In Dec of 2009, weighing 305 pounds, I decided to make a change in my life to make my health a priority, so I joined a gym and got a personal trainer. I worked hard, going 4-6 times a week. I pushed myself and learned to like pushing my limits. I taught myself to run as I had never run before. I slowly increased my running time starting at 5 minutes on a treadmill and within months I was running for over an hour outside. I lost weight, gained muscle, started to feel better about how I looked.
Finally my after a year and a half, my workouts stagnated; I could tell I was not pushing myself hard enough. Even worse, I was getting bored. I had tried to bring people to the gym with me, but they rarely lasted for long as workout partners. I was losing momentum and motivation. It was at this time that my friend Anna Israel noticed all the hard work I had been doing and asked me to join her for a workout with November Project at the Harvard Stadium. So, on August 15th, 2012, I showed up, a little nervous, but excited to see what it was about. When I started out I ran the first, second, and third sections thinking this was going to be a piece of cake, then the fourth section hit me like a brick wall. I slowed down and started walking sections. It was one of the toughest workouts I had ever done, but I finished a half tour. What got me through it was the energy and encouragement of the group. I loved seeing the excitement of Brogan and Bojan pushing people to their limits and how everyone truly just wanted to help you improve. November Project was exactly what I had been looking for at this time; a community to help push myself in my workouts and people who are excited to push to their limits.
I got a lot more in the process than I ever expected. First I started feeling energized throughout my day; the positive energy from the tribe helped me go through my workday with a great big smile. Secondly, my wardrobe changed. I saw the pictures posted and all my black workout clothes made it hard to find myself. As someone who wore black for most of my life, it was strange to be seeking crazy bright colors for my workout clothes. Since then I was described as, “Elin, who always wears orange” in a blog, my non-NP friends laughed at the suggestion. Now color has even made it to my everyday wardrobe. Finally, with all friends I have made at November Project, my commitment to being at the workouts is solid as I want to see my friends and know that no matter how hard the workout is at the end I will be happy to have done it.
While I am committed to the workouts I am neither the fittest nor the fastest member. However I am committed and seek to push myself to improve. Many of you will join November Project and probably pass me. However for those who worry about being slow or not being fit enough, you can bet you will have company as November Project has people of all fitness levels and ages and you will find someone your speed that you can get to know and help push each other to get better.
For those who might be questioning working out year round with November Project, I did it last year and I can say that if you come to every workout, your body adjusts and you learn what works for you. Some of the worst weather days were the most fun and memorable workouts, so when you see rain, snow or other extreme weather forecasted, don’t hesitate to show up. Some of my best memories include doing seven minutes of Burpees at the #DestinationDeck during Hurricane Sandy (aka, #HurricaneDeck), doing sprints in a foot of fresh snow on the track next to the Harvard Stadium, and running up Summit Ave during blizzards. Each of these were tough, but awesome workouts that brought out the best in our community as you got to know who was willing to be there no matter what.
I am extremely thankful for Brogan and Bojan’s work to build November Project, but it is the energy each of you bring to the workout that makes it truly great. I sincerely believe that if there is a November Project near you (Boston, Wisconsin, Edmonton, San Francisco, San Diego, DC, and Denver) you need to get your ass out of bed and check them out. I promise you that if you give it a chance it will change your life for the better and in ways that you may not expect. If you come to Boston, introduce yourself to me, I love meeting new tribe members.
Just. Show. Up.