5 Of The Best Years (SF)


How am I supposed to sum up 5 years of memories in a blog post?

(Goes to get coffee. Returns to computer)

I already cried in front of you once today, so do I have to get all melodramatic again?

(Goes to get donuts. Returns to computer. Eats said donuts while staring at blank screen)

Okay, this is what I am going to do. Instead of talking about the power of community (a word that gets used too often in my opinion, much like adventure. Getting married is not an adventure, people. Domestic partnership is arguably the exact opposite of adventurous. Going to Dolores Park after nightfall is exponentially more adventurous than settling down with your partner. Okay, that’s a blog post I have been meaning to write but will put off for another day…) I will write about a few of my favorite memories with the NPSF tribe, especially the royal fuck ups we have had along the way. Trust me, there were plenty. It’s kind of like when you get into your 20’s and your parents finally come clean with all the times they accidentally dropped you in the pool, or left you in the car, or forgot to pick you up from school, and we all laugh about it now. Like those, these are all the times we almost killed you.

The Time Clayton And I Started Two Different Workouts:

One Friday morning we decided to run hills at Lafayette Park. The first pin dropped was at the southeast corner of the park, but I later changed my mind and wanted to meet in the middle of the park. Thinking I communicated this well to Dan (I didn’t) I headed to Lafayette that morning with my speaker bag and headlamp. Right at 6:30 I was a little surprised that there were only about 20 people ready to tackle hills. Little did I know, about 200 meters away Dan had collected his own small group and was wondering the same thing. So we did what we thought was right…we started the workout. Each group did their own newbie intro, warm up, bounce, and workout description, all while wondering where the other leader was. Like clockwork, both groups started running hill repeats at 6:35 AM just to bump into the other crew on the path. I believe Clayton and I had the same reaction of “I thought you slept in! Why did you start over there? I am right! You are wrong!” Okay maybe that last part is made up because we honestly just laughed it off and continued on with the hot mess of a hill workout. Never again did I post two different pins…

The “We Missed You” Post That Got National Backlash:

The We Missed You post is a Boston original, one often filled with sarcasm, dry humor, and a touch of insult. When I started writing these, I really went hard. I came from a family who tells one other they look a “rough” first thing in the morning without thinking twice, so this was second nature to me. When I wrote a rather harsh We Missed You for my dear friend Kinley, her and I both had a good laugh about it. But then I started getting messages…

Telling me I am an awful person for writing this. Telling me they wanted to come to NP but then changed their mind because I seem mean. The joke was completely lost on anyone outside the NP world (and probably some in it) and I realized that I had to soften or people would start dropping like flies. So yes, it taught me a lesson, but I still find the post funny as hell.

“Each member of the tribe brings something different to the group. They all add their own personal flare to make this such a diverse, interesting collection of humans. But you? Eh. You bring very little to the table.” I’m such a bitch.



The Time We Made Katy Kunkle Walk Down The Aisle Escorted By Kenny Wong And Gil 

One of my favorite parts of NP are the stunts you can pull along the way, one little thing to make the workout memorable, even if the workout isn’t too memorable itself. Katy Kunkle is the definition of sweet. She is soft spoken, kind, and fast as hell. When we heard she was leaving for a few weeks to go get married in Oregon, we knew we had to do something to send her off. So, naturally, we had a wedding for her. It was complete with a wedding hat (is that a thing??), veil, and insane fake ring, she walked down the aisle as we tossed rice at her face. I knew it would make her uncomfortable (which always makes me laugh) but it got even more awkward when Kenny Wong and Gil insisted on being the ones to “give her away.” It was hard to watch. I loved every second. Mission accomplished.

The Very First Chaos Lap Gone Wrong

Very early on, Clayton came up with an idea to add into any workout where things needed to “shake up.” If at any moment throughout the workout either Dan or I screamed “CHAOS LAAAAAAP!!” you stopped what you were doing, ran out of Alamo Square, ran a full lap around the park and entered the way you left. The premise of this concept emerged after the police drove through one workout and gave us a friendly yet stern warning about our crew. So the first time we tried it out was mid-winter in the pitch black of Alamo. Clayton screamed out “CHAOS LAAAAP!” and people took off sprinting around trees, through bushes and over benches to exit the park. They adopted our vision flawlessly. But a few minutes later, as people began to trickle back in from the run, we noticed a handful of people missing. Minutes passed. Then many minutes. Then the workout was ending and we sent people out on a search. Since it was so dark, and newbies unfamiliar with the park, a few people had gotten turned around and were lost trying to make their way back to the center. Clayton and I are still laughing. Chaos Lap gone wrong.

The Day Zumba Changed My Life 

After making such a fuss over NPSF always have hard workouts and always challenging the tribe, hosting a zumba workout was a little hard for me to accept. Okay fine, we will do it on a Monday so we don’t lose street cred. And then you fuckers all showed up…in your neon spandex…ready to dance. Watching Paddy shake his little booty in those floral spandex turned my black heart to mush. I could have have watched the videos of the tribe (okay, mostly just Paddy) dancing for hours on end, led by the fearless Louise and Weston, who instructed with such enthusiasm and swagger. Zumba 2.0 should happen soon. Make sure Paddy is in the front row.

The Time(s) You All Ran Into Oncoming Traffic

This is probably the thing I am most concerned about as I step down. You all blindly and willingly run into oncoming traffic if I am not there to stop you. Not sure if it’s the morning hours, the dark streets, or the feeling of invincibility, but the amount of times you have all run into the street without looking both ways is baffling. To go along with this we have box jumps landing on shins, hands in broken glass, sprained ankles on level ground, ambulances for legit injuries while the leaders are away (still sorry about that Lil!), broken toes, jammed fingers, balls thrown directly at people’s faces, missed stairs with inevitable falls, and countless other injuries. Hey tribe! Pull it together! Also, sign the waiver.

I could rattle off so many more fuck ups but I would rather go out with a shred of respect still intact.

SF, you have been my home for many years and will always be my first true love. November Project has been my most prideful venture and something I will continue to fall back on for support, love, insulting banter, and a hearty laugh. It is an ever evolving movement led by all of you, the tribes. Just know that wherever life leads you, it will always be there for you to return to when you need it most.

Like I said this morning, it has been a damn privilege leading with Clayton, Paddy, and Zip. Getting up three times a week for almost 5 years is a whole lot easier when you are co-leading with two of your best friends.

But don’t give us more credit than we deserve, as this tribe and this whole NP movement is incredible because of all of YOU. So don’t stop. Invite new friends to workouts, approach the newbies quietly standing on the outside of the circle, and keep chugging forward because this crazy workout “community” positively changes the social climates of cities and we could all use some more positivity. Be kind to one another, continue to make fun of Paddy daily, and get out there and adventure with this community. You are all amazing. Peace out.


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One Reply to “5 Of The Best Years (SF)”

  1. Lauraaaaa! This post gave me all the feels. I remember all those memories (except somehow I missed Zumba day!) and all these so-called “f*ck ups”…but honestly you never failed us and not one workout was ever a f*ck up in my mind. Not once. You created something in SF that forever altered so many of our lives and were a shining beacon of strength and badassery that we all admire and respect. You truly brought community and adventure into our lives. You’re forever a legend here. Safe travels and we miss you already! Come back to visit us often!

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