Run. Deck. Run.

I remember being very new to November Project and reading the website to learn more about the workouts. I recall reading about Monday. They seemed like an interesting adventure, but I wasn’t sure I was getting all I should be, especially after reading about the run-deck-run. In my initial NP education from the website, I understood that wherever the Monday destination deck was located, I was to look at my map, figure out if I lived more than 5 miles away, and if I didn’t, I should show up (duh) having run to the deck and was expected to run home as well. The only exception to this expectation was if I lived farther than 5* miles away. I should still show up (duh) but was allowed to bike or shorten the run, so as to only run up to 10 miles for the workout.

Yes, that reads correctly. “Only” up to 10 miles.

I’ll be real honest here, because this blog is nothing but honest. In my now many years of attending NP workouts, I have run to many, many Mondays. I have biked to a few. And I have driven to a lot of them. As a coleader, sometimes I do need to bring extra shit to the work out, and is this necessitates the use of my car. When I drive there, I do my best to arrive early and run before the work out, as if I was running TO the workout, but I almost never also run after the workout, as if I was running home also.

It has been a while since I have done a legitimate run-deck-run all the way from my front door to the #DD location, and back home again.

Today, I made an ambitious return to those amazing days of getting serious miles in on the way to and from the Monday workout. A classic #RunDeckRun. It became apparent to me that this was the day to make it happen, when I mapped the location to Bunker Hill Monument from my house, and it was exactly 5.0 miles.

So here’s the story of my adventure:

Planning the right time to leave home on a run deck run day is critical for success. You know there is nothing like almost being late to make you find a new gear and set down a time for that last mile (or a couple) that you didn’t know you could run on a cold Monday morning. This morning I left only 5 minutes later than I planned, which still worked within the buffer I gave myself for running slower than expected, uncooperative traffic, or getting lost.  Good start, EmSauce.

5:25am. It’s dark and the streets of Dorchester are mostly empty. I dodge some glass on a sidewalk and get an intense side-eye from a man stepping up into a bus as I run by. “Am I a little crazy for running this early?” I voice internally in response to his look. Sure am, and proud of it.

6 minutes into my run I’m certain I’ve dressed too warmly. I thought the wool base layer would be a good idea, considering it’s only 27 degrees and the sun isn’t up. But I quickly take off my hat and ditch my gloves, but keep them in my hands, because all it takes is a shift in the wind to remind me that it’s still frigging winter and the wind is the ruler of the “real feel.”  I continue to sweat through my two layers, grateful that I’ve packed layers for warmth in my pack, which I’ll be able to change into once I get to the workout.

2.61 miles into my run, I’m nearing my office in the Fort Point channel, which I knew I’d run by and was tempted to drive to, and run from–but opted not to, in this quest for my throwback Monday morning.  I choose to pause and put my hat and gloves in my pack, because I’m not cooling down–and very confident I’ll not use them for the rest of my run.  I also debate taking off my base layer, but decide that the time it’ll take to change just isn’t worth it, and might end up cooling me down too much.  I run on, about to navigate the downtown streets of Boston.

Still 2.61 miles into my run, according to my Garmin watch.  I’ve gone through Post office square, by Government Center, and City Hall Plaza–remembering NP workouts of the past in great detail as I go by–and begin to bang a right toward Haymarket Square, when I look at my watch and realize that it hasn’t been going.  Fuck, now I don’t know how far I’ve gone, or exactly how much distance I have left–or if I’ll get there on time.  Guess I just need to pick it up anyway.  I make a mental note of where I am and how to figure out the distance of what I “missed” on my watch.

Roughly a couple of minutes later, I’m crossing the Charlestown bridge and I decide the view is worth stopping for, in order to possibly capture one of those glorious “sunrise over the water with a cityscape in the distance” shots–that might just inspire others in the IG world that early morning running really is worth it, because #nofilter #beauty.**

Only a few tight turns and one sudden halt with a GPS directed phone in my hand to be certain I was on the right street, and I find my way onto Monument St, with the beautiful Bunker Hill Monument bursting into the sky from the top of the hill.  While my watch says 3.60, I’m pumped to have put in the miles, and I arrive just in time to see Capozzi step out of the shadow of the Monument.  Payne arrives a few minutes later and we finalize the details for the deck.

7:09am The workout is over and I’m a popsicle.  Everything is frozen, especially my hands, which are hard to protect from the cold when they’re in and out of mittens to check time and take photos throughout the workout.  I changed into my warm layers, but it’s time to get home and I don’t plan to sweat through my two puffy coats.  I might have briefly contemplated getting a Lyft home, but shut that shit down quickly.  So I now thank my lucky stars for my wool base layer that I’m still wearing, my hat and my sort-of sweaty top layer that I put on with my frozen fingers.  I keep my ice cube fingers inside my giant winter mittens (holy hell, isn’t it April, and shouldn’t it be warmer than this?!) and I begin my run home, retracing my steps away from Bunker Hill, across the Charlestown bridge, around Haymarket Square and through the city.

2.1 miles from home, I think I’m going to die I’m so hungry.  I figured this might happen, and the always prepared Emily Saul packed a Clif bar for hunger emergencies.  I stop at a sunlit street corner in South Boston to eat half of a frozen bar, and let my body rest for 90 seconds.  Invigorated with calories, sunlight, and a little breather, I continue running.

Precisely 1.7 miles from home, my body is finally warm enough to consider taking off my mittens.  50 yards after considering it, my hands are sweating and I rip off the mittens, but still hold them because I still never know when the wind will cut me down to size, and I’m almost certain that one more stop will stop me for good.

8.63 miles according to the Garmin, I arrive home and remind myself that 1.4 miles is missing from my watch but clearly not missing from my legs!  10 miles round trip and a kick ass morning with the Tribe.  I can hardly wait to eat more food, shower, and relish the simple beauty of the morning.  Watching the sun come up, running through the city as it begins to become the bustling place we know and love each day, and feeling connected to it in a way we just can’t when we zoom through, under, and around it in our cars.

I love Boston.  I love it more because of November Project and the many beautiful, cold, dark, sometimes so difficult mornings just like today’s.  If you haven’t run to a Monday in a while, give it a try.  If you haven’t come to a Monday in a while, give that a try too.  Don’t overlook one of the most exciting, unexpected experiences of our great city.

Keep changing your world and the world around you for the better.


*apparently I remember differently than the website actually said.  The original distance was 6 miles each way as an expected run to & from a workout.  #Badass.

**Check out my IG to see what I captured.

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