Patricia Robeldo --
Before joining Fleet Feet’s training programs I had been doing some running on my own, in and around my neighborhood. My sense of direction is not great, so I kept doing the same loops over and over and was getting bored. A friend had posted on Facebook about Fleet Feet and its training programs. I knew she was a serious long distance runner and I was not anywhere close to her level. I had never participated in group runs or races before, and felt I would be out of my league in any such program. I decided to walk into FF to check out the store and see what “vibe” I would get. The young man working at the store gave me information about the different programs. I shared my apprehension with him and told him I felt intimidated and afraid I would not fit in. He reassured me and I decided to join the running program. I liked Shahin and Cheryl right away. I loved their positive energy and encouragement of all participants. I admire their ability to train runners at different ability levels at the same time and make everyone feel comfortable and encouraged.
Joining Fleet Feet came at a key time in my life. As a certified interpreter for the Supreme Court, I had been assigned to a horrific first degree murder case, which was finally concluding after two years. It had taken an emotional toll on me. I had just said goodbye to my daughter who had gone off to college in North Carolina. This was incredibly difficult for me, and knew that I would be doing the same all over again with my son. He went off to college in Nashville a couple of weeks ago. Training with FF has kept me sane. About three months ago I was diagnosed with osteoporosis. I was very surprised, sad and even angry. I soon found out that weight bearing exercise is the best thing for me to be doing and feel that joining FF has been a key decision for me. FF has been good for my body and soul.
At age 46, my very first race was last year’s Hot to Trot 10 K. After a couple of 5K’s and another 10K, I ran Knoxville’s half Marathon. I then joined the tri-101 program and finally got the courage, thanks to the encouragement of FF buddies, to participate in the Springbrook Tri. I would have never contemplated the possibility of participating in any of these, had it not been for FF. I feel such a sense of accomplishment! FF has been good for my body and soul.
All the runs, swim training, bike rides, brick sessions, “ladies night” at the store, pub runs, wonderful runs at Cades Cove, etc. promote camaraderie and then friendships grow. I feel lucky to have met my friend Amparo soon after joining FF. Right away, I loved her beautiful smile and energy. It did not hurt that we both shared a common bond: our country of origin is Colombia. Tragically, Amparo lost her son recently. I was very moved by the response from FF. The offers for food, company and support poured in. Responding to a sweet email from Shahin about this tragic event, I replied: “I am so moved by the response of Fleet Feet buddies. Fleet Feet is not a store, but a movement...and even beyond that....it is a family!!!!!” Gracias, Fleet Feet!! You are good for the body and soul and I'm so glad to be part of the family.