Running the stairs of the Lincoln Memorial the past 7 years, we’ve shared a sacred view of both the beauty and history of our nation’s capital. We have worked to create a diverse, inclusive, and safe community for everyone, but we understand we must be more intentional in improving our space so it is more reflective of our city. We grieve with the Black community over the senseless deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, David McAtee and so many others — and we believe, wholly and unequivocally, that Black Lives Matter. Moving forward, we will strive to foster a truly diverse and inclusive environment while calling out and fighting against the systemic racism and injustice so deeply rooted in our society. We will do this by listening, learning, donating, voting and acting. This effort is going to take a community, one that shows up for one another and that holds each other accountable. We sincerely hope you’ll join us. We love you, DC.
If you, like me, spent a lot of time burning mix CDs to put into your parents’ 2001 Oldsmobile Intrigue during the late 2000s and the early aughts, you hopefully know the value of this Schwayze banger. If you don’t, take three minutes and give it a listen, I guarantee you’ll be Buzzin’ by the end.
This past Sunday, August 18, was an epic feat of athleticism, strength, and gastrointestinal fortitude. The first ever Custard Chase, a follow-up to last summer’s Taco Mile, went down at Banneker Rec Center. Bolstered by our community ties (and excellent planning from our very own Noelle Ellerson Ng), we welcomed hundreds of runners for the event. First, a sincere thanks to Shake Shack for providing the delicious custard, Pacers Running for the race clock, and the DC Department of Parks and Rec for the AV system and the space — we couldn’t have done it without y’all.
Hey there, hi there we are Kurt and Mitch! Also known as Denim on the Diamond
We have been attending November Project for a year now and the support we receive not just from Steve, Kwame and our former leader Roz (which by the way last year looked like Mario in denim overalls and we loved it) but from every person who attends those workouts and encourages us in fitness but also supports whatever crazy vision we have that day!
It would be impossible to measure the impact Kim Garrard Stemple has had on so many lives both within and outside of November Project.
Kim, or “The Queen of Grit and Grace,” or simply “Mom,” or [insert inspirational name for any group of humans she has inspired], would hate this blog. After all, we’re writing about her and not about others. Of the thousands of people within this incredible, goosebumps-inducing NP community, Kim is right up there at the top of a very long “selfless” list. She ran to inspire others. And she started her charity to lift people up when they needed it most. She smiled and loved so often, she touched all around her in the most beautiful way imaginable.
Last summer I outperformed my own expectations and miraculously qualified for the Boston marathon and all of a sudden a race that I’d figured was more a dream was going to be my reality. Last month as I packed I was sure to lay out my November Project #grassrootsgear.
I remember the first time I saw these random spray painted shirts at a big race in Vancouver. I gotta be honest the whole messy spray paint, ‘ruining a perfectly good t-shirt’ thing didn’t jive well with my OCD tendencies. I also couldn’t understand why so many people had the same graffiti – what was this November Project thing?!
Goooooood morning, Washington! Heading into this holiday weekend, we wanted to get you HYPED for our upcoming social event. If you were around last summer, you remember the positively EPIC double-header we pulled off– learning to dragon boat and crushing the Run Club Throw Down in the same.damn.day while it MONSOONED on us. This summer, we’re switching things up a bit– roller skating at Anacostia Park followed by a Nats game. C’mon, this is going to be FUN– AND open to all– ESPECIALLY those friends who think NP is “too early” (Pro tip: Bring some pals to a social, they’ll see how awesome NP is, they’ll want to hang out with us more, BOOM that’s how we get ’em).
So as previously mentioned I joined NP in February last year and for the first solid like two-ish months I barely talked to anyone and would linger on the edges of groups and conversations (which is actually what I still do but now I know a bunch of you guys ) and was generally there for the hype but due to intense social anxiety had a really hard time actually approaching and making conversation with everyone. Near the beginning of May last year that changed. I think the first big difference actually came with Josh bringing Kali to a workout. Dogs are magical that way, the bringers of friendship and whatnot. Next was Adi running the BMO Marathon for his birthday. I struck up a conversation with him about that and that was kind of the beginning of our friendship. Leah’s birthday was a couple weeks later (on May long) and a bunch of us were going skydiving. We needed a certain number of people to get the cost down so I started bugging Josh (who really had become a friend to me over the previous two weeks due to me taking Kali to NP while he was in LA) and eventually convinced him to join us in skydiving. Adi tagged along the day of and the three of us kind of hung out and joked and had a ton of fun. I ended up going to Kelowna that evening and hanging out with Adi and a few others. We went out for drinks and had a group games night in the park the next evening and then Adi and I went on a short biking wine tour with some people from his lab on the Monday. It was such a fun weekend and was the most natural friendship I had ever made. Everything about it was relaxed and easy and it probably helped that running, biking, swimming and all the other crazy things we do were something we had in common. And yeah, that’s the story of how Adi and I became friends! And kind of how Josh and I became friends too.
If you’ve been to a workout, you’ve probably seen the Rankin kids. Running around, making friends, smiling, ALWAYS doing the right thing. It’s a little maddening. We asked these stoic heroes to jot down a guest blog on the topic of their choosing. So without further ado, I’ll let Mark and Zoë take it away…
Mark and Zoë Rankin here guest-blogging this week!
Before November Project was even an idea, the Rankins had committed to showing up and respecting the verbal (hugging strangers came much, much later). If there’s one thing our family loves, it’s following through on something crazy we said we would do, that other people might even think is a little stupid. So when NP finally came around, the whole family fit right in.
Did somebody say Traverbal? What…? Is that even a word? Did I just vomit a word into that opening sentence? Maybe? It’s fine. It’s a word. It’s a word that describes one of the things I’ve learned to love to do. If Webster was to create a dictionary definition of the word it would sound like this. Traverbal: To do cool, fun, crazy, random shit that makes you sweat with other crazy, fun, random people all around the world. Often very early in the morning, when the regular people of the world are busy sleeping. Oh, and you bring a passport shirt, or blanket, or both. Maybe even a puppy sweater. A hat? Anything you want. Then you get it spray painted with the unique tag of that location, it’s kinda cool. Mine’s the best for sure (shout out Joel to tie-dyeing my shirt for me in LA).
November project… There’s no other way to describe it other than an amazing experience! When I first heard about it I had to ask Roz “Will I be the oldest person amongst the 20 somethings?” She assured me that there would be others closer to my age group, over 30! I committed to go if it was not colder than -15. When I woke up that February morning 2017, it was actually -15 exactly and I don’t like to break promises.
We got into the November Project much like most people in Kelowna: peer pressure from Roz.
I was working at Boomers, and Roz would come in to cheer on Grant. She kept mentioning that she was leading this thing called November Project Wednesday mornings and I should come.
The problem is, that I’m an EXTREME morning person. By 6:30 when it starts, I’m usually finished my morning run, and my morning workout. Not to mention I usually start my day job at 7 am. I figured it was one of those events that fell into the “awesome, but not great for my schedule” and kept ignoring Roz’s advances.
When I moved from Calgary a few years ago, I began looking for a different kind of group work out that would be fun! I did not have any success until last year. I was running in the Hungry Half and a group called November Project was doing the warm-up portion of it. The person that led this warm up was Kwame and he stated that this group runs every Wednesday morning, meeting at the Sails at 6:29 am. Rain or shine. It is free. JUST SHOW UP!!! WHAT 6:29 AM???? What sane person would wake up so early to do that???
This blog isn’t easy to write because, in many ways, it is the end of an era. It was one that was extremely colorful, full of great humans, and a time that I’ll never forget. And although I’m the one holding the pen, I’ve cleared all these words with Bojan and Laura and I can assure you they’re on the same page. The official relationship between November Project and The North Face has come to an end. The shift comes with the most respect, love, and full transparency from The North Face. This is technically a breakup, but there were no hard feelings or less than positive chapters in our story – just a clean end of an era.
My name is Carli, nice to meet you all! I am the quiet one in the pink sweater.
I have been apart of the tribe since October 2018 and have been there almost every week since I started going. I have been following NP on Instagram for a few years now and have wanted to join in but was afraid to go alone. When I saw my good friend Jordan was going I knew it was time to join the tribe!
My first impression of Kelowna can be described in 2 words:
I had lived in Kelowna for a grand total of 6 hours before I met Roz. The way I see it, November Project is Kelowna’s welcome wagon. At least that’s the way it went for me.
It was Sunday. I was walking down Pandosy to meet a friend for coffee when I saw what I thought was a surfer chick standing at her car. Long curly hair, backward trucker hat, blue crop top, drinking coffee in the hot sun. Not coffee from a to-go mug, but a coffee cup resting on the roof of ther Volkswagen. This is the first friend I made in Kelowna.
Like Chris tumbling backwards and falling deeply into the sunken place, the droll gray skies and bone-chilling temps can have a lot of us feeling as though we’re getting lobotomized throughout the winter (too much? I think not.). Fortunately, like Rod pulling up in the TSA squad car to save Chris, NPDC is here to throw you a lifeline to GET OUT (while you still can). If you haven’t watched Get Out yet, sign up for the Night Run, and then go do that A$AP Rocky.
Oh hey, Boston. And hey to the rest of the world reading this blog. Here in Boston, we’re experiencing one of the coldest days in a really long time, and one of the winter-iest days we’ve had since way back last winter. Lots of precipitation, fluctuations in temperature around the freezing point, resulting in scientifically-fascinating mixtures of snow, slush, ice, and slice (that’s a wintery compound that looks exactly like slush but frozen in time as ice, which is probably what the Ice Age looked like.)
If you think you’re ever working out alone at NP, you’re not. You can argue that you’re the only one getting your body up the stairs, (unless you’re one of those very young tribe members whose parents carry them in packs) so technically you’re doing it on your own.
But there’s power in the tribe. We’ve been proving it for years–it’s why there’s still a tribe each and every week that shows up. Even the people, like Charlie, who I met today, who say they’re not working out with us… they are getting something important from the tribe. Charlie even explained that he likes the energy–when he and his friend come each Wed morning and run a full tour while we’re doing our thing. He says he’s not a part of the tribe but we might consider what he’s doing like getting all the benefit but not making it official. Just like you can use your neighbor’s WiFi and get all the internet access you like, without having your own official account with the internet company. One could call that “stealing WiFi,” but if we hold back our judgment for a minute and look at the good that’s happening there, we can choose to focus on the fact that NP, and the tribe of energized, moving, motivating humans helps not only the “tribe,” but everyone around us too.
Uh-oh. It’s 2019 and people are still breaking verbals. In case there’s any confusion, when you tell someone, and that “someone” happens to be Steve Christensen, that you’re going to be at November Project, you best make sure to be at November Project.
Jason, Jason, Jason. What happened, dude?! We understand, people are still trying to get into the groove of the new year, and it can be hard. But in case you haven’t heard, there’s a really good place where all your friends go for accountability (see: NPDC M/W/F workouts).
2018. What. A. YEAR!
Just thinking about all that happened, I feel like I’m doing an endless fidget spinner (#NewSpice alert!) — getting dizzier by the minute. We turned five and Steve actually retired; a week later, we welcomed Emma. We saw some community members move away, but also learned boatloads of new names. We ran 156 workouts, but also got social plenty, too (see below).
To be… or not to be weatherproof? That is the question.
VERBALS were dropped, but the whole following through part… that’s another story. I’ll tell you what though, the weather being crazy… that wasn’t a question. It was raining, AND snowing, AND the wind was a-whippin! Thats just gravy for us though because we EMBRACE those elements, well, most of us…
Typically, when someone is given the Positivity Award, we ask them to answer a few get-to-know-you type questions in order to help the Tribe (and us) understand what makes that person tick. I sent a list of those get-to-know-you type questions to Casey Forgey this morning, and she sent me the following blog back in reply. I learned more about Casey through her writing than I could have hoped to through my questions. I’m proud she’s a member of NPDC and I hope you’ll take the time to get to know her. Thanks Casey, for writing this, we’re glad you’re here.
You will never be enough.
That’s what she says to Rachel. Because Rachel may look like her, but she’s far from it. Rachel may look Asian, but she’s Asian American. It’s not just a nuance or one extra word. It’s a distinction that casts Rachel off as not worthy, not good enough. That’s how some of us grew up.
I’ll let the video speak for itself – to say that I am excited about what the future holds is an understatement.
Here are a few words from Lazina
Some of you know me pretty well. Or maybe you know my name. Or you’ve seen my face. Or maybe this is the first you’re hearing about me.
So, September… what does this usually bring? Beautiful fall days, brisk mornings, changing colours, hikes, warm teas, pumpkins! But also, back to school, end of summer transition, starting to be shorter days. It’s not the dark season yet, but it’s upon us, a time when we know we will need each other even more. And perhaps this season, more than ever, we are sitting in some ongoing uncertainties. With return to school, runny noses and days home from work and school to go wait in COVID testing lineups… there is a lot up in the air. We don’t want to be yet another sharer of negative news (though important to be aware of what’s going on), a lot of these pieces are out of our hands. We can only choose how we respond, and who we surround ourselves with (speak to, text, zoom with), which can influence our attitude around things.
We are going to freaking miss you! Actually, we are going to miss your leadership, because hopefully you aren’t going anywhere & we will continue to get to see you at NPVB workouts in the future. Your retirement day may be today, and work may be taking more of your time these days, but know that you always have a spot at the top of Mount Trashmore waiting for you.
A peek inside the inner workings of November Project Chicago
We participated in and read all of the comments from the Keep, Change, Create (“KCC”) dialogues as well as the first few dozen anonymous member surveys that you have submitted to us. First and foremost, thank you for your participation in those. If you haven’t completed the anonymous member survey, please do so this week. November Project Chicago doesn’t work unless you show up, and understanding roadblocks that keep you and others in our community from showing up is helpful. Second, we’ll get to the data from the survey in another post. The focus of this post is a look inside the opaque world of co-leadership at NPCHI
The world got a little weird ever since I lost that dog, right? YIKES. Well, let’s do something fun to change the mood.
If you follow 2018 Boston Marathon Winner and whiskey connoisseur Des Linden on any form of social media, you may have seen her post this photo yesterday.
As soon as I saw it, an idea struck. So, weirdly, I reached out to Des. And she wrote back, And she’s into it. Seriously.
Dear November Project DC community (and greater NP world),
I love you. I’m also not going anywhere. I’m simply ending my four-year term as a leader of this incredible movement (OK, I got the bad political parallel joke out of the way already). This Friday, 9/25/2020, marks four years since the first time I stood in front of you at Janney Elementary School in Tenleytown. The approximately 624 workouts since then plus some pretty hilariously crazy events have been a blur — the absolute best of blurs. In a chaotic, scary, uncertain world, NP has always been that steadying force, that constant reminder of good and happiness and connection. Every member of the community makes this a reality; I am so glad you are here!
I’ll be honest I do not have much to add to today’s blog. Those of your continuing to persevere in individual and fitness lives continue to inspire me. Announcements are still to come but I feel like there isn’t a need to hype that until they happen. And…keep being aweomse…done…right…
What does the future look like a week from today, a month or even a year from now? Will we still be sporting masks, keeping our two metres of distance, having social gatherings in our backyards still? We’re just as unsure as you are. But, here are some things we would like you to know.
We will continue to connect virtually. You can count on that.
Together, we can save the Manitoba Marathon. The Manitoba Marathon has been our cities’ marathon for 40+ years and only we can ensure that it is our marathon for another 40. Two years ago, Derek wrote an incredible blog about the history of the Manitoba Marathon, read it here:
If only I had a crystal ball I would tell you what the future holds but sadly I am just not that magical. There has been lots on my mind as of late. Things like the roles of leadership at NP, anti-racism work, upholding accountability, being a ally, embodying our community agreements and more. It is an exciting time with so many things being applicable to our lives beyond a workout – if you are willing to take it that far. These topics are reinforcing the importance of the humans that choose to #JustShowUp and the community that we all create.