One of the best people I’ve known in my life, Emilie Mandaric is today’s guest blogger. I’ve watched her over the last few years start as a skeptic, transform into an athlete, and grow from negative to neutral to full supporter of our movement. She and I went for a 1.5 mile run two years ago and we were forced to stop and take many rest breaks before we were done. Fast forward two years and Emilie has found her way to the finish of countless 10K’s, #FrogMan1’s, and even a few half marathons. Her progress as a runner is an entire story in itself and I couldn’t be more proud to have watched from the sidelines. I am also very happy to see that we’re actually getting this post up and live without her husband and my dude (Bojan) knowing about it. This is the annoying/awesome November Project seen through the eyes of a Emilie Madaric:

Brogan asked me to write a guest post for NP and keep it a secret from Bojan. As I rarely get the opportunity to surprise Bojan, I said yes. I sat down and typed out my thoughts, then erased them, then re-typed them, and then walked away and tried again. Finally, this logorrhoea (<-- the true "medical" term for "word vomit") dialogue was born... At this point, I think we all know what November Project means to a lot of the tribes-people. It means hugs, friends, kick ass work outs, race PR's,and, let’s be honest; looking better naked... and maybe sharing that with someone. What November Project means to me, as the wife of one of the co-founders, is many things. This has evolved over the past two years from hatred and intimidation to love and pride. So, keeping it real, let's talk about how regularly I've said "I HATE NOVEMBER PROJECT" in the beginning. It’s true. November Project was an unstoppable force, figuratively barreling through my household, and my life. 1) We used to take vacations. We now take November Project vacations. This means we travel to places that have current or prospective NP locations, and/or travel to places with killer stairs that we can crush, at 6:30am…on vacation…

2) We used to have a normal amount of clothing. We have earned so much free #grassrootsgear that it doesn’t fit in our dresser drawers anymore… seriously, we need a third dresser just to hold our (awesome) tagged gear.

3) I used to have socially-appropriate boundaries. I want to hug EVERYONE now. I was on a job interview last week, and when it was over I had to remind myself I shouldn’t hug my interviewer. It’s instinct now to stick my hand out and high five every runner I see running by. It’s like I shit rainbows now. This is what NP has done to me.

4) I used to have free time. We have met so many great people from all walks off life, and have endless opportunities to immerse ourselves in fun activities. Now our calendar is full; filled to the top.

5) I used to participate in “normal” social activities. I can run now… and do a full stadium… and do crow pose. Prior to NP I couldn’t complete six sections or run a mile. I am now expected to participate in 5k’s, 10k’s, even half marathons without much notice because I am an athlete now. Who have my friends become?

6) We used to have dinner dates. My concept of romantic gestures is now all screwed up; it’s gone from a surprise candle-lit dinner, my LBD (men: that’s code for little black dress), and designer pumps to an early morning #weatherpoof half marathon in Hyannis in February and having my husband run the entire race next to me, cheering me on with soaking wet feet.

At this point in time, two years later, with seven cities and hundreds, perhaps thousands of people waking up to meet at 6:30am to sweat, love, and hug, November Project is still that unstoppable force barreling through my household and life, but it’s a welcome one. I have to tell you the phrase “I hate November Project” has been eliminated from my vocabulary. I’ve replaced it with “I am so proud of my husband and Brogan; and all of us might be a bit crazy, but I fucking love November Project.” If you invest one month, one day, one week, or even one hour with NP, getting to see what Bojan and Brogan have started, I think you too will drink the Kool Aid, hug it out, and proudly say “I Love November Project” (“f-word” optional, but highly encouraged).

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  1. I did my first NP workout yesterday on Summit Ave. with my son, Evan Dana. Evan has been trying to get me to attend for a long time. It was an experience to remember. I’m more of a mosey-er, than a runner, but with so many runners attending, I knew I would find someone else enjoying a more casual pace. Thank you, Sharon and Katy Driscoll. As the oldest person on Summit Ave that morning, I was pleased to complete 3 full times around the course. That was enough for me. With my work out complete, Evan and I enjoyed giving high fives and cheering on other runners as they finished up their 5th, 6th or umpteenth time around.

    I get the appeal of NP. The workout intensity is infinitely variable, competitive, or not. Within an urban environment, there is connection, and caring. It allows young, or old, urban athletes a chance to network with others who share a similar passion. I felt welcomed, and appreciated, for just showing up.

    Since I live out in the burbs, I’m not likely to be a regular, but I definitely drank the Kool Aid.

    Thank you Bojan and Brogan for sharing your vision.

    Marcia Dana (Evan’s mother)

  2. Thanks for the real talk and thanks for supporting Bojan through all this. It would have been a lot easier to tell him to knock it off. At startups it is frequently stressed how important supportive families are to success, and November project is a successful startup if I’ve ever seen one!

  3. nice story Emilie grazie, it is news to me that Bojan is married, and as a man married to a US immigrant from Europe I’ve had passing thoughts about Bojan’s immigration status, perhaps you’re the American to give him freedom to leave the US AND return, a @nov_project watcher from New Jersey near the Lincoln Tunnel — Tom Doody

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