Project North

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I received a call from my contact at Nike just over two weeks ago asking if it would be possible for me to clear my schedule for four days in mid December. She refused to tell me why, but insisted it would be really amazing if I could make myself available. Never one to turn down an adventure, I talked to my bosses at work and sent in my sign up form with only one thing in mind: I’m so in.

At 3 in the morning last Tuesday I dragged myself to the Nike loft space here in Toronto with no idea what to expect. I’d been given a backpack with an outfit to wear, and was told to bring nothing but underwear and a bathing suit. Sleepy, confused, and terribly excited, I was loaded onto a bus filled with other people dressed just like me. As we peeled away we introduced ourselves and quietly guessed what might be in store over fresh squeezed juice and Vega bars.

Of course we never could’ve dreamed up what would come next.

From the bus we hopped a plane to Calgary, and from the Calgary airport we boarded another bus. We were told only the most minimal details, which meant as the bus climbed through beautiful BC mountain ranges and snow, our excitement and energy only climbed too.

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When the bus finally came to a stop, it was beside two helicopters. Yes… helicopters! We were loaded in and promptly took off, soaring over BC’s gorgeous Bugaboo mountain range until we reached an adorable lodge nestled at the foot. We landed, unloaded, and did our best to start to take it all in.

The next four days were a total blur, and even as I write this down now I have a hard time believing they were actually real. We trained with Olympic athletes, running 6km uphill in the wet snow as hard as we could and pushing ourselves on intervals around a frozen pond. I went rock climbing (because of course the stairway at the lodge was a 3-storey climbing wall), sweated it out in the sauna, and ate more fresh baked cookies and sesame brittle (it’s a thing) than anyone ever probably should. One afternoon we took a helicopter to the peak of a mountain and did an NTC workout with Eva Redpath on TOP of the entire mountain range. We finished it all off on the last night with  mulled wine, fireworks, and tears, sad to admit the week was over and say goodbye to one another.

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There was something so fiercely magical about this trip, something I’m not really even able to compute and communicate. Yes the gear and the workouts were wonderful, but Project North was just so much more. Up there in the mountains, 20 total strangers became a family, a team. Every moment of every day was bursting with energy, inspiration, and as cheesy as it sounds, love. It was truly an unforgettable, once in a lifetime opportunity, and I’ve never felt more driven to push my limits and live my life with as much strength and energy as I can muster.