Thank You, November Project.

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When I first moved to San Francisco in 2013 I think I knew three people. I lived with my dad’s college roommate and his family (thanks Corey and Anjani!) for two weeks in Palo Alto. Before work, I’d wake up and run four miles, which I thought was a lot, and then start my day. I worked out almost exclusively alone. Not because I necessarily wanted to–I just didn’t know anyone other than my coworkers. 

Once I found a place to live in SF, I had friends who were setting me up on friend dates. Old roommates from college or friends from growing up were thrown at me like “here, you’ll like this person!” And truthfully, I did like most of them. But I still didn’t feel like I had a crew or like I had close friends here.

Within the first week or two of being in The City, I sent a message to a friend from Boston, Amarynth Sichel (if you’re reading this, hi!), because I kept seeing photos of her on Facebook running and working out and generally looking super happy. I think my direct quote to her was something like: 

How did you get your own personal workout photographer? I workout all the time and no one takes any dope photos of me! What is happening in all these photos?

She mentioned she did this workout group called November Project and that it was one of her favorite things about living in Boston. I looked it up, read through Brogan and Bojan’s manifesto where they try and dissuade people from starting one, and decided I was going to start one anyway in San Francisco. 

And then, I clicked one more link and found out that November Project San Francisco was already a thing! It had been around for a few months at that point. I showed up to my first workout that Wednesday, got dusted by Connor Green in our old Alamo PR Day workout, and knew I had to come back.

The rest they say, is history. 

My first ever yearbook photo. If this didn’t get you to show up well…

For the past five and a half years, I’ve spent nearly every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday morning sweating, laughing, and smiling with this community.

Not only did I meet some of my very best friends at NP, but we grew up together. We went from excited kids to (fake) real adults. (Not saying I like it, just saying it happened!) 

In this time I saw tragedy band us together, watched Paddy go from laxbro to professional ultra runner, watched Jason Levy and Mark Noviski make it to 150 straight workouts (or something crazy like that), met my amazing girlfriend, let Laura haze me with shaving cream and Cheetos, got inspired to run multiple ultramarathons, made absurd videos with Jorge, saw NP members go from occasional runners to serious racers, connected with leaders and NP members from around the world, worked out alone in the dark countless times with Ali and Gil at the Michelle Obama gym, woke up to more gorgeous sunrises than I can count, saw people get married and have kids, and explored what feels like every corner of this city.

A lot of people have asked me how I feel about stepping down and moving out of the Bay Area. The truth is I feel sad. How could I not be sad to be moving on from this wild ride?

This place is special.

NP has been such a constant in my life for the past five-plus years that it feels like a part of me. I‘m reminded of my last college soccer game when I realized I was no longer a college athlete. I was everything else. That’s what tomorrow will be. Everything else. 

But the sadness isn’t alone. It’s outweighed by an immense gratitude I feel for having had this opportunity. Being a part of something as special as the growth of November Project–both in San Francisco and beyond–is amazing. I can’t believe I was as lucky as I was to show up and meet so many true friends. 

It has truly been an honor to be a leader here. This is a special city. To have the opportunity and platform to stand in the middle of a big circle, welcome people, and get them to do stupid shit like boop each other on the nose? I’ve felt lucky every single week. 

To be entrusted with NP leadership is a gift, but this position should not be exalted. It’s a responsibility, yes, but this movement belongs to the people who show up to sweat and look each other in the eyes each week. Those of us fortunate enough to be at the front are merely playing a role–a temporary one–in pursuit of a larger goal: creating a thriving, supportive, fun, fit, and weird community. I’ve always felt humbled to be a part of that. 

In the community, as in life, things change, people grow, and new chapters start. This is a new chapter for me and for NPSF, but I can undoubtedly say, I’ll be better in my next chapter because of this one. And it’s not just because I finally got a workout photographer.

Fuck yea.

Riding off into the sunset. Even though this is a sunrise.

I would be remiss if I didn’t thank a few special people. First, Laura, Paddy, and Clayton. Thank you for building NPSF with your sweat, jokes, and ingenuity. Thank you for thinking offering me an opportunity to help shape this community. Thank you Tony and Ali for stepping up to the plate and owning your roles, injecting your own personality, and continuing to cultivate a great group. You’re both studs. Thank you Brogan and Bojan. You both are fantastic people first and care so deeply about this entire movement. You’ve done an amazing job getting November Project to where it is today–49 cities, still free, and somehow supporting multiple full-time people. That’s wild. So glad you made a google doc years ago. Thank you North Face. I never really had brands I was loyal to before, but you’ve made a believer out of me. I was skeptical at first, but you have supported NP’s growth in so many ways and taken a truly long term approach to your partnership. #NeverStopExploring. Thank you Kate. You always let me be me and run with this crazy position. You let me set ridiculously early alarms and never complained about me rolling out of bed, getting dressed in the dark, or waking you up. I can honestly say this would have not been possible or enjoyable without your support and love. Thanks for only rolling your eyes at me a few times and for coming up with so many great workouts, bounces, and fun ideas with me. Thank you to NPSF (and NP Oakland!) for just showing up. Never stop.

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