Embrace the Race (Boston 12.14.18)

PR DAY.  Every 2nd Friday of the Month.  For some, it’s exciting and going to sleep the night before is like the hype and excitement before a snow day, a holiday, or going on vacation.  For others, the hype is less huge.  It might even be a little anxiety provoking or make it difficult to go to sleep knowing that the expectation for the next morning is to race your face off.

One tribe member this morning knew that it was PR day.  She knew that the goal is for everyone to race–regardless of their placement or speed when we call time at 7:20–everyone should push themselves to see what they can accomplish.  But she wasn’t certain if she could give it everything she had.

I saw her at the finish line.  It was a pretty cold morning, and the sun was really just coming up past the top of the hill.  Everyone urging their bodies past that fire hydrant for the third and final time was consumed with gasping breaths, giant steamy clouds of exhalation bursting from their mouths, exhausted steps slowing to a stop, hands reaching to rest on knees as they caught their breath, others turned with faces and mouths to the sky, drawing in more of that expansive air above and around them. 

She leaned forward, hands on knees, head dropped down just for a moment, and I moved toward her to congratulate, celebrate, and connect.  She looked up and I saw her face streaming with sweat and tears alike.  She said, “These are tears of joy, not pain.” 

And she explained how every race, ever…has been filled with the intensity of racing–complete with all the anticipation, which has always built from anticipation to pressure to anxiety to fear to … holding back or backing off, or giving up.  Today was the very first time, EVER, that she was able to see the race in front of her, to feel the race inside of her, to stare down that rising anxiety and fear, and to keep racing…all the way to the finish. 

I don’t know whether there was a peaceful embrace of the race that happened inside her, or if it was a warrior’s battle through.  But either way, she found the joy of racing today.  Rather than running in fear and racing from a perspective of “what I can’t do,” she found a way to embrace racing by seeing what she could do–and probably more so by feeling the strength and confidence that has built by showing up and running these damn hills, crushing stadium sections, hell–by being the first place female finisher for the recent WOahMAN. 

It’s the sweat and the tears on her face that represent what she has gained and that anyone can gain from these weird, fun, fierce workouts at November Project.  You don’t always know what you’re going to be asked to do–and you definitely don’t always know whether you can do it.  But when you just freaking try–do as much as you can, go as far as you can– and here’s the really important part: and you keep working on doing more and going farther week after week you discover things in you that you never saw before.  You realize strength, capacity, fierceness, confidence, and determination that you maybe didn’t feel before.  And you do things that you couldn’t/didn’t/never tried before. 

She did more than PR on hills today.  Today was a life PR. 

Those are pretty special, and they don’t come without a lot of hard work.  But the tribe is strong, and it’s a special community in which we can all do that hard work.  Keep showing up, my friends, and keep changing the world.

Monday Destination Deck

Location is at McDermott Court, in Cambridge. Map HERE.  6:29AM.  We really do encourage everyone to build cardio/fitness into the “going to” and “returning from” the workout–as was originally intended when these Monday workouts started.  But hey–if you have to get to work on time and need to leave the workout ASAP when it’s done, then get creative and build your run/bike/walk/fitness in the way you can.  Sometimes I have to drive to the workout because of it’s distance from my home or because of timing/life demands afterwards.  But it’s okay to show up at 6am to move your body in the cardio movement of your choice in a loop around or out & back from the workout spot so you land back there at 6:29…  Or do that loop after the workout because 6:29 is the earliest you’ll ever get to the workout.  Get creative and stay committed to what these workouts are all about–fitness that is fierce, fun, creative, weird, and fueled by community. 

See you there.


NP Run + Social next Friday night.  Dec 21 (the longest dark day of the year).  We will have a late night run and social, with more details to come next week.  But save your evening, and get ready to show up!

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