November Project Book Survey Answers #NP_Book

on (ttk.me b/4_n1) using BBEdit

The November Project recently wrapped up a survey for a book project. I had the tab open and finally submitted my answers, but figured why not post them on my own site as well. Some of this I've blogged about before, some of it is new.

The basics

Tribe Location
San Francisco
Member Name
Tantek Çelik
Date of Birth
March 11th
Date and Location of First NP Workout
2013-10-30 Alamo Square, San Francisco, CA, USA
Contact Info

Pre-NP fitness

Describe your pre-NP fitness background and routine.

First hear about NP

How did you first hear about the group?

I saw chalkmarks in Golden Gate Park for "NovemberProject 6:30am Kezar!" and thought what the heck is that? 6:30am? Sounds crazy. More: Learning About NP

First NP workout

Recount your first workout, along with the vibe, and how they may have differed from your expectations.

My first NovemberProject workout was a 2013 NPSF PR Wednesday workout, and it was the hardest physical workout I'd ever done. However before it destroyed me, I held my hand up as a newbie, and was warmly welcomed and hugged. My first NP made a strong positive impression. More: My First Year at NP: Newbie

Meeting BG and Bojan

For those who've crossed paths, what was your first impression of BG? Of Bojan?

I first met BG and Bojan at a traverbal Boston destination deck workout. BG and Bojan were (are!) larger than life, with voices to match. Yet their booming matched with self-deprecating humor got everyone laughing and feeling like they belonged.

First Harvard Stadium workout

Boston Only: If you had a particularly memorable newbie meeting and virgin workout at Harvard Stadium, I'd like to know about it for a possible separate section. If so, please describe.

My first Boston Harvard Stadium workout was one to remember. Two days after my traverbal Boston destination deck workout, I joined the newbie orientation since I hadn't done the stadium before. I couldn't believe how many newbies there were. By the time we got to the starting steps I was ready to bolt. I completed 26 sections, far more than I thought I would.

Elevated my fitness

How has NP elevated your fitness level? How have you measured this?

NP has made me a lot faster. After a little over 6 months of NPSF, I cut over 16 minutes in my Bay To Breakers 12km personal record.

Affected personal life

Give an example of how NP has affected your personal life and/or helped you overcome a challenge.

NP turned me from a night person to a morning person, with different activities, and different people. NP inspired me to push myself to overcome my inability to run hills, one house at a time until I could run half a block uphill, then I started running NPSF hills. More: My First Year at NP: Scared of Hills

Impacted relationship with my city

How has NP impacted your relationship with your city?

I would often run into NPSF regulars on my runs to and from the workout, so I teamed up with a couple of them and started an unofficial "rungang". We posted times and corners of our running routes, including to hills. NPSF founder Laura challenged our rungang to run ~4 miles (more than halfway across San Francisco) south to a destination hills workout at Bernal Heights and a few of us did. After similar pre-workout runs North to the Marina, and East to the Embarcadero, I feel like I can confidently run to anywhere in the city, which is an amazing feeling.

Why rapid traction?

Why do you think NP has gained such traction so rapidly?

Two words: community positivity. Yes there's a workout too, but there are lots of workout groups. What makes NP different (beyond that it's free), are the values of community and barrier-breaking positivity that the leaders instill into every single workout. More: My First Year at NP: Positive Community — Just Show Up

Most memorable moment

Describe your most memorable workout or a quintessential NP moment.

Catching the positivity award when it was thrown at me across half of NPSF. Tantek holding up the NPSF positivity award backlit by the rising sun.

Weirdest thing

Weirdest thing about NP?

That so many people get up before sunrise, nevermind in sub-freezing temperatures in many cities, to go to a workout. Describe that to anyone who isn't in NP, and it sounds beyond weird.

NP and regular life

How has NP bled into your "regular" life? (Do you inadvertently go in for a hug when meeting a new client? Do you drop F-bombs at inopportune times? Have you gone from a cubicle brooder to the meeting goofball? Are you kinder to strangers?)

I was already a bit of a hugger, but NP has taught me to better recognize when people might quietly want (or be ok with) a hug, even outside of NP. #huglife

The Positivity Award

If you've ever won the Positivity Award, please describe that moment and what it meant to you.

It's hard to describe. I certainly was not expecting it. I couldn't believe how excited people were that I was getting it. There was a brief moment of fear when Braden tossed it at me over dozens of my friends, all the sound suddenly muted while I watched it flying, hands outstretched. Caught it solidly with both hands, and I could hear again. It was a beautiful day, the sun had just risen, and I could see everyone's smiling faces. More than the award itself, it meant a lot to me to see the joy in people's faces.

Non-NP friends and family

What do your non-NP friends and family think of your involvement?

My family is incredibly supportive and ecstatic with my increased fitness. My non-NP friends are anywhere from curious (at best), to wary or downright worried that it's a cult, which they only half-jokingly admit.

NP in one word

Describe NP in one word.


Additional Thoughts

Additional thoughts? Include them here.

You can follow my additional thoughts on NP, fitness, and other things on my site & blog: tantek.com.