You may have heard me mention November Project™ before — it’s a FREE fitness movement that was born in Boston as a way to stay in shape during cold New England months. Now present in multiple cities in across four time zones in North America, the 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.
That’s the official definition. The unofficial one — my definition — is that November Project is simply “my people.” And if you consistently show up, smile and sweat with ’em, they’ll quickly become your people, too.
After living in the Bay Area for almost a decade, it wasn’t until I found this group that I truly felt at home. They’ll greet you with open arms (literally, get ready for an all-out, hips-in hugfest at the beginning of each workout), you’ll cheer each other on ’til your throats are hoarse, go on some crazy adventures, challenge one another to better your best, and top it all off with a victory tunnel at the end of each workout. If that’s not a good excuse to get out of bed ass-early and get moving, I don’t know what is.
And the ringleader of San Francisco’s “gang of yahoos?” Well, that’s Laura McCloskey. She’s a former Northeastern University track standout with a Boston Marathon “problem” — that is, she keeps qualifying year after year. I sat down with McCloskey to talk about what makes her tick when it comes to motivating herself — and up to 200 others — to #JustShowUp week after week.
1. What’s your favorite route? Nothing makes me happier than trails in the early fall. No route, but just enough of a grasp on the trails so I don’t get completely lost, forcing me to spend the night eating wood chips and fighting off mountain lions. Okay, that’s a bit dramatic, but trails are the perfect cure for a cluttered mind.
2. What shoes do you wear? Asics Gel Nimbus. Discovered them when I was 15 years old and never looked back.
3. What other run gear can’t you live without? Do bags of ice count as running gear?
4. What’s your best time-saver or “runhack?” Early run? Sleep in your running clothes. The first few miles fly by because you are still in your REM cycle. Also, putting your alarm clock in your running shoes on the other side of the room has gotten me out of bed on those freezing, dark mornings.
5. What running-related thing are you better at than anyone else? Blacking out. Maybe that came out wrong. But I tend to run long runs alone because I can mentally check out and check back in 15 miles later, impressed with how far I have come! If only my work day was like that…
6. What do you listen to while running? All depends on the goal of the run. Sometimes your body needs those chill, relaxed runs, and I will slow the music down to keep the tempo contained. When I am trying to get after it, the beat is fast, the genre is pop, and the air drums I play with my hands are on point.
7. What are you currently training for? I am planning on toeing the line for the Boston Marathon again this spring (if all training goes well). But in general, I am training to just keep up with the fast people I call my friends.
8. What are your recovery & sleep routines like? All nutrition nuts look away; I binge on ice cream and cinnamon buns post marathons. In the general sense of recovery from long runs or a long week of high intensity workouts, I use yoga as my active recovery. I truly believe in the power of taking time away from running, for both the body and the mind. Even if it is only a couple of days, you need to hit the reset button sometimes. Also, never underestimate the power of a bottle of wine. I hear it cures cancer.
When it comes to sleeping, I am a log. And if I get less than 8-9 hours a night, I consider calling in sick to work the next day. Just kidding. But no, really.
9. What’s the best running advice you’ve ever received? I used to race competitively and my coach always kept us in check. You are running a race, you are not fighting a war. Stay competitive and fight for every second, but don’t ever take the sport so seriously that you stop having fun. Because if you’re not smiling at the end of the race, what is the point?
10. What’s your favorite running-related memory? When I was 14, I won the NYS cross country championship in the pouring rain and knee-high mud. I only won by the hair on my chin, not even a full second. My Dad was right at the finish line with tears in his eyes. I was too young to really appreciate that day, but now when I look back on it I can’t help but get a rush of adrenaline. It’s a funny thing, pulling inspiration from a former version of yourself. But that 14 year-old girl was one bad ass chick. I hope I am making her proud today.
11. Fill in the blank: I’d love to go on a run with: Ellen Degeneres. Followed immediately after with a push-up contest against Michelle Obama.
12. Anything else you want to add? At the end of the day, running is the only thing that keeps my mind steady and my life sane. It has been the most consistent component of my life and connected me to the best people I know.
Thanks for playing, Laura! I couldn’t agree more.
Wanna watch Laura in action? Click here to see an amazing video she created during her recent “funemployment”/”runcation” in Europe!
Runner friends, please email me — info (at) kineticfix.com — if you’d like to be featured.