Welcoming November with Positivity + Cautious Optimism

November is here and I’m itching for some change.  Daylight savings ended this weekend and I wasted most of the extra hour thinking about time, and all of the things I daydream (usually when I’m fighting waking up in the morning) that I would do if I just had one extra hour to myself.  Usually those thoughts center around either getting up earlier to workout, or just sleeping later — something of a paradox really.

Even though the idea of actually gaining an hour has already burned off, I want to be more intentional about how I start my days off — not just through actual action, but also intention and approach.

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There’s something to choosing an intention for the day — a subtle focus and general goal for how to mentally approach the waking hours.  Life is way too fluid to be controlled, but there’s something pretty powerful about selecting the lens through which you view it and how it really does begin to shine through the other garbage that starts to pile on.  And maybe, just maybe, over time the garbage will decrease — either in reality, or perception.  At least that’s the goal.

One of the best parts of the day is when I get to check my personal email and the daily Truth Bomb’s from Danielle LaPorte — it’s such a guilty (or not so guilty, really) pleasure of mine….but I need to put the effort in to have my own.  My friends at Merch Colony are currently doing a daily gratitude challenge in preparation for Thanksgiving, so as I launch this new positive/daily intention, I’m going to err on the side of gratitude this month.  December can be focused on a little more positivity since I know I’ll need it once the temps dip below what is reasonable…in my opinion.

This morning, admittedly, I took about a 45 minute delay on being exceptionally positive as I got up to head to MADabolic Cville for the 6am class.  I’m not a super early person these days, so it’s always begrudgingly that I make the early morning classes.  The up-side is that once I’m in it, I love it.  After years of waking up way early for rowing I have a deep love/hate for pre-dawn movement, but my body is definitely conditioned to rise to the occasion, and by 7am I already feel accomplished, strong, and completely focused on the day ahead.

As I was making my (3rd) coffee of the morning (in the newly renovated kitchen that I will undoubtedly be sharing more about, and in, soon), I sunk deeper into an already positive mindset, with gratitude that I’m able to start of Monday so happily, so productively, and with such an amazing group of people.  Followed up by this view of the back yard and the water line of the Rivanna beyond the trees — and thus Monday began with gratitude and a warm mug of coffee in my hands.  Not too shabby.

fuel sweat grow: view from the kitchen window

On another positive note, I made my first full meal in the new kitchen this weekend, and it felt so great to have my favorite space back.

fuel sweat grow: fall squash and salad

fuel sweat grow: grilled pesto chicken

I’m really into late summer/fall style salads right now, and aside from the general add of some avocado, pesto chicken seemed like a solid path to cautiously embrace November.

So, I welcome you, November with positivity, a fully functioning kitchen, and the cautious optimism of someone with an extra hour to burn and anxious anticipation of the cold months I avoid all year.

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A Head-down, Strategy in Focus, Hard March Kind of Week

There’s nothing like the start of an up hill week to keep you humble.  It’s an amazing thing how Friday can bring such a natural tapering of events and urgency, but Monday never fails to re-open the flood gates.  C’est la vie, I suppose.  Which brings me to #23to30 guideline #6:

fuel sweat grow: humble mondays

 

Over the last year I’ve tried to routinize myself enough to set aside a chunk of time on Mondays for circling back on loose ends and setting a basic plan for the next 5 days.  It’s always humbling, and somewhat overwhelming, to look at the full list of to-do’s, so I like to take a moment (coffee in hand, in immediate route to belly) to make an execution plan.  Workload isn’t something that scares me – believe me, I love to work and I’m terrible at vacation – but I have to have a plan or even smallest sense of organization and structure.  I need a strategy for how and why I am doing things and big picture approach –  without that, I suffer from what feels like a severe adult case of no-freaking-focus syndrome.  I’m pretty sure that’s not an actual ‘medical’ diagnosis, but it should be, because I think all my friends have had it at one time or another (we’re probably just passing it back and forth via viral emails and Facebook posts).

The reality is, no mater what, I’ll eventually get it all done, but I’d prefer to not waste my time (or others’) to get there.  Whether it’s work, life, or a combination therein, it all seems to be about perspective and and vision.  When both of those things are present in the foundation, it’s not so hard to deal with the unexpected, or adjust on the fly.  All in stride, and all with a deep breath, and all with trusty cup of coffee (or beautiful glass of wine).

So far this week has required many moments of pause, coffee drinking, and list-making….and the fact that it’s not even half way over should probably scare me, but thankfully the careful structure of my sweat schedule has added an extra precautionary layer to boost my mental preparedness.

We wrapped up MAD cardio week on Sunday with the longest, most grueling, and most intense hamstring and glute interval that I had felt in a while, so I took today as a rest day with the full-on commitment to my sweats for the rest of the week, as follows:

Tuesday: MADabolic

Wednesday: MADabolic

Thursday:  Run + kettlebells + band stretch (yep, i’ll be posting this)

Friday: MADabolic + Stretch

Saturday: MADabolic + foam rolling / stretch

Sunday: REST.

This weeks focus is a head down, strategy in focus, and a hard march on toward the end-zone as a restart to this final quarter.  The holidays are coming sooner than we think, and it’s time to get prepped, so who’s with me? I’ve got barely three weeks until I turn 30 and you better believe that 29 is going to finish out stronger than it started….and this year has certainly been a big one so it’s go time.

Tiny Dog Camp, a Rest Day + Wednesday Chaos

Today was a day that seemed both endless and unstoppable.  It was so chaotic that I lost total bearing of myself and my surroundings.  I didn’t finish my coffee; I spent a solid 5 minutes midday trying to remember what I was looking for (the answer was a post-it to remind me of the very important thing I then couldn’t recall); I fell off my rocker at work; and then, as if that weren’t enough, the unthinkable happened — I forgot to pick my Bug up from day camp.  I failed tiny dog pick up 101, and if we’re being totally honest, that’s a pretty low bar.

fuel sweat grow: BugSays
note: this is the little peanut. but this is NOT a picture from tiny camp. she does not get tied up. really ever.

For the past two years I have joked about, and feared, the possibility that this day might come, and low and behold, here it is.  I guess I shouldn’t be surprised that it would land on a day that tipped the scales of chaos — who would forget their dog on a normal day? Wait…lets not tempt fate.  The good news is that I didn’t forget her ENTIRELY,  I was just late, and she didn’t have to spend the night.

That all being said, this evening didn’t exactly go as planned, and I got an unexpected and much needed rest night for my body.

So far this week my sweat schedule has been MAD (pretty literally), and I can feel my body desperately craving a little lovin’.  Here’s the week spelled out, end to end.

Monday : Run + MADabolic

Tuesday: MADabolic

Wednesday: REST ❤

Thursday: Run + Stretch class at truPilates

Friday: Run + Bodyweight circuit (to be posted)

Saturday: Monkey Gym Infused Pilates at truPilates

Sunday: MADabolic + downtown run

fuel sweat grow: MADabolic

So, in the spirit of putting the day behind me and moving on, I’m saying hello to tomorrow.  You, Thursday, have all the makings of an amazing day and I’m excited to meet you.   While chaos has been a main theme around here lately, it’s all for the better.  There are some pretty exciting things coming up for me, for MAD (cville) and projects beyond my current scope.  There’s no time like the present, so you better believe I’m going to try and squeeze every last drop out of what time I do have.

[Foam] Rolling Through Another Cville Weekend

On Tuesday afternoon I thought that this week may never end, but now, as we get ready to turn the page to what then was ‘next week’, I’m realizing that I’m already behind on tomorrow.

We’ve already ‘rolled’ through our Foam Rolling Clinic with Airrosti at MADabolic (Charlottesville), and are just under a week out from our Grand Opening Party at MADabolic (Charleston) – which if it’s anything like that community, is going to be incredible all around.  I’m heading back to Charlotte on Tuesday to squeeze a few days in the office before heading to Charleston.   Since I’ll be gone for the rest of the month,  I’ve been packing in every last second of Cville summer life while I can.

There are parts of my split and transient life that I love; the amazing friends, communities, and teams that I get to look forward to seeing in all the Charl-cities that I land in – but it’s the transitions out that are hard.   And of course,  leaving my little love bug behind is the absolute worst (even if she is so pre-occupied with her camp friends and holding down the fort in ‘her office’ at MAD to probably even notice).

fuel sweat grow: Bug Says MADness

After my much needed R&R on Monday, I got back into the MAD intervals on Tuesday and Wednesday, both of which were absolute crushers.  My arms and legs were so sore by Thursday that I had to make a point to walk around my office every 30 or so minutes, standing during conference calls, and finally at 6pm managed to run it out with a slow and steady 5 miles.  Friday was off in preparation for what was a very, very, MAD weekend.

Saturday morning the weekend crew was out in full force with waitlisters on deck to get in to all classes, as well as the Foam Rolling Clinic with Airrosti.  I played coach support and amateur photographer in the 8:30 class, and got to sweat it out in the 9:30.

fuel sweat grow: MADabolic Intervals

The Foam Rolling Clinic was led by Page, our favorite Airrosti guru and client, and was so unbelievably needed by all of us – judging from the groans and nauseous looks that were spread across the room.  Our community is so incredibly committed to our intervals and intensity, the clean eating we love to promote, and the strict rules about being on time and doing the full warmup, but its so much less prevalent to see anyone take more than a few quick minutes to really work-out the days work with a little foam roller or lacrosse ball.  And I’m fully open to the reality that I’m probably the worst – over the last year my yoga attendance has decreased by several thousand percent, and stretch class?  I wish.   This is definitely something that I’ll be talking more about (and committing completely to) to give back a little love to my body that I ask so much of.

Today was the first weekend that I’ve been in Charlottesville where I haven’t made it up to at least check in with the classes, but I just needed a morning to sleep, and slowly prepare for the day; long coffee, dog time, and then my favorite home cooked eggs for breakfast.

We had a 1pm kickball game – yes, that’s right, we have a MAD kickball team, made up of just a small sample of our awesome clients, friends, and coaches.

fuel sweat grow: MAD kickball

fuel sweat grow: MAD kickball

fuel sweat grow: MAD kickball

We’re not exactly Championship bound, but we do have a perfect record (it’s all how you look at it …backwards helps), but it’s a great group and a really fun way to sweat a little differently.

After the game I actually hit up MAD to get my sweat in for the day, just a little bit off the grid.  Heading there I wasn’t sure exactly what I was going to do – would it be today’s interval that I missed, or the one coming up for tomorrow?  In the end I decided on my own flashback to college, full out slideboard interval series that I would do with my strength coach as part of my cross-training and rehab when I was injured.  I needed a little break from weights, and it was perfect – details coming in the next couple days on what it all entailed after my Apollo Ono stance was put into action.  I think I missed my calling….but I also think I seriously missed the height cap for that sport, so I’ll settle for just living the dream when I can in the privacy of my own workout.

fuel sweat grow: slideboard speed skaters

To wrap up this very incomplete summary of an amazing weekend (including also Sarah Bareilles live at the Pavillion and dinner at Bella’s); here’s the short story of Sunday night dinner, as I love to make it with as many leftovers as I think the week can possibly handle:

fuel sweat grow: sunday night dinner in cville

[Steak (fresh ribeye, and flank steak from Whole Foods); brussel sprouts and broccoli slaw, both sautéed in coconut oil with a little crank of himalayan sea salt on top; roasted/grilled cauliflower; and a kale salad with cucumber, avocado, and a fresh lemon juice and olive oil dressing.]

All in all, it’s been a crazy-beautiful Charlottesville summer weekend and I wouldn’t have it any other way.  Charlotte, I think I might actually be ready for you this week – and I’m certainly ready for your yoga.

The Crunch: time + greens

I think I’m obsessed with kale.  I’ve always liked it just fine, but recently I’ve been craving it.

Usually when my body tells me it’s craving leafy greens I go with it – it knows better than I do – and with all the craziness of the last few months I just need a little more from my food.

We’re about two weeks out from opening the doors to Fight Gone MAD – Charlottesville, and it has been far less than a smooth buildout so we’re all feeling the time crunch.  In fact, I’d say it’s been a borderline nightmare on what should have been a simple project, so the extra anxiety has taken its toll on my body (or sanity).  So, in the spirit of making good of what is possible – I bought kale.  Lots of kale.

Kale

Since I live by the motto, ‘when in Whole Foods.’ I stopped by the meat counter to stock up on some of my favorite grass-fed cuts.

whole foods meat

Whole Foods happened to also be running a deal on chicken breasts, so I got a family pack to go with this meal, and the meat was stocked in the fridge for another meal to come (soon).

fuel sweat grow: food blog kale salad

For greens we had kale and asparagus – kale for the salad and asparagus to be grilled along with the cauliflower and chicken.

Fuel sweat grow: cauliflower + asparagus

In the salad the kale was met with some cherry tomatoes, avocado, cucumbers, and a little added spring mix.  A quick knock off of the House Seasonal salad at Nolen Kitchen in Charlotte I shared a few weeks back – it was exactly what I wanted.  Kale has an amazing crunch to it, while also being leafy, so the mixture of the different lettuces adds a great texture.

fuel sweat grow: kale salad

I made some guacamole as a side (with sliced carrot chips), and it doubled as the salad dressing.  It doesn’t take much on the fork or on a piece of lettuce to give it some flavor and saved me the trouble of getting into an oil/vinegar mixture.

guacamole: fuel sweat grow

This meal is exactly right for green-craving day.

fuel sweat grow: kale salad with chicken

It was so good that Bug achieved stalker status (two notches above begging) and employed her deep breath + audible sigh technique to voice her displeasure.

Bug says: stalking

As far as sweats go, I’ve been doing mostly around-town running this past week, fitting in to whatever time slot I have open, actually running to the location to meet with contractors and our super awesome property manager Fabian.

I did manage to slip in some few and far between garage workouts, one of which was last night (a Saturday nonetheless) at 8:45pm.  It definitely felt late, and being post-dinner was a little tougher to mentally cope with, but I needed the sweat, badly, and it was totally worth it.

I still owe updates on our training at Fight Gone MAD (Inc)’s flagship in Charlotte with our management team, and initial team of trainers, but until then, here’s a little peek at some of the canvases waiting to find their new home on the walls in Charlottesville.

fuel sweat grow: MADness photos

fuel sweat grow: fight gone mad canvases

CLT Revisited: Friends, Food + Fitness

I’ve been back in Charlottesville for over a week now, which means it’s (obviously) due time to circle back to my Charlotte trip and squeeze in a few things that got left out of the few-and-far-between updates as of late.

I have a ton going on right now with my attention being pulled in a million directions, so when I’m in Charlotte (especially when I’m in Charlotte) I know it’s important to emphasize sweats and structure in my day to stay focused and have the energy to knock the to-do’s off my list.

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From a sweat perspective, I spent most of my time bouncing between Fight Gone MAD and Flywheel and loved every second of it.  That being said, since both are pretty intense, every 3-4 days I would take a day to myself to run or walk (especially during the beach trip) giving a little solo time to myself and my body.  The most key piece of that experience for me is always music, and new (at least new to me) songs and playlists.

I managed to fill my adventures with some new choice songs that are definitely going to be deemed the ‘Summer of ’13 Soundtrack’ for my life, but none more frequently played (in its entirety) than the Delta Rae ‘Carry the Fire’ album.  I would not necessarily recommend it for high intensity workouts, or anything where you’re looking to really find increased motivation and energy, but it’s awesome for a walk, long run, or just basic listening.

If you want to test your own willingness to be vulnerable and do a little at-home therapy, lay on the floor and shut your eyes while you listen to their single ‘If I loved You,’ and let your mind wander to the past, or present, and the many complex and heart breaking layers of relationships, life, and trying to do the right thing.  The song is about as powerful as it gets and could probably bring the strongest of souls down to their knees- so listen at your own risk my friends.

On a much more upbeat note, I was also able to catch up with some amazing friends in Charlotte that I don’t usually get to see, and loved getting to catch up with over sweats, eats, and even a little jewelry.

I met my friend Cara for a walk around her neighborhood (and a ‘surprise’ walk to Harris Teeter to buy a few kitchen items she was out of  – coupons present a sense of urgency people.  We’ve always walked together, and use the time to get in a little physical and mental therapy.  It’s probably one of my favorite friend sweat rituals because it helps restore balance to my whole being and gives us a chance to reconnect, a process that takes all of about 5 seconds.   I have a number of larger take-aways from our conversations that will be part of future blogs and would be far too minimized to squeeze into a paragraph here.

The day after my walk with Cara, and post-Fight Gone MAD class, I ventured over to reconnect with my favorite little bulldog – Suki.

fuel sweat grow: suki Mcdermott-White

Suki is the four-legged fur baby, and jewelry model, of my friend Erin McDermott (White) who is one of my absolute favorite people on earth (and the only person that I seem to buy Jewelry from anymore).

Erin is in Charlottesville every couple of weeks so I do see her pretty regularly, but it had been almost a year since my last smooch from Suki so I took the opportunity to catch her at home while I could.  Suki has crazy awesome energy and calmed down on my lap only when it meant full neck to belly button rubs – oh and when we put a necklace on her.  Like any good model she knows when its business time and sat still(ish) in her chair for the photo op.

While I was there Erin handed me some earrings that were the nearest replicas to old favorites that I had back in college and lost somewhere during my journeys.

Erin McDermott earrings

I had sent her pictures several months back asking for re-creations, even though they were not the typical style she normally makes.  I had actually forgotten about it totally, but she had remembered and when she was working with another jewelry designer that had the right scraps and tools, they gave them a shot.  They are perfect.  I think they’re going to try and team up on some different sizes and variations which I could not be more excited about (and you should be too).

Since I can never get out of Erin’s without making additional purchases, I picked up a few extra tidbits including an elephant necklace that had been waiting for me to get it.

Erin McDermott: elephant

And some more droplet earrings to go with my collection of the similar items in Erin’s line.

Erin McDermott Jewelry

My last two special friend-visits were happily done over lunch, one with my amazing friend Lauren who is always sweating towards some goal – this time the Baltimore + NYC marathons in the fall.  She and I hit up Bad Daddy’s which is one of my all-time favorites, and lunch was a CYO salad of romaine, mushrooms, apples, cucumbers, walnuts, avocado, and grilled chicken with a vinagrette on the side.  No picture to share, but the combination is awesome for summer.

While Bad Daddy’s is a go-to spot, I think I found a new winning salad when I grabbed lunch with my friend Cadie at Nolan Kitchen.  I got the house seasonal salad which is typically a kale salad with beets, tomatoes, herbed goat cheese, pistachios, pita croutons and a honey-sumac dressing.  I added Chicken and some additional (spring) greens to mine, and can say with all honesty this is my favorite salad, probably ever.

fuel sweat grow: nolans seasonal salad

So, those were the fringe updates on my trip to Charlotte with a few more sweats, eats, and suki/jewelry treats.

All of these things were awesome and made me happy in my heart, which is really all I could have hoped for and totally completed the trip.  And best of all? Erin is now a Fight Gone MAD addict (like so many of us) and I can’t wait for her to workout with us in Charlotte at the South End location, and when she’s up visiting in Charlottesville.  Suki is welcome too, of course.