(Note: If you are thinking about coming to November Project I want you to read this whole thing and then show up at our next workout. If you’re a regular, pass this on to someone new and don’t relent until they come to a workout with you).
As some of you know, November Project Baltimore has been around for well over two years and in that time a lot has happened. We’ve had TV news crews come through, stories in local newspapers, visitors from all over the world, political candidates drop in, babies born, weddings happen and, throughout all that time, maintained our strong sense of community and commitment to the city. November Project is like an epic shit storm of energy, opportunity and friendship. It’s a way to turn your city into a playground, grip your town by the shoulders, shake it vigorously and squeeze every last ounce of energy and possibility out of it. November Project takes your boring ass mornings and turns them into the most epic 40 minute youtube video, worth sharing with your entire social network. NP is straight dope, I wouldn’t have stuck around this long if it wasn’t.
But here’s the thing. November Project is not some formula you plug in and instantly produce an insane community of crazies, willing to work night shifts and still show up at the ass crack of dawn. Over the years your co-leaders have tried some dumb ass shit in an effort to entertain and take NP to the next level. Some things have worked unbelievably well ( Crab tags, 15×15 workouts, City Glow) and some haven’t ( Crop Tops in -15 degree weather, Bmore Bmore runs, Plow On Gum anyone?). PR Day (Personal Record: the one day a month when it’s time to race hard, throw down and challenge your neighbor to be better than they were a month ago) was getting to be one of those failures…it was the day everyone was starting to hate. So we got rid of it, re-worked it, and we’re bringing it back to you gnarlier and weirder than ever.
But before I talk to you about your new P.R day, I want to review some things. I’ll do this Wisconsin Note style, but we need you to pay attention because it’s time to double down. Two+ years in I feel like I can serve this up hot and you all can handle it. We’re not going to give you a new P.R day without reminding you of why it is you need to be there.
1. November Project is not just free fitness: The fitness is free, yes, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg. If you’re reading this you’re either someone who comes to NP_BAL or someone who wants to and that means you live your life a certain way. It means you say yes. Whether you’re one of the hardcore who hasn’t missed a workout in a year, or just someone who throws their hat into the circle a couple times a month, coming to November Project means you’re refusing to take a pass on life. There are no excuses, at least none that we’re willing to hear. If you haven’t reminded yourself in a while, your willingness to get up and throw down ( along with everything else that can come with it) means you’re different. You don’t drink instant coffee, you take your coffee black with a shot of espresso. Your limits are something you only know about because you’ve reached them.
2. You will be uncomfortable: If you’ve ever shown up, you know this is the case. Whether the workout makes you uncomfortable or the hugging does, there is something that is going to make you squirm. However, I have news for you…that’s how life works. Every time you board a plane, sit down for an exotic meal, throw your shit into a backpack for some far off adventure, there is something that is going to make you uncomfortable. If you back down and go home every time that happens, I promise, you will hate November Project. But if you’re the type of person that wants to see what’s on the other side of that discomfort, please, I want you to come introduce yourself to me at the next workout. I’ll challenge you to 25 burpees. Beat me.
3. You will be weatherproof: This goes without saying. I will never, in a million years, care about what the weather is like outside. If you want to lie in your bed and use the rain as an excuse, please, go ahead, I’m only going to beat you by more come the next P.R Day.
4. You will support each other: This goes without saying, but I’ve been to too many half-assed boot camps, boutique fitness studios and big box gyms to not repeat it. Your number one goal at each workout is to make someone better. You can do this by racing your tail off or you can do this by learning someone’s name. Opting out of your NP support network is not an option. If you don’t have time to tell someone they’re crushing it, we don’t have time to get you through your rainiest, shittiest mornings. Your fitness does not survive in a vacuum; you are only as strong as those who are with you.
5. You will race hard: Whether this means 5 minute miles or 15 minute miles, we need you to check all of your baggage when you get to NP. If you’re hurt, please, get a gnarly injury deck going ( if you’re unfamiliar with injury deck, come find us one morning and ask) but if you’re not, please promise to push your limits. November Project is the most welcoming community you can imagine and I say this knowing full well that it is the absolute truth… we do not care what shape you are in, just get yourself to a workout. However, once you get yourself there you must work as hard as you can. That concept might be tough for a lot of people who hope to just get themselves to 7:30 so that they can get to work. But we promise, this meal is best served family style, piping hot, with as much spice as you can handle. So race hard every day, race hardest on P.R Day.
6. You will live your life differently: I could make a valiant effort to explain this to you in words, but it would never get the job done. So here’s what you’re going to do. Come to our next workout, find someone who looks like they know what they’re doing, introduce yourself and ask them how November Project has changed their life. For a few people it may have literally saved their life (that is not the norm and I do not intend to overstate the importance of our group) but for many it may have just provided a change of perspective. It may have helped someone push their limits, it may have made Baltimore feel like home. But if you buy in, and I mean all in, I promise that November Project will make your life better, whether you’re willing to admit it or not.
Now that we have all been reminded of some of those core values, let’s get down to PR Day.
P.R. Day has been changed to a workout known as BAL1.
Once a month we will meet at Rash Field for what we all know will be our toughest workout. This will happen on the last Wednesday of every month. There is no way around BAL1, it is simply the toughest 30 minutes that we could bring to you. We know you can handle it. We know you will show up for it. We know you will take unbelievable pride in your P.R and do your best to protect it.
1. For 30 minutes you will repeat BAL1 as many times as you can. The workout will look like the following image.
2. 1 complete lap starts with 5 burpees, a half lap to the start of the stairs, ascending and descending all 10 sections ( go up section 0.1, down section 0.2, up 0.3…continue) until you get back to the pagoda. 5 burpees…do it all again.
3. At the end of 30 minutes you will hear the ever majestic Bell ring and you will stop right where you are. If you completed 5 laps and got to section 0.2 on the stairs, your score is 5.2. If you ended while running, you get no credit for your run or your burpees, you must end on stairs to get extra credit.
4. Remember your number and record it on the tracker.
5. The most important part of this whole damn thing. You will receive a BAL1 Tennis Ball. On it you will write YOUR NEXT GOAL! So, for example, if I scored a 5.2, I will take my tennis ball and write BAL 1- “The Date” and 6.0. We have less interest in what your current P.R is ( all you marathon runners know that you have more than enough P.R’s to keep track of), what we’re most interested in is WHAT YOU’RE GOING TO DO NEXT! You’re only as good as your next time, your next goal.
6. You will keep that tennis ball with you, around you, in your car, in your backpack, on your bedside table until you beat it and earn a new BAL1 tennis ball and a new P.R Goal. The ball is just a symbol, a reminder for you that you need to keep working. Don’t set the ball low. Take pride in what you’ve done, challenge your friends to beat you, set your sights high and get there. Race me.
This week is your first P.R. day. Balls will be awarded to everyone after, on which you will write your next goal for BAL1. I trust that every single one of you will go as hard as you can and as fast as you can. You won’t do it because of this stupid blog post…you’ll do it because that’s the way you live your life.
Say yes. Even if it scares you, say yes.
As always, take big bites of life. BIG ONES!
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