Wednesday, August 27

As Seasons Pass

by Richard Kordesh

Each gardening season blossoms differently.  After this year’s extended winter, we faced a halting start with a few of our traditionally reliable vegetables.  Perhaps because the cold had lasted well into April, fewer bugs turned up as food for the birds in May and June.  To compensate, our winged friends ate seedlings that, in past years, they had left alone.  Beets sown in May barely saw the light before being nipped to the ground.

Consequently, we had to restart cucumbers and pole beans.  I adjusted to the birds’ heightened interest by spreading loose netting over the lost plants’ replacements.  This second time around, the cucumbers spread and the pole beans surged.   Today, the latter’s vines stand over six feet tall.  Beet and arugula seeds rest, waiting to spawn a fall crop.

The season unfolded uniquely in other ways as well. This is the first summer in which Maureen and I have experienced our habitat alone.  Our youngest, Greg, remained at the University of Iowa after the spring semester.  The four bedrooms that kids used to occupy now stand empty. 

Yet, even with the family more dispersed, the garden still draws us together for celebrations, reflections, and horticultural renewal.  In late spring, Tim dropped by to seed a row of black-eyed peas.  Home for a short break, Greg started two rows of sweet onions.  Kathy planted roses, astilbe, peonies, and hydrangea: their flowers will adorn benches and tables at her wedding next June.

Despite the challenges, our roots hold firm, even as our vines spread to new places.

Guest blogger Richard S. Kordesh is the author of Restoring Power to Parents and Places and has worked professionally in the community development field for 35 years. Visit Richard's website for more

Tuesday, August 19

New JCC Fitness Specialist Is A Real Ironman

by Lisa DeHayes

“Swimming for me is like trying not to drown for an hour,” says JCC newcomer and Fitness Specialist, Chad VanDerwall. 

Still, Chad has been hitting the waves a lot lately, training for his first full Ironman competition in Louisville later this month. The event includes 2.4 miles of swimming, 112 miles of biking and a full marathon, 26.2 miles…all in one day.

He’s also been hitting the bike trails lately. Chad and his wife, Becky, moved to Indianapolis a little more than a month ago when she got accepted for a yearlong pharmacy residency at I.U. Health. Chad’s been training by biking the Monon Trail…and beyond. One weekend, he continued past the trail to Kokomo (about 80 miles roundtrip in case you’re wondering).

But Chad most enjoys running. The new course he’s teaching, Athletic Performance Training, is designed for runners, particularly those who want to compete in the Monumental Marathon on November 1. 

“But it’s really for anyone who wants to increase his or her functional movement,” Chad says. 

Chad modeled the course after a run camp in Michigan for people training for a 5k through marathon. 

“There were about 1,000 people enrolled in the camp and we divided into groups of five to 10 runners,” he says. “It was designed to help anyone at any level, beginners to pros.”

Chad says Athletic Performance Training is structured so that it can be tailored to the individual. There will be a dynamic warmup, leg strengthening using a variety of Power Pack and Band Shuffler exercises, followed by core building. 

“For core work, it’ll be not just abs, but lower back and hips, too,” Chad says.

When he’s not working or training, Chad and his wife are most likely grabbing a bite to eat in Broad Ripple or making a different kind of pit stop with Charlie, their four-legged family member, at the dog park in Broad Ripple Park.

Chad Fast Facts
·       Favorite restaurant: The jury’s still out, but Boogie Burger is a frequent stop
·       Hometown: Kalamazoo, Michigan
·       Sports: Played and coached high school hockey
·       Favorite team: Detroit Red Wings (but he’s a fan of Peyton Manning)

·       Favorite music: Anything by Eminem