Making New Memories (BOS)

This week we honored Memorial Day and all the armed forces who have lost their lives fighting in wars for the United States. We also got reminded of all the many Memorial Day Mondays we’ve shared with our NP_BOS community–given that it’s a holiday and it’s often afforded us extra time on a Monday that we usually don’t have the luxury of sharing when people have to rush home and get to work.

I had an opportunity to chat with a few people following our NP workout in Boston (on Zoom) on Monday (which is a thing people do who have time and want to connect a little more over coffee/breakfast in their own kitchens–so if that sounds like fun to you, you’re welcome to stick around after the workout). During that conversation we recalled previous Memorial Day Monday workouts. Like the Sardines workout we did first back in 2017, then again in 2018. If you have no idea what this is, read this blog for our introduction of Sardines to the NP community. We threw out the rules for Monday #destinationdeck…and we challenged everyone to work together in pairs or groups, on foot or by bike, in pursuit of #FindingDestinationDeck. Rather than give the exact location, we offered a map, within which the co-leaders were hiding and waiting to see if anyone could or would find us. It was a game, it was ridiculous, it was unusual, and it was awesome. Absolutely a memory worth holding onto.

And in our discussion, a “capture the flag” workout also came up–again, on a Monday when we figured out how to make that old camp-style game into fitness–and a whole lot of fun. And it wasn’t just the, “oh I remember that workout…” it was the “I remember who was there” and the, “remember that thing happened, and this person did that wild thing, and who was wearing the costume?” kind of memories that made me really think about what NP has become for so many people. November Project is not just a fitness group that helps us get or stay in shape, and it isn’t just some of the people we know and spend time with. It is the scenery of parks and workout locations that form the backdrop of our experiences in our city. It’s the moments of meaning, of story, with color and shape and form, that create the narrative of our memories and our lives.

And I think this is precisely what makes this time of separation so different, and so difficult for so many of us. Because I can’t tell the difference between the Monday workout I did in my living room this week from the one I did in my living room last week. It’s harder to create stories, to form a narrative, and to create memories when we’re doing it all by screen, in the same exact places, without the plethora of details that bring it to life. Just think about how these kinds of things make a difference to the experience–where the workout is, (and even when it’s in the stadium week-after-week) WHAT the workout is, what time in the workout the sun comes up, how big the group was, who was there, what you were wearing, how quiet we had to be because of the residential-ness or not, how dirty you got because of the ground, who you laughed with because even between you both as partners, you couldn’t figure out what you were supposed to be doing, how far away you parked/ran/biked to get there, and so many more…

We’re missing the many different cues that make memories the vibrant things they are.

And that often leaves us remembering the old memories that we can feel and see and taste and smell and hear just like we were there–because they feel more real, somehow, than what is happening now.

Which means, that now is exactly the time to make new memories. New NP memories. Yes, of course we’ll all remember “that time we were in a pandemic” and did a gazilli-jillion zoom workouts. But let’s take a note from those great memories in the past and focus on what actually made them memorable. And as we go forward, let’s use those same things to help create amazing, fun, new reasons to remember what we’re doing. Specifically, try some of these things:

  • Do the virtual workout from a different room in your home
  • Do the virtual workout from an outside space with proper social distance–and change up where you go! New physical environment gives you a new context for remembering “that day.”
  • Meet someone new–pick a face/name you don’t know at all or don’t know well and connect with them (via zoom chat or a social media platform) to just say hi, introduce yourself, and maybe get to know a little bit about them.
  • BRING someone new–pick a friend/family member who hasn’t taken part in NP (from anywhere in the world) and have them verbal to join you for a workout!
  • Wear a costume or something fun/unusual for the workout–we do actually see you so those things will stand out and can be celebrated. “…hey you all remember the day Joev wore a chicken costume to the workout?!” “oh yeah! That chicken costume was so much fun. I remember how hard it was for him to do burpees with those giant chicken feet—and his beak kept pecking at the ground each time he got all the way down!”
  • Challenge yourself to verbal for the workout with as many different NP friends as you can– and see how many actually showed up (you know who you’re looking for and you’re even more excited to see them because you both verbaled!)
  • Go for a run/walk/bike ride before or after the workout (or both) like the original #destinationdeck workouts–and changing up your route helps you feel like you went to a different location!
  • Get creative and think of some other ways to create new and fun memories…

And I want to acknowledge that some of these ideas suggest going outside–which is what we are working toward as a city, state, country, and world. We cannot and will not be on stay-at-home orders forever. This first phase of re-opening Boston includes opening parks–and this is a clear opportunity to still be SAFE by maintaining social distance, don’t touch your face, wash your hands afterwards–while also safely getting a workout in, outside of your home. If you cannot use a park or public space with at least or more than 6 ft. of physical distance between you and anyone else who is there, (which would require you to have a mask on) then find a different space. We don’t recommend attempting to do workouts with a mask on, given the additional strain and stress it can cause to your respiratory and cardiovascular systems. If you do wear a mask, please be attentive to your physical needs, stop moving if you start to get light-headed or dizzy, and do not over-exert yourself. We fully expect you to assess adn respect your own comfort level regarding going outside, so this isn’t a mandate or requirement from NP (global) or NP_BOS, by any means.

Whether we like it or not, whether we’re ready for it or not, the world keeps moving forward and our goal in the future will be what it’s always been, to support the health & well-being of the global NP community, built through the free (fun) workouts, welcoming to everyone. Let’s keep growing this community together, making new memories together, and taking everything we’re learning during this quarantine to make ourselves and NP even better going forward.


#NPBOS_CHALLENGE for this week is to create some Strava art! Make a picture, or a shape, or spell your name, or spell my name…whatever is fun for you–and share the photo with us. You can upload to Strava too–which we all know how to do after participating in the Sunrise 6k! If you’re wondering what the hell even IS strava art… then read this for some basic, basic instructions.

for some insight and inspiration: and a few skills for how-to, read this.

create your map by foot or on 2 wheels: some tips from strava art pros, who use bikes.

remember!!! This is supposed to be FUN and a fun way for us to all stay a little more active and connected during our non-in-person workouts. So be creative. Have fun. Don’t worry about being perfect. If you’re not sure about it, try it anyway. If you think you’re not doing it right, that’s exactly the best way to do it. And if you hesitate to take part or to post what you created because you think it won’t be good enough or “good” compared to others, then do it anyway and post it anyway because NO ONE is worried about that for you. The goal is to be fun, not perfect. Plus, it’s art! Just sign your name and let the world appreciate it. You have until Sunday 11:59pm to post — tag @novemberprojectbos #NPBOS_Challenge


next Wed 6/3 is Global Running Day and our friends & partners at Brooks are hosting a virtual 5k. Everyone (YOU!) is invited to register and participate in that 5k.

registration: goes from 5/27 – 6/7. This means you can register starting tomorrow (WED) 5/27 right HERE. They’ll even send you a bib you can wear!

5k completion: goes from 6/3 – 6/7. This means you have plenty of time to get your 5k in starting on Global Running Day.

share with the world: use your social media channels to let the world know you’ve registered, encourage others to sign up too, and especially on the day of your Global Running Day 5k, please post your photos and tag @Brooksrunning, #FindSomeRunHappy and #GlobalRunningDay! (don’t forget to tag @novemberproject & @novemberprojectbos too!)

  • Fun Fact: Brooks is partnering with an artist to recreate some of the photos in a fun illustration style. These will live on a 10X10 ft canvas that unites our runners and pays tribute to the togetherness we love about Global Running Day.
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