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Adventure, Biking, Exercise, Gym, Hiking

A workout that keeps me coming back

April 26, 2016

Below is a post I wrote recently for the Madabolic blog.

I have been going to Madabolic for almost three years now.  This is unusual for me as I tend to move from gym to gym and have tried almost every workout in the city. What I love about Madabolic is from the very first time I walked in, their team asked me about what I like to do and my fitness goals. I told them I wanted a good workout but also love to run, bike, do Flywheel, the occasional yoga, hike, ski and just about anything else outside. They said “greatyou should keep doing all of that and let’s figure out how to integrate our workouts into your lifestyle.” 

I appreciated that the team at Madabolic was more focused on how I could improve my lifestyle versus how many times I came to the gym. Most weeks I go to 2-3 classes with some running and other outdoor activities mixed in.

Recently, I told the trainers I was going to join some friends to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro which is the highest peak in Africa. The trip was only three weeks away when I made the final decision to go. I believe my training at Madabolic was a big reason I could say yes to an opportunity like this. Will Smith once said, “you don’t have to get ready if you stay ready.” The trainers even gave me a few things I could do outside of class to prepare for the climb.

I had an amazing experience on Mt. Kilimanjaro. We made it to the Summit (19,341ft.) after a 6.5 day journey. The view was incredible at the top.

mad trucker hat at summit

Leading up to the trip, I was a little worried if I would make it to the Summit. I used to do this with my workouts too…always wondering if I was doing the best one and so focused on the end result. However, the best part of Kilimanjaro was not at the top. What I really enjoyed was going on a journey with great people. I learned to appreciate the simple things. I loved doing something active everyday, taking in the surroundings and not knowing what the next day would bring.  “How you climb a mountain is more important than reaching the top.” – Yvon Chouinard (Patagonia Founder)

After getting back from Kilimanjaro, I have started to put these lessons into practice. My typical Saturday is a good example of this and is also my favorite day for Madabolic classes. The day starts with a 1 mile jog to Mad with my dog Brooks. He sits patiently outside while I workout.

brooks at mad

The workout keeps my mind stimulated, and I never know what to expect since the intervals change everyday. The trainers (Brandon, Kirk, Cristina, Sarah, Carl, Rae and Finley) are very intentional to watch my form and make sure I am getting the most out each repetition. The music is awesome and I am energized by the atmosphere.

mad workout


I usually leave tired, breathless but also with the satisfaction of feeling like an athlete again. After I catch up with a few friends, I grab Brooks and we jog over to Atherton Mill Market. The smell from Not Just Coffee is amazing so I grab a coffee and a Bruks Bar. I talk to my favorite farmers and sometimes buy things I have never heard of like Chinese Kale :).

The afternoon may call for some bike cruising around Southend with music playing on my speakers.

bike crusing

I usually have some Lord Huron, Kygo, Chvrches, Frightened Rabbit or “Beat It” by Michael Jackson going. I may have even poached a few songs from what I have heard during my workouts at Mad :). Another favorite activity is heading to the Whitewater Center for some Mt. Biking or kayaking with Brooks.

Dinner could be one of my favorite food trucks like Tin Kitchen, something healthy or making some homemade pizzas :). It just depends on what I want to enjoy most!

I usually hit the pillow at night pretty hard appreciating days like this. I am thankful for the team at Madabolic. I have a greater quality of life since starting there a few years ago.

I still get energized thinking about the next Kilimanjaro but until then…I am keeping the focus on how I climb.

Biking, Exercise, Leadership

24 Hours of Purpose

July 29, 2012

This past spring a friend asked me to join his team for a 24 hour bike race to benefit cancer. His father had recently passed away from the disease, so I really wanted to support his family by joining the team. And I had no idea how much fun we would have along the way.

The race is called the 24 Hours of Booty and right from the start it felt like a different race. Riding on a team for Patrick’s father brought real purpose to the event for me. And thousands of other people were riding for their loved ones or friends. There were signs throughout the race course and pinned on people’s backs like “in memory of daddy…miss you” or “in memory of my beautiful wife” or this one below. It seemed that everyone was out to ride for someone really important to them.


Each time I saw one of the signs, I was reminded of the reason I signed up in the first place. Yes, I was riding a bicycle as much as I could for 24 hours, but I was really there for something bigger than me. And so were 1200 other riders.

On Saturday morning, I even reconnected with the memory of one of my mom’s best friends who passed away from cancer last year. So, I wrote her name on my “in memory” of sign. Then I texted my mom and told her how much I missed Aunty Jay’s laugh. It was a nice moment.

We also had our fair share of fun throughout the event. I had such a blast riding through the night with other bikers lighting up the road. People lined the streets with huge tailgates and tents to cheer on the racers. And they all wanted high fives which I loved.

The event organizers were absolutely extraordinary, and there was a tremendous spread of food and drinks for all the riders. I have planned a few 5Ks before but can’t imagine what it takes to entertain and support people for 24 hours. Incredible.

I also had an amazing time getting to know some new friends on my team and share the experience as a group.

The race event taught me how to sleep with ice on my butt. Yes, all the riding does make you a little sore. And I learned that you get odd looks when you walk into a bar in all tights. It was the first time I stopped at a bar for a beer at 1am and then went back out to ride a bike for another hour.

It was a fantastic weekend with so many great memories. I will definitely be back again next year.

I think my biggest takeaway from the race was reconnecting with how to do activities with purpose and intention. Sometimes it is easy to forget why I am doing what I am doing each day. However, if I can connect each of my activities or tasks to something larger than myself, it sure does feel a lot easier. A 24 hr bike race sure got me re-centered, and that makes one plus one more than two for me. Have a great week.

Biking, Culture, Food, Hiking, Leadership, Running

Joy and Meaning List

June 23, 2012

One of my favorite exercises from Brene Brown’s book, “The Gifts of Imperfection” was creating a “Joy and Meaning List.” It really helped me align what I was doing with my life with what brought the most meaning and happiness.  As my good friend Carole tells me, it is important to focus on activities that raise your energy. This list was especially helpful as I debated what to do with downsizing and making a big leap with my career path. I have had this list below since last fall and then decided to add a few more tonight.

  1. Connecting with others
  2. Enjoying wine with friends
  3. A nice cooked meal
  4. Inspiring someone with a new perspective
  5. Learning something new
  6. Traveling to Europe
  7. Beautiful mountain scenic views
  8. Davidson athletics
  9. Coffee shops
  10. A casual walk
  11. A mid-afternoon nap
  12. Running with friends
  13. Being with my family
  14. Taking Brooks swimming
  15. Any activity with Brooks…
  16. Helping kids and young people
  17. Music…especially making a new mix
  18. Sharing ideas and being inspired
  19. Creating space for other people to embrace their authenticity
  20. Feeling loved and appreciated
  21. Writing my blog
  22. Living a life full of purpose
  23. Dancing…usually in a “unique” way
  24. Question games at dinner or Catch Phrase
  25. Getting to know someone at a very personal level
  26. Making an impact
  27. Being outside in the sun
  28. Hiking
  29. A healthy meal
  30. Eating at a nice restaurant
  31. Working out especially at an exercise class
  32. Making homemade pizzas
  33. Making someone laugh or smile
  34. A long bike ride
  35. Being a positive example for my younger brother
  36. Reading a great book
  37. TED videos
  38. Being around my Let Me Run boys at Nations Ford Elementary
  39. Protecting people’s access to information…a Library
  40. Laughing at my own jokes
  41. Tailgates and sporting events
  42. Live music
  43. Being there for a good friend
  44. Trying a new recipe
  45. Being present with others
  46. Encouraging people to do what they love
  47. Cultivating a sense of wonder and being in the moment
  48. Having a larger perspective with my life
  49. Intentionally trying to make someone’s day with my words or actions
  50. Being grateful for what I have

Well those are the ones that came to mind, and I am sure there are many more.  I would love to hear what some of yours are!  I invite you to share at least three that would be on your list in the comments section. Have a great week.

Biking, Exercise, Gym, Hiking, Leadership, Running

Mixing Exercise with Friends

December 13, 2011

Ever feel like you want to see your friends, but you also want to exercise? Why not mix the two activities? I was at the Dowd YMCA on Saturday morning when I ran into a good friend. I had just finished my workout, but I decided to jump on the stairmaster next to her to catch up. Without even knowing it, I ended up talking with her on the stairmaster for over an hour. I left the YMCA feeling refreshed with an extra hour of cardio and connected with a good friend.


This made me realize that I don’t always have to go get coffee, lunch, dinner or a drink when I want to see my friends. Now I could just ask if they want to head to the YMCA and talk on the bike, stairmaster or treadmill. Even if I have to pay a small guest fee, isn’t that less than the price of a meal or drinks? Yet, I am exercising and being active when I go to the gym.

What are some other ways we can do this? A short run outside, a nice walk, a hike or a bike ride come to mind. I have another friend that I meet on occasion for a bike ride, and I realized this really has just been another way for us to stay in touch. When I go home to Florida, I always meet an old friend for a run on the beach, and some of my best blog ideas came from those runs. Sharing ideas, enjoying the outdoors, exercising, soaking up the sun…a lot of wins here. The picture below is from Stone Mountain, NC where I got to spend a whole day hiking with close friends. Since I took the picture, Brooks represented us in the photo! It was an amazing day that I still talk about.


So what other ideas do you have to incorporate exercise into catching up with friends? You may save some money, improve your well-being and walk away a little happier. It happened to me on Saturday at the YMCA, and that makes one plus one more than two for me.