*NOTE: It’s a long post…
Two days away. The food prep has started. The excitement to celebrate the holiday season has just begun. Family is traveling in. Turkeys will be devoured. Pumpkin pies gobbled up. You’ll probably go for a walk as a group, watch some football, play some games and toast to a delicious meal with your “people” around you. But, let me tell you something. When we go around the table this year saying what we are thankful for, I will be thanking God for each one of you — for FiA Metro and all the PAX that make our community what it is each and every morning.
So, here’s my preblast for the Thanksgiving Convergence; but, in addition, here’s the reason I am thankful for FiA Metro.
September 2016. Just about two years ago, I walked into a classroom at Queens University and recognized this woman sitting at the back of the room. She looked so familiar and it took me a moment to place her…I remember she had named me at my first FiA workout — she and the rest of the ladies had been friendly, but I decided I wasn’t getting up that early to workout and I’d rather just keep on working out alone. After finding a seat in the room, sitting through a discussion about two case studies and finally remembering this woman’s FiA name, I walked up to her after class and said, “Hey, don’t you do FiA? I think you named me Main Line because your parents lived on the Main Line in Philadelphia…”
Her response: “Yep, absolutely. I’m Wheels!”
And, so the story begins. No, I didn’t come back to FiA right away. Wheels had been recovering from an injury and she and I started running together. Meeting around 6-6:15 a.m. Then, maybe 5:45. The next time, 5:30. Well, then she said, “Hey, what about 5:10 a.m. and we go to FiA together?” And, that’s where my life changed. Oh, and yes, Wheels is quite strategic…
Those who know me well are aware that I had gone through a very, very tough breakup in June of that year. Yes, we all go through or have been through breakups — this one was much worse than others I’d experienced and, shortly after the breakup, I went into a downward tailspin. I started dealing with anxiety (which has deep roots in my family), had a panic attack while at the eye doctor, turned to other very unhealthy channels to relieve stress and was barely eating. And, no I do not write this for sympathy or pity. I write this because that September day I saw Wheels and the day she introduced me (again) at FiA totally changed the direction of my life.
While I might be an outgoing person, there were many struggles I was coping with under the surface of what I displayed at FiA. From doing all I could to avoid a relapse of serious eating disorders and drinking to trying to stay focused at a job I loved without having a panic attack or passing out from the anxiety…there was much more hiding behind that smile I tried so hard to always have on my face.
For me, FiA started with a few runs, where I met people like Popeye and Aloha, to coming out to bootcamps where Spokes convinced me to join a P70 team that was down a person. That’s all it took. One P70 race. The ladies at P70 will never truly know just how much they changed my life. Groupie and I shared a room, caught up on the road trip and she made me realize I could do this — I could get through the pain, I could regain confidence and I could find a community that brings such joy to my life. And, Gouda made me realize what it was like to truly ensure “no woman left behind.” I got a stomach bug the morning of P70 and threw up more than 20 times before I decided to go out and run anyway. Gouda stuck with me every single mile. Never left me. And made sure I was OK…. We had never met until that day.
It goes so far beyond my one story though. These were just the beginning of friendships that have now forever changed the trajectory of my life. Whether posting at a workout, going to a social event, running through the Blue Ridge Mountains, taking trips together, sharing meals and toasts to major milestones in life or even just calling to say hi and check in, FiA has become a way of life for me.
It all hit home in November. As I struggled to make it through my first marathon, FiAs were by my side the entire way. Literally. Every single step, there was a FiA. From those I trained with for months to those who offered to run various parts of the course with me to keep me company. And, not to mention the countless FiAs along the course cheering many of us on.
I cried. I laughed. I thought I might die for a few minutes. But, the moment that I turned from Stonewall to Mint Street, the entire group of FiAs from the relay and general cheering squad, screamed out and I honestly couldn’t breathe because I was choking back tears.
This moment, this love, this community, this friendship, this fellowship, this faith, this support — this is what I love. This is why I am proud to be your regional Q. This is FiA Metro. This is FiA Nation.
And, most importantly, this is why when I am asked what I am thankful for at the Thanksgiving dinner table, I will undoubtedly say, “FiA.”
Thank you all for being you; for bringing your unique personalities to FiA every single day; for touching my life and so many others through your compassion, love, encouragement, humor, commitment and faith. You truly make women stronger in all aspects of their lives — and I am just one of the very many living testimonies of this truth.
As you prepare for Thanksgiving, may you also count FiA in the many blessings you have and be thankful for all this community offers!
Real preblast info:
Join me for the Thanksgiving Convergence from 7-8 a.m. at Alexander Graham Middle School. I promise you’ll enjoy and be thankful you woke up! Full-body focus. We will travel around the AG campus some. Bring gloves and a mat.
And, join us for Muffins and Mimosas at 9:30 a.m. at the top part of the parking deck between Dillard’s and Cowfish/Crate and Barrel! Bring a beverage or food to share!