In taking steps towards acknowledging the land we are on, as well as celebrating Canada, traditionally known as Turtle Island, we had the pleasure of introducing Jamie, who took over this morning’s bounce. Jamie offered a smudge, prayer and gave us all insight into what it means to her to be an Indigenous Canadian. Jamie Voltz is a lover of the November Project community of Ojibwe-Saulteaux, Ukranian, Irish ancestry. Jamie is Okitcitakwe (Two-Spirit), Windigokahn, Ma’iingan Dodem and lives as a guest on Unsurrendered Algonquin Lands. Jamie brought us together this morning with the sunrise to honour and give recognition to Indigenous peoples and the strength of these nations and resilience they continue to bestow.
It’s easy to say you’ll show when it starts getting lighter out and it’s easy to say you’ll show up once it’s warmer. But, what continues to hold everyone back once it does get warmer out or once the sun is shining before 6:29am?
When we first began creating this community here in Ottawa we started in January. It was cold, to say it was dark would be an understatement and there was a solid four to six people showing up. The location stayed the same, the workouts continue to evolve but we always stayed in the frame of mind to keep the workouts simple, clear and challenging. When the weather began to creep up the thermometer more and more people began showing up. It helped that CBC came to feature and extend beyond the immediate circles of people that we knew. But, still sometimes you wonder why do people show up one week and not the next? Or what holds someone back from making it out at 6:29am on a bright summery morning?
Rob, Mary, Kevin and Tribe,
Hello from Wisconsin! I’m not sure when this letter will get to you, but as I write it it’s day 33 of 49. We’re still waking up at 4;30, putting one foot in front of the other, and getting closer to home every day. I can’t thank all of your enough for your support and encouragement on throughout this journey. I wanted to share with you a few things that have happened on this trip that have reminded me of how lucky I am to have this NP family.
The first occurred on day 18, also known as the 4th of July. During our pre-trip orientation, the 4th was discussed often. Our teams rely on food donations on a daily basis so that all the money we raise can go back to the Ulman Cancer fund where it belongs. We were told that the 4th of July would be the hardest day for food donations. Well, guess whose turn it was to handle food? I reached out to the only resource I knew, NP Denver. They were having a 4th of July Potluck Breakfast and did not hesitate to give us all their leftover food. If it’s even possible, we left with too much food. Though we didn’t make it in time for the workout ( I now have a #traverbal I have to fill in Denver) my teammates and I were greeted with hugs, high fives, and an abundance of “fuck yeahs”. My teammates were confused at how a group of people I’d never actually met acted like instant family. I said, “I don’t know, that’s just NP.” The interaction made me feel at home and reminded me that family is family no matter where you are from or where you are going.
The second part of this story is the never ending state of Nebraska. We had just hit halfway and in an overwhelming series of events, I almost made the decision to call it quits and come home. I knew that I had made a commitment to my team and wasn’t actually going to quit, but I genuinely thought about it.
At this point, it finally hit me how much I rely on NP as my support system. Right about the same time was our third mail drop and in the pile of letters were two things for me. The first was a package of snacks and trash bags and the second was a card from the lovely goofballs in charge of this tribe. The outside of it said “ You’re Ok” and the inside of it could have said nothing at all and would have been enough to make me cry. I don’t know how they knew, but I needed that so badly and it was enough to give me the boost I needed.
The point of all this is that when I made the decision to #justshowup in January, I never imagined that this team would be the gift in my life that keeps giving. I can’t wait to be back and bouncing with you soon. In the meantime, hug everyone and thank them for being here. You are all a gift and you may be the reason why people get up in the morning.
Enter Saturday July 21st, we had planned a dragon boat racing event, courtesy of the kind souls at DC Dragons, followed by a dope DIY picnic, then finishing the day at the Pacers Crystal City Twilighter 5K– more importantly known as the Run Club Throwdown, where the strongest, fastest, best team in the DMV walks away with ultimate bragging rights. Seems ambitious, right? Ok now throw in Mother Nature pissing rain all over us for 100 percent of the day.
The concept of #weatherproof was VERY MUCH in play. We rolled up to dragon boating with the most hardcore, bad-ass crew you could imagine– most of whom had never even seen a dragon boat before. With the help of diligent coaches, a relentless team spirit, and that warm, steamy Anacostia River, we were off the docks and into the water in no time. Dragon boating distinctly reminded me of NP in that yes, so much of the motion and the exercise is about the individual, but you will only be successful when you start connecting with and working for the other people in your boat. After working our shoulders and cores tirelessly, which, I later found out was “doing it wrong” we settled back on the not-so-dry land for an indoor picnic.
Ok, here’s the deal, the spread at this picnic was nicer than most wedding buffets. THANK YOU to every single person who contributed. Whether you carried two cases of La Croix through the pouring rain or brought your Mom’s homemade gluten-free pasta salad recipe, we appreciate you. Thanks to those who oversaw the grilling process, and to those who stuck around and helped us leave the boathouse spic-and-span.
Keep in mind, it is raining even harder now. Everyone is soaked to the bone, regardless of the fact that they just put on dry underwear three minutes ago.
We head out to Crystal City, and I’ve never felt more confident that November Project folks would show out for a race. This is what we do. Low visibility? check. Impromptu wet t-shirt contest? check. Hella puddles? big-ass check. Is any of that a deterrent? You bet your ass it’s a MOTIVATING FACTOR. So, we paddle dance our way through the Parade of Nations, by far the most fun pre-race warm-up I’ve ever had, and then we get down to business.
Remember what I said at the beginning about crushing it? I saw it in the middle of the dance circle that formed during warm-ups, I saw it on the race course from the grit and determination emanating from folks on the course, and you KNOW I saw it from the cheer station coming through the line. And hey, who woulda thought, WE WON THE RUN CLUB THROWDOWN, bringing some hardware home as the back-to-back Community Run Club champions.
What we had planned to be a fun, outside of working out social activity morphed into so much more over the course of a Saturday. Y’all make us so gosh-darn proud in myriad ways; showing up to row a boat in a rainstorm, providing charcoal and grilling tools from your home so we can host a successful shindig, racing your heart out and pouring so much enthusiasm into a community 5K. It was a doubleheader to remember.
THANK YOU to DC Dragons, y’all were amazing teachers, and we so appreciate you being #weatherproof like us. THANK YOU to Pacers for another incredible #rcthrowdown, it was an unparalleled night of racing, community and fun. And finally, THANK YOU to every single person who came out, dragon boating, chilling and grilling, racing, cheering, celebrating–you are all crushing it.
Much, much love, DC.
You know that feeling you get when it’s 7am and you’re walking away from the NP workout, feeling like your morning was fulfilling and you quickly forget how hard it was to wake up? Or that 2 times a year you wake up for the sunrise and think about how beautiful the world is how much you can see when you’re awake when most people are asleep? You think to yourself every time like you should do that more often? Well this morning thing is something real and you CAN make it happen more than twice a year and with other people at that. If you win the morning, you win the day.
I’ve recently had a number of conversations with people about how much being up early and working out in the morning has changed my days and my weeks. I used to wake up around 7/730, have a slow start to the morning and get moving on with the day. I did enjoy this time to myself and ease into the day, but now that I’ve experienced morning workouts, I don’t think I’ll go back. Even at 7am, it’s still hard to wake up, but I think when you wake up to the sound of your alarm, your body is probably not really ready to get up. I now start my days 2 hours earlier. It’s still hard to wake up at 5am, but not any harder than 7/730.
If you’ve considered more early mornings in your week, or want to make a change, 6:29am on Wednesdays is a good way to start. What if you did it more often than just Wednesdays? Likely many of you already do. And if you don’t, you may be surprised how much your body appreciates the consistency. It takes your body a bit of time to adjust- give yourself a few days, even a few weeks and you’ll notice how ready you are to start the day. You may find yourself that much more awake, energized, happy, positive and all the good things good. Plus you’ve given yourself more hours in the day to get all the other things done in your life! What would you do with 2 extra hours a day? How many more hours and day does that mean over a lifetime? We have just this one life to live- find ways to make it great every day.
Here is an article written with some input from Co-founder Brogan Graham about morning running.
Special things this morning include sweaty hugs and high fives before, during, after the workout, learning how to take a photo on the stairs (and having to climb more stairs after climbing a bunch of stairs), new faces and new people from last week- many of whom brought new people with them! Find 1 person with whom you can share this special Wednesday thing that you do. Can you bring them next week? Sometimes all it means is showing up- we had 2.5 year old Lily and her dad Neil join us after seeing a bunch of wild humans every Wednesday morning from their window. Those steps are BIG when you’re 2.5!
Thank you for sharing your morning, your time and your energy with us. We are glad you’re here.
Here’s to bringing “soles” together
Liz and Lauren
Completing a full tour. CHECK
Completing two full tours. CHECK
Earning a PR. CHECK
It’s been three weeks. Three weeks since we have not felt the impact of the stairs. Maybe you were grateful for the time we spent in the Aberdeen Pavillion completing movements and running past giant tulips. Maybe, you found your groove in the #sunrise6k or maybe just maybe you have been counting down the days till we found ourselves in TD Place Stadium again.
Can you recall a time that you were excited to run stairs before November Project? Or a time that you were excited to challenge yourself to complete one more section. Maybe this morning was it.
Now, not anyone can walk into TD Place Stadium and just run stairs. This is not an everyday event that occurs. You can like many other Ottawians purchase a ticket an attend an Ottawa Fury or Redblacks game and partake as a spectator, which is an experience in of itself and we highly recommend. You can sit amongst 24,000 people and hear the roar of the crowd but does it feel different when your moving up and down those sections continuously for 29 minutes and 23 seconds? We would have to argue yes, hands down, without a doubt YES. Racing is HARD and it HURTS but showing up this morning and moving alongside other sweaty humans makes it that much more fun, enjoyable and motivating. Knowing that you are not alone is probably the most reassuring part of the whole morning, that someone will give you a high five, call you out to give 1% more or push you to the top. This is really a shout out to all of YOU, who keep pushing the pace and the number of sections completed. Shout out to Caroline and Seumas for the chase and for crushing those stairs this morning.
We hope your Wednesday has a little more pep, skip and pure joy to it.
Here’s to bringing soles together,
Lauren and Liz
This is where the blog really starts..
We had asked our friend, running partner, T-Rex yogi, Positivity recipient, Bytown Boy and a go-getter Stephen Bierbrier to share his experience, passion and outlook about November Project Ottawa and how he came to be part of this ever growing family.
Stephen we were overjoyed with excitement and jitters the first time we bounced alongside you. Here’s to the many more times we get to hug, high five and bounce along with you. Thanks for sharing your story and here’s to bringing soles together.
On January 16, 2017, a friend sent me an innocent Facebook message with a link: “WORK IT YOW. WEDNESDAY. 6:29AM”. Amy asked, “Do you know about this? I think THIS is YOUR kind of thing.”