Greed, Perfection, and Satisfaction: Guest Blog by Nick Pioggia (BOS)

This Wednesday morning Capozzi and Saul surprised (and embarrassed) the hell out of me by granting me the Positivity Award. I’ve watched the ol’ oar handle be awarded to dozens of recipients, all more deserving than I, over the years and never imagined that I would lay my hands on it. Nevertheless, I am beyond honored to receive the award and am stoked to contribute a lil’ something to the blog today. I want to use the opportunity to talk about how greed, perfection, and satisfaction (or the lack of it) relate to my journey with November Project.

The story of how I stumbled into November Project isn’t unique and is most likely a carbon copy of your path to The Tribe. 5 years ago, almost to the day, I was retrieving my bike from the basement of my apartment building in Cambridge “early” one morning and ran into a neighbor who was coming home from somewhere. I thought to myself, where is this dude coming BACK from at such an ungodly hour? He, Kyle Strek, explained the NP Stadium situation to me and I was fascinated. I was barely considering myself a runner at this point in my life, but liked the idea of the challenge, the weatherproof-ness, and the tribe. I spent the next week completely preoccupied with the idea of the stadium workout. Should I run there? Bike there? Bring food? Water? Flake on the whole idea? The following Wednesday my buddy Tony Fiandaca escorted me to my first stadium workout and the rest is history. Capozzi thinks I’ve missed less than a dozen Wednesday mornings over the past 5 years, and he’s probably right. This is partially because I’m borderline OCD, but also because I’m greedy.

Greed.

I often feel super selfish when it comes to all things November Project. I think about how supportive the Tribe is and how much I lean on and take from our community. During races, whether it be a 5k in Somerville or the Boston Marathon, there is always so much love and support from NP. The hype at Mile 18 is absolutely unrivaled. I damn near killed myself during the marathon this year trying to grab every high-five (and donut) that was there for the taking. The four and a half minutes before and after each workout there is always someone checking in on you. “How’s being a new dad going?” “How did your surgery go?” “How’s training coming along?” It’s not always the same person every week, but every week it’s someone. I tend to feel selfish and guilty about how much I take from NP when I can only give back so little, but maybe that’s just the way anything communal works. You #justshowup to a potluck with some chicken wings, but you get to feast on the smörgåsbord that is November Project. We are Voltron.

Perfection.

There are very few things in this world that I would describe as being “perfect,” but along with Blade Runner (Final Cut), the Craigie Burger, Illmatic, and Vans Authentics, the stadium workout makes the cut. Regardless of your fitness level, this workout is never not challenging. You can always go further, faster, or longer. By completely leveling the playing field, the stadium offers up a workout that is not only mind, soul, and body crushing, but also communal. The number of sections and minutes may vary, but we all walk away with the same challenging and rewarding experience. This is directly related to my final noun for the day.

Satisfaction.

This is a moving target at the stadium. Sometimes it’s the workout. Sometimes it’s the conversations. Sometimes it’s the sun rising, or the moon setting, but I am never fully satisfied. I always want to come back to try harder, meet new people, learn more about marathons from George and Joe. I’ve heard it said that satisfaction is the death of desire. Being content with being unsatisfied is one of the many things that keeps me coming back. This morning Daniella asked me if I was done with the full tour and I blurted out, “there is no done!”

It’s all of this that makes November Project and The Stadium so sacred to me. Emily described the stadium as being a sanctuary and I know many of us can related to that. When making travel plans, will I miss a Wednesday? When moving to a new neighborhood or town, will I still be able to get to the stadium? When building a family, will there still be time for the stadium? Sometimes I feel guilty admitting these thoughts and the importance of this “workout” to people, but the positive effects that this community has had, and will have, on me is why we shouldn’t be ashamed to consider it in the same way we do our friends, family, and beliefs.

¡Gracias Pachamama!

-Nick P

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