The Lincoln Logs That Have Built a Home
Dear Superintendent Gay Vietzk and Director Bob Vogel,
This is currently my personal record for completing 17 ‘Lincoln Logs’. Despite the fun name reminiscent of what you may find scattered in a kindergarten toy box, Lincoln Logs are certainly not child’s play. A Lincoln Log is what the November Project calls as a loop from the Reflecting Pool to the top of the Lincoln Memorial and back. Complete that 17 times and you’ve just checked the hardest November Project workout of each month off your list. While this is the workout that gets me sweating, gasping for air, and drinking way too much blue Gatorade, it has become my favorite part of the month.
27:03 isn’t just a time to me. It is a symbol of personal progress. Growing up, I never was involved with sports — unless you decide to count basketball when I was five. When I finally decided to give running a shot during my freshman year of college, finishing one mile had me ready for a long water break. While I got more and more into running, finally checking a half marathon off my list after graduating, I never had the confidence I would ever be able to run more than 13 miles at once. After all, I had never been an athlete. It would take something significant to really shake that mindset. Luckily, I found November Project.
For almost two years now, I’ve been setting my alarm to times no normal person would want to wake, just to then run to a location where I will run even more, sprinkled in with some push-ups, mountain climbers, lunges, and — ugh — burpees. Luckily, November Project is a group of other people who aren’t quite normal. There are hundreds of folks across the city who leave their homes no matter the weather to be part of the most dynamic, diverse, and daring community I’ve ever encountered. Whether you are a seasoned athlete or first time runner; whether you’ve lived in DC your whole life or just moved here yesterday; or whether you’re an NP regular who knows everyone’s name or an NP first-timer meeting friends for the first time, you are a welcome and special part of this community.
On Mondays, we greet the upcoming week with a new sense of energy; it’s hard to be grumpy waking up at 6 AM on a Monday morning when you are soon greeted by a high-spirited group of friendly faces. On Wednesdays, we reconnect with the beautiful city in which we reside, watching the sun rise over our National Mall. If anything is ever going to get someone out of bed to exercise, it is going to be a community pushing each other at the beautiful Lincoln Memorial. On Fridays, I hop on a bike and traverse all corners of the city to meet this group in different locations — who knew DC had so many beautiful parks, playgrounds and unique landmarks? I certainly wouldn’t have without November Project!
And then, every last Wednesday of the month, I am back at the Lincoln Memorial with my timer in hand, ready to race up towards Abraham Lincoln as he sits and watches over our tribe. One log, four logs, eight logs — I grow more tired physically throughout the workout, yet become more and more energized as I am cheered on by my November Project tribe. I’ve now shaved over 4 minutes off my original time to hit my current Personal Record of 27:03. While this is far from the best time in the group, it is my best. I continue to get faster and faster thanks to this group that holds me accountable to #justshowup to each workout.
November Project DC has truly made me a better person. In a city where it can sometimes be hard to build new, genuine relationships, NP_DC has made it so easy. Because of November Project, I ended up signing up for my first marathon on a whim, knowing that I’d have at least three days a week where I’d be held accountable to make it through a cold winter training regimen. It is because of November Project that I can finally call myself an “athlete”. And oddly enough, in an often solo sport like running, I’ve never felt more like I was part of a team. My tribe is my family, and our spots are our home.
Please, let us continue to love and respect the locations we hold so close to our heart. And please, let me continue to run my Lincoln Logs — I’m dying to get under 27 minutes.