This woman is a true inspiration and not for the most obvious reason you may pick up on when you see her every Friday on Summit Ave. Ashely Brow is an inspiration because she is willing to try things that seem scary, impossible, and simply hard as hell. I will let her words do the walking… this is Ashely Brow, runner and member, of your November Project.
I went to cheer for the Boston Marathon runners for the first time this year, just because it was something fun to do that day. There was so much energy from the crowd and such joy in the runners that I just thought, hey. It might be fun to run something some time. This fleeting thought solidified in my mind after the tragic bombing that took place at the finish line. Call me sappy, but I thought running something would be a nice, personal tribute to the victims. So I started training… Kind of.
Let’s make one thing clear: I’m not really a runner. Finding motivation was hard; especially since running alone on a treadmill was just flat-out boring. I was pretty close to just stopping. Nobody knew of my plan to run a race, so no one could be disappointed if I didn’t follow through with it.
I first started hearing about November Project from some of the other girls in my graduate program back around February. They always chatted it up as this great, fun experience. I thought it would be fun to check it out; but I also thought they were a bit crazy. Who in their right mind would get up at 6 in the morning to exercise? The excuses were just too easy: I was too busy, it was too early, and I couldn’t make it to the workout locations. Plus, everyone there was probably in great shape, and I couldn’t run 30 seconds on a treadmill without getting winded. So I hesitated for a few weeks, okay, months, before I finally decided to try it.
One of my friends (Katie Fithian) offered to meet me at good-old Summit Ave on Friday mornings, so I hopped on the green line and made my way there for the first time over the Summer. I don’t really know what I was expecting; but I wasn’t disappointed. I learned very quickly that one can’t go to November Project without expecting to meet a handful of new people each day. And if you are a germaphobe, November Project is not for you, as you will be hugged or high-fived by more people than you can count.
Then came the hard part: Actually running. I had never run with another person before. I remember my friend asking me before our first run together, “Okay. How do I do this?” My genius reply? “Ummm. I don’t know. I guess if I just take your arm we can just see what happens?” So we started jogging slowly, very slowly, up that mountain of a road.
I think I went 15 seconds before I had to stop to walk and catch my breath. My initial thought was, wow. How pathetic can I be? Yeah. I probably won’t be doing this again with these people that are actually managing to run up this thing. But as I huffed and puffed my way up the rest of the mountain, people kept running past saying, “Great job guys. Keep going!” My friend also informed me that there were even more thumbs-up passing by because, “I don’t think most of them realize yet that you can’t see them.” But now people have realized it, and are even more encouraging than they were before. My list of running partners continues to grow, and I couldn’t be happier that I decided to take a chance to go run in the mornings with the rest of the crazy people.
I have been going to November Project every Friday for the past 4 months now. I certainly won’t be running marathons any time soon; but I know I’ve gotten better. I really don’t know how long or far I can run now, but my goal of making it up that mountain without stopping once by the end of November seems well within my reach. And last but not least, I’m now signed up for my first 5K in December that I will be running, okay, probably jogging, with some of the people I now refer to in conversation as, “My November Project friends.”