If yesterday was NP LOVE: Bromance edition, this entry truly defines what it means to be a gal pal. I have to admit, I am jealous of this relationship- probably more than any other that’s been written about this week (JK, Ron & Deb-you know we all want what you have). For real, these ladies are each other’s biggest cheerleaders, in NP and in life. It is with great pride, and only a tiny bit of envy, that I present to you the NP LOVE saga of Zoë and Kerry Rose.
By July 2014 I’d been working at the National Gallery of Art for over 3 years, a job which I loved (and still love!), but I felt lost — as an art historian in a city full of Hill People I’ve always felt a bit like an outlier. I am quirky and creative, and that didn’t seem to fit the city that I thought DC was. I’d found a work bestie in Zoë, a friendship forged over a mutual love of smitten kitchen recipes and eerily similar taste in books. We were as close as coworkers could be while still maintaining professional boundaries, that is, until, she encouraged me to try out her newest fitness obsession, November Project, which she described as “adult summer camp.” She wouldn’t stop babbling about a 4th of July watermelon toss (?).
Zoë is a super fit, super humble, casual Boston marathoner, so my initial response was a resounding HARD PASS when she suggested we run together. I’d read about NP in Runner’s World, and decided that they were insane and far too fit for me. I am one of the least coordinated, most accident-prone people you’ll ever meet. I am not a natural athlete. Somehow at my small high school I was a three-season varsity athlete: field hockey (I was bad); lacrosse (I was really, really bad); and mock trial (my strongest sport). My ‘athletic career’ came to a screeching halt when I broke my pelvis in a car accident junior year (see what I did there? ha!). At that point, I was told that I would never run farther nor faster than one 12-minute mile. A decade later, thanks to Zoë’s insistence that I try NP “just once,” that all changed; she kept nagging until I gave in (because she promised me cookies). She cheered for me each time she lapped me that first morning at Lincoln, introduced me to everyone she already knew (read: Kyle), and encouraged me to stop being an anxious deaf weirdo at the outskirts of the bounce. She’s been my biggest cheerleader since that summer.
I could wax poetic about how NP changed my fitness, my perception of DC, and my worldview as a whole, but everyone in the tribe can do the same–NP is life-changing. NPDC also gave me my best friend. You don’t really, truly know someone until you’ve partner-planked with them all over the city, worn inappropriate amounts of spandex to the office with them, spent hours researching the perfect matching neon shoelaces, and helped them practice flirting with Tom before 5:30am. (Hi, Tom!) I like to think that our official commitment ceremony happened at the 2014 ugly sweater run, where we debuted our hideous, hand-made, puffy-paint-filled couture sweatshirts, and officially unleashed our crazy/crafty on the tribe, in what became a tradition for (almost) every social run. Thanks to Zoë, I finally felt confident owning my creative side as an adult and trying to run again, and thanks to NP, Zoë went from work wife to life wife/partner in crime. 10/10 would recommend finding a Zoë. (It also helps that our manfriends like the same videogames.)
I first invited Kerry to November Project in July 2014, a few weeks after my first workout and about six months after we transitioned from “work friends” to “real friends” (we bonded over wine and chocolate while painting pottery, of course). I think I knew immediately that I had happened upon a really special community in NP, one that filled a very particular gap in my life in DC, and I knew that Kerry was searching for something similar.
The workouts were hard, the social component was slightly terrifying, & the early mornings were painful at first, but we were hooked. Over the next two and a half years (!!), my relationship with November Project grew in tandem with my relationship with Kerry. We became each other’s accountability buddies three times a week (a feat a thousand times more impressive for Kerry, then living in Arlington), crafted elaborate costumes for NP social events, and never questioned the need for a vending machine break on Wednesday afternoons. At the same time, we shared (and still share!) the daily joys and frustrations about our jobs, relationships, families, and everything else in our lives.
Kerry and I complain to each other about our weird running injuries and plan elaborate predawn runs to Friday workouts and buy matching workout clothing, but we also trade recipes and swap books and share shoes. There are days when we literally eat breakfast, lunch, and dinner together and I wouldn’t have it any other way. Our friendship is authentic, imperfect and rewarding. While I know we were destined to be life-long friends, I do think November Project – both through its collective positivity and thrice-weekly consistency – helped us expedite the process (and made us happier human beings in the process!). I also know that the joy that NP has brought to my life is in great part due to Kerry and her encouragement and enthusiasm for our weird, amazing community – she has embraced and embodied the spirit of November Project from her first workout and we are all the beneficiaries! Thank you, Kerry, for being my NP Valentine and my workwife and lifewife and neighbor and colleague and friend – I love you so much!
Did you SEE that?? It’s what it looks like when women support each other. I fucking dig it. Thank you Kerry and Zoë, you two are truly a model of love and friendship. And you, dear reader, THANK YOU for following along- I sincerely hope you’re having as much with NP LOVE as I am.