My marathon is in 5 days, meaning I’m not running much and I’ve had a lot of free time to pause, think, and process. So here’s what’s on my mind today after this morning’s stadium and all this extra time in my own head. I’m not sure when November Project started to become more about the workouts for me, but over the last few months I typically put my head down and ran hard at the hills and stadium. Mondays are always more fun and social, but the Wednesday and Friday workouts are easily ones that you can push yourself on your own. There’s nothing wrong with this, but it was definitely a shift from a time when NP was just as much about the social aspect as the physical.
Don’t get me wrong, I still love everyone there and many of my closest friends are from NP. It’s my family in Boston and such a part of my weekly routine that I really can’t imagine my life without it. That said, I’ve gotten in my comfort zone seeking out my closest friends during the quick social time before workouts. Then I used the actual workout time to push myself and zone out a little. I also have a tight turnaround time now with my current job so I can’t linger at all and often have to leave before the group photo. It’s amazing how the extra 15 minutes of time used for chatting, meeting new people, and riding that endorphin high really shapes the whole morning.
But today was a different story. I didn’t run the stairs thanks to the taper so I didn’t need to shower and had a glorious extra half hour to spare after the workout. I simply showed up and enjoyed every minute of it. I took a ton of pictures, caught up with friends I hadn’t seen in awhile, met new people, cheered on the newbies, and at one point I sat alone with my back against one of the seats, closed my eyes and just listened to everything. I snuggled with some pups, watched a mom lift her daughter up the stairs, and saw another dad run with his kid strapped in a backpack. It hit me again how incredible and diverse this community really is. When I wasn’t running head down just trying to stay upright, I noticed the positivity even more. The relentless encouragement and smiles ear to ear.
So many people stopped to wish me luck on Sunday, many people that I didn’t think even knew I was running. I looked around at a handful of my closest friends there – people who are taking the time to drive 4 hours each way simply to support me as I chase a goal that so many others in our community also have. All this is to say that it’s incredible what you notice when you pause and look around you. And I’m really, really thankful for these people.
That’s enough sap for one night. Have a good one, friends!