Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Go ahead and tri it!

Often when people conjure up there idea of what a Triathlon is, they usually see the hardcore ESPN version, in other words, people wobbling out of control from their body shutting down, incapable of producing the necessary muscle synapses required to finish the last 10 feet to the finish line. Sounds like a blast eh? Well, triathlons, like any other sport, don't start by throwing newbies into the Superbowl just so the fans can watch Troy Polamalu rip your head off.

They start small.

A "Sprint" Triathlon is the one most people cut their teeth on, and for some, it's all they'll ever do because they're fun and the training doesn't have to consume your free time. In fact, most fit people could participate in a sprint triathlon tomorrow without suffering more than a bit of Advil grade soreness. Let's break it down so you know how easy it really is.

  • First the swimming, in a regular "Full" Triathlon its 2.4 miles, a "Sprint" triathlon is only 0.47miles or 1/5th the distance.

  • Then, you ride your bike for 12.4 miles compared to 112 miles in the full triathlon you see on ESPN. To put the 12.4 in perspective, I ride 13-18 miles almost every day and it takes me between 45 minutes to an hour.

  • Last, you run 3.1 miles (a 5k) compared to 26.2 (a marathon) in the full triathlon.

So all in all, its a nice way to spend a Saturday morning.

I bring this up because for the first time, Rose Park is hosting a Sprint Triathlon out of the Northwest Recreation Center. The event has been conservatively advertised (I work in a tri-related industry and I have only heard of it mentioned once) but nevertheless, it is an opportunity for us as Rose Park residents to get out there and show the city and our children & families that we care about being fit and healthy. Unfortunately, the tri is currently in jeopardy of being canceled due to a lack of participation. In fact, according to a source at the Rec center, the decision will be made by this Friday as to whether or not the race will be held. In support of this event, I am considering a possible change from riding in the Front Runner Metric Century (consequently held on the same day) to participating in the Northwest Sprint Triathlon.

If you, or any of your friends would be interested in helping to make this event a success, please contact Kara Batt at 385-468-1305 or by email before this Friday! you can also click the link below to get more information like route details, packet pick-up info, and start times. Please pass this on to everyone you can think of, Rose Park needs this event, and events like it to be a success. If this one fails, future events will surely be disadvantaged.

Thanks to all of you.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Crowded House - New recreation center could use more classes, at more times

Many of you have made it over to to the newly constructed (and remodeled) Northwest Recreation Center. Whether it's been to watch your kids splash in the pool, or trim off those unwanted winter pounds in the cardio room, you may have noticed a similar theme to your visit.

It's already too small.

"Parking is a nightmare sometimes" says one member of RPR. "In my last Zumba class (spelled "Zoomba" in some parts of the country) we were elbow to elbow in that little room. I'd hate to see what the kickboxing class looks like." Martin Jensen is quoted in an article in Park & Rec Trades that “The center has been busy since the day it opened. We have had to hire more staff to handle the number of patrons using the facility." Martin is the Marketing and Public Relations Manager for Salt Lake County's Parks and Rec System.

Granted this 62,000 square foot center is substantially smaller than many others across the valley. For example, The new J.L. Sorensen Recreation Center is nearly double its size at 107,500 square feet. However, the Northwest Recreation Center serves not only a smaller demographic, but one that's consistently labeled as less likely to exercise. In a survey completed in 2009 by the Deseret News, Rose Park was in the top 4 (of 64 neigborhoods) of the most obese neighborhoods with an obesity rate of 31.7% compared to Summit County which comes in at 11.51%. With all that fat that needs to be burned off, wouldn't it make sense that we would need a bigger facility? The massive Sorensen Center on the other hand serves the 13th most fit community in Herriman, Bluffdale, & Riverton.

Alas, that's not how our politicians understood the equation, for they are the ones that determined the spending budget from funds collected from the ZAP tax (Zoo Arts & Parks). They ultimately determined the size and scope of our new facility. All is not lost however, the efficiency of our new rec center is still being assessed. A lot more could be done in terms of offering classes more frequently. For example, spin classes are only taught a couple times a week and usually around 8 or 9 in the morning. Who can do that? Most folks are at work during that time. I'd like to open up our comments section to this story on what experiences you've had, good or bad, and what you'd like to see change. We'll be more than happy to pass the information on to the folks at the Rec Center in hopes that they might accommodate a few of our requests.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Get to know your reps - Jen Seelig

I sat quietly in a one of two striped wing-back chairs near a fourth story window that looked over the city. The air was clear by winter standards allowing Mount Olympus and other landmarks to be identified like a life-size "Where's Waldo" page. Another gentleman strolled into the opulent room, fresh from the house floor, speaking so quietly on his cell phone that his presence was soon forgotten. The room was well appointed though surprisingly small. In truth, I was actually impressed by its humble dimensions, recalling far larger and far less comfortable spaces within some of the larger homes I've been in.

After a few more minutes of library-like reverence the massive mahogany door, dividing me from the bustle of the House Floor, opened before a smiling Jen Seelig walked through. She walked through the collection of ornate furniture while telling her aid that she had a 4:30 appointment waiting in her office. I looked at my watch, it was 4:28.

We shook hands, she apologized and informed me we had about 5 minutes. I looked at my list of questions and began trimming off the fat. As a result some of the answers here have been paraphrased.

RPR: "What area makes up your District?"
Jen: "Basically it's west of I-80 and north of I-15 within the boundaries of SLC."

RPR: "And you're a Rose Park resident right?"
Jen: "Yep, I live on Lafayette. I've been there for hmmm... about ten years now"

RPR: "What brought you to Rose Park"
Jen: "You know, I liked it the first time I came through. I bought my first and my second house here. I like how walkable it is. I bought the first place with my friend when I moved here and when I needed a little more space I bought another house in the neighborhood."

RPR: "In the time that you've been here do you feel like the neighborhood has improved or declined?
Jen: "Well I would say improved because of the relationships I have with my neighbors. The longer I've been here the more people I know and interact with and that makes it better. So I would say improved"

RPR: "Do you see yourself an an ambassador of the West Side and if so, what message do you send to those you interact with?
Jen: "Sorry what?" (she stares at her phone for a few seconds reading something before dismissing it. - I repeat the question)
RPR: "Do you see yourself an an ambassador of the West Side and if so, what message do you send to those you interact with?
Jen: "Absolutely I do. I love my neighborhood and that's what I tell people all the time. Sure there are things like health disparities that I'm concerned about but as a whole it's a great place. I love my neighbors, I can walk to Chubby's (restaurant), Smiths, its great."

RPR: "Without elected officials or any structured political pull, what role does our community council play in the decision making process and is the system still relevant?"
Jen: "Actually, this is basically what my dissertation is on. I'd love to talk to you more about this when we have more time. As for being relevant I think its still relevant, it just needs to adapt maybe."
RPR:"So... broken but not obsolete?"
Jen: "I wouldn't say broken because that infers that it doesn't work. It works but it needs to adapt a little in order to be more effective."

RPR: "If you had unlimited funds and an army of workers what would you change about Rose Park."
Jen: "You know, I'd like to see more community shopping opportunities, like the 10th North and 9th West area. There is a little there but it seems like we could do more with that space.
RPR: Like restaurants or shops?
Jen: "Yeah, I mean, we have a few things already like Chubby's which I love, but as a community, we could use a few more options that are within walking distance.

Jen: "I'm sorry, I've gotta go."

I ask her a few more questions as I snap a few pictures and collect my things.

RPR: "Favorite movie?"
Jen: "Wow, man. It's been since December that I've seen one."

RPR: "Trib or Des News?"
Jen: "Trib"

We both stood up, she shook my hand, said thank you, and escorted me through a few corridors I could no sooner find again if I had to. We soon reached an elevator which presumably led to her next appointment. I looked to my right amidst a sea of white marble and found the stairs I walked up on my way in. I said thank you once more as I walked away, listening to the nearby conversation of three men as it echoed off the walls. The man in the middle was Governor Herbert.

Watch for our next installment of "Get to know your reps" in the months to come. I wonder who the next one will be?

Photo Credit: Kevin Rogers

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Don't make them beg.

I have to take a second to make one thing clear. I work hand in hand with our Community Council and right now, they need our help. The Rose Park Community Council was once one of the strongest, most well attended councils in the city with nearly 100 attendees per meeting. Lately, we seem lucky to have 30 or 40 people show up and many of the opinions and voices that I hear every day are not being shared. Most of the people who are not attending are the young folks, the first time home buyers, but there are others too. I have heard many people say "I used to attend" or "I went once but it didn't seem very productive." I would respond by saying something my mom always told me, "you get out of it what you put into it." Right now we are putting very little into it and it shows. Our goals at Rose Park Revival will never get accomplished without the Rose Park Community Council. First of all, soliciting donations and corporate sponsorships is substantially more difficult without a 501(c)3 Non-Profit status which RPR cannot acquire because of our involvement as an advocacy group. Being an advocacy organization by regulation precludes us from obtaining our own 501(c)3. This isn't all bad. Each designation allows each organization certain abilities that when working together, can be very effective.

I say all this because tomorrow is Wednesday, March 2nd, not just any Wednesday but the first Wednesday of the month. That's the day the Community Council meets at the Day Riverside Library. the meeting begins at 6:30pm and usually lasts about an hour to an hour and a half.

It is all of our responsibilities to attend, to get involved, and to make and keep our neighborhood the way we want it to be for generations to come.

Please, don't make them beg. They shouldn't have to.