Every moment is a once in a lifetime experience. Said somebody great. And wise. And somebody who was probably talking about this morning at Harvard stadium.
In many ways it was a typical Wednesday morning, which I don’t think we know how to have around here anymore. Big announcements, Birthday Parties, Yearbook Photos. How long has it been since we just showed up, put our heads down, and climbed some fucking stairs? It’s been a while and it was about time that we did that. It was typical, but it was also like no other morning we’ve ever had. Because it was TODAY. There was a badass group who got out of bed and showed up in the dark for the 5:30 stadium challenge. And there was a bigger and equally badass group who showed up for the 6:30 stadium challenge. The challenge today was to find your limits. We asked you to start running up the seats and down the stairs as many times as you possibly could before time ran out. The groups had until 6:20 and 7:20 respectively to find the limit of their bodies and minds on those stairs, and the tribe was very impressive today. It’s not often that someone says to you, “Just do as much as you can, as hard as you can until I tell you to stop.” It’s different than when someone says, “Do a half-tour.” “Do 37.” “Do Frogman 2.” With those challenges you find a way to break it down in your head–you start with a finite number and you calculate how to get through each section until you’re done. Technically you can do the same thing with time but it’s a different kind of challenge, and not one we take on very often.
I remember my college rowing coach asking me and my teammates once to get on the ergs (the rowing machines), and to row as hard as we could, for as long as we could. There was no finite end. There was no clear number of meters to tick down, or time to count through. There was just me and that fucking erg and my scared mind wondering how I would possibly be able to keep going as hard as I could because I rationalized that I could always pull as hard as I could — just maybe not as hard as the stroke before. I’d probably be able to keep doing that until I died. But I didn’t want to row until I died…so how would I know when to stop?!? But the scariest thing I realized was that I didn’t know what was ENOUGH. How could I do a good job, or be a “good” rower, or be the best teammate possible if I didn’t know what the standard was for success?
I believe that the greatest challenge most of us face in life is figuring out how to be good enough. And not for anyone else but for ourselves. The lesson that day in the boathouse was not about determining who on my team was fastest, strongest, or most fit. The lesson was that I am the only one who decides what is enough and who creates limitations for myself. And that is why we asked you to decide a goal for yourself today–a way of being accountable to the athlete you want to be, and to the tribe around you. Whether you reached your goal or not, if you fought with all your might for it today, then we all got better. Next week and every other Wednesday once-in-a-lifetime experience after that, you get to keep pushing, racing everything, and getting better.
Because November Project is committed to a lifetime membership of #FreeFitness, we will always show up and we will always offer the opportunity to experience moments of challenge. And every single time you show up is a once in a lifetime experience in which you can walk (or fucking run) toward the challenges, or you can hesitate and step back from them. We choose to show up in a community where people will support you, cheer for you, run with you, hold your hand, help you when you bleed, and work their own asses off for you because you showed up too. I realize that there are finite physical limits and everyone needs to rest and recover. But what we ask of you when you show up for 60 minutes is to commit to every single minute, every moment of this once in a lifetime experience. Don’t waste it by hesitating. Don’t waste it by holding back or going slow when you don’t really need to. Live the moment, take pride in it, find some badass enoughness in accepting the challenge to work as hard as you can. When you do, you may just find beautiful new limits. New PRs for half-tours or full-tours. (My newsfeed is full of these announcements today!) New section records to smile about and new records to chase. New memories of amazing, irreplaceable experiences.
Every single workout that NP has ever had has been filled with these experiences. Over time they become memories of challenge, success, struggle, fight, togetherness, community, and movement. Bojan and BG have committed themselves to this free fitness movement, and in doing so they have given us gifts every single Monday, Wednesday, and Friday for the last three years. And today, with the help of some very thoughtful tribe members (thank you Elin, Diana, Luci, and others) the tribe was able to say “Thanks for the Memories” to our amazing founders, movement leaders, and friends. The gigantic bag of thank you notes (#Payday) and other paraphernalia were finally given to the Big Boys as a surprise gift. Those two don’t get surprised by a lot–they’re usually behind the biggest and best surprises. But thanks are in order. Thank you for having a vision to change the world. Thank you for changing every single one of us for the better. We are better athletes, a stronger community, sweatier, huggier, and generally better at feeling like enough because of your gift to us. The Tribe is really fucking strong.
REMINDER: The mornings will start getting pretty chilly. Some of the world will look outside on these mornings and decide whether or not they should get out to run because it’s so cold.
Being #Weatherproof means looking outside and deciding how many layers to wear.