I’m not one to have a workout buddy. I train solo, and I like it that way. In fact, it’s a running joke around my office that I really don’t tolerate people talking to me during my workouts… it gets a little dangerous.
WHY must you talk to me when I’m in the middle of a back squat?
I’m not sure why I am that way, but I always have been when it comes to gym time. I hate to socialize while I’m lifting; I get in the zone and I stay there. So then why, when a friend of mine asked me to join her for a large group stadium run did I say yes? I have no idea. But I’m glad I did.
Last Wednesday, I joined a group called the November Project. It’s an exercise tribe, as they call themselves, that meet up for 3 workouts per week. Monday is a “destination deck of cards” workout, Wednesday is a stadium run at Harvard, and Friday is
death hill sprints in Brookline. To quote from their website, from the two dudes who started this shindig:
During our involvement at highly competitive Division I collegiate rowing program we realized that no mater how tired, cold, sad or hungry we were, somehow we always showed up for practice. The reason? We didn’t want to let down the other seven guys in the boat. Using that model we started scheduling workouts that we knew we had to show up for because we didn’t want to leave the other guy hanging.
It’s brilliant, really. A tribe, a cult,
a group of crazy fitness freaks, whatever you want to call this thing, it’s brilliant.
I had actually heard of the November project about a month ago through a link on Twitter or something just as arbitrary. I read about the Wednesday Stadium day, and although I do run stadiums on a regular basis, (and love/hate every second of it), I was scared to joint this group. Why? 2 reasons:
1. The early start time. These people meet at 6:30 am, which, granted, is only about a half hour before I normally get up, but that 30 minutes snuggled in my bed is valuable. Getting my butt to Harvard for a 6:!5 warmup means I would have to be out of my house at 6:10 (I ride my bike)…. Meaning I would have to wake up, oh, WAY EARLIER THAN I LIKE TO.
2. These people seem to be a little cray cray. Seriously. If you look through the website/blog, you’ll see postings of times from the weekly stadium runs. The most badass of the November Project folk run a full stadium in the time it takes me to do half, and I’m not going to lie, that was intimidating.
So what happened? Why did I change my mind?
I grew a pair (not literally…thank God. That would be awkward), and realized that the only thing that was really holding me back was my own fear. And if I can go in the weight room and sling around iron heavier than my body weight, I sure as hell am badass enough to train with these people right? So when my friend Meg suggested that we go, after a couple days of wishy-washy, back and forth, “ok maybe I’ll go once” thoughts, I thought to myself:
“Let’s do this!”
(Never mind that Meg bailed on the day we actually went.)
Sorry dude, called you out.
But two of my other friends were there with me on that cold Wednesday morning. We met, hugged it out (as is apparently customary at the November Project workouts), and proceeded to get our butts kicked for the “newbie” workout of the day.
The verdict? It was incredible. There were so many other people there; people of all ages, body types and fitness levels. I heard grumblings of being “so hungover” (really? On a Wednesday morning?), I heard a few other mumblings of “dude this sucks”… But besides the few negatives, I heard a whole lot of cheers, whoops, hollers, and words of encouragement. I saw high fives, hugs, and tons of smiles. And you know what? When I finished, I had a smile on my face too. The energy and positive atmosphere was kind of intoxicating, and made it a completely different experience than I’ve ever had running the stadium by myself.
Sure, my lungs were screaming from the early-morning cold fall air, and my legs were shaking like crazy, but I finished with my friends, and also alongside about 100 other people that were there that morning.
Like I said, I’m not someone to have a workout buddy. I don’t generally do group fitness classes, and I don’t belong to a running group, or anything of that sort. I never really understood why people talked about the group atmosphere of Cross Fit. But now? I get it! Pushing through an insanely hard workout was way more fun with all of those people working towards the same thing. Even if it was just a silent head-nod in passing on the way down the stairs, there was a common understanding that we were all in it together. We were all having our asses handed to us by Harvard Stadium, and we liked it.
Needless to say: I will be back. I’ll be back this coming Wednesday, as a matter of fact. So who’s with me? Any Boston area peeps that want to join in? I can’t say I’ll be joining these dudes for the Monday and Friday workouts, because my time in the weight room is precious to me. Maybe every once in a while when I need to switch things up, but for now I think I’ll stick with the stadium days.
Do you usually work out with friends or solo? Do you enjoy a group atmosphere? Is there anything in your town similar to the November Project, or if you live in Boston, have you thought about joining up?