The November Project starts running up and down the steps of Harvard Stadium Wednesday mornings at 6:30am on the dot. For the beginners, there is a brief intro to what you’re about to take part in: the creators of the group say that this is to spite all gyms who charge insane prices.
This is to prove that you can get in shape and be a part of something more personal than any gym experience for free.
The November Project avoids press, saying that to report it isn’t to know it, you have to do it before you can share what it’s really about, and I am proud to be able to say I can do both.
And then you go. Up and down the sections almost 40 times until your legs are literally shaking involuntarily, a physical phenomenon I have dubbed “Elvis Leg”. If you were to ask me only a month ago if I would ever do something like this, I would have laughed in your face. Getting up at 6am after my Tasteless Tuesday drunk fest? I don’t think so. Now, it’s second nature. There is no better way to get that Jameson out of your body than muscle spasms and sweating like a whore in church. Hit it and quit it: get drunk, wake up, run, go back to sleep.
The first time I went I couldn’t believe how beautiful the city looked. I see morning so rarely; it seemed so pure, calm, and quiet. I had cancelled Tasteless Tuesday the night before in a vain attempt to get some sleep, but in my excitement I woke up every hour, restless and irritated come morning.
I vowed that I wouldn’t do that again. I could keep going out and still do this.
I couldn’t believe how many people, a hundred it seemed (now it’s double that), had come out for the November Project. We ran all together, up and down, smiling and cheering one another on. Some stopped to catch their breath and others kept going long after everyone else had stopped,
but I felt like I was doing something good,
and by the time I got home I realized I had already accomplished something amazing during the time I would usually have still been fast asleep.
The following week I decided to go out like usual on Tuesday night. Beers and dinner in Allston turned into shots of Jameson, which led to endless Cucumber Collins’s at Citizen Public House down on Boylston. The drinks were made with Rain- organic cucumber-lime vodka, fresh lemon juice, simple syrup, and soda, and the dimly lit bar was the perfect place to relax, nosh on some Little Island and Wallace Bay oysters and enjoy the remaining days of summer even though outside, there was a chill in the air and it was starting to rain.
I don’t know exactly when it happened, but before I knew it I had three hours before I had to be up to run the stadiums. My alarm went off and I dressed silently, a tank top and water resistant leggings, Vibram Five-Fingers and a plastic bag to put over my cell phone. It was pouring rain and I was soaked the second I stepped outside; I wanted to throw up. (I don’t know why I continue to find cucumber vodka so appealing … delicious, delicious nectar of Satan.)
Still, I ran.
I beat my time from last week by four minutes and I hit 24 sets when last week I could barely manage 19. The dull pounding in my temples was gone in the 42 minutes it took me to finish, and I felt like cucumber vodka and I may be friends again after all.
Back at home only one hour later, I showered and hung my clothing up to dry and I slipped back into bed. The guy, the cat, and the dog never even knew I had gone.