Guest Blog: Nikhil Agarwal (SF)

Today’s blog post comes from our current recipient of the Positivity Award. You know, that wooden stick that actually carries a lot of value. Nikhil has been a member of NPSF for a long time and was so deserving of the PA. We’re glad you’re here, Nikhil. Take it away…

Before we get into the meat of this post, I have a confession to make: In general I am not a very positive person, perhaps borderline grumpy and definitely a little lazy. In light of this confession being awarded this positivity stick is a surprise and being able to talk about my experience at November Project is a privilege.

I first got introduced to the idea of November Project by Patrick and Scarles (thank you both) at a pizza party. Instantly, as we often do, I was being persuaded to come to NP. Being fresh out of grad school and extremely out of shape I was shy about attending a workout surrounded by the fastest runners I had not met yet. NP didn’t happen for me for another few months, but when it did it was a wild roller coaster of emotions. Being a Noob I arrived at my first NP workout on a Wednesday. Unfortunately for me it was the the last Wednesday of the month and I had no idea what was coming next. Like every noob I was greeted by endless hugs an muffled claps (don’t want to get thrown out of Alta Plaza). My running abilities at the time were non-existent and the longest race I had ever run up-to that point was a 5K which was a few years back. Needless to say that was a painful experience, by the end of the third lap and the last set of burpees. I was laying on the ground ready to pass out wondering how this could ever be enjoyable. It was like a high followed by a complete crash at the end of the workout.

Fast forward a few months of painful workouts and me complaining about how hard these workouts are to early 2017. I found myself running the sunrise 6K which at the time was my longest race till that date. Even though I got lapped during that race by most people, I was hooked. I found myself ditching overpriced gym classes for free fitness outside in the weather. Running started becoming a part of life and I would seek out opportunities for when I could go for a run. My lifestyle was getting healthier, and slowly I was becoming a little bit quicker. My spare time was spent researching how to run distances longer than four miles and which races to sign up for. Watching myself go from absolutely despising running to seeking out races that I could run was an amazing feeling. Despite countless aches and pains by the end of last year I had run three races including an impromptu half marathon.

How did this all happen? How did this slightly lazy not-morning person go from pretty much never having done any running to waking up before dawn and coming to workouts on a regular basis? The answer is NP. It’s the sweaty hugs, the high fives and all the words of encouragement that I share with friends or complete strangers. It’s about stepping out of your comfort zone, committing and pushing yourself harder or further than you have before. There is always a friendly person around to challenge you and compliment you when you are struggling. Always a leader looking out for us in case we are not feeling it. It’s about showing up every morning no matter what we are doing that day, no matter what the weather is, and of course kudos-ing each other on Strava. This has been a seismic shift in my thinking and life and it has been all thanks to NP and everyone that helps make this close knit community special. Now if only running and I can grow old together, I will be very happy.

Hope to see y’all at the next workout.

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