Okay, you know it’s bad when you have 2 “let’s catch up” posts in a month. But I’ll admit I had a serious vulnerability hangover after my last post, and needed a little time off. Here’s a recap of what I’ve been up to since then.

Yoga

Lots of teaching, very little practice. This is the only problem for me with teaching on top of a 9-5 job: when I’m teaching a lot, it’s hard to find time to practice myself! Last week I managed to get to two of my favorite classes, and I’m definitely shifting to more yoga over the next few weeks.

That being said, teaching at the Janji store and WIMB has been so much fun. We wrapped up our fall series at Janji, so for a few weeks I’ll just be teaching Monday nights at WIMB. The decrease in teaching is actually great timing because of updates in the next section…

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Post-class photos are not always the most coordinated

Werk

I recently transitioned into a new position, and with that obviously comes a ton of new information on top of wrapping up my previous writing projects. Read: I’m super busy and a bit overwhelmed, but you know what helps in times like these?

  • Lists.
  • Coffee.
  • Chocolate-covered espresso beans.
  • Walk breaks.
  • Adding things to your list that you’ve already done so you can cross them off.
  • Yoga.

Phew, I feel better already…

Run

My running has also toned down with my recent added workload, but it’s been nice to enjoy some more relaxed runs, mostly surrounding November Project workouts. I do want to get a race on the calendar because I miss the structure of training, but I’m trying to give myself a solid break and plenty of room to adjust to my new schedule. I can’t pass up the chance, however, to recap an incredible recent NP workout.

WOahMAN

This was one of my favorite November Project days ever. It was super hard, super weird, and there was so much excitement in the air to take on this brand new challenge.

The premise of WOahMAN was to create an NP triathlon of sorts, highlighting each of the workouts we do in Boston every week: run to a location & do burpees (part of a typical Monday workout) + complete a full tour (Wednesday workout) + run hills at Summit Ave (Friday workout). The breakdown went something like this:

START at Summit Ave at 4:30am
>>RUN to Harvard Stadium (2.1 miles)
>>RUN STAIRS at the stadium (full tour, 37 sections)
>>RUN back to Summit Ave. (2.1 miles)
>>25 burpees >>RUN 1 full hill>>25 burpees>>1 full hill
FINISH

 

Yes, you read that correctly.We gathered in the dark at the top of Summit Ave at the ungodly hour of 4:30am. I honestly thought there might only be 15-20 people crazy enough to take this on, but I should have known better. In true NP fashion, the masses came out to be a part of this race. The weirder and crazier the workout, the more NPers are drawn in.

As soon as we got to the hill, I had goosebumps. These are the events that make NP so special: They’re creative, they’re challenging, and they make you grateful for the chance to adventure around your city. I suddenly felt like I was back at Ragnar. The quiet darkness, the headlamps, the hushed voices, and growing huddled crowd. Everyone looked like they were about to take on a trail ultra, myself included.

After a fast and hushed bounce, we took a group photo because “Who knows what will happen after this moment” and then took off into the dark.

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Photo cred: Rosa Evora

Carolyn and I had agreed to run WOahMAN together, which was so much fun. I can’t imagine spending that much time running in the dark, humid morning alone. We stayed together the entire time, and it really flew by with someone to talk to/commiserate with.

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Such a good WOahMAN accounabilibuddy! (<< so many made-up NP words). Photo cred: Daniel Rothenberg

As we made our way to the stadium, I couldn’t stop smiling. This was all so very weird. It was so early that there was zero traffic, so we mostly ran in the middle of the streets.

The humid, foggy morning made the ambient light incredible, especially when we got to the stadium. While this full tour felt super hard, it was also amazing to me how great I felt mentally when I knew there was so much more to come after I hit section 1. I didn’t really pay attention to the sections or look at my watch, so it honestly flew by. The air was super hot and heavy and I definitely didn’t feel my fastest, but it was even quieter and darker than the Wednesday 5:30 group, and pretty incredible to hear the whoops and “Let’s go 4:30!”, not to mention Chris singing WOahMAN to the tune of YMCA (per my request).

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The headlamps and lights had an incredible collective effect. Photo (and cover photo) cred: Daniel Rothenberg

Once Carolyn and I finished 37 sections, we ran back to the hills. This was honestly the toughest part of the morning for me because of the many uphill stretches, which I knew didn’t even hold a candle to what we were about to take on at Summit.

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Normal pre-dawn behavior. Photo cred: Daniel Rothenberg

As soon as we got back to the top of Summit Ave, I took one look at the muddy ground and whined, “I don’t want to be dirty!” which was code for “I don’t want to do burpees!”

Luckily Carolyn was calm, cool, and collected and suggested we tackle some hills first. I knew we were delaying the inevitable, but I just didn’t want to mess with my momentum. The hills didn’t feel nearly as rough as I thought they would, but my legs were definitely heavy and I just felt myself moving slowly. I knew at this point that I could finish, so I tried not to think about time and just kept working.

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Foggy is a great way to describe the morning. Photo cred: Daniel Rothenberg.

After making my way through some painful, slow burpees, we headed back down the hill and I was getting ready to wrap this thing up when…my sister suddenly appeared! She doesn’t come to NP very often, so I was bummed that I couldn’t really stop and talk with her. So close to finishing and close to complete exhaustion, I think I managed to get out, “Can’t talk. Didn’t know you were coming. Running a race. It’s crazy. Sorry can’t talk.”

Luckily she recognized my intensity-level-100 face and wished me good luck. She was also apparently mistaken for me several times that morning. In her words: “I got a lot of hugs from people I didn’t know. And not like normal NP hugs. Like they knew me, and then realized they didn’t know me.” Guess we shouldn’t wear the same hat!

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1/2 Flaherty sisters are smiling in this photo. Photo cred: NP Boston

After another set of burpees, we took on our last hill. Carolyn was looking strong and I was falling back, but she just kept encouraging me and telling me we were almost done. In my semi-delirious state, I imagined myself as her puppy who couldn’t quite keep up, and instead of yanking on the leash she was just patiently calling me along (future blog post: weird thoughts during races). She never even seemed to consider leaving me, despite me telling her to go for it a few times. Couldn’t have asked for a better friend to do this with!

After a final push, we finished up the last hill. WOahMAN complete. It was a total beast, but I was really surprised by how well my body responded. I played it pretty cautious considering how slippery and dark it was for most of the run (not to mention my exhaustion at taking this on with only a few hours of sleep), but now that I know I’m capable of this workout, I’m pumped to try it a bit faster.

All smiles. Some dirt.
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Even attempts at not smiling have a hint of smile.
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Whoa, man! These two are the best.

All day, as I drank my continuous stream of coffee, I couldn’t help thinking, “What just happened?” It didn’t make any sense that nearly 100 people wanted to wake up before 4am, a time that typically means you’re heading to the airport. But I guess a lot of what NP takes on doesn’t really make sense and yet here they were – working their tails off and trying something new. The novelty and challenge of WOahMAN also brought out a lot of hardcore athletes that I hadn’t seen in a workout in forever. It was a kickass challenge (in that it kicked my ass), super fun, and I can’t wait to give it another go.

PS – After WOahMAN, I didn’t do anything physical for literally 7 days.

I had a great time, I swear.

Well that about sums up the past couple of weeks. I’ll be back in touch later this week about a new recurring post I’m hoping to launch. Details coming soon! 🙂

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