The NP Tribe Changes You

Waking up at 5am has never been easy.  The sheer thought sends people into a tailspin.  But once you realize what is waiting for you come 6:29am on a Wednesday morning, everything changes.

I did not sleep the night before my first November Project workout. Could it be from nerves, excitement, or the dread of an early wake up call, I still do not know.  I do know that come 5am on that strangely rainy day in the middle of July I forced myself out of bed, tossed on some workout gear, brushed my teeth, made a cup of coffee, and headed out the door.  I showed up not knowing a single person, just an encouragement from some runner I follow on Instagram to “Just Show Up” and I do not regret it one bit.

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The people I have met are eager to give a hug, say good morning, and get a good bounce going before our fearless leaders when it’s too cold to stand still.  These people have become my tribe. They are the ones who see me struggling to complete the 10th burpee or run up the hill again with an achy hip, cheering me on the entire time. They are the ones that push me to be better, get stronger, and encourage everyone I pass, regardless of what day of the week it is.  As I have gotten to know more people at each workout, I realize the true sense of community each one of us feels. It’s not very often you meet a group of fellow enthusiastic morning people who love to work out in the dark, so you hold them close.

To my NP tribe, you are amazing and I am forever grateful to be in your tribe.  You’ve helped me realize that I can do more than I ever thought, simply from telling me “keep going,” “good job,” or giving me a high five.  The community, the energy, the workout, and the surprises are what keep me coming back week after week.  I am like a kid on Christmas Eve with the anticipation of Santa come Tuesday nights. It is hard to go to sleep because I know that I get to see the tribe in the morning, while getting my butt kicked.  Thank you NP Seattle for making Wednesday my favorite day of the week.

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To those who are curious to what November Project is or are interested in joining, JUST SHOW UP. Stop thinking about it. Stop questioning what takes place or if you can keep up.  Put yourself out there. Give your best effort and find your tribe. You will not regret it and it will change your life in meaningful ways.  I know it has changed mine.

Here’s to a damp,
cold winter filled with amazing Wednesdays (and Fridays). #Justshowup

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The Identity Crisis

Near the end of September, in the middle of the tapper for my first half marathon, I encountered an identity crisis. After feeling, seeing, doing, and accomplishing so many amazing things in the span of four months, I was hit by a brick wall of awakening.  I call this awakening, because it felt like I had been woken up from a great dream to a bleak reality.  The kind of thing that makes you stop dead in your tracks because the thought of who you are is lost.

Six weeks later and I am still trudging through this identity crisis.  Clearly this is not a quick thing to get over or go through.  Though it has been a process, I have begun to realize a few things and process what this feeling really is.  One thing I realize is that I have people identifying me as a runner/athlete/fitness person.  If you should know anything about me, it is that before April of this year, I was NONE of these things. Yes, I would go run a bit here and there because I enjoyed it or I would do a random sporting activity with a group of friends, but I was no where near an athlete, runner, or fitness junkie.  Maybe I was a runner, but I was the type of runner who would only run when everything “felt right”.  In middle and high school I was the kid who was trying to get out of doing things in gym or doing the bare minimum in the sports I played.  I had no desire to do anything fitness related in college.  I participated in my first 5k because it was an event I put on for work my senior year of college.  I was nothing near an athlete or fitness inspired person.

After college and into grad school I would occasionally go walk/jog around my neighborhood to process the many different things happening in my life.  Nothing was set to a schedule or consistent, just simply as something to do to clear my head when my life was crazy.  In November of 2014 I had a realization that I needed to make a change in my life. Being 275 pounds and living a life I did not enjoy was weighing down on me and I needed to put an end to it. I signed up for a 2 month wellness challenge group with someone I followed on Instagram and started a health journey on December 9, 2014.  I only began thinking about trying to run at the end of the first month when I participated in a group challenge to do a 5k over a weekend. And after that weekend I only kept trying to run to gain worth from someone else.  And somehow two years, an injury, and many races later, I am a runner who runs for pure joy of running.  People I know look at me and say “you are a runner,” or “you are so dedicated to fitness,” or “you are an inspiration to me,” and it blows my mind. How did I become an inspiration to someone just by doing something as simple as running? Do these people not realize that I am not that inspiring? Do they realize that I am not fast or that some days I just don’t want to run?

Another realization in my identity crisis is that my physical body has gone through a drastic change over the last two years.  I have lost over 50 pounds, I no longer recognize myself in pictures, and I am constantly shocked by what I see in a mirror. When I started my health journey, I read a few blogs from people who had lost a significant amount of weight. Each one of them talked about what it was like to not recognize themselves in the mirror or believe the size they actually were.  Of course, I read these blogs thinking it would never happen to me… and yet here we are!  Maybe I should stop saying never, because it seems to have the opposite effect on me.

I realized today that a small part of me will not accept the current physical state of my body because it is waiting for it to revert back to how it was. Every time I step on a scale I think I will look down to see it read a higher number than it actually says.  My mind just can’t fathom the reality of what size I actually am.  The crazy thing about all this is, in order for me to revert back to the size I was two years ago, I would have to undo hundreds of habits and choices that I have made.  So in all reality, I need to realize that who I am currently is not going to change.

Another part of me is upset with how this process makes others view me.  I am constantly given comments by people about how “skinny” I look or have comments made about my weight loss.  Don’t get me wrong, weight loss is great and all, but I do not want to be told I look skinny, or good, or any other comment people feel they can make about my body.  I am not doing this to look a certain way or to gain these ridiculous comments from people. I started this journey to gain my health back, weight loss is just a side effect.  I want people to tell me that I look strong, that I look healthy, or that I look happy and joyful.  I want our society to realize that being beautiful is not being a certain size or weight.  Being beautiful is about who you are as a person. I was beautiful two years ago and I am beautiful today, I just don’t physically look the same.

In all honesty, I think that this identity crisis is something that will be around for a while, in some way, and at times it will be minimal and at other times it will be to big to handle. I am forever grateful to the tribe that stands behind me and consistently reminds me that I am still the same person I have always been. They are the ones that let me ramble on about various things and always encourage me to push through. They remind me that as a person I have not changed and still have my foundation of identity.  I just have added a few extras that are a bit harder to accept, but with time they will be added to my ever growing identity.

Until next time friends!