It’s early November. I’ve started writing my dissertation and between now and when I graduate, things will be BUSY. I’ll take a quick break over the holidays but other than that, no travel plans. But then…there it is. A post by November Project Winnipeg. An early advertisement for their annual Great Skate.
Most November Project tribes hold a #Sunrise6k. It started a while back as a competition between tribes to see who had the fastest tribe members overall and at the top speeds. Why 6k? Because no one else does it. Classic November Project-style event. The GREAT SKATE event is SUPER Canadian. It’s a 6k. But you don’t run it. You skate it. On a frozen river. In the middle of the winter.
Now, Canadian winter is no joke. Winnipeg boasts itself as the coldest NP city. The tribe in Edmonton has a -30C (-22F) badge you receive if you attend a workout at that temperature. Just to be facetious, Winnipeg has a -31C (-23.8F) badge. Guess what temperature it felt like at the Great Skate? Keep reading…
So now that you understand what the situation is, you’re probably asking WHY WOULD YOU EVER DECIDE TO DO THIS TO YOURSELF??? It’s simple. It’s a return to the thinking of the first November Project Summit. At the time, there were 7 cities, one of which was San Diego. Could the leaders have met up in sunny southern California and planned world takeover in Hawaiian shirts while drinking piña coladas? Sure. But what’s the challenge? Is that as fun? Instead we all headed up to Edmonton, Alberta, earning -30C badges and freezing our buns off (and planning world takeover).
Fast forward to January 31st, I’m packing my bags and hopping on a plane (or two) up to Winnipeg. I had some miles to use, wanted to attempt to earn my -31C badge, and figured I’d visit some friends (and take some with me). In the previous weeks, I’ve convinced Nadim (NP Edmonton leader) to join me. FOMO sets in and others from SF and Edmonton join. When I leave DC, it’s 44F. When I arrive in Winnipeg, it’s -11F. WHAT WAS I THINKING?? Long story short, the weekend consists of a Friday morning workout, snowshoeing, Saturday morning 10 mile run, and Sunday morning SKATE. Both Saturday and Sunday involve temps below -31C. I earn my badge (see top picture). I retain all my fingers and toes. I have a hilariously fun time with some tribe leaders old and new.
But what did I learn (I sound like an elementary school teacher)??
- Those Canadian tribes are a hearty, dedicated, and smiley crew. As much as I love DC and I believe we can be #Weatherproof at times, we will NEVER see that kind of weather in DC (until the next Ice Age in 30,000 years). Seeing the tribe show up in that weather and the leaders run that show week in and week out is INSPIRING.
- The tribe is strong and everywhere. I’ve never been to Winnipeg. But every single moment, it felt like I was visiting family. And that’s what we have in 40+ cities around the world. That’s DOPE.
- The Californians/Irishmen I know can’t skate.
- Chicago O’Hare airport is not a comfortable place to sleep.
- Regardless of me missing the second half, the Eagles still won the Super Bowl.
In the end, don’t be afraid of the elements, the challenges, or the unknown. A great quote I heard once says, “Whatever you can do or dream you can do, begin it. Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it.” These ideas can and should be applied at November Project AND regular life. When it’s cold, rainy, windy, humid, whatever…just show up. It’s the craziest of times that make for the best memories. So we’ll see you out there?
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