Happy Friday, Everyone!
Accountability was a huge theme in my last blog post on Monday–I probably used the word “accountability” a hand full of times throughout the post. I did that because I really wanted to hammer in the importance, benefit, and power of accountability when tackling new (and possibly daunting!) fitness goals and challenges.
The reason why I believe in accountability so much is because anything I’ve accomplished, health, wellness, and fitness-wise, in the last two years is because of the accountability tactic. Accountability is something I learned the second I just showed up to my very first November Project (NP) workout on Wednesday May 7, 2014 at the notorious Harvard Stadium and it’s stuck with me ever since.
The NP movement uses “a simple sense of accountability (verbal) to motivate and encourage people of all ages, shapes, sizes and fitness levels to get out of their beds and get moving.” It’s simple, yet SO powerful. When you say something out loud–it becomes real. When you say you’re going to show up at 6:30am to workout, you better be there. At NP, no matter how large the group grows, someone will notice when you’re not there…and they’ll miss you. When you say that you’re going to set the bar high for your next fitness goal–whatever it may be–someone will believe in you and even join you in making strides towards that goal.
I, and any fitness goal I have accomplished, am a product of accountability.
- I once told CC Yudin (pictured below) that I would finally show to NP, after many months of just considering it IF she would start doing some yoga classes–I remember this conversation vividly. On May 7, 2014 I finally showed up and never looked back. I am so grateful for that conversation and for the friendship with CC that has blossomed from it.
- Once I showed up, I met some of the most inspiring and kind people you could ever imagine. A couple months into showing up every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday I started to get better, faster, stronger…I grew more confident in my fitness capabilities. I also felt inspired by everyone around me sharing their big fitness goals: ultra marathons, marathons, half marathons, 10k’s, 5k’s, PRs, etc. That July, I remember chatting with Daniel Rothenberg (pictured below) about his experiences training for marathons. I remember asking him, “I know anything is technically possible, BUT if I’ve never ran more than 5-ish miles…do you think I’d be able to do a half marathon by early November?” To which he replied, “Oh yeah for sure. Very easily, especially if you’re doing NP.” I don’t know why I felt so comfortable in asking this question to someone who I really didn’t know well at the moment, but NP will do that to you.
- Following that conversation, I can remember being a little nervous about that bold, aspirational question I just asked. I’m pretty sure I told Daniel to not tell anyone (just in case I chickened out)…and then I’m pretty sure he turned right around and mentioned it in passing to Christine Power (pictured second-from-left below) who, in-turn, let me know that a bunch of NP people were planning on running the United Healthcare Newport, RI full and half marathon on October 12, 2014 and that I should join…that it would be great. And so I did, without much hesitation.
- But before that picture above was taken, it was August 2014 and I still hadn’t even run a full 10k (6.2 miles) yet. I felt like I would follow along with the Hal Higdon Half Marathon-Novice 1 Training Program and see if I could stay on track with training to finally fully commit to this big goal of a half marathon. Luckily with the help of an every-other-Sunday run group, called the Boston Brunch Runners (BBR), I randomly decided to turn my usual 3 mile loop into the full 6.2 miles that day. I might have died a little along the way (the heat was something else that morning!), but afterwards I ran into my friends’ arms, told them what I just had accomplished, and felt like nothing in the world could stop me. I will never forget this day or the people who helped me along the way to running my first unofficial 10k.
- That same day at BBR, I met Becca Smith, who ended up becoming my sole mate running partner for life. Becca and I have trained for all of our major races together and you’ll often find us working out at NP together. She and I even ran our last half marathon together, side-by-side for the entire 13.1 miles, in November 2015 in Portsmouth, NH. She’s the one person who I roll out of bed for at ungodly hours of the morning when it’s cold, or hot, or rainy, or snowy, or even when I just don’t feel like it because I know she’s waiting on the corner for me to start a run and a great, long conversation. Or, as she likes to say:
- And finally, on Sunday October 12, 2014 I completed my first half marathon with a time of 2:10. I felt strong during my finish and was even energized beyond belief because Elin Flashman (pictured below), who was one of the first people I sought out at NP, promised that he would be there to see my run my first half marathon after I told him about my big goal…that he wouldn’t miss it for the world. Elin has been a constant motivator and positive light in my life since the day I met him. That morning, he drove down to Newport, RI and cheered me on during the final home stretch. Who else, in the entire world, would do something like that for you–just show up to cheer you on??
Since October 2014 I have completed 3 half marathons and numerous other road races at varying degrees. More importantly, I have continued to just show up and to be held accountable for my words, actions, and goals and that has made all of the difference.
I promise to pay full homage to November Project and how, through the amazing community I connected with two years ago, my life changed so much for the better. But, that’s a bigger story for next week– it’s one that deserves its own blog post, but I wanted to at least start you off with a little introduction as to why this accountability thing is such a big deal. For those five NP-ers that I mentioned above: CC, Daniel, Christine, Becca, and Elin, thank you. You may have had no idea how much you influenced my life in the summer and fall of 2014, but I definitely would not be where I am today without you.
Two things I wanted to share with you quickly before we head into the weekend…
First of all, what are you doing tomorrow, Saturday, April 9th from 1-4pm? If you’re in Boston-or even nearby-then I highly recommend you stop into The Lansdowne Pub near Fenway and join together with some of the best members of the Boston running community to support Dani Adler aka “RunFitDoc,” fellow November Project-er and DPT, in her fundraising goals as she gears up to run her second Boston Marathon on behalf of the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. For more event details (including raffle and silent auction items), check out her Pre-Marathon Fundraising Party Facebook event.
Now, I’m sure many of you know someone (or at the very least knows someone who knows someone) who is running the storied Boston Marathon on Monday, April 18th this year, but I think it’s important, amidst the excitement of Marathon Monday traditions and the racing community from all over the world coming together to celebrate the day, to stop and reflect on why anyone runs marathons, let alone the Boston Marathon. For all of you who run (or knows someone who does), please never lose site of the instrumental people and loving reasons behind these bold and motivational running goals–everyone has a unique story that’s worth hearing. If you have a few minutes, read Dani’s story on why she runs and, if you are able, please consider donating. It is the hope of Dani, and many others, that running the Boston Marathon and raising money to contribute towards innovative cancer research means that, one day, cancer won’t be the reason that far too many loved ones are gone too soon.
On a more personal note, I wanted to follow up on something I briefly mentioned in my Monday post: my entry was confirmed for the 2016 B.A.A. 10k race! This means that on Sunday, June 26th I will be racing my way through some of my favorites streets in Boston with 10,000 other participants; however, it also means that I am well on my way towards tackling some of the goals I have outlined on the Meg in the Meantime homepage…and that just feels damn good!
In the meantime, tell me about you. Have you started making strides towards any of your health and wellness goals? Even just making the time, at some point this weekend, to sit down and write a few out is a great start! After that, I challenge you to share at least one or two of those goals–perhaps the one(s) that scare you most?–with a friend; let them hold you accountable and be there as a support system along the way. From someone who is taking on the 30 Day Abs Challenge with a friend by my side…trust me; when you’re well on your way to accomplishing something you thought you never could or would, you’ll be so glad you did.
Looking forward to chatting more on Sunday,