After checking the weather two days earlier, I was surprised to find Boston chilly and rainy when I landed at the airport. When I last looked at Weather.com, it said it would be in the 80s and sunny! (Thankfully the weather for the rest of the weekend was gorgeous.)
My flight got in about 20 minutes before two of my fellow bloggers and I played with an adorable 8 1/2 week old Jack Russell terrier at baggage claim while I waited for Matt and Caitlin to land. Caitlin is one of my best blogging buddies (I just saw her in Charlotte!) and it was wonderful to see her again. I had never met Matt before but knew of his blog and heard great things about his book. It was great to get to know him a little better throughout the weekend.
After a short car ride, the three of us arrived on the Boston College campus and checked into the dorm rooms where all of the bloggers were staying.
I felt like I was back in college! I lived in the dorms at the University of Central Florida as a freshman. I really liked dorm life and it felt a little nostalgic to be back on a college campus seven years (<— Oh my gosh!) after I graduated.
Once we checked in, Caitlin and I made up our beds before heading out to meet up with the rest of the blogger gang at West End Johnnie’s for dinner.
At dinner, I had the chance to visit with some bloggers I haven’t seen in a while and missed so much! I also met a bunch of new blogging friends and knew right away the weekend would be a blast with this group!
The bloggers in attendance:
- Katie of Runs For Cookies
- Sarah of Sarah Fit
- Jason of Strength Running
- Matt of No Meat Athlete
- Anne of Fannetastic Food
- Amanda of Run To The Finish
- Katy of Katy Widrick
- Caitlin of Healthy Tipping Point
- Charlene Fab Running
- Theodora of Preppy Runner
- Presley of Run Pretty
- Karla of Run Karla Run
- Heather Relentless Forward Commotion
- Marnie of Run Street
- Sarah of Picky Runner
- Larisa Larisa Dixon
- Jessica of Keeping Mommy Sane
- Dani of Weight Off My Shoulders
Be sure to check them out!
After we dug into a dinner buffet that included an awesome vegetarian lasagna, salmon and roasted chicken, we watched Finding Strong, a 22-minute documentary produced by Saucony and Runner’s World. The short movie highlights the impact and transformative power running can have on people all over the world and includes excerpts from interviews a youth running community in Brazil, young girls in Djibouti, physically challenged athletes in New York City and more. I loved the way the movie focused on the simplicity of running and it’s incredible ability to impact lives for the better.
Once the movie ended and we said goodbye to our friends at Runner’s World and Saucony, our group of bloggers headed back to the dorms for the night. This is where things got a little interesting!
Our dorm rooms were freezing and unfortunately we only had a sheet and light blanket to use for warmth. I went back to my Palatine, Illinois days and tightly tucked my covers over my head and around my body to try to keep all of my body heat inside my little cocoon. (It took everything I had not to crawl into my roomie Caitlin’s twin bed for body heat!) Sleeping when you’re so cold isn’t exactly easy and I felt like I was awake for most of the night. The awesome folks at Runner’s World also experienced the frigid evening in the dorms along with the bloggers and switched us to a warmer dorm the next night which was so kind. I think everyone slept much better!
On the bright side, the 5:40 a.m. wake up call on Friday morning didn’t feel brutal at all because I was already wide awake! The chilly night in the dorms was the topic of conversation on the bus ride to the location where we hopped off to tackle our first November Project workout. We quickly forgot about the cold once we started working up a sweat with the hundreds of Boston locals who also showed up for the free workout.
The November Project
I briefly blogged about the concept of the November Project in my Things I’m Loving Friday post, but I loved every minute of the workout because of the atmosphere and the people. It was one of the most energizing and supportive workout environments I’ve ever experienced.
The workout for the day centered around running and had everyone running up and down a hill for 45 minutes. Typing that out makes it sound like it would be pretty miserable and monotonous, but it wasn’t at all. The November Project has a policy in place where they will not allow media to come observe a workout and simply write about it… They must participate in a workout before they can cover it and I totally understand why. It was during the workout that I experienced the encouragement and enthusiasm of the people around me.
At one point toward the end of the workout, I decided to catch my breath and take a walking break up a steep hill and a guy ran up behind me and told me I could keep going.
I jokingly yelled back, “I’m from Florida. We don’t have hills!” His lighthearted reply? “Well you do have heat and humidity and we don’t have that, so I think it evens out.” He laughed and his point was well taken. I knew I had to pick up the pace again! We ran for a little while together and chatted about his experience with the November Project which was fun to hear about and helped the second to last lap of my workout pass quickly.
After 45 minutes, we were sufficiently sweaty and made sure to thank Brogan, one of the founders of the November project, for a kick-butt workout!
(For those who asked via Instagram, these sunglasses are the Oakley Women’s Overtime Sunglasses – the same ones I featured in my Fitness Gift Guide – and they are the best fitness/running sunglasses ever. The nose has little grippy things on it and they always stay in place.)
Brogan is hilarious! He doesn’t allow smiling photos and enjoys holding props, so this is what you get when you snap photos with him:
(Yes, that is the pic I totally ruined since I am physically unable to do a “serious face.”)
And big congrats to Brogan on his wedding last week!
Once our workout was done, we made beeline for Zaftig’s for a much-needed morning meal. I think we all cleared our plates in record time before we needed to board the bus back to our dorms to shower and meet up again 45 minutes later. We had a full day ahead of us that began with some inspiring sessions with two phenomenal athletes.
More on that to come!