This blog is written by Erika Anderson, Tribe Babysitter and All-around Badass. She kept the #mothership afloat on Friday along with the steady hand of Brett Vankoski. Thank you Erika for all you do for this tribe. Dig into Erika’s words below…she’s got some shit to say that is so good.
I am a person who craves routine, loves predictability, and hates surprises.* I like making plans and sticking to them. I like planning how I’m going to make plans. It’s one of the reasons I’m not a Monday NP devotee – you never know where you’re going to be, you never know what you’re going to do, you never know when they will say that dreaded S word that rhymes with “Crebastian.” At least on Wednesdays and Fridays, you know that no matter what “spice” the leaders dream up, you will climb stairs on Wednesdays and run hills on Fridays. Predictability. Routine. It soothes me.
Routines are in place to be followed. There are a thousand excuses to not break your routine, to not mix things up, to put your head down and keep doing like you’ve been doing. And then there are the routine-interrupters. Children are experts at this. Especially mine. They come by it naturally; they get it from their dad, who likes to “keep me guessing.” EmC2 are now squarely in the category of routine disrupters. There’s more than one way to “add spice” to my Friday morning NP workout. When they approached me about babysitting the tribe, I told them that I don’t talk before 7 a.m. Didn’t matter –you whisper on Summit Avenue. I had lots of other excuses, but we all know what the NP leaders think about excuses.
And so, I committed to perhaps the craziest thing I’ve ever committed to, not really having any idea how I would pull it off. Luckily, Brett agreed to join me. (As an aside, we’re pretty sure we broke the record for combined age of NP leaders – including all the cities with three leaders. We definitely broke the record for number of kids to co-leaders). While most tribe members stuffed their North Face bags with grassroots gear, I mulled over possible Friday Summit Ave. scenarios in my head – ranging from fun to boring to oversleeping to other various and sundry disasters. I did my typical over-analysis, and then, mid-week, in a book about meditation and cooking, I read this: “Don’t let your ideas about who you are dictate who you are.”
My ideas about who I am dictate that I’m routined, a “planner,” that I’m not fun or spontaneous. I mean really, one of us has to be the serious one, right? Your ideas about who you are might dictate that you’re not a runner or a hugger, that you’re the clown, or the worrier. Our ideas dictate what we think about other people, too. Our idea that a certain person will always be faster than you, that someone else has things figured out or has it together or knows what s/he is doing with his/her life. Ideas can also dictate what we think we can do – finish a full tour, or RobotMan3, or a full hill on Summit Ave, or blankety-blank Sebastian . . . or lead a bounce at an NP workout. Ideas that we too easily let dictate our reality.
Sometimes, we need to interrupt our routine to uproot those ideas. Let a new idea, maybe someone else’s idea, replace our established one. Can I lead a bounce at 6:30 a.m.? Yeah, sure, you betcha, I can lead a bounce. It was an idea, after all, that gave birth to this whole crazy cult, (#itsnotacult, which all of you #NPSummit_nope folks can whisper with even more certainty), this whole movement. Two guys had an idea that fitness should be free and communities should be connected and people should know their city and running your ass off should be fun. It was an idea that #worldtakeover can happen through hugs and bounces and sweat and social media.
By now, unless you’re a total newbie (and I love you newbie – I really, really love you because you came today when the real leaders left the country), you’ve seen the video of NP Summit Wisconsin. You’ve seen that guy who looks like a generally-furrier, more lumber-jack version of BG gather the NP crowd in tight around him and articulate what all of us either already know or soon will find out: This. Shit. Is. Good.
Today, I have a whole new idea as to why this Shit. Is. Sooooo. Good (my paraphrase, which I think DG will be ok with). It’s so good because all of you bounced with Brett and me, you yeah-sure-youbetchaed, you took the stairs and ran through the water hazard, even though you knew this workout was sans EmC2 and you had no idea how the scab leadership would steer the mothership (you weren’t alone – we had no idea how we’d do it, either). It’s so good because thousands** of tribe members showed up to little-s summit in Ontario and thousands of other tribe members showed up to capital-S Summit Ave in Boston and Baltimore, in Iceland and Indianapolis, in Virginia Beach and Vancouver, in pick-your-city around the world. It’s so good because when the capital B leaders – I’m looking at you BG and Bojan – gather their troops, there are more troops gathering all over the world.
This. Shit. Is. So. Good. because when we read headlines of death and despair and division, we don’t roll over and pull the covers over our heads. We have a reason to put our feet on the ground, to get out of bed, to go and hug people. To quote the poet Wendell Berry, we have reason to “[b]e joyful though we have considered all the facts.”
We hashtag #worldtakeover, but what if we – if you and I – lived that idea every day as though we were a necessary part of that takeover? What if the #NPSummit became the model for all kinds of world summits? If the EU bounced in Brussels before discussing Brexit? If Ban Ki Moon issued a series of videos to hype the United Nations security council? If world leaders were identified by Danger Awesome! chains and flip-top shades? What if, before getting down to the business at hand, every world leader had to hug each other and say, I’m glad you’re here.
Maybe not everyone believes that free fitness can change the world (I actually believe it can), but I think everyone agrees that love can change the world. I’m not talking about a kumbaya or hold hands and sing “We are the World” (my co-leader and I may be the only ones old enough to actually remember this) kind of love. I’m talking about the kind of love that doesn’t stand at arms’ length and say my thoughts and prayers are with you but that pulls a sweaty stranger close and gives them a hug. That looks them in the eye and tells them, “I’m glad you’re here,” and actually means it. The kind of love that pushes people to be the fiercest of competitors during the race and the best of friends at the finish line. The kind of love that enables me to tell my kid, if you get lost, find someone with November Project on their shirt and tell them you belong to Eric and Erika. Because when you find November Project, you won’t be lost for long.
When you find November Project, you have no idea what you are getting yourself into. November Project dictates a whole new reality. When you find your tribe, you might find out that you had no idea what kind of runner, or athlete, or person, or friend, or leader you could be. You might be surprised, in the best kind of way.
*For example, “You mean you didn’t know you were having twins?” –Ultrasound Doctor.
**I actually have no idea how many tribe members are attending summit 4.0. Dozens? Hundreds? Millions? Four? BG, Euge, Capozzi, and the guy with the huge beard in New York? Five if you count Dooster? (Wait, is Dooster a person?)
P.S. Special thanks to Brett, Rocky, Leo, Liv, Freya, Sylvie, Grace, and Micah. The #kidsofNP were strong this morning. Also thanks to Deniz for the ice cream and to the #NPSummitAve_yep tribe. Holy shit, that was fun.
P.P.S. The contest: For anyone not at NPSummit 4.0. Tag your IG photos #NPSummit_Nope all weekend. Brett and I will pick our 3 favorites; the leaders-in-training will choose the winner. No matter how great your photo is, if it’s too raunchy, risqué, or otherwise inappropriate to show the 10-and-under crowd, it can’t win. Prize: think more wine, more ice cream.