Meet Sarah, you’ll SMILE (DCA)

We said it this morning, and it bears repeating here — Sarah Waleszczak embodies everything that we love about November Project. She wears her grassroots gear with pride. She brings an infectious smile to every workout. She doles out A+ hugs. She jumps into every workout with a zest we should all strive for. She even laughs at our jokes!

OK, I’ll stop blabbering and let her talk for herself. Meet Sarah here (and at next Monday’s workout!). Follow her and the PA on Snapchat: npdc_positivity

1) How and where were you introduced to November Project?
I was introduced to NP DC by a couple different avenues … Jake, Steve, and Steph Wolfram kept mentioning it at soccer on Saturday mornings as I was their referee (recently dubbed “the best referee in District Sports” without an ounce of bias). I also started dating Dustin last year and he made sure I actually came to a workout, bikesharing across the Memorial Bridge on a muggy ass day in May. The rest is history.

2) What do you remember about your first workout or thinking at/after your first workout?
My first workout was at Lincoln and it was HARD. I was just coming back from a broken ankle and hadn’t been in the cardio game for a while. I remember the stairs being a lot, but I made a couple friends, notably Carter Henderson, as he stayed with me and did all the talking (I was wheezing) running around the memorial. I was also unseasonably sore that Thursday/Friday. Jump lunges are good for the butt, but are a pain in the butt.

3) What motivates you to keep you coming back?
The smiles and the hugs are definitely up there, but let’s face it – a lot of people from NP grew up playing some sort of sport, and that sense of competition never really goes away. For me, it’s competition with myself. I remember my first Meridian Hill workout thinking I never wanted to come to a Monday workout again because of how hard 15th Street was. The second time, it wasn’t quite as bad. Now, instead of just trying to make it up the hill, I try to chase or beat people up the hill, and I relish in that feeling of getting to the top completely breathless to do some spice. 

The other thing is that people are just so dang nice. You know when you’re running alone, training for a race and it gets boring, or you’re having a bad running day, or you just don’t wanna be doing it? But then race day comes and whenever there are people cheering (no matter how weakly), it amps you up until you forget that 10 miles have already passed? That’s NP. Constant cheers of, ‘You got this, we got this, stay with me.’ We are our own cheering section.

Oh, plus Dustin. Whether he’ll admit it or not (he’ll insist that I don’t have to do anything I don’t want to even if it’s good for me haha), he’s been my accountabilibuddy SO many times, especially in the winter. There was a period that I didn’t show up because it was too cold or whatever, and he did. I’m a little embarrassed at how jealous I was, and still am, seeing pictures of him or any of my friends at NP when I could have gone, but chose to stay in bed. I don’t even have to workout with Dustin (cough … I can’t because he’s too fast), but just getting me out of bed is all I need. And the feeling once the workout is done? Priceless.

4) What does winning the Positivity Award mean and represent to you?
First of all – it was unexpected! I was really surprised until Steve said “this person laughs at ALL of my jokes” (guilty), and then Maria said “Bills Mafia” and I knew it was for real for real.

The Positivity Award represents a lot for me right now. I’m struggling a bit with stress- working full time, reffing, Ubering, and grad school. I recently let that stress get to me a couple times, but when I’m at NP, I don’t think about any of that. Possibly because I’m deliriously tired, but most definitely because I’m around other happy people and it cycles those smiles and laughs right out of me. I’m usually pretty good at masking negativity in everyday life, but at NP, I don’t have to pretend. It’s genuine joy, and I feel extremely lucky that I can emit some of those positive vibes onto others three mornings a week.

5) How do you explain NP to your Mom?
Ha! I sent a picture of the PA this morning to my mom actually. My mom has a foot condition that’s prevented her from doing any true cardio except biking (which is great!), but she can’t walk for long distances and definitely can’t run. She likes to live vicariously through me, and she loves hearing about NP being this free, fun thing that her “little athlete” gets to do with people who mean so much to me. She thought I was crazy for making the workout in Iceland on vacation and for going home for one day to do the workout at the Bills stadium, but I think that made her realize that NP isn’t just a temporary thing I started doing – it’s really become part of my lifestyle and if it makes me happy (duh, does), it makes her 10x happier.

6) What are three essentials in your basket at the grocery store?
Eggs, broccoli, cheese. Kinda boring but whateva.

7) If you could travel to any of the other 44 NP tribes, which and why?
Oh goodness … all of them! I’d love to go to Boston since that’s where it all started. I’d also like to go to San Fran because I’ve heard how big NP is there. I’d honestly go back to Iceland’s NP because it was so adorably intimate, and any other international tribes would be awesome because they’re always so “wow” about Americans taking the effort to workout. And of course, BUFFALO because the pride there for anything grassroots is unlike any other place I’ve ever been, and while NP DC is my home tribe, Buffalo has my heart.

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