Just KEEP Showing Up, With a Smile

Washington, D.C.’s first guest blog post is being written from 13,767.9 [km] away from the District by our very own Lauren Bateman. Lauren is currently in the Philippines (where she has been knocking out deck workouts) working with the Red Cross in Typhoon Haiyan relief.  I personally knew Lauren was a special person back in October when I announced at the Wednesday workout that I would be scouting hills the next Friday and anyone was welcome to come. Lauren was the lone person who came out and pushed me to be better. Her dedication and constant positive attitude is infectious and we cannot wait to get her back state side to see that smile again. Here is Lauren’s message to anyone thinking about coming, experiences so far in NP DCA, and how good hugs feel at 6:30 am (really f-ing good). 

Smiles, hugs, and constantly PR-ing, Lauren Bateman everyone

I’m writing this blog post from the Philippines, where I’m working on the humanitarian response to Typhoon Haiyan – Danny asked me to write this post about a week after I arrived, when I was up to my eyeballs in work and barely making it through the day without falling asleep at my desk. So even though the timing couldn’t have been worse, I told him I’d get to it when I could, because November Project DCA is one of the best parts of my week.

My first workout with NP DCA was back when they were still Pledging. There were definitely fewer than 15 of us then, maybe even less than 10. The group started talking in hastags during our stretches, and I almost walked away then. It was too early in the morning to be talking in hashtags. I was by far the slowest/most out of shape person there. It was damn early and took forever to get to Abe. So many reasons to stop coming.

But I stuck with it and came back again, and again, and again. The people are by far the best part of this group. I’ve gotten to know some of the awesome people who show up every Wednesday, and I’m looking forward to meeting more! It’s incredibly nice to take a minute or two in a busy week to hug a stranger/new friend and tell them you’re happy they’re there.

I love that the November Project focuses on community, I really do. But I also think that there’s a part of this whole thing that should be made clear to newbies and people who are afraid they’re too slow, unfit, whatever, to show up. The part I like best about the actual workout is that it’s geographically contained – we all go up and down the same set of stairs. I never liked to go running with friends and family, because I always felt like I was slowing people down. At NP DCA, I can work out with marathoners, triathletes, every-day-runners, rowers, soccer players and everyone in between without slowing them down and without getting left behind. This is the first time I’m not getting left behind – and so I keep showing up and I keep getting better.

The whole point is to do better this week than you did last week…And get hugs. And high-fives. And race the ROTC up the steps at the memorial. And see amazing sunrises – they really *are* amazing coming up over the Reflecting Pool and the Washington Monument. And watch the National Parks staff watching us, thinking we’re nuts. And have Abe in our group photos. And did I mention the hugs? You should show up for NP DCA, because I can’t. Not for a few more weeks, anyway. I’ll be in the Philippines through early January, supporting the disaster response and recovery efforts, but I’ll be back at NP DCA on January 8. (#verbal!) Hope to see you there!

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