There And Pac Again

Capozzi and EmSauce are off partying with a hundred of their closest friends at Meeting of the Minds, but your old pal CPayne still knows the password to the blog (shh!) I’m good and retired, so I’m not writing anything – I might not even be writing this – so let me hand it off to today’s celebrity shot coleaders, Joev and Renee, for their individual takes. – Chris

There’s an old saying about climbing the stairs at Harvard Stadium: it doesn’t get any easier, you just get better at it. It’s true. I’ve gotten a lot better at climbing stairs in the five years I’ve been working out with November Project. But I’ve gotten better at other things too – talking to people, relying on them, and supporting them. This is in no small part thanks to November Project, which has been a safe space for me to develop my social skills, and a rock of support for when things don’t go my way.

When you practice and focus, you can improve at anything. But you still have to decide what to focus on, and it’s not easy. What will help you the most might be the most painful thing to practice.
Running hills is a metaphor for the really hard stuff – emotional connections, self-care, respect and support of others. We work hard during the workout to remind ourselves that we have the power to decide to work hard at everything else. And there’s nothing better than hard work in the company of others who respect your efforts.

The work that Emily and Capozzi do, and that Brogan, Bojan, Deniz, Evan, and CPayne did before them, is hard work. But it’s hugely valuable, and I respect the heck out of them for coming back day after day after day and doing it. Over a hundred co-leaders of November Project worldwide choose to do this work every day, and they make mistakes, and they learn. It doesn’t get any easier, they just get better at it.

Which brings me to today. Today I got to drive the school bus for the first time, and make mistakes, and learn. With Renee’s help, I got to take a workout fantasy I had a year and a half ago, and develop it into something that could *almost* be explained, and that could *pretty much* be followed. There And Back Again is my favorite stair workout, because of the time at the end of the workout when everybody of every pace starts to cross paths again. They support each other, inspire each other, and nearly collide with each other, at the limits of their physical ability. It’s controlled chaos, and that’s what I think November Project is all about.

Today I got to try to control some of that same chaos, as an accordion of runners expanded and then contracted while trying to escape a hungry Pac-Man, not once but twice, for the inaugural running of #ThereAndPacAgain hills. Thank you to Jac and David for serving as Pac-Man, and congratulations to Myrta and Andrew on being the first ghosts back past the hydrant. If you beat Pac-Man, maybe go out harder next time. If you got beaten, maybe control your pace more in the early going next time. But keep it silly, keep it weird, and have fun. That’s what’ll keep you coming back.

Thanks to everyone for showing up today, and every day. Onward, relentlessly.
– Joev
When Joev asked me to co-lead, I was ecstatic… overjoyed… my dreams were actually coming true! Immediately, I had questions.  Did the workout have to be “PR Day”? Could we have a pie eating contest?  And then, the rhetorical, we’ll be wearing costumes, right?  Quickly, however, the lofty ideas I conjured to be a part of the “most fun workout EVER” were met with reality.  We needed to ensure that folks would get their miles in, since that’s actually why they come to hills. We needed to make sure our plan catered to all speeds and abilities, develop a workout that was engaging for 40 minutes and, of course, figure out costumes.  While I was still floating in the dream bubble of my #celebshot, the real world came crashing through: this is work!
November Project is a constant.  Regardless of the city you’re in, your individual fitness levels and goals, what you’re personally going through, November Project is there.  Just show up.  You’ll find a tribe, a solid workout and a network of hugs or high-5’s.  However, what we sometimes fail to remember is that in order for us to show up to get all that we do, our co-leaders need to show up and step up.  They have to put aside their own fitness goals and what might be going on personally to not only set an early alarm to get to the workout, but also to ensure that there’s a bounce, a planned workout, photos, a blog post, etc.  That stuff ain’t easy!  
Joev and I had to work!  Through countless texts and several phone calls, a plan was hatched.  The Pac-Man workout was Joev’s brainchild (I’ll take credit for the costumes!) and fairly quick to agree upon.  But the time spent working out the nuances of the actual execution and attempting to simplify the directions were things I never saw coming. I had dreams about our workout two nights in a row, practiced my delivery between meetings, forced my patient boyfriend to listen to me explain the workout and then got pissy when he told me I was confusing, I wrote and rewrote what I was going to say and drew the workout on any blank surface to assure myself that yes, this was going to work and yes, it really did cater to all speeds and abilities and yes, perhaps, it could be “the most fun workout EVER!”  


What was delivered this morning was a labor of love and an expression of gratitude.  I got to see inside Joev’s brain and I appreciate, even more, his dry sense of humor, how committed he is to our tribe and November Project and his unwavering belief that costumes are always appropriate.  I became even more thankful of the time, work and commitment that Emily and Chris display almost daily and the dedication they have toward ensuring that when we show up, it’s not only worthwhile, but amazing.  
And I remain in awe of this tribe. At 7:25am, as the group photo was being taken and as I took a moment to appreciate all the sweaty ghosts who trusted me with their Friday morning, I was reminded that we work hard for each other and that at 6:30am, three days a week, we wouldn’t want it any other way.
– Renee



is still happening, and somehow Capozzi and EmSauce suckered me into leading it while they teach and learn at Meeting of the Minds… so see me and Steve Christensen (original leader of NP_DC) at Graffiti Alley in Cambridge. 6:29am. You won’t regret showing up. Nobody ever does. – Chris

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