How I’m A Product of My Environment

Hi, friends! How was your Wednesday? I don’t know about you but I am counting down the hours until the long weekend, and I took Friday off so I only have one more day to go. I’m normally traveling on my days off, but I have absolutely nothing planned this Friday aside from November Project and I couldn’t be more content. A day to do whatever I want in this beautiful city? Yes, please.

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But backing up to this week’s runs, or lack of runs relatively speaking. In case you haven’t heard me mention it every. single. day. (thank you) the last few months, I’m running a marathon next weekend so I’m in full taper mode now. I’m also being extra conservative since I have some hamstring tightness flaring up that I’d love to be gone by race day. Yesterday was one of the last few tough days with an eight mile tempo run on the plan. I ran two miles to the track where our little group meets every week, and I joined them for three tempo miles at 7:30, 7:19, and 7:09, followed by a three mile cool down. While the first mile was a little slower than I’d like, I’m happy with the negative splits and even more so that my hamstring didn’t flare up when I pushed the pace.

Even though I haven’t been running the same track intervals that my friends do since I started training, I still love showing up Tuesdays because they keep me honest. Plus, I firmly believe that running anywhere near, with, or around fast friends make you faster. I’ve been thinking a lot about the saying that you’re a product of your environment, and this couldn’t be more true in my own experience. I’ve always said that I have never done any drugs or smoked largely because I wasn’t around it growing up, and by the time I was I had lost any curiosity or weight of peer pressure. I have no idea what choices I would have made as an insecure, impressionable teenager if that culture was a larger part of my environment or if my friends lived that lifestyle. I’m confident in my ability to form my own opinions now, but back then I can’t honestly say that I would have been secure enough to make the smart or healthy choice I’d make today.

When I showed up to November Project in January 2013, I was already living a healthy lifestyle, but as I’ve mentioned before, I didn’t consider myself an athlete. I had run four marathons, but I was limited in my endurance and went to the gym as more of check-the-box chore. I was also much more introverted and still had a lot of body insecurities as I was trying to regain the weight I lost while my mom was sick. I showed up to this “workout group” and left knowing that it was something special and that it would get me in even better shape, but I had no idea about the people I would consider family some day.

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One of the best things about this group is that it brings together people of so many different backgrounds who would never cross paths otherwise. I have friends who completed full Ironmans just a year after they started racing, friends who run 30 miles of Summit Avenue to raise money for a children’s hospital, friends who bike at 4:00 a.m. alongside others who are marathon training so they won’t have to run in the dark alone, and the list goes on. I’ve said it before that I without a doubt would not be training to qualify for Boston without these people, largely because they are my best training buddies but also because they inspire me to push myself further than I ever thought possible. Look at my friend Micah, a mom, friend, and badass 3:18 marathoner who just graced the cover of Runners World.

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Not only is Micah an incredible athlete, but she’s also a humble, kind, and gracious person. Then we have my friend Rakel, who moved back home to Iceland this summer and started a free fitness community inspired by November Project.

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I’ll stop bragging for now, but my point is that I am the person I am today because I am a product of my environment. My inspirational, strong, and supportive environment who sets calendar alerts so they don’t forget my race,

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who flies across country to Ventura so his little girl will have someone to hug regardless of finishing times,

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and who lift me up every single day.

Credit to November Project

Credit to November Project

Thank you for making me me.

Do you think you’re a product of your environment?

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