David Willey (NP BOS Newbie) & Dan Graham (NP MSN Leader) Share Their Thoughts

Before we get into this groundbreaking post I’d like to give two important NP BOS plans for next week…

1. Monday AM: We’ll be meeting at 6:29AM at the Henderson Boathouse in Brighton. Take the Charles River path for the safest route. Remember, safety 3rd.

2. Monday PM: We’ll be meeting at 6:29PM at the Dance Complex (Map) for a FREE breakdancing class instructed by Lino “leanski” Delgado of the FloorLords. You must wear #GrassrootsGear to get in. Bring non-street shoes, pants, funk, and rhythm (or some of those items).

Now, here’s your NP NEWS!

I had the pleasure of meeting David Willey on Thursday as he and his team from Runners World Magazine were in town on business from NYC. The next day, Friday, he was standing proud on top of Summit Ave with November Project in the rain. We hugged, we ran hills, and we shared a connected community experience. Here is what David, Editor-in-Chief of Runner’s World, thought of his first day at NP as a newbie.

BOSTON NOTES:

Because I am lucky to work at a company where health and fitness are part of the daily culture, I often get to run at lunch or at reasonable times before/after work. So I rarely have to wake up before 6 AM for a workout. But on my first visit back to Boston after the marathon bombings, I was psyched to set my phone to summon me at 5:30 this morning so I could finally experience the November Project for my ownself.

I had heard about it from RW colleagues and friends at New Balance (nice work, Claire Wood, somehow “landing” in the foreground of that giant photo in Outside magazine–have you no shame?). They set expectations very high, and those can be hard to meet–especially in the pouring rain, especially when the half-mile hill you know you are about to run multiple times has a grade of 17% near the top.

Summit Ave was silent and slick when I arrived at 6:15. Before long I was hugging people I’d never met before, remembering (yet again) how many reasons there are to be grateful and glad I am a runner. Five times up and down, trying to do my talking on the downs and my quivering on the ups. But this was one of the best runs I’ve done in a long time. Not because I nailed the workout (I certainly did not) but because it was so easy and instantaneous to plug into a cool, unique community vibe–especially now, especially in Boston. By the time we were done, the Summit Ave denizens were just heading to work. I love that. This winter and spring, I have too often run alone and too often forgotten to have fun. Thanks, NPers, for welcoming this Newbie and for the wake-up call. You’ve got something really great going on. I look forward to next time and will blame Brogan if I start sweaty-hugging my RW colleagues on the lunch run.

-David Willey, November Project Member (Boston)

I have one brother. He is the best dude I’ve ever met. He is in charge of creating and leading the group in Madison that goes by the name of November Project Madison. He had the balls to start the group in the middle of the coldest part of the winter. Here is his take on the first frozen steps of NP MSN on a day where they’ve just posted 65 members in a single workout. Without further anything, my future best man, Dan Graham.

WISCONSIN NOTES:

‘What is November Project?’ It’s a question that I still struggle to answer even after attempting to more often than I can count, ‘It’s a workout group, my buddy Bojan and his friend started it in Boston and then I, well, I guess I should start at the beginning,’

Day One. 6:30 am February 18th Madison, WI Bascom Hill. Ghost town. But November Project Madison was there. Ma Nature had put together a perfect test of our ambition. The wind was blowing as it had been since Christmas and the snow on the ground had turned to rocks. Katie Kocher remembers that it was zero degrees on the dot – and it only cooled off all day. I don’t remember what we wore, but we must have worn a lot of it.

The group that day was three bad-ass females and myself. We stiffly ran the hill 8 times and then sprinted to the coffee shop. We laughed at ourselves and considered the fact that this might just be a one time thing. Maybe we’d try again when it got warmer?

But, wait! Wasn’t that exactly the point? Weren’t we trying to prove our toughness against elements that would push against us again next year, and the year after. We weren’t going to hibernate another winter away, we were getting out of the cave to hunt. The next week seven mammals met me, and so far they were all humans.

Since that frozen day we have grown as a group and individually. The Mountain that once was Bascom Hill has shrunk, as our legs have swollen. Our group has topped 60 athletes. People have brought their dogs, their babies, their moms and their hangovers. Everybody sweats and everybody smiles.

-Dan Graham, November Project Leader (Madison)

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