From Discovery to a Marathon — Hannah Sedgwick’s incredible NP journey

Hannah smiles while wearing sunglasses (close-up)
ALL smiles.

A LOT has happened since we gave Hannah Sedgwick the Positivity Award two weeks ago. A monsoon marathon. A birthday party. The beginning of Abvember. Yeah, we’ve been busy, but rest assured that the wait for this blog is now worth it. Without further ado, get to know Hannah and, better yet, say hi to her at the next workout.

How were you introduced to November Project?
Flashback to 2014. Natalie Beach and I were interning at Discovery but we didn’t actually meet until a mutual friend introduced us after the internship. We realized we both loved running and concerts (specifically Andrew McMahon). I moved to Columbia Heights from Friendship Heights in September 2017 and Natalie made SURE to invite me to Meridian Hill/Malcolm X the very first week I was at my new apartment, I said I’d go and the rest is history. 

What do you remember about your first workout or thinking at/after your first workout?
Even though I was going to the workout with Natalie, I was still so nervous. I hadn’t been running consistently since my time on the track at American was cut short in 2012 due to hip surgery and resulting years of compensation injuries that followed. I’m a former sprinter, so running in groups and socializing while running wasn’t really my thing. 

I was horribly self-conscious and was mortified by the thought of not being able to keep up.

I struggled up the 15th Street hill. I wore a COTTON t-shirt on a humid September day. Mistakes were made.

I remember feeling like an absolute rockstar at the end. It wasn’t even 7:30am, and I’d already met a bunch of people, gotten my workout in, and did something new. I knew I had to go back.

What motivates you to keep you coming back?
Easy — the people! I love being able to hang with my friends and go on an adventure across DC with the Columbia Heights Runpool before my day even starts. 

I’m motivated by how special November Project is as a community, and how lucky we are to have such an amazing, strong group here in DC. If you have something so special in your life, you’d hate to miss a second of it.

Hannah runs with the Positivity Award on a pier in LA.
Sedge took the PA across the country to a West LA workout.

What does receiving the Positivity Award mean and represent to you?
I’m so humbled and completely honored. November Project has taught me to be more confident, push myself out of my comfort zone and work towards things that I didn’t think I could ever do. But what makes it really special is everyone’s positive attitude and the fact that the people around you are also working towards their potentially once-impossible goals. They’re chasing their dreams with a smile and endless amounts of motivation and positive energy, which is so contagious. When everyone else around you is being their best self it rubs off on you. 

What is one thing you want people to know about you?
If you need a recovery deck buddy this winter — I’m your gal! I’ll be taking a forced break from running to rehab my hip following surgery, so if you want to do your PT exercises or stretch while cheering people on during the workout, come hang! 

You just ran your first marathon (CONGRATS!!)  — talk a little bit about how you prepped for that and if NP was a part of your training at all. 
THANK YOU! It was an amazing day that I’ll never forget. I started training for Marine Corps in June and picked out an 18-week plan that I altered to be able to fit in all three NP workouts plus Saturdays with the NPDC Long Run Crew. I was diagnosed with a labral tear on literally the first week of training, so my expectations shifted a bit to just making it through training, finishing the race and having a great experience. 

It was super important to me that I was around NP throughout the training process. I kept saying at Long Run Crew that I feel like I’m cheating my marathon training because it’s so easy to get miles in, and when you’re chatting with friends during runpool or your long run the miles just fly by. I couldn’t have run this marathon without NP and so many people played a role in giving me advice, running flat laps, calming me down when I was in full-on taper crazy mode and hungry all the time, and just being motivating positive energy.

Hannah smiles as she runs by the NP cheer station during the marathon.
That first-marathon feeling!

Follow up: Describe some of the emotions you felt on race day – before, during, and after. 
Before: I was so excited. I’d framed it in my mind as the victory lap for all the training and that I’d set out just to have the most fun of anyone on the course. On the metro to the start line with Libby, Susie, Shannon, Maggie and Natalie, we were saying it didn’t feel like we were going to run a marathon, so I was super relaxed. 

During: I think I turned to Libby at mile three and was like “we’re running a MARATHON!?” I was so happy throughout the entire race. I was just thankful to be out there and excited to see so many of my friends and family who made the day happen. My parents came from Massachusetts and MCM happened to be on my dad’s birthday, my sister flew in from LA, my boyfriend and my friends stood in the pouring rain with signs and were crisscrossing the city to come to various points on the course, and of course the NP cheer station! I can’t thank everyone enough for the love and cheers during the race! 

After: The second I crossed the finish line I immediately starting sobbing. I met up with Libby and sobbed some more. We found my family and friends in Rosslyn and I cried even more. I was just so overwhelmed and SO happy. 

Follow up to the follow up: Marine Corps took place on a pretty crazy weather day in DC. How did you soldier through that? (PUN INTENDED) 
Pretty much the entire training cycle we had amazing weather, so it’s only fair that race day was full of torrential downpours, running through a lake that had formed at mile 13 and then a sudden wave of heat and humidity from mile 21 to the finish. I couldn’t help but laugh it was so ridiculous. I actually like running when the weather is bad because it makes you feel invincible. 

Hannah smiles while running next to two others, Ron and Julie, at a Monday workout.

What is your favorite coffee spot in DC and why? 
I order a latte pretty much everywhere I go (at least I’m consistent!). My favorite is the Tahitian vanilla latte at Slipstream, but I also love Pleasant Pops, Pear Plum, The Wydown and Baked & Wired. 

You can only eat one meal for the rest of your life — what is it? 
I’m going to go with pizza — specifically The Bentley at Timber Pizza. It’s salty! It’s sweet! It’s spicy! It’s got everything! 

Name any person, dead or alive, that you would want to bring as your guest to NP. 
I think it’d be awesome to have past and present amazing women of track and field and road racing at NP, like Allyson Felix, Wilma Rudolph, Shalane Flanagan, FloJo, Kathrine Switzer, etc. I’d love to see them have fun with an NP workout and most definitely run circles around everyone. 

What would your advice be to someone who wants to try November Project for the first time but is worried about showing up? 
You can do it! When my alarm goes off in the morning, I think, “I’ve never regretted going to an NP workout.” Once you’re out of bed, the rest of your morning is guaranteed to be fantastic. NP is for everyone and it’s a great way to work out while seeing your city in a new light and meeting some amazing people.

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