My first day working out with November Project, Woody told us we had homework.
Homework? On my first day?
Our assignment: 5 acts of kindness. Not just any kindness, but 5 acts of all-out-takeover kindness.
For me, the past year has been all about this. The all-out-takeover of kindness of NP.
You might know my dog Kiwi. I’m Eric Einstein.
It began when I moved to Denver in the summer of 2015 and decided to start running. I’d never been much of a runner before, and I started out slow. Kiwi and I would run (mostly walk) to the park and back. It wasn’t fun, it wasn’t far, and it certainly wasn’t fast, but I started doing it every day.
In March 2016, one of my coworkers couldn’t run a 5k she had signed up for, so she sent me the entry and I ran the farthest I had ever run in my life. I survived.
With only one 5k under my belt, I did not consider myself much of an athlete, so when my brother told me about November Project, I thought it would be too intense for me, but decided to #justshowup and run hills in front of the ice cream shop where I had over-indulged the night before. I was hooked.The first few times I #justshowedup, I had several coworkers at school ask why I was so energetic during the day, and when I covered for the gym teacher I even had students do a bounce.
Then my brother mentioned “Spartan Races.” I laughed when he described running 8-10 miles with obstacles. I told him I’d never do that.
A month later, as I finished my first Spartan Race, a tall guy wearing a November Project shirt put a medal around my neck, and I had to give him a huge muddy hug.
That’s how I met Matt Pacewicz, from Boston, one of my many new NP friends who inspire me. Matt’s positivity, drive to improve, and perseverance make me always want to be my best self. When I was at my lowest, 9 hours into a 15 mile slogfest up and down a mountain in Quebec, Matt was right there with me, pushing me on. We have become great friends, and raced together in Toronto, Montreal, and Boston.
I’ve taken this journey literally- traveling to tribes, making new friends, reconnecting with old friends…and dragging them to workouts. In less than a year I’ve visited our community in Phoenix, San Francisco, Boston, Toronto, Seattle, Austin, and New Orleans, and of course, my community in Denver that I love. (Seriously you guys…so much FOMO when I travel!)
I even got my family involved. My mom does stadium sections at Harvard and #traverbaled in D.C. While she ran the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, my brother ran the Hollywood Bowl in LA and I PR’ed in Denver. That PR-day morning my family covered 3 time zones.
Those who know me think I’ve been traveling to #raceeverything, but I’ve really been trying to #traverbal everything. This NP #worldtakeover is real, and it’s about more than fitness. It’s about all-out-takeover kindness.
There’s a natural contagious energy in this community. No matter where you are, you find home with NP. It asks you to be your best, to smile, to high five! This movement wants your all, and if you don’t give it, it’ll grab you back with a bear hug so fierce that you find yourself embracing back even though you didn’t want it. That’s what this #worldtakover is about- this energy, passion, and kindness that drives our community and our connections.
I decided to bring fitness into my life before I found November project, but I wasn’t showing up. I didn’t find my drive or confidence until I found a community of support filled with incredible inspiring people. I don’t just mean the ones who run ultra marathons (although that is badass and crazy), I mean everyone who decides to show up. The people who have made a choice to LIVE, who push themselves, and who grow and encourage everyone around them to grow.
This weekend, I’m taking on my first marathon in LA. It will be 364 days since my first 5k.
I know I could not have done this without NP. Words can’t explain how grateful I am for this community of wonderful people. Thank you.