The Longest Week of [My] Summer

It’s not like Bug to be the face of canine depression, but even she couldn’t keep up with this past week.  [And perhaps she is jut a little dramatic.]

Bug: bored

Last week marked the second full week of being the MADness in Charlottesville, and it was a long one thanks to life AND the Memorial Day extension.

We kicked off week two with a growing group of now ‘regular’ faces, and great new-to-them intervals that will set their foundation of familiarity, and indoctrination into the MAD methods. We’ve had a number of full classes both weeks, and no empty ones, so I’m pretty happy with that start.

MADville

I personally kicked off my second week straight of taking classes with little to no rest days, and a continuation of the respiratory illness that I have been fighting (but not really doing anything about) since before we opened.  Exactly the opposite of the balance I believe in.

Now, let me be the public service announcement stressing the importance of taking rest days, and listening to your body.   The moment I stopped taking the time to really focus on my own fitness schedule (which sometimes means RESTING); eating clean meals over convenience food;  hydrating more than caffienating; and most importantly sleeping enough, I unbalanced my own scales.   When we hit crunch time for getting MADville opened,  I could no longer hear the warnings from my own body — except for the lung burning and rib crunching coughs that came out of it.

I now have a rib injury that is entirely self-inflicted… from coughing. So what’s the moral of the story? Be kind to your body.  Rest it, nourish it, and listen to it.  Sometimes the last thing your body needs is another workout, so take a day off.  And then, take another one off for safe measure.

Instead of hanging out in the sun and officially living out the end of summer by a pool or at a vineyard, I spent the last few days of the week indoors hugging my survival kit.

cough bin

I’m not great with idle time, typically, but when I found myself with a few hours of unplanned freedom (thanks to Dar and April for picking up my classes) I took the opportunity to get reacquainted with the kitchen and the last remaining ingredients in the fridge.

Per usual, there was a salad, and this one consisted of a bed of romaine and kale, topped with tomatoes, cucumber, purple onion, and roasted pumpkin seeds.

salad

The main dish was split into two options to create some great leftovers for the rest of the week on both fronts.

I browned some ground turkey with onions (in coconut oil) and threw in zucchini and yellow squash with it.  In two different pots/pans.

Pan number one housed this base combination of ingredients, and kept things simple.

ground chicken scramble

In pot #2 (or #1, depending on how you look at it) I had the same basic foundation (ground turkey, zucchini, onion, squash) with a few added plops of whole foods pasta sauce and two containers of free range chicken stock.

ground turkey soup

 

This was possibly the most simple solution I could come up with to fill my need for some fresh soup, and it totally did the trick.  The rainy weather helped me to love on this soup a little more than normal in August, and was the perfect answer to soothe my cough (and spare my ribs).

Since ready-to-eat protein in the fridge is a complete necessity around here, I threw the last remaining steak from the Wolf Creek Farm’s cow share on the grill and called it a meal.

steak

With good food in me, and rest under my belt, the rest of the weekend managed to shape up into a little more mobile few days, still taking the time to rest and refuel when necessary.

I took time off from my own sweats to let my body heal, and instead enjoyed watching the athletic pursuits of others around grounds at UVa, starting with Men’s Soccer on Friday night at Klockner Stadium.

UVA Men's soccer

I haven’t been to a soccer game in a few years, so it was awesome to return and just relax in the stands.  Saturday, after the 8:30 and 9:30 classes, I managed to fit in a ‘quick’ 3 hour nap before heading over to Scott Stadium for the first Football game of the season, where we actually beat BYU.

UVA Football v. BYU

The only slight bump in the game was the 1st half evacuation of the entire stadium due to an impending thunder storm (lightning included).   In case you were wondering what that was like, it’s pretty much like mass confusion, but if you’re ever faced with this scenario where it’s a seemingly low-level emergency, remember this: be the first out.  Why? Because you’ll get the best seats in whatever building you decide to take cover in.  That’s what we did.

This was the scene from my super cozy seat after the space had filled — not too shabby.

Rice Hall

 

The rest of the weekend followed suit with some good relaxation time, some more new client faces getting MAD, and a restful transition into week three.  Also, I went grocery shopping, so things are just about back on track.

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i Heart Walking

My heartstrings have always been easily pulled by compelling causes, the struggles of friends, and the many health threats that seem both impossible and too easy to cure.  I’m lucky to have so many friends and family that are committed to health and fitness not only as a part of their own healthy active lifestyles, but as a lifestyle and commitment that they share with others.  It’s such an amazing community, and one that can touch so many people in very powerful ways.

On September 21st I’m participating in the Charlotte Heart Walk, as the team leader for ‘i Heart Walking’ team.  My goal isn’t a monetary one, necessarily, but a goal of connecting all of my friends (and their friends) from the fitness community in Charlotte to walk in solidarity for stronger hearts and healthier lives.  We all live, promote, and spread our active lifestyles for the same reason – because we feel passionately about health, a health that goes deeper than appearance, and impacts the quality and and length of our lives.

A few weeks ago a friend of mine, and a former fellow lemon (translation: we worked together for lululemon) shared this incredible video that documents one of her family member’s battles with an acute heart disease.  Please take a moment to watch it and share in her experience.

We don’t always think about heart disease impacting us at younger ages — its so easy to place it in a different age category and out of our minds.  The reality is that heart disease, and it’s varying levels of acuteness, impacts all age groups.   Lauren’s video, very powerfully, conveys this message and her story shares the harsh reality of how important heart health and the work of the American Heart Association really is.    The work of the American Heart Association benefits an incredible number of heart related illnesses, support programs, and individuals, all with their own stories, struggles, and battles to keep on beating.

Save Lauren's Heart

Please join my team, donate, or spread the word to make a difference at this year’s Heart Walk in Charlotte.   I would love nothing more than to walk in a sea of my favorite Charlotte fitness enthusiasts, and friends, all representing their fitness families as one united community committed to heart health, and active lifestyles.

I will be there representing my own MADlifestyle with a full and hopeful heart.

Full Health + 1/2 Birthdays: Celebrating the Good

The total chaos of the past few weeks left little time for grocery shopping, and even less time for at-home food preparation.  The unfortunate consequence of all this was that meals became few and far between, and resulted in frequent meals out.  On the other hand, the fortunate upside is that living in Charlottesville allows for pretty awesome clean eating (if that’s your thing).

Still on my kale binge, I was beyond excited to walk into The Farm and see these fresh Kale salad’s being set out for lunch.

Kale from the farm

I grabbed a huge water (since coffee had been overly dominant in my total beverage intake), a banana to add a little more to the meal, and happily set up back at the office.

There were carrots, sunflower seeds (my favorite) and a lemon juice and salt dressing.  I’m a huge fan of citrus dressing on Kale salads, and if it sits for a little while prior to eating it, it softens the leaf so it’s not such a huge dry crunch.  My dad actually gave me that tip and has an orange kale salad that is on my short list to make this fall.

kale lemon salad

The week I discovered this amazing lunch option at The Farm happened to be two weeks prior to opening the Charlottesville location, and the week that my parents were coming to visit.

One of the most exciting summer traditions in my parent’s lives (that sounds sad, but it’s not…) is my dad’s garden.  Growing up we always had an overflow of tomatoes, lettuce, peppers, and whatever other vegetables we chose to plant that year.  In the last few years my dad has started growing Kale, and it yields such a huge and continuous crop that he some with him.

Ralph Kale

This is just a small bunch from the huge bag he brought, and went into a number of meals, smoothies, and salads over the following two weeks.   But that all happened after my parents left. While they were here, the food tour of Charlottesville continued — and hit it’s peak during Dar’s 1/2 birthday party.

Since life has been crazy, and work has been even crazier, our clients, friends, and all of Dar’s boyfriends (with their significant others) met at Champion Brewing Co for a surprise 1/2 Birthday + 1 year in Charlottesville night of fun.

Dar Birthday at Champion

It was a great distraction from the (then) half-complete build out, and an amazing group of people.

Champion: Dar's birthday

After we left Champion, we all walked over to one of my favorite local spots – Mono Loco – to continue the fun, just with food.   Dar led the way, ‘Up-style’ with the balloons Uday got her, attached to her belt.

Dar's 1/2 birthday

Throw in some bubbles and Dar was a happy 1/2 birthday girl.

Bubbles

Surprise parties, beer, and bubbles aside, the night was desperately needed.  There are times in life when everything collides at once: stress, work, and anxiety; and we don’t take care of ourselves the way we should.  Sometimes that means not eating well, other times it comes from sacrificing our own workouts, and most times, it means we’ve deprived ourselves of the happy and fulfilling stimulus of being surrounded by friends and conversation.

food blog: mono loco

food blog: mono loco

I think that’s the  piece of the ‘health’ recipe that we sometimes miss – the complete and total human need for other humans.  For friends, for connections, and for the ability to escape the stress of regularly scheduled life.

mono loco

The last few weeks, through our opening, it has been this third element of health, and life, that has been so critical in keeping things in perspective– lessening the weight of all we have to do.  I am so grateful for all of the support from friends, family, and our new growing community — seriously thank you all, it has truly made all of the chaos worthwhile.

Today marked the end of the 1st week of business, and was met with a full 9:30am class – full of bodies and full of energy –  which made for an amazing morning.  Tomorrow begins week 2, and I can’t wait to see what it holds.  I’m thinking that more friends and less stress are exactly what’s on the menu.  Plus, I finally managed a full-restock of the fridge, so things are definitely looking up.

MADville is Open + I’m Back on the Blog

Hey there.  It’s been a while.

The last couple of months have been beyond packed, prepping to open the MADness in Charlottesville.   As we got down to the wire, I had to unplug for a while, but I’m finally (almost) back to normal.  And you know what that means — we’re finally up and running in Charlottesville.

MADville

It was an incredibly long road (relatively speaking) to finally get here, and given that fact, it was even more exciting to open the doors and share our MAD lifestyle with Charlottesville.  Plus, I absolutely love how our space turned out.

MADville desk

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There is something so vulnerable, raw, and simultaneously empowering about opening the doors to a business that you’ve invested so much of your energy into.  This past weekend was exactly that, but so much better.

We offered four days of free preview classes, and had 200 people come through the door- some familiar faces, and some brand new.  We were lucky to have one of our business partners, Georgi, up from Charlotte to coach and help bring the brand alive.

MADville preview week

One of the things that I have always loved most about Charlottesville is how active and vibrant the community is.  Runners (both marathon and recreational), yogis, triathletes, swimmers, rowers — we have it all, and an overflow of active individuals driven both by competition, and an inner drive for well-rounded health.  That’s exactly what our brand is about.  Our programming was developed to feed that need of the athletically minded and to enhance the performance of competitive and elite level athletes .

MADville

This week was our first week of official business, and I could not be more humbled and excited by the response of the community and all of our clients.  Our clients have brought in so much energy, and so many friends, that it actually feels like we’ve been open for months.

MAD pricing

Tomorrow marks the official end to our first week of business, and we’re kicking off the morning with a full class.  It feels good to look at that in the system, but I can tell you it feels even better when we’re in the middle of a full, energy laden, and intense interval.

Now that I’m just about caught up with everything to be just marginally behind in life, I can catch up in all of the amazing meals, community finds, and updates that have been held back.  Also, don’t be surprised if you see the blog get a facelift — I’ve been getting antsy with it, and I feel like fall is a good time for a style change.

 

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.