Big thanks to Dana Bogan for her blog today–not only is she a deeply-loved member of this NP community in Boston and beyond–she’s able to paint a picture with words that just might inspire anyone who’s unsure about Mondays to look a little deeper at the magic you might find by showing up to Monday workouts. Here’s Dana’s take on Mondays:
Ask anyone at November Project what their favorite workout day is and you’re likely to encounter varied responses with accompanying defense arguments to justifying their reasoning. Some pledge their allegiance to their favorite day with such conviction that they rarely stray from their favored routine, never to know what they may gain from another attending a different day.
As someone who craves routine and consistency, I fell easily for Wednesday Harvard stadium workouts. It was the first day that drew me in, a reasonable replacement to my regularly scheduled gym routine. The stairs appealed to my steadfast desire to have as much predictability as possible. Although the workout changes each week, you show up knowing that you’ll be running the stairs, perhaps with the friends you’ve made who climb stairs in your usual borough, or solo as you dial in on the movement: lift, push, breathe, repeat.
The allure of Friday hills draws in many who consider themselves exclusive runners, who can join the community without straying from their training plans. The grade of Summit Ave seems to taunt the average runner, its endless path a powerful deterrent. But when traveling up the grueling hill with a pack of friends, it becomes tolerable, conversing and connecting with others all the while logging miles to add to the weekly tally. Whether full hills or back, stair spice or cross country spice, we show up to Fridays knowing the hills will be run, in some form or another, and that we can depend on a challenging workout to incorporate into whatever we’re training for.
Monday is the wildcard of November Project, akin to a scientific experiment in which everything is a variable, and almost nothing is constant. Almost nothing, except the community of people who show up, the hearts that keep the movement going, who show up to spaces throughout the city to push our bodies in new ways, and connect our hearts like the invisible strings that keep our community together. The workout is completely random, the location is unknown until the week before, the people who attend vary depending on where the exact spot is, and what is expected of you cannot be understood until you’ve taken the risk to show up. As someone who experiences anxiety when the milk I put in the fridge is moved 2 inches to the left of where I last placed it, the concept of Monday workouts doesn’t fit with my idea of predictable entertainment.
Despite my astute capacity to assess anxiety risk management and avoid overwhelming stimuli, the unexpected ways in which we use elements of the city to strengthen our bodies and develop new relationships have made Monday my favored NP workout day. Perhaps it’s the intimate nature of the group-the high fives between push-ups, the shared agony of 7 minutes of burpees, the playful joy while exploring playgrounds before children awake-or maybe it’s the opportunity to make indelible marks across the city-in alleys and parks, on the river or by the ocean, in front of skyscrapers or schoolyards. I lived in Boston for 7 years before I traversed the city before sunrise, its grassy lawns and concrete slabs transformed into our gym for 30 minutes each Monday morning. Mondays have provided me with innumerable memories all over the city, each one transforming an otherwise foreign locale into a place where alleys and corners from Copley to Cambridge, Charlestown to Castle Island all feel intimately intertwined with my experience in referring to Boston as my home.
Monday is the day we come together as a community and foster the connections that our entire establishment is founded upon. It’s the day you might be encouraged to partner up with someone new, introducing yourself to the person who may become a trusted friend in months to come. It’s easy to fall into step with your friends of similar pace each week at the Stadium or while running up the hills. It’s easy to camouflage into the periphery and show up to the Stadium for years at a time only to be largely unknown to the tribe. Perhaps that’s why Monday is the most overwhelming day to attend, the one in which we might be forced to asked to expose our vulnerabilities, stepping out of our comfort zone and familiarity of stairs and hills and races, taking risks as we delve into the unknown. As someone who understands social anxiety perhaps more than meets the eye, I have empathy for the trepidation that comes with the territory of Mondays. And yet, my most cherished NP memories all have in common that they occurred on a Monday.
The magic of Monday is in the unconventional ways in which we claim this city as our own, the unexpected capacity through which we cultivate joy and connection in a 30 minute circuit, and the unknown friendships that we make along the way. The city can feel so overwhelming and vast when looked at from afar; Monday is our day to explore new reaches of various neighborhoods and challenge ourselves to get a little uncomfortable with the possibility of trying something new. Monday may be a risk, but the reward may be magic you haven’t yet experienced. I challenge you to come and find what the magic of Monday means to you.
NEXT MONDAY 10/28 will be at Bunker Hill Monument. 6:29am. It’s historic, it’s epic, it’s fun…it’s a MONDAY and you don’t want to miss it. Come. Or don’t. Bring a friends. Or don’t. But probably come and bring a friend too. MAP HERE.
HALLOWEEN WEDNESDAY 10/30 is the day before halloween AND our last Wed of the month. So the following things will definitely be happening:
- PR day: race yourself for your fastest full-tour or farthest # of sections completed.
- Theme for costumes: “Fitness Fanatics.”
- #GrassrootsGear tagging. Bring a light, bright, or white colored shirt before the workout and the #paintcrew will make sure you leave afterwards with a fresh, crisp, nice AF new tag on your shirt/top.