cancer Awareness and caused quite the uproar. It has since been repainted.

(There is a path underneath that bride so pedestrians don’t have to cross the road), you will be on the continued path which goes about 1.5 miles to the World War II Memorial Arch located at the intersection of where Ritter Park ends and Memorial Park begins:

A good photo of the path that you follow around to get under the bridge, again from the awesome blog post.

I actually took these photos!

On certain holidays, the GHPRD (Greater Huntington Park and Recreation District) hangs a giant flag on the arch. If I run from my front door to the arch and back, I have run exactly three miles. If I continue on the trail through Memorial Park (where my favorite water fountain is located) and back, I’ll have gone about 5 miles.

Backtracking back to the Ritter Park loop, if you don’t go under the bridge to follow the trail to the arch, but rather keep on the trail a bit, you’ll find a set of stone stairs that you can climb which will lead you to this gem:

The Ritter Park Rose Garden! The roses are in bloom Spring – Fall, and it’s seriously breathtaking. You can have your wedding there, and it’s quite cheap, but it doesn’t seat very many people, so it wasn’t an option for us. Perhaps some kind bridesmaid will read this and throw me a bridal shower there.

If you don’t climb the stairs to the Rose Garden, but continue on to the East End of the park again, you can make a right and you will see the tennis courts. There are 4 courts, I think, and they cover two of them for the winter. I don’t play tennis, so I’m not going to spend much time on those. However, after the tennis courts, there is a huge hill which is great for hill sprint repeats!

Tennis courts and the park building

If you climb the giant hill, at the top on the left is the brand new Huntington Pet Safe Dog Park. Huntington won a contest that was sponsored by Pet Safe which funded $100,000 towards our dog park, and it turned out great. It’s basically a large fenced in area where the dogs can run. There is a doggie drinking fountain, a small dog run, and that’s basically it, but man do the doggies love it.

On the right at the top of the hill is the Ritter Park Ampitheater:

 

Where outdoor concerts and outdoor theater are held.

And that’s about it! Ritter Park is about the best thing ever, in my opinion. I consider myself very lucky to live one block from such an awesome park where I can run, walk, and interact with other healthy residents of my town.

Recently, Ritter Park was named one of America’s Great Public Spaces by the American Planning Association, along with parks located in Denver, Chicago and Anaheim.  I don’t know if the residents of those cities are as pumped about the honor as the residents of Huntington were, but I’m guessing not. It’s great for our small town to be ranked up there with big cities. I truly think that Ritter Park deserves the honor. I run in that park most days of the year, and I never get sick of it.

Question of the Day:
What’s your favorite place to run? 

 

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Good News!

4 Oct

Good news! Waking up earlier proved to work out for me making it to the gym. I really do think setting my alarm earlier is the answer, because I like having a little time before I head out the door.

This morning, I set my alarm for 5:25 AM (it has been going off at 5:45) and those extra 20 minutes really helped. I got up and got dressed, then I was able to drink a glass of water, have a banana, read some blogs and then search for a good strength routine in my old magazines before heading to the gym.

I hit the treadmill first thing. My goal was 3 miles at half-marathon pace (9:40/mile), and then weights. Well, for some reason I was just not feeling the running so I did 1.5 miles and then told myself I’d do the rest after I hit the weight room.

I know you guys love it when I post photos of my treadmill display. I’ m a little worried about not running outside very much lately, but I’m doing all my long runs outside, so that should be ok for the half.

After that little run, I headed down to the weight room to do this power-pairs dumbbell workout that I found in the December 2010 issue of Women’s Health. It was TOUGH. One of the trainers saw me doing it and came over to ask to have a look at the rest of the workout. He said (and I quote), “I like that! It looks hard!” — he was right. It was a toughie. I did three rounds of 12 reps of each exercise (it calls for 15 reps, but I used heavy weights — 10 lbs for most of the moves, 8 for the others). I was definitely sweaty and out of breath when I was done.

Ok, speaking of workouts from magazines. Sarah (of SarahFit.com) did a video once about magazine workouts and how there is always one move that is just impossible to do. This workout was no different.

If you click up there where I linked to the workout, there is a video showing a fitness model doing this exercise and she seems to have no problem, but I could NOT do it. I can do those hamstring curls on the ball, but I need my arms out for stability. Adding in the dumbbells, I was all over the place. If you have a minute and the equipment, give it a try and tell me in the comments below if you could do it. Maybe I’m just a mess!

After that, I did get back on the treadmill, but I cut it short about half a mile because it was getting late. Oh well!

Rewinding to yesterday, I don’t know if you remember a couple months back when I wrote about how I had to get my learner’s permit because my Pennsylvania license had expired before I switched to West Virginia. Well, yesterday I finally bit the bullet, left work a little early and went to take my driver’s test. I’m happy to say that I passed with flying colors! I’m a licensed driver again!

After Zach and I got back from the DMV, I was starving, so I ended up not getting in my run for yesterday. I made dinner, and then we walked over to the Dog Park, where Margot (Courtney’s doberman puppy) had her Dog Park debut. Puppies can’t really go outside or be socialized with other dogs until they are 16 weeks old and have had their final Parvo vaccination. Apparently Parvo can live in the ground for a very long time. I had no idea!

I felt a little creepy going to the Dog Park without a dog of my own to contribute, especially since I’m a HUGE dog lover and I knew I would be petting everyone’s dogs like crazy! I wish I had some photos to show of the dogs I met, but they all moved so fast it was hard to get a photo, but here’s a photo of my other friend Courtney’s dog when she was all worn out from chasing a ball:

Yes, I have two friends named Courtney who have Dobermans. No, it’s not really that confusing — unless I’m blogging about them! Here’s a photo of Courtney Bell’s dog Margot for comparison:

Photo courtesy of Courtney Bell

So, you see, it’s completely different! The dog park was so fun. I met: a Newfoundland named Fat Head (he was awesome and loved the other dogs, but all the other dogs were afraid of him), two bulldogs, a puppy named Miko who was the same age as Margot but a quarter of her size, three chihuahuas, a bunch of mutts and a black lab that carried a soccer ball around in his mouth. It. Was. Awesome. I left wanting a dog RIGHT AWAY!

The walk to the dog park was about a mile, uphill, and then we walked back so yesterday ended up not being completely sedentary. I’ll tell you what, the sunsets here have been amazing lately:

Red sky at night, Sailor’s Delight. Red sky in morning, Sailor take warning.

I’m so excited for date night tonight! Registering at Macy’s and dinner at Ruby Tuesday’s (can’t wait for that salad bar!)

Question of the Day:
Do you have a dog? What kind? Can I dog-sit him so I can go to the dog park without being that creepy dog-less lady?