#NPSummit7

Hey! So this is Adi. You know me. This is a long read but so worth it.

I know you all know Spevy … or Dave (??). He’s tall. He’s funny. He flies planes. All around cool cat. So this is his experience of Summit.

This tall drink of water right here.
You got it, the one on the left. No the other left.

“Let’s be honest. I had zero idea what was going to be going on at NPSummit7. Prior to Sunday I didn’t even know what twitterbook or SnapGram was. They all sounded like crazy sugar Cereals that Steve Morrison would crush before pounding out a 3:10 marathon. All I knew is that 8 of my fellow NP Kelowna friends we were going to JUST SHOW UP and Viva the Las Vegas.

While booking the trip I think we all had our hesitations about our hotel for the Summit being located in Henderson, which is about 30min (6hr walk) off the strip. But as we settled into our surroundings, we quickly realized what a spectacular place we had been submerged into. A 400m road lined with towering palm trees welcomed us into the marble lobby with 3 storey high windows that overlooked the absolutely spectacular surroundings of red rock and Lake Las Vegas. As we toured around it became very evident that this place was going to be juuuust fine. Two massive pools, Hot Tubs, Basketball court, Ping Pong tables, beach, fire pits and waterslide…with nobody there to tell you “only one at a time”. I believe some of our crew were involved in an epic 12-person train adventure. Although other guests were staying at the hotel it became quickly evident that this was now NP Las Vegas. We would later learn that the Hotel made a special opening of the pool for our crews.

Friday was a travel day for most so the evening was subdued with our crew mixed in with a bit of Toronto and New York hanging out near the fire. We brought in a plethora of pizza from “Slice19” and listened to Steve’s surprisingly non-country music playlist blasting out of his micro speaker (We will probably have to work on better speaker logistics for next time). “

Okay this is Adi again, I’m going to interject for a little bit. So Spevy, babying his back decided against coming to the workout??!? I KNOW RIGHT. I’m just as shocked as you. So I’m going to tell you about this. The morning started as any other, hundreds of us waking up at 5 and getting carted onto buses filled with people with more energy than I knew how to deal with. But hey that was a blast. We drove down to city hall and thats where we saw the full group that morning. All 400ish of us. God that was wicked to see so many NP folks all bright eyed and ready to go!

After a bit of socializing, Brogan and Bojan started shushing the crowd. The bounce, omg the bouce. So fun. We hummed and then yelled the theme to 7 Nation Army.

PC: @run.photography

Following that, we learned how to properly do a burpee which was eye-opening cause you know, we dont do 1000000 of them regularly or anything. Anyway that was pretty much the workout. Run, burpee, repeat. But damn seeing so many people there, all the high fives, the positive vibes. I love feeling that hype of everyone there being into the workout and just crushing it. Burnout was really fun too, it was partner based and true to NP fashion you had to cheer your partner which devolved into cheering everyone on which was fabulous.

Then we got some swag but like not the important part. Anyway back to Spevy!

“The true presence of our November Project group came to fruition after the morning workout. As the buses pulled in and unloaded mass amounts of our crews that had been staying at not only our Westin but at other hotels across the city. The pool area was alive. A playlist of fantastic 80’s blends belted over the speakers, the bar was opened and mass tagging of NP shirts had begun. I’m not a betting guy but I’d put money down that the Tag crew sprayed over 500 shirts. Huge shout out to them for executing it seamlessly. Did I mention it was 8:30am? I was reflecting back to a non NP couple we met in the hot tub the night before that were happy to be off the strip and were looking forward to sleeping in Saturday morning. I think I responded “Oh ya. That will be nice” and exited stage left…. OOOPS.

One of my morning highlights was running into a couple friends I had met in other crews. My work travels have given me the opportunity to visit crews in London, Phoenix, Chicago, Toronto and Vancouver so it was awesome to run into and hang out with familiar faces and then meet others in there cities to grow connections for future adventures. The other highlight was at 11:00am when we had an Airplane mode Panel chat. All phones off, hang your feet in the pool and listen to some inspiring folks answer unprepared questions. Steve Morrison was one of the speakers on the panel. When I asked him the night before about what he new about being on the panel he replied “They sent me an email asking me if I wanted to be part of a panel discussion. Then they said if that if I have any questions I’m out” LOL. The panel discussion was very well organized featuring four speakers from various cities answering questions randomly pulled out of three categories: NP, Community and Grab Bag”. All speakers did a fantastic job and were uber entertaining. Congrats to Steve for representing our community so well.

PC: @run.photography. Hunk say what??

The pool party continued for many more hours and then it was time to get ready to head out to Vegas for the 5K night run and a surprisingly memorable evening with KESHA and her awkwardly decorated back up dancers. I always new Kesha as a radio edited pop star so when I facetimed my 11yr old daughter to watch the opening act the call was cut a tad short as she ramped up her version of “I’m a Mother Fuckin WOMAN” yowzers. “Ummm, bye sweetie… I’ll call you at Timber…Maybe”. This was NOT the radio star I knew but it was a blast. We pretty much followed Steve’s leads on the specific dances for each song and enjoyed the dialogue and connection that him and Kesha were able to make (one way connection is still a connection). Highlight of the show was definitely during the song “Take it Off” when one member threw up a T-shirt. Kesha caught it, danced around and then held it up against herself proudly displaying “NOVEMBER PROJECT” with the Milwaukee tag.

It was at that moment we realised how many of us were there as giant pockets of people in the 7000 person crowed jumped and cheered. Very cool. As the concert concluded and we were all able to get the “Timber” out of our system and headed out on the town for a quite dinner and back to hotel.

PC: @run.photography KE$HA

SUNDAY… FINALLY. Although I’ve been in a few swimming events, I had never participated in a distance running event. I have about 12 towels and swim caps but never had a medal to place around the neck. When NPSummit7 was announced to be taking place during the Las Vegas Rock&Roll half marathon the first thing that came to mind was “That has to be the flattest Possible course I could ever have the chance to complete”. After a quick consultation with Natalie (my wife and once avid ½ & full marathon runner) it was concluded that November 17 was the time and Vegas was the place that race #1 was going to happen. Kim Jolleymore set me up with a three month training schedule, I set a goal of under 2 hours and everything was fantastic… until Tuesday before race. With 5 minutes left in my afternoon hockey game I caught a rut with my skate and crashed back first into the side boards knocking every once of air in my body out of my lungs. I struggled on the ice to catch my breath but was relived at the same time knowing I was able to move my finger and toes. After a couple moments I was breathing normal again and was helped off the ice. After a visit to KGH it was determined that no vertebra were damaged and no other bones were broken so probably a good bruise and muscle pull. Phew. I could barely roll over in bed but that’s pretty much were the next 48 hrs were spent with ice bags and meds. Thursday was hot tub day and felt that I was at least well enough to travel. I didn’t want to leave Gary hanging out in his hotel room alone and I had the support of my family to go and give it a try. When Sunday rolled around I was nervous on multiple levels. I had never ran 21km before, I had never been in a massive race before and besides a light bike ride I had no idea how the back was going to hold up. Steve and Gary helped put all those worries to ease by letting me know they were going to run with me and pace me to my goal of 1:50. Steve and Gary are veterans of the “The Race” and I can’t thank them enough for putting aside any personal PR possibilities to help. It was a true gesture of what NP friendship and community is about and I hope to be able to pay it forward one day.

So this race. The one thing I know without running any other races is that this one is different. You may sign up for a ½ marathon but its not like in Kelowna where you can park the car at City Park, walk to the start line and GO. In Vegas I think we walked about 7km from our parked car, to the bag drop, to the washrooms, to the chutes and then to the starting line. Plus it was 4:30pm start time and it’s dark so your body’s internal system is questioning what you really should be doing at that moment. We were running a little late getting to out start line but made it in time to meander our way up to the 1:50 pace bunny. The start was very cool with mass amounts of people in the chute and even larger amounts on the sidewalk and over pass cheering you on. The announcer counted down 3-2-1 and with bursts of fire over the start line we were off. I was planning on starting slow at 5:30/5:45pace and see how the back felt but I learned quickly, and know for the future, that you can’t make that time up. Gary and Steve set a 5:10 pace and I needed to stay with them. 2 km in and my back was feeling good and was feeling adjusted to the pace the boys had set. Another thing that was a first was running without music. I had never ran without it. Steve said he never does and Gary uses one ear. I was planning on one ear but after leaving my headsets in my race bag it was auto decided that I would be topless…and I LOVED IT!!! With every mile this course had an infinite amount of visual stimulation and live music. Always runners all around so I think it was good to have auditory receptors fully alert. It was also great to be able to throw the water around without the stress of damaging any electronics. The only thing I had on was Kim’s watch that I was wearing to monitor my pace. Unfortunately I forget to figure out how to turn on the back light so note to self if your running a race at night then make sure you can read it in the dark. LOL. Fortunately I had Steve and Gary. Things were going great for the first 7 miles (Sorry. all the markers were in miles) and then I felt fatigued. Steve and Gary could sense it and Steve fell back to talk me back onto our pace time. I think Steve said Spevy about 200 times over. At the beginning I was joking to myself that I should do a shot every time he calls my name… I know now that If I did I would either be dead or at the peak of my dancing abilities. The course begins at MGM. Works its way north to just past the airport and then heads back south all the way to Fremont street before heading back to the finish line at the Mirage. Around mile 9 of 13.1 was an epic experience of sight and sound. The November Project Cheer Station. Just at the point when your thinking “Holy crap we are only at Fremont street and now have to go all the way back” we approached a thunderous roar of hundreds of NP friends lining side streets yelling and screaming and high-fiving the crap out of us as we went bye. It was surreal and injected us with a boost of energy that no gummy cube or gel pack could ever replicate. It was the absolute perfect place for them to be set up and I can’t imagine what others thought as they went past that area. “YOU ALL GOOD? FUCK YA!”. The journey continued back up past the Stratosphere, Circus Circus, few more live bands and then the brilliant lights of the MIRAGE sign came into view. We passed a band playing BUSH (I love Bush) and that was the kick I needed to launch towards the finish. Steve began yelling out the countdown.  2K, 1500Meters.. 1K “YOU GOT THIS! ANYONE CAN RUN 1KM”. We kicked a gear and pushed for the now visible finish line. 200m, 100m. As we approached the line the fist pumps and high fives began. I was slightly emotionally thinking back to laying on the ice five days earlier to now crossing the finish line at 1:48:31 exceeding all expectations and goals.

The evening was concluded back on Fremont street at “The Bunkhouse” bar that had been opened up only for NP members. There was a live a DJ, random Llamas, Hawaiian dancers, fire dancers break dancers outside plus a memorable Karaoke machine inside. Thank you Gary for the memories. You gave Meatloaf a new bar to aspire to.

As the weekend concluded we had an opportunity to reflect on the event. The race was great to complete but the real highlight was being able to enjoy time with amazing people that appreciate who you are and what you do no matter what level that may be. It was a true experience of building a community through friendships, teamwork and having a lot of F’ing FUN.”

Can’t wait for NPSUMMIT8, October 2-4 in Minneapolis. #JUSTSHOWUP

Anyway Y’all thanks for reading. Hopefully this inspires you to come next year! It was a blast and I am so excited for Minneapolis.

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