November Project #WorldTakeover

It’s no secret that November Project is pretty important to me. Ever since I started going in January 2014, it has been a constant. There were months I didn’t go as often due to injuries or living at home temporarily, but it was still very much a part of my life. I’ve had a few questions about how November Project is different in Boston versus Baltimore so I thought I’d talk about it.

November project

I met most of my Baltimore friends (and now Boston) through NP. I remember showing up that snowy morning in January unsure of what to expect. I’d heard about it through Jon on twitter (the ultimate recruiter) and really just went so he would stop telling me go, if I’m being perfectly honest. I assumed I’d hate it. I thought it was like crossfit, which I had no desire to try at the time. You know what they say about ASSuming…

First day ever

First day ever

I couldn’t have been more wrong. After that very first morning, I was hooked. People were so friendly, we ran stairs, did strength workouts, and a photographer took badass pictures. I missed two workouts in my first 5 months before I moved home. When I moved back to Baltimore a few months later, I was most excited about getting back to my NP family.

november project

While I regret not integrating myself as much as I could have into the Baltimore tribe, I still made some great friends. Lauren and I knew each other through blogging, but we became good friends once we both started going to NP. I also became friends with Kristine, Lizzie, and others. It’s where I met my ex-boyfriend, who later admitted he only started going to meet a girl. People joke about #NP_DatingService but it’s real. I’ve seen so many relationships form through NP. It’s a place to meet like-minded people that you have something in common with. Those relationships, romantic or not, are crucial to its success. If you don’t enjoy the company, you wouldn’t get up so early to run stairs in the dead of winter. The community is what keeps people coming back.

november project

So now let’s talk more about the differences between tribes. I’ve only been to DC once and haven’t made it to any of the other 27 cities yet, but the key to November Project is that it’s based around what your city has to offer. The workouts will never be the same from city to city because not every city has a Harvard stadium or a Summit Ave. So the leaders do what they can to make each workout fun and challenging.

november project

Baltimore:

*The people seem to be a bit closer in age and younger in Baltimore.

When I first started, I was the youngest person there (out of maybe 15 people). Most members were in their mid-twenties. As it grew, the age demographics obviously grew to include everyone from kids to adults in their 40s+, but the majority in Baltimore is still mid-20s. I’ve heard from a lot of people that Baltimore is a younger tribe than most, and my guess is that it’s because Baltimore tends to be a younger city in general.

November Project

*The workouts are as hard as you make them.

That is not to say the workouts aren’t challenging. The workouts that take place at Rash Field allow for a wider range of abilities than Harvard Stadium or Summit Ave. It’s a lot easier to scale the workouts to make them as intense or as relaxed as you’d like. If there was a day I didn’t feel like pushing myself, I was able to get a low-intensity workout in.

sometimes

sometimes we run hard, sometimes we pose for the camera

*There is more variety in the workouts.

Stairs aren’t the premise for the workout in Baltimore. Some weeks there is more running, some weeks there’s a ton of burpees (ALWAYS more than Boston). Baltimore does everything from lunges to squats to pushups to burpees to running to stairs to star jumps to planks. Their Wednesday workouts are more like a Monday in Boston.

november project

*It feels more social.

People are a lot goofier in Baltimore. They joke around, love nose boops, and people get weird. That’s a big thing at NP- getting uncomfortable. I don’t mind hugs but occasionally it went beyond my comfort levels. Others love it. I did almost every workout chatting the whole time. I could push myself if I wanted to, but it seemed like most people used it as a social hour plus a decent workout rather than focusing on just the workout.

November Project

Boston:

*The intensity is high.

Not everyone is capable of running Harvard stadium. I’m only able to run the first half of the steps of each section and walk the rest of the way. The steps are so tall. My mom probably couldn’t do it. People do come and modify the workouts, but you can’t take away the intensity that is Harvard stadium or the 17 percent grade of Summit Ave. My heart rate almost hit 200 last week which is HIGH for me.

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*People are more serious.

Going along with the intensity, there is less socializing. People socialize when they first arrive and after the workout is over, but once the workout begins, it’s time for business. After talking to some regulars in Boston, they were surprised at my observation and felt like it has gotten more social. I’m a serious person by nature so I really love the vibe. It’s still fun and friendly, but the workouts are so difficult that there is less room for chatter.

November Project

*You know what to expect.

You know which workouts you’ll be doing Wednesdays and Fridays. There are slight variations, such as running more sections of the stadium or running on the grassy part of the hill, but you know the entire 40 minutes will be spent either running stairs or running up a hill. Mondays are different because they’re in a new location every week and part of the workout is to run there, but you know you’re going to be doing some kind of strength workout. For someone who hates surprises, this takes some of the anxiety away.

november project

Each tribe has its own culture. Not every city is the same, not every leader is the same, and not every tribe member is the same. So naturally each location will have a different vibe. Baltimore made a city I really didn’t like originally feel like a second home. I made some great friends, I entered my first serious relationship, and it’s where I found this community that I adore. But Boston is new and exciting, and it’s the mothership. And I love the intensity.

november project

November Project changed my life for the better. It took away the pressure of collegiate sports without taking away competition. It made moving to a new city easier. It brings together communities and makes cities a better place. It’s a home away from home.

November project

November Project is taking over the world. And that’s not a bad thing.

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TOL: Moving and Shaking

Happy Thinking Out Loud! I skipped last week because I couldn’t get my act together, but here I am going 4 days strong with posts and have another scheduled for tomorrow! I can’t remember the last time I wrote 5 posts in a row. It’s certainly the most I’ve written in the past 2+ years. Today is all about the rambling though, and I’m really good at that, so that’s just what I’m going to do.

1)THIS WEEK. Anybody else? I don’t know what it is, but it’s killing me. Maybe it’s the excitement over so many big things coming up (LOTS of exciting trips), or because I’m a huge fan of the fall weather and just want to be outside all the time, or the stress of this upcoming move, but if I make it to Saturday it will be a miracle.

2) I hadn’t spoken to my mom since Sunday until I got this email in my inbox yesterday morning. In fairness, the last time she thought she was getting a “good deal” on a Longchamp bag, she bought a terrible attempt at a knockoff from China. But she also bought it on a website like longchampclearance.com or something. #seemslegit. This is why we have the #shitsandysays hashtag. Yes, mom, this one is legit.

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3) Yesterday was especially rough. I need a new iPhone but I refuse to pay $25/month for one. The volume control on the side isn’t working and the ringer randomly turns on when it’s supposed to be on silent. So I have the volume all the way down just in case it goes off in a meeting. Except I forgot that my alarm is connected to the volume, so when it went off at 4:52am yesterday, I couldn’t hear it. I just happened to wake up around 5:22 completely disoriented and realized that I overslept and was late for November Project. I missed the epic sunrise but I did make it there at 5:49am, so only 19 minutes late.

November Project

4) The workout itself was awesome. I did 30 sections with the 5:30 group and another 30 sections with the 6:30 group. The humidity came back a little bit but I was running on so much adrenaline that I just plowed through the sections and hoped nobody noticed my absence during the bounce.November Project

5) Now that I’m in Boston, I’m finding myself becoming more loyal to local brands. Janji is a brand I discovered several years ago at the Newport half (come run with Kaitlin and me!). My mom loved that it was based around funding clean water projects. My friend Jenna hooked me up recently with one of their singlets and I LOVE it. I also received my package of Tracksmith gear from my PR race a few weeks ago. The shorts are the most comfortable things I’ve ever worn, as are the two tank tops I ordered. I recently transitioned to primarily wearing Lululemon, but these two brands are now at the top of my (out of control) workout wardrobe so they’re the first things I grab. Next up: Ciele hats (although they aren’t Boston-based, they’re big at NP).

Janji singlet and Tracksmith shorts

Janji singlet and Tracksmith shorts

6) On the way home from November Project, I had more bad luck. Remember how I fired my dad as my bike mechanic for putting the handlebars on crooked? Well mid bike ride, the breaks completely came undone around the wheel. It’s an easy fix, but luck was not on my side yesterday morning.

bike

7) I am all about the rooftops lately. The other night after dinner I just felt like sitting by the pool. I brought my iPad up to read a book and just relaxed for an hour until I got chilly. Yes, chilly. It’s been forever since I was actually cold. I love the crispness in the air in the fall. As much as I love the bronzed skin and boatlife, fall is far and away my favorite season. It just feels so much cozier. I went up again last night and I have a feeling I’ll continue coming up to the roof at my aunt’s condo even after I move. This morning I’m at a rooftop yoga class with Kyndal.

rooftop pool

8) We switched offices just after I started my new job and dogs technically aren’t allowed in the new building, which is too bad because there used to be a dog calendar where people would write down the day they were bringing their dog to the office. One day this week, someone brought their dog in anyways. I’m not a little dog person at all but Daphne is adorable and I kept finding her under my desk.

dog daphne

9) Moving is a nightmare. I’m supposed to have my bed delivered from Jordan’s furniture Saturday but the freight elevator in my new building is only available from 8-1. When I called Jordan’s to specify a time frame, they said they can’t guarantee a range until 48 hours before. So basically there’s no way to reserve the freight elevator because there’s no way to know when the furniture might be delivered. Never. Moving. Again.

10) But I really can’t wait to have my bed back (it’s a new bed, but we ordered the same one I had before because we gave mine to my brother). And a place to put clothes away (once I find a dresser and figure out how deliver it to the apartment). And to not feel like I’m taking over someone else’s space (even though I’ve seen my aunt all of 4 times in the last 2 months). And to have a place to call home (that isn’t my parents’ house).

 

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Daybreaker Party

Last month I received two tickets to the Daybreaker Party (I am writing about the event in exchange for my ticket and a plus one). I know some people who have gone to previous events and was really intrigued. Based on pictures I had seen on Facebook, I knew there was yoga involved, glow-in-the-dark bracelets, disco lights, and a DJ. That’s my kind of yoga.

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From the website:

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In short, Daybreaker is one big party. It’s basically a rave at 6 in the morning. For someone like me who doesn’t drink, it’s pretty much the only way you’d ever get me to go to a club. I loved the concept and was excited to see what it was all about.

I arrived at Icon Nightclub at 5:45am expecting to get there early to put my mat down and get settled before the class started. It was about a mile and a half walk from where I’m currently living. When I got there, there was a line outside the door. I invited Kyndal (former blogger, current NP friend) as my plus 1 to come with me because it’s more fun to try new fitness things with friends. We practiced using the self-timer feature on her phone while we waited because I didn’t even know that was a thing. I always thought you had to download a separate app…

kyndal

Finally just after 6am they let us in and checked our names off. The room filled quickly and it started at 6:15. It was like being in a nightclub (I mean, it is a nightclub) without the grimy, stickiness. When I told one of my friends what I was doing, he said, “but it’s going to be so dirty!” That wasn’t the case at all- it was very clean. It had a very similar feel to the glow-in-the-dark yoga classes I’ve taken in the past with a live DJ, disco balls, glitter everywhere, photographers and videographers, and dozens of neon spandex clad yogis. The only difference was that there were chandeliers and built-in benches.

The class itself was taught by Izzy VanHall. She teaches at YogaWorks, Equinox, Coolidge Corner Yoga, and probably others as well. She led us through several variations of vinyasa flows with a lot of hip-opening sequences. Runners lunge is my favorite because I’m so so so tight. Especially on Thursdays after stadium days. We did that several times throughout the class. Aside from a few chatarangas, it felt more like a guided stretching session accompanied by loud music and flashing lights.

DayBreaker

In total, the class was just under 45 minutes long. I don’t know if it’s because it started so late but I was expecting her to still teach for an hour. This was slightly disappointing because I really liked her style of teaching. It wasn’t too “kumbayya-ey” (you know what I mean) and had a very fun feel to it. She didn’t take herself too seriously, the music was awesome, and it reminded me of some of my favorite yoga classes back in Baltimore. I will definitely be taking her classes at the local studios because I wasn’t bored the way I typically am in yoga.

After yoga ended, there were various healthy snacks and beverages to drink. The focus was on health without feeling preachy. It literally felt like you were going to the bar at night between the lighting, music, and drinks, but instead of alcohol, it was coconut water and cold brew coffee. At 7am the dance party begins. People were just starting to trickle into that room but once it fills in, it becomes a full on rave. I unfortunately couldn’t stay for this piece of the morning as I have to be at work pretty early, but it does look like a great time.

This was such a cool experience and I’m so glad I attended. While I do love yoga, I can get bored with it sometimes and throwing in good music and a more laid-back, rave atmosphere makes it feel a little less like a traditional yoga practice. I have nothing but good things to say about it, although I do wish they had started on time so we could have gotten the full hour of yoga and the pictures never went online for this one day. I would highly recommend Daybreaker to anyone. It’s a really cool experience and it’s in a ton of cities around the world! Check out the list to see if there’s one near you!

Have you ever been to a glow flow yoga class?

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Summer Weekends

YOU GUYS. Saturday I won’t be homeless anymore! That’s right. In 4 days I get to say goodbye air mattress. To be completely honest, I didn’t mind it at all. This summer has absolutely flown by. I sleep pretty well for the most part. I haven’t been sleeping as well lately, but that is more likely related to the amount of sugar I’ve been consuming lately before bed (oops, gotta work on that). It will be so nice to have a place to put my clothes again after using a fancy dining room table as my closet for the past 2 months.

apartment

Originally I was supposed to housesit for my cousins in Boston again but when I found out they didn’t need me around anymore, there was no second thought about where I’d be spending the weekend. Once I have my own apartment, I won’t be heading home quite as often, but I want to enjoy my summers at home. This is what I missed most for the past 2 summers so I don’t feel remotely bad about spending every weekend in Rhode Island. Most people I know leave the city on the weekends to go to summer houses on the Cape or in Maine anyways, so I’m not missing out on much as it is.

This weekend was so typical for my family. If you’ve been reading my blog for the past 2 months, you can probably guess what I did. We’re creatures of habit if nothing else.

Friday night I drove down after work and made it home just in time for a family dinner. Most of you know by now how important these are to me. We talk about everything from how work is going, to getting ready for school, to how my grad school search is going (that’s what I spent most of this week doing after work), to weekend plans. Sometimes we get into heated debates and sometimes it’s a quick, quiet dinner. Either way, it’s something I completely took for granted growing up. Now I cherish those nights.

dinner mom

Saturday morning my mom and I went for a walk as we usually do. We ran some errands and I went for a bike ride around the island before lunch. These views though. They never get old and I promise they’re 10000x better in person.

bike

Later in the afternoon, we went to my grandparents’ house to go to the beach club. This is where I’ll admit that I am not a beach person. I love being near the ocean but I don’t love the sand or salt water. I worked at a beach for 4 years so obviously I tolerate it, I just have a hard time sitting still for hours and the water is generally too cold for me. I’ll take a pool any day. We weren’t there for very long before it was time to head back to the house for dinner with my grandparents, aunt and uncle, and cousin.

beach

Sunday morning I went for another walk with my parents, did some laundry, and started packing. My mom is very excited to have her living room back even though we never actually use that room. By some miracle, I managed to fit almost all of it in my car with the exception of a few small things that I’ll bring next weekend. Since my parents helped me move out of my apartment in Baltimore, they told me I was on my own for moving into a new place in Boston.

packing

I spent some time in the pool and then headed back to Boston. I needed to buy groceries and I was exhausted despite sleeping in until after 7am (late for me), so I decided I’d rather get back before dinner so I could get to bed at a reasonable hour. I went for a walk to go to Trader Joe’s and stop by my new apartment to figure out my bed delivery (don’t even get me started) and then parked myself on the couch for the rest of the evening before passing out early.poolMonday started with an awesomely weird workout at November Project and then it was off to work for the day. I haven’t seen my aunt in almost a month even though I’m living in her condo, so when she told me she’d be in town for a board meeting at her condo, I was happy to see her. I owe her the world for letting me take over her space for the summer so I didn’t have to pay double rent. I’m excited to see her more once I move out, since she’ll be staying in Boston again more often.

november project

Who else is getting excited for fall?

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Workouts 8/15-8/21

It was another hot and humid week. I dialed back the mileage and number of workouts this week. I cut one short and pushed myself when I needed to. There’s no reason for me to be killing myself on every run or every workout. I’d like to PR in the Newport half this October, but I’m enjoying running with other people and doing other things and I’m not going to obsess over running a certain number of miles. That’s not fun and I’m all about fun exercise these days.

Mon– 4 miles November Project

This was a weird workout and didn’t feel as hard as normal. I definitely didn’t get in as much of a “workout.” I ran the 1.5 miles each way down by the Hatch Shell on the esplanade. From there, we did a quick warmup lap and then the workout was broken down by song. We did “Sally” which is a song where you go down into a squat whenever the song says “bring sally down.” We also did a song for jumping jacks, burpees, bicycles, planking during duck duck goose, skipping around, scissor kicks, and more. Each individual workout burned but I wasn’t dying because there was a lot of rest.

November Project

Tues– 9 miles Fenspeed

Fenspeed just got intense. A smaller group is meeting at 6am now instead of 6:30 to get in longer workouts more geared towards marathon training. I’m not marathon training, but the 6:30 group does workouts better for 5ks and shorter distances, so I figured it would be good to work on pacing. It’s just under a mile each way for me to the track, and then we did a 1 mile warmup together.

The workout itself was 4x (800, 400, 800) with 90 seconds rest between each and a 1 lap jog after every set. The 800s were at 10k pace (so around 7:00-7:10 pace) and the 400s were at 5k pace (6:45 pace). I ran with Jana who has similar PRs and it made the workout so much more manageable to run with someone else. We were relatively consistent and I finished the workout feeling pretty good about where I’m at. We joined the bigger group for an ab workout and then I jogged home.

Fen speed

Wed– 6 miles biking + 52 sections stadium + core @ November Project

It’s officially dark out at 5am so I’m glad I decided to start biking to the stadium instead of running. I only get about 8 more minutes of sleep, but when you’re waking up at the 4:xx hour, those 8 minutes are gold. I biked 3 miles each way to the stadium and back. It was so freaking humid. I was planning to do 80 sections like last week (50 with the 5:30 group, 30 with 6:30), but about 15 sections in at 5:30 I wasn’t feeling awesome. I was overheated, dehydrated, and just tired. I made it through the 50 sections in about 44 minutes, and almost puked as soon as it was over. I drank some water and decided I’d start with the 6:30 group to see how many more I could do. I did 2 sections before calling it quits.

My friend Jenna leads a core and hip mobility workout on the field at the stadium (also known as #injurydeck or #injuryprevention) so I decided to join them. We did some abs and a bunch of hip exercises which I need to do more often.

November Project

Thurs– OFF

Can we just talk about how AMAZING it felt to sleep until 7am? I❤ rest days.

Fri– 8 miles November Project hills for breakfast

This did not feel good. My legs felt *great* after taking Thursday off. The best they have in a long time. But I was out a lot last week at various events (mostly grad school info sessions) which meant I didn’t focus on eating and sleeping well. Dinners ended up being random snacks- or sugar- and I wasn’t in bed until well after my normal hour. So while my legs felt fresh and springy, the rest of me did not. Add in the humidity and I basically swam my way through the 8 miles. 5ish miles commuting to and from Summit Ave plus 3 miles of repeats on the most grueling hill known to man.

November project

Sat– Walk w/ my mom + 20 mile bike ride

It was so nice out I couldn’t not bike the island. Beavertail is my favorite place to take a quick water break because the views are incredible. I haven’t been using my road bike as much as I used to which is too bad because it wasn’t cheap, so I’m trying to at least go out for a ride once a week. 


Sun– Walk w/ my parents

Does the humidity affect your runs?

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