Today is a big day. It’s my 1 year anniversary with November Project. It’s no secret that I’m a huge fan of the grassroots workout group. I am so glad I (skeptically) gave it a shot after hearing about it from Jon on twitter last winter.
As much as I love the concept of NP and have friends in all of the cities, it’s the Baltimore tribe that completely changed my life. I joined the group when it was still very small. As someone who can be pretty introverted, I was definitely intimidated by such outgoing people and I vividly remember running up the steps with a bunch of random people cheering my first day. I timidly accepted their hugs and didn’t say much, but I kept going back for more week after week.
Slowly as the weather warmed up, the tribe continued to grow. I started making friends and seeing familiar faces and was no longer afraid to welcome the ‘newbies’ with big hugs. I was tweeting and instagramming up a storm and started going to bed excited every Tuesday night, ready for Wednesday morning atop Federal Hill with my new friends.
As the tribe grew larger, we moved down to Rash Field so we could spread out. The workouts changed but anyone who is a part of November project knows that it is never about the workout. It’s about the friendships. The community. Some of my closest friends in Baltimore (and beyond) are from November Project. It’s such a great feeling to know I have friends to run with in Boston when I’m home, or other cities when I’m traveling.
Eventually, November Project Baltimore started expanding past the Wednesday morning workouts. One Sunday night in April we all met at a bar to make “recruiting coasters” to hand out around the city. I sat with Lauren and her boyfriend, and ended up sitting across from a random guy that I chatted up a storm with while coloring with crayons.
Those Wednesday mornings turned into Sunday night gatherings, a Friday night run club at Lululemon, Baltimore Bike Parties, happy hours, run dates, and race buddies. In other words, November Project became my social life.
When I moved back home to New England last summer, I had a really hard time accepting the fact that I was leaving behind an entire life. One that I had grown to really, truly love. I hadn’t felt that way since my high school swimming days and I hated the idea of starting over. I knew I would eventually feel comfortable with the Boston tribe, but it was hard to accept that I would never be back in Baltimore again for more than a visit. On my last day, they granted me the old positivity stick to take home with me so I would always be a part of Baltimore.
Well, I didn’t end up getting a job in Boston and I missed my Baltimore life like crazy so 3 months later I was back and greeted with open arms by all of my friends the morning that I started my first real-person job. It was probably one of the best mornings I’d had since before I moved away. I don’t think the smile left my face for the rest of the day.
Right after I moved back, we finally added a second day to our workouts, and began meeting at Patterson Park on Friday mornings. I haven’t made it to that location as much due to being injured the past few months, but I go when I can and enjoy seeing a different crowd. It’s a more running-focused workout so obviously I love it. You can’t beat #hillsforbreakfast.
And the guy that I met at the bar back in April while we were coloring? We started dating about a week after I moved back. And somehow he’s still sticking around 6 months later.
In December, one of the core tribe members who started around the time I did announced she was moving. I could have held onto the positivity stick, but it was time to pay it forward and give it to someone else who needs it more than me now. The tribe has grown and I have a huge “framily” to look forward to seeing every single week. On November 3rd, more than 3014 tribe members worked out together across all 17 cities. Baltimore grew to 174, shattering our goal.
In case you were wondering, at some point I lost all that shyness nonsense I had going on a year ago. That was completely gone after the first two months. And it spread into my everyday life too. I’m so much more social than I’ve ever been and a lot of my introverted tendencies are gone.
Now that I’ve been back for 6 months (today!!!), I can’t imagine my life without it. These people brought me out of my shell, helped me branch out to try new things, and made Baltimore really feel like home.
So today I’m celebrating. Unfortunately today isn’t an NP day but don’t worry- I celebrated yesterday and I’m celebrating tomorrow.