Today we present the newest recipient of the Positivity Award, Sally Roach! What amazes us about Sally is her thoughtfulness around helping the NPDC community. When we announced that we would be celebrating our fifth birthday last fall, Sally — an incredible baker at The Hamilton — immediately reached out, unsolicited, and offered to bake us a cake for the birthday. There were A LOT of people at that event; we didn’t finish the cake until the end. That was one BIG CAKE. And then when we had Show & Tell at REI last month, Sally baked hundreds of cookies to help keep folks warm and content during the outdoor event. Those gestures, totally unnecessary but greatly appreciated, plus Sally’s constant good energy and exuberance at workouts are why she received the PA. OK, I’ve written long already. Get to know Sally below and find her at a workout!
How, when and where were you introduced to November Project?
I saw someone post on Instagram about going to a workout in Boston and I searched to see if there was a group in DC. I used to think working out in the morning wasn’t for me, so it took me about a month to get there, but somehow I convinced a friend to come along and it all began. First day: October 4, 2017.
What do you remember about your first workout or thinking at/after your first workout?
It was at the Watergate Steps, and because it was the first time, my friend and I were a couple minutes late figuring out where to go so we missed the directions for the workout and were a little lost at first. I made a mental note – arrive early. I remember someone talking to us at the end and welcoming us to the group. I thought I’d landed in the twilight zone where people are just nice to each other for no reason. I’m all about that though. It was refreshing!
What motivates you to keep you coming back?
A couple of years ago, I wasn’t fit. I didn’t work out. I started walking, then I started working out in the gym, then one day, I ran to the Lincoln Memorial and back to work, about 3 miles. I was like, “Whoa! I just ‘went for a run!’ Who am I?!” A month later, I ran 5 miles. So to be at November Project, to keep up with a group of people working out, feels big to me every time. I get a chance to impress myself just because I got up early to run. So I come back for the sunrises, because it feels like an awesome secret club, because strangers say “good job” and give hugs, because I’m inspired by the people with the most excuses to bail, and hoping to impart any amount of inspiration or motivation to someone who’s looking for it.
What does winning the Positivity Award mean and represent to you?
I always say one of the things I love about November Project is that no matter who you are, what you believe in or where you stand in politics, when we’re at a workout we’re our best selves. We get up first thing to kick ass and high five. Nothing matters except keeping each other hype and going. So to be noticed as someone who exemplifies that mindset means that for at least a small amount of time each week you guys think I’m being my best self too.
Describe for us your favorite November Project moment to date.
I think the Olympic workout by the Capitol last year was one of my favorites, it was so over-the-top ridiculous with spice. Actually, July 4th, New Year’s Day, Christmas Eve, New Year’s Eve … any of the holiday workouts add an awesome vibe to the workout. Half the time I’m just laughing at myself and how silly the spice gets. “I’m a star!”
How much stuff do you cram into your run commute backpack?
A surprising amount. I know it can hold a hair dryer, a swimsuit, goggles and hairbrush. It can also hold a half gallon of milk or four chef coats. I find that if it doesn’t fit, I don’t need it. But also, I can make almost anything fit.
What’s your favorite thing to bake?
I hate to play favorites, but I love eclairs and cream puffs. One of my favorites was foie gras and caramel with a candy walnut crust. What I love most is trying out new things that push me to learn and be creative. I also like just playing around with things – today I made a chocolate mousse trifle with chocolate cake soaked in coffee syrup layered with toasted hazelnuts, chocolate mousse, and rum-raisin bananas. That’s the good stuff.
What’s your favorite Netflix show?
Chef’s Table, Madam Secretary, Criminal Minds.
What’s the best book you’ve read this year?
I’m reading To Shake The Sleeping Self about a guy who quit his job and biked to Patagonia with zero preparation. Kinda crazy but it’s a good reminder that you can drop everything and things will be okay, maybe even better once you let go of what’s comfortable.