Chicago 2.62 (Guest Post: Emily Thompson)

“I wasn’t hooked at first. When Brent approached me in February 2014 about some workout group he was starting, I was skeptical.

“Help start something awesome,” Brent said.

It was early in the morning – snowing! – and icy water squicked through my running shoes as we ran through Museum Campus that first pledge morning in March. It was fun, I guess. But I wasn’t sure the workout was for me (there were hills! I had to use my ab muscles!). And I wasn’t sure it was worth the drive in Chicago traffic. I decided I wasn’t coming all the way back.

I was back in three weeks. I can’t say one specific thing brought me back. Maybe it was Brent’s words to me. I really don’t know. But over these nearly five months there are so many things I have come to love about November Project, things that keep me coming back week after week. Here are just a few:

Crazy, Innovative Workouts: Case in point, this morning. Treadmills are boring. 2.62 mini-mini marathons are not. Under a Blood-Mooned sky you all raced along the lakefront.You stopped at a water station with 26.2 seconds of burpees (I might have had a little too much fun with the water gun. Sorry guys!), another station with 10 pushups and 10 lunges, a music station with Frank’s techno jams and 26.2 jumping jacks, and a first aid station where Erin gave out sweet Ninja Turtles and Monsters Inc. band-aids and then doled out 26.2 tricep dips. After that it was a mad dash to the finish line where we were awarded are medals . Volunteers handed out “space blankets” and we waited for everyone to cross the finish line. This does not happen at a gym people.

November Project is fresh, and innovative, and keeps workouts from getting stale.

Positivity: I’m a pretty glass is half full person, but even I need help sometimes. Last week when we were hitting for the cycle, I got stuck on single. I was frustrated, but then somebody gave me a high-five. And before I knew it I was getting and giving high-fives left and right.

No matter your speed or skill, there’s high fives and shouts of encouragement during a workout and hugs waiting for you when you finish. It’s something that keeps me going when I think I’m out of gas, and it brightens my whole week!

#Weatherproof: That first week I was really doubtful about working out in weather. Like Deniz says no one is immune to cold weather (or rain or heat), but once you push yourself out the door you get used to it. And free workouts that happen to be outside? Sure as hell beats paying for a gym!

And I’ve found that working out outside with precipitation brings the best memories. Besides, when else can you throw snowballs in the middle of April, or go mudsliding before work [sorry, Dan Finn 🙁 ]?!?

Motivation: Let’s face it. I’m pretty solidly a fun-speed (read: slow) runner. I’m not denying it, and I feel no shame in it. But I feel welcomed and challenged to get better, each and every week. And I get off my ass and do crazy workouts I’d never in a million years do. I could never motivate myself the way Brent and Andy and all of you do. If I were at home, I’d be doing a leisurely run at best. But probably warming my bed.

One of the greatest things about November Project is that people of all abilities workout together and that everyone is included and encourages one another.  And we’re all a lot better off, because we’re off our couches!

People: I can’t say enough about the quality of people that November Project seems to recruit. Friendly. Generous. Creative. Altruistic. Boisterous. Friends of friends of friends of friends, or people who came after reading a Runners World article, or from social media, with whom I share common interests. Our social circles would likely have never brought us together, but November Project has made our world just a little smaller. As a grown-up it’s pretty hard to make new friends, but through NP I have found many, and undoubtedly will find many more.

Waking up early never gets more fun. Walking out the door in cold or rainy weather never gets easier. But I pull myself out of bed. I shove myself out the door. Because the awesomeness that is November Project is infectious. Because of this awesomeness, I have never once regretted a workout.

Everyone in the tribe comes from different backgrounds and are driven here for different reasons. But what’s magical is that we all come together to create something awesome, something that is a positive force in our city. November Project. In the imortal words of Dan Graham, “This. Shit. Is. Good.” And it’s because of all of you. Keep spreading the good word about November Project.” – Emily Thompson



Congrats to our top three finishers this morning, Lynton, Daniel Meer, and Brendan! You guys were crazy fast. Congrats as well to Erin Rohan, who received the Positivity Award this week! Erin helped create our 2.62 mile marathon and is always a smiling face in the crowd. You da bomb!

The Chicago Marathon is THIS Sunday, October 12th. We have TONS of runners participating, many from our tribe, as well as many from far off places like New York and D.C. and Boston. If you’re free, come cheer with us at the corner of Clark & Fullerton. It’ll be a great time, not only to get the word out about our awesome tribe, but to help  cheer on our fellow tribe members and celebrate one of the awesomest events in our city.

See you all Sunday AND next Wednesday! #recruiteveryone

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