November Project Case Study

Objective
This study was completed in order to determine if training with November Project, a grassroots #free community fitness group, can assist subjects to accomplish personal fitness goals.

Methods
Participants

The study enlisted three subjects with varying fitness backgrounds all residing in Boston who were strangers to one another prior to starting November Project. All subjects voluntarily participate in November Project. Lauren Goodman, a 33 year-old with a long history in competitive team sports, playing DI lacrosse in college. She was most definitely not an active (distance) runner so much so she had never run more than 6 miles prior to enlisting in November Project. Kelsey Taylor, a 24 year-old collector of vintage fanny packs, ran cross country and track competitively in college, but had failed to find a suitable (i.e. fast girls and shirtless men) group to continue running with upon moving to Boston. Renata Koziol, a 26 year-old former Russian gymnast, detested running as a high school track star, but flipped her way onto the November Project scene while working as a researcher in childhood obesity prevention. (Side note: Renata’s parents and child prodigy sister were saddened to learn that she had joined a cult after her gymnast career ended in a tragic story that cannot be told.)

Table 1. Subjects

Subjects Exposure Personal Best Prior to
November Project
Longest Distance
Run/Race
Lauren Goodman 13 mo  36:12 (7:12)  5M  
Kelsey Taylor 10 mo  1:42:11
(7:48/mile) 13.1
13.1 miles
Renata Koziol 13 mo  23:04 (7:26/mile)
5K
13.1 miles

Hypothesis
Training with the November Project Tribe supports one’s consistency in competitive and active fitness and ability to achieve personal fitness goals.

Testing Procedures
November Project MWF 6:30 AM Workouts-Destination Deck, Harvard Stadium & Summit Ave
Tuesday #FenSpeed track workouts 6:30 AM
Weekly Saturday training runs 7AM (12-22 miles)
Yoga Classes (for injury prevention)

Methodology
Soon after joining November Project, Lauren Goodman realized she had finally found something amazing. She immediately called her parents exclaiming, “I finally found freaks like me!” She slowly made friends with Renata Koziol, who although shy at first, turned out to be an #UNSTOPPABLE force on the NP scene. Competitive in nature, Renata couldn’t resist giving Kelsey Taylor the stink eye when on her first day, Kelsey proved herself by keeping up with Renata (who had been going for months) on the brutal loops of Summit Ave. It only took a few November Project workouts for the Lauren, Renata & Kelsey to each realize that they had finally found in each other just the right mixture of friendly competition & support to push themselves beyond their comfort zone. #raceeverything

Testing Procedures
While Lauren had her sights on her first marathon at Boston that next month, Renata and Kelsey planned for their first marathon in the fall. Lauren missed qualifying on her first try by a mere 41 seconds! Determined to qualify for Boston, she joined her now good friends Kelsey and Renata through the long, sweltering summer of wicked early Saturday training runs. They trained through heat, rain, hangovers, and tons of injuries, skinned knees and way too many loops around Fresh Pond. On any given long run, one of the trio would undoubtedly be feeling slow, unmotivated or mentally burnt out, but having each other, they took turns supporting one another through the runs, ultimately getting up to 22 miles. Between 3 days of November Project, #FenSpeed Tuesday and Saturday long runs, they almost never had to train alone, which prior to November Project would NOT have been the case. Not long into their training, the trio realized that not only would they reach their goal of completing a marathon, but they could also achieve the strict qualifying times for Boston.

Results
On September 15, wearing her #GrassRootsGear Lauren redeemed herself running a blazing 3:28:24 to qualify for the 2014 Boston Marathon. However, she didn’t see her work as complete; she was determined to see her good friends & training partners Renata and Kelsey through their first marathons a mere 3 weeks later. Renata and Kelsey got smutty with their 1st marathon at Smuttynose Rockfest, with no shortage of NP friends and family in attendance. Lauren ran 17 miles that day first pacing Danielle DeSiato-Hallman to her PR finish in the half marathon, and then supporting Renata through the last 7 miles to the marathon finish. With the strong and dedicated support of their NP tribe and each other, Kelsey finished with a BQ time of 3:34:48 with Renata shortly after at 3:37:34. The strength of their friendship, and the support they had for one another both within and outside of November Project led them to accomplish goals beyond their initial expectations. #FUCKYEAH

Table 2. Results

Subjects Exposure Personal Best Prior to
November Project
Longest Distance
Run/Race
Lauren Goodman 13 mo 36:39  5M
(7:19/mile)
26.2
Kelsey Taylor 10 mo 1:36:42 13.1 (7:23/mile) 26.2
Renata Koziol 13 mo 21:09  5K
(6:48/mile)
26.2

Discussion
The purpose of this study was to examine if training with the November Project Tribe does in fact supports one’s consistency in competitive and active fitness and ability to achieve personal fitness goals. Undoubtedly, we found that November Project can help members accomplish their personal fitness goals, with the trio of participants: Lauren, Kelsey, and Renata serving as only one example. However, as we reflected on our data, we’ve realized that there is more to our results. In the aftermath of the Boston Marathon Bombings, a phrase was coined that brought together the community of Boston: “Boston Strong”. What is Boston Strong? An adjective? A noun? Maybe a verb? To us, Boston Strong is not an adjective – it is a noun that existed long before the phrase was actually coined; its a community of people who together with you find the strength to grow and become the best version of yourself, whether you define that physically (in the form of fitness/health goals), emotionally, or otherwise. Lauren, Renata, and Kelsey each found their BostonStrong in November Project, where not only did they accomplish their marathon goals, but they have formed life changing friendships. The tribe has become their extended family, and 6:30 AM their new favorite time of the day. Not everyone will find their BostonStrong in November Project. Some may find it in their community gardens, book clubs, or biker gangs. One thing we know for certain, though, you’ll never find BostonStrong at the gym, alone on a treadmill with your headphones on. So let us answer the question we know you’re all asking: “Will I find Boston/Madison/Edmonton/DC/SD/SF/Denver Strong at November Project?”. You’ll never know until you try. See you at 6:30 AM for the start of your case study.

#TheTribeisBostonStrong

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