Tag Archives: Roanoke

The Road To Home

Wow, the past two weeks (or months) have been busy.  As I launched my very own fitness program and workout model (www.crossconditioningocr.com), I have also taken a real dose of both the good and bad of the Charlotte fitness industry.  While it might seem like my plan came together pretty seamlessly, there was a lot of failure before I found a home for each and every one of my workouts.  There has been a wake up call.  To be honest, through the process, I have really found out who my biggest advocates are.  People I expected to be there, haven’t been there.  People I never would have guessed would help, have reached out.  I am a people pleaser, so this has been the toughest lesson for me to learn.  I just can’t make everyone happy.


I had an incredible Mother’s Day (my first with my youngest daughter).  I began the holiday by doing a very informal photo shoot with other moms from Flywheel Charlotte. With everything going on and some of the drama that I talked about above, I have really been forced to focus my energy on those relationships that have seen me through my latest venture.  I have focused more on family.  On making sure my girls are happy.


A trip home couldn’t have come at a better time. As close as the place that I grew up is from us (Roanoke, VA), we don’t really go back enough without a reason to.  Hence, we were headed back to attend a wedding for one of the clients that I train.  My parents recently put their house on the market in Virginia so this really may be one of the last times we head up north without staying in a hotel.  It’s kind of mind blowing.


The wedding just so happened to be taking place the same weekend as my husband and I’s anniversary. That said, we headed up Thursday night, so we could sneak away on Friday night for a nice dinner to celebrate four years of being married.  We left the girls in good hands with my mom, grandparents (the girl’s great grandparents) and my sister Amanda.



They had a blast (and so did we).  I will just throw it out there – I was never as close with my mom’s parents growing up.  They spent the first part of my life in New York City before moving to the South to be close to us.  Our relationship has developed over time as has my relationship with my mom and sister.  While we have always been close, since becoming a mom I have come to admire the strength of a woman with children.  It’s a super tough job whether you are working full time or not.  My mom has become my crutch in some circumstances.  She has listened, and offered advice at times.  She is the first one to have my back.  I love her for that.


I spent Saturday morning going on a long run by myself.  Since the first day of my program was set to start the following week, I wanted to take a moment to isolate myself.  Remember where I started.  Remember what drives me.  As I ran through the Blue Ridge Parkway and absorbed the beauty that my hometown has to offer, I got kind of emotional.  My family sure didn’t come from much.  It has always been the little things that make us happy.  My husband was raised the same way.  As tough as I may seem, because of this, I feel for people.  I don’t hold grudges.  I want everyone to find the best version of themselves.




With time to kill after my run (and before the wedding was set to start), I regrouped with the girls, my husband and my mom to check out Center in the Square located in Downtown Roanoke.  For just a few dollars, we checked out the science museum, butterfly garden and aquarium before making one final stop at the candy store adjacent to the building’s lobby.


We prepped for the wedding early to give us time to stop and see my Great Aunt Reva on the way.  Little did I know, she lived less than five miles away from the site of the wedding.  Stopping in Christiansburg, along Route 8, just miles away from Floyd, VA, I was flooded with even more emotions.  My Great Aunt Reva lives just a few minutes away from Blacksburg (home to Virginia Tech – where I went to college) and less than thirty minutes from my grandpa’s farm in Floyd, VA.  It is safe to safe the first 25 years of my life revolved around this area.  I might even describe it more as the place I grew up.  I am so happy that the girls got to spend time with one of my dad’s few surviving aunts and/or uncles.  She is truly incredible.





After a quick change, the girls were ready to go to the wedding (and so were we).  It was beautiful.  It was so special to meet my client’s family and friends in such an intimate manner.  The girls did as best they could.  My oldest daughter described the bride as a princess.  How beautiful did she look?  I swear I never used to get emotional at weddings until I had my own.  Once I experienced the incredible feeling of getting married, I began see how much these two have to look forward to.  I really feel for them how and special this union is.


I have always said that all important life events happen for a reason.  There is a greater calling to each decision that we make.  After debating whether to head up to Virginia for the wedding, I truly feel like it was meant to be.  I have been struggling a little bit accepting some of the challenges that have come from me doing things on my own.  Being home and around the people that mean the most to me really reaffirmed that I am doing the right things.  That I am happy.


Just Rolling With It – No Routine, No Problem

It is no secret that I have been difficult to find over the past month and a half.  Right when I felt like I was starting to get on a “routine” and finally have the opportunity to lead some solid workouts around the Charlotte fitness scene, I was out the door and on the road.  My name was popping on and off the schedule during my regular class times.  My kids and I were sleeping in different beds all over the East Coast.  Let’s just say, I was being ambitious with my travel.

IMG_6901I talked about my trip to New York and my Spartan Race in Asheville.  In just one short week following the Spartan Race, we were on the road yet again to visit my home state of Virginia.  It’s fall.  Football and a wedding were the reason for the visit.  The game was in Blacksburg on a Monday night (if you didn’t know, I’m a Hokie).  The wedding was the following Saturday in Culpepper, VA.  Culpepper is a solid 6 hour drive from Charlotte.  Instead of making two back to back trips north, I opted to stay in Virginia for the entire week.


Prior to having my second daughter, a trip like this would not have been feasible.  I was working full time.  By full time, I mean, I was paid a salary.  I sat at a desk all day.  When I took “vacation”, I was paid.  Sometimes I still feel like I am working full time, I just don’t sit at a desk all day.  I also most certainly don’t get paid when I go on vacation.  That’s huge. That’s why this trip was such a big commitment.

IMG_6851After teaching a double Sunday morning, we drove up to Roanoke, where we stayed for the rest of the week.  My family still has close ties to the area, and I was born and raised there.  My sister-in-law and her husband made the trip with us.  I have literally turned a big chunk of my husband’s family into Hokie fans.  After a quick trip to a local Wal-Mart, we were all set to hit the tailgates early and show her husband what Virginia Tech football is all about.

IMG_6838 IMG_6843My poor girls.  Until they have the ability to tell me different, they will be Hokie fans.  They were fully decked out just as much as their mom and dad.  I think the pictures speak for themselves.  If you haven’t seen the outcome of the game, you would have thought we won (based on how much fun we had).  I haven’t been to a game in Blacksburg not pregnant or breastfeeding in over two years.  What a difference! I’m not going to lie, my thirty year old body felt like it was in college again (until the next day of course).


IMG_6866The fun was literally over on Tuesday.  My husband, sister-in-law and her husband had to drive back to Charlotte to work Tuesday morning.  With the help of my parents, I was left in Roanoke with two sweet girls for the week.  No schedule.  No routine.  No Flywheel.  No one to work out with.  It was a blank slate that we had to fill until I left for the wedding and we headed home.

IMG_6912We filled our days with various activities.  We went to the zoo.  We invited people over to visit.  We walked around the city market.  We went to the pool.  We played on the playground.

IMG_6895IMG_6874IMG_6870IMG_6893IMG_6907My oldest daughter even got her first manicure.  See picture above.  She is GROWING up.  I have to admit, I haven’t had the time to enjoy a visit to my hometown in a LONG time.  It always seems like we are driving up for a football game or holiday and driving back almost immediately the next day.  I finally had the chance to slow down. Spend quality time with my mom.  Absorb the beauty of the beautiful mountain views that surround the small valley.  Before I knew it, it was Friday.  I found myself sad to say goodbye to my girls as I walked out the door to head to my next stop – the wedding.


IMG_6929 IMG_6963 IMG_6932My husband had gone back to Charlotte on Tuesday for work.  He also was competing in the coveted Blue Ridge relay the same weekend.  That said, I was headed to Culpepper by myself.  Thankfully, the bridesmaids in the wedding we incredible.  We bonded over the shared love for our friend, as well as, our common interests.  I do feel like we will be in touch in the near future.  Congratulations Ali and Zach!

IMG_7007With all of the activities and chaos, it would have been easy for me to lose control of my workouts.  Let’s face it, the workouts are the only thing that was going to offset the ridiculous amount of food and drinks that I had over the long week.  Quite honestly, scheduling time to myself to burn a few calories was also the only way for me to stay sane (since it was something that I could control).  I brought my sandbag, a set of weights and a kettlebell.  When you have a car, it makes it much easier to bring equipment with you (that you can use anywhere).  My husband mocked me as he videod me doing a workout on top of a parking garage the morning of the game (see picture above).  45 minutes is better than nothing.  I used the stairs as intervals between weights.

IMG_7008The gym that I went to growing up (the Roanoke Athletic Club), has done a complete overhaul of many of their old facilities.  They now have a functional training room.  While my mom took my oldest daughter to the pool, I played around and got creative on the monkey bars.  Remember this was my weakness in the Super Spartan.  I literally did so many sets that I ripped a callus on my hand without realizing it.  Painful.

IMG_6922Fortunately, I had beautiful surroundings (and weather) to do some serious cardio outside.  While I did do some strength work, I spent a decent amount of time on the road, running.  Thank you Logan Stewart for being my running partner in a run that I will never forget. Prior to the big wedding, we decided to go for a run around Culpepper together.  After getting two miles out, it started raining.  HARD.  POURING.  I told her this was a run that I would never forget.  I truly won’t.  The conversation was great and we bonded over the ridiculousness of the situation.  I spent a majority of Sunday in the car.  Nothing beats coming home and being with my girls.

IMG_6961While I will cherish all of the memories from the past week, it does feel good to be back.  It feels good to know what to expect for a change.  It feels good to have dad back.  Routine or not, we find simple ways to incorporate fitness into our life (while still having a good time)!

Labor Day Workouts + Good Eats in Downtown Roanoke

While a big chunk of our Labor Day weekend plans revolved around football, we did find time to work out and take advantage of some of the good local food downtown Roanoke has to offer. I mean let’s face it; you need to try to squeeze in a little workout on days that you know you will be eating more than usual (which was pretty much every day of this vacation). Lucky for us there is a beautiful greenway that runs around the city. Our first morning there, I squeezed in a relaxed 5k run, at a decent pace, while my husband ran up Mill Mountain.

photo 1-13 What was the reason for our separation? He is running the Blue Ridge Relay this weekend. As part of this race, relay teams are formed to run from a remote location in Virginia to Asheville, NC. The teams cover the mountainous terrain over several hundred miles ultimately to enjoy each other’s company. It is a grueling race that I hope to do at some point in the future. For now, I will stick to my thirty minute runs! I have to admit though; I didn’t see views like this on my run.

257563_10100321176441693_5687034_o We followed our workouts up with a family breakfast, at local breakfast hot spot, Thelma’s Chicken and Waffles. I pondered over the idea of getting something other than chicken and waffles, but that just seems crazy. If a restaurant is bold enough to include a menu item in their name, then it has to be good. This place never ceases to amaze me. The chicken is fried on the spot, and the sweet and salty combo just works. Every time we go to this restaurant, we run into our favorite waitress, Gigi. We might only see her a few times a year, but she sure remembers us every time we walk in the door. That’s the kind of service that you can’t buy.

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photo 3-107 On a beautiful non-game day, there is nothing better than taking a cruise through downtown Roanoke. I’m not kidding. I will even dare to say that the eclectic area is turning into a mini Greenville, SC. There is always something going on. We swung by a few of our favorite stores, before a set of books in Chocolate Paper caught my eye. Being the indoor cyclist that I am, I loved to see an entire section of cute biking books. I was very tempted to buy the “Heels on Wheels” book. Description: “A lady’s guide to owning and riding a bike.” Let’s face it. We could all use a lesson or two.

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My parents offered to watch my daughter, so my husband and I could have an early date night. Date night for us has turned into sushi night. For whatever reason, my daughter does not do well at sushi restaurants. Too bad for us, because we love it. Hence, every time we get a night out alone, we end up eating sushi. Our go-to spot in Roanoke is Metro.

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This place is a little more modern than most restaurants downtown, but the attire is still pretty casual. We enjoyed drinks on the patio before ordering an amazing, better yet, healthy appetizer: steamed shrimp dumplings. They were served with a side of sweet chili sauce. We typically go for edamame as an appetizer when ordering sushi, so today we went out of our comfort zone. Good call. This stuff was amazing.

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photo 1-121The restaurant recently added some specialty sushi rolls to the menu. Get this; they added rolls to give people more healthy options (i.e. no tempura fried/mayo/cream cheese)! Sign me up. We ordered the spicy vegetarian roll, the newly added salmon avocado roll, the cabo tuna roll, and the dragon roll. They all looked as good as they tasted!

photo 3-106We followed up our date night with one final workout in town the following day. This time we stuck together. Couples that sweat together, stay together, right? This was a FiA/F3 convergence workout all the way. We took advantage of a park less than 1.5 miles from where we were staying, so we could squeeze in some exercises on top of our run. Utilize as much equipment in a park as you can. Benches are incredible resources for the following exercises:

  • Decline/incline pushups
  • Knee to elbow plank abs (hands on ground, feet on bench)
  • Dips
  • Step ups
  • Box Jumps (if you have the space and the bench is not wet)
  • Lunges

If you run into an area where there isn’t any equipment that you can find to use, do body weight exercises:

  • Burpees
  • Squats
  • Lunges
  • Pushups
  • Planks
  • Abs

Key is creativity. You would be surprised what kind of strength workout that you can do with little to no equipment! I have to admit, it took me a long time to realize how easy it was. With that said, we are back in Charlotte, which means we are somewhat back on a routine. I am looking forward to posting some at home workouts this week, as well as, getting back on the bike!

I’m Back, at least I hope!

After a great vacation, we came home to several bumps in the road.  I typically don’t go so many days in a row without posting, but incident after incident on the home front have taken quite a bit of time out of my day.  I am not one to complain, so please don’t worry.  I guess you could say when it rains, it pours at our house.  With every little setback, we always regroup. 257563_10100321176441693_5687034_oWe went to Roanoke for the long Memorial Day weekend.  I was born and raised in Roanoke, VA.  It wasn’t until after I graduated from college and moved away from the mountains that I was able to truly appreciate the beauty of my hometown.  After gaining a few pounds over our vacation, we also knew we could get some great workouts in utilizing the greenway and the Blue Ridge Parkway.  Saturday morning we woke up and ran the mountain.  The mountain that I am referring to is the one with the Star at the top (if you have ever been to Roanoke, you know what I’m talking about).  From Downtown Roanoke, up the mountain and back is exactly seven miles from the Farmers Market.  For me it is all about finishing.   For my husband, it is all about encouraging.  The inclines are ridiculous.  However, the view is amazing as the sun rises (see above).

255927_10100321177160253_2756440_oAfter a tough run, we got ready for a family reunion at the farm that my Grandmother grew up on.  The drive tends to make me a little nauseous, but the beauty that both the drive and the farm offer is incredible.  This is real.   Self sustaining.  Green.  Untouched.  Truly beautiful.  It was great to introduce my daughter to so many of my relatives who cannot make the drive to Charlotte to see her.



Let’s talk about food at the family reunion.  This is definitely a cheat day.  Remember that seven mile run up the mountain?  We planned it perfect on a day that we knew we would be consuming ALOT of good food.

IMG_1121Although the entrees and sides are always a hit, the best part about the reunion is the dessert room.  That’s right.  An entire room full of dessert.  A must is the banana pudding.  Something about the way that my older relatives makes this stuff is different than any recipe that I have ever tried.  Or I just can’t quite do it like they do.


I contributed to the reunion by bringing an eclair cake.  Y’all this is EASY and delicious (and can be healthy!).   See picture below.  Prep time is less than 10 minutes.



  • 1 package 3.4 oz vanilla pudding (instant) – use sugar free or regular
  •  1 1/4 cup Skim milk
  • Graham crackers (you can use low fat here)
  • 1 8 oz container of Cool Whip (can be fat free)
  • 1 container of chocolate icing (any brand, can be sugar free)

1 –  Line graham crackers around an 8 inch, square pan.

2 –  Mix milk and pudding mix.  Stir cool whip into pudding.  You will need to whisk.  Spread half of mixture over the first layer of graham crackers.

3 – Line another layer of graham crackers over the pudding mixture.  Spread the remaining pudding mixture over the second layer of graham crackers.

4 – Line a third layer of graham crackers over the second pudding mixture layer.  Take lid and aluminum seal off of the icing tub.  Microwave the icing until it will has melted and can be poured (about 1 minute).  Pour the icing on the top of the last layer of graham crackers.  Spread evenly with spatula.

5 – Place the mixture in the refrigerator over night.


Whew!  We spent the next day walking around downtown checking out Festival in the Park.  After a hard run uphill the day before, my legs needed a day of walking.  As I have said several times in the blog.  RECOVERY is necessary!  Walking is a great way to check out a city.






We did do a quick workout utilizing equipment on the greenway before we rolled out of town Monday.  However, I will save that for a future post.  Since I have been back, the majority of my workouts have been spent at Flywheel.  Over the past two weekends, I have needed several subs, so I am returning the favor this week.  In tomorrow’s post, I will highlight the benefit of indoor cycling in our training (specifically when you are short on time).  I also worked out with the ladies of Lululemon in their first FiA workout.  Can’t wait to share!