Finding My Tribe Stop #1: November Project Amsterdam

November Project.
NP.
#FreeFitness
#JustShowUp

If you live in the US or a major city in Europe, you’ve heard of the November Project movement. For me, I lived in the city where it was created… Boston!

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Now when I was in Boston I never attended a single NP workout despite knowing countless members. My inner self-confidence … sorry lack thereof… and my anxiety held me back from Just Showing Up. The people I knew were in ridiculous fitness and I knew I would look like the whale at the back of the class. I was told countless times people of all fitness levels and sizes would be there, but my inner demons kept me away.

Every Wednesday there would be hundreds of people tackling the Harvard Stadium stairs. Where would you find me? Tucked into bed. I would go to the Harvard Stairs on Tuesday where I could try the same workout in the comfort of an empty stadium with no one else around. For me I thought it would be without their judging eyes. But what I now realize I was just doing it without any sort of support or hugs or high-fives.

I would see the NP gear all over Boston and resent it. For no reason but my own insecurities. I wanted to Just Show Up, but the anxiety and self-doubt worked against me. I couldn’t overcome it no matter how many times friends reassured me.

So there was just 1 time in my Boston life when I attended NP. What finally pushed me there? Well Runner’s World. I was one of the bloggers invited to a running weekend for the inaugural Heartbreak Hill race weekend in 2014. On the Friday morning we were brought to an NP hill workout and I froze. My mind wanted to see how I could get out of it. But I knew there was no way. I had to Just Show Up and you know what… I not only survived the workout, but had an amazing time.

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You can read more thoughts here. Needless to say that 1 amazing time still didn’t help me overcome the drudge of trying to go alone.

Fast forward to moving to Amsterdam in January 2018. I arrived here and was at a complete loss of how to meet people. I needed to find my Tribe and I had no idea where or how.

So what did I do? I went to the internet of course!! I tweeted out asking for ideas of where to meet people. Of course Jonathan suggested NP Amsterdam. He has been the #1 pusher of getting me to finally give NP the chance it needed.

After chatting back and forth with the NP Twitter, I finally Just Showed Up… in September! Yes it took me 8 freakin’ months to finally calm the anxiety down and just fuckin’ do it.

I joined the Tribe on their 2 year anniversary to eat some stairs for breakfast. And once again I survived. I even had a great conversation with another ExPats and met a few people who had also relocated from Boston.

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Now I enjoyed the workout, but I really loved the high-fives and hugs!! It was just what my soul needed. A judgement free zone where everyone celebrated everyone else and no one cared how many sets of stairs or burpees I had done.

Here’s a sample workout:

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I knew after that morning that I wanted to attend as often as I could. Now I swear the travel gods for work were against me and most of my work trips spanned Tues-Thurs cutting out my ability to create a Wednesday morning routine.

But it’s nice to know the group is always there when I am home and I have a place to go push myself and forget the stress of adjusting to #ExPatLife.

Now as you can imagine there are a lot of Ex Pats in the group and folks that are also struggling with things like depression and anxiety. I was moved reading HulaHoopRunner’s post on the NP blog in August, which you can do the math was before I finally showed up It was as if she was sharing many parts of my story through hers. Not only is Heather an inspiration for battling the inner demons I am too familiar with, she is a sub 3:00 marathoner and a freakin kickass mom!

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It is a true honor to be at the same workout as her. See here while I try to steal some of her awesomeness by sitting next to her in the group pic. ;) Maybe this week I will have the guts to say Hi. Haha. Yes I am a loser!!

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It was also nice to see some familiar faces on the course of the Amsterdam Half!

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For now I will continue to Just Show Up and hope to build the Tribe I need here in Amsterdam. And if you find yourself in Amsterdam on a Wednesday morning at 6:28 CET… come on out and #JustShowUp! I’ll be ready with a hug and a high-five!

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