Guest Blog: Meet Natalia Where everybody knows your name (Ottawa)

We would like to introduce you to Natalia a wife, mother, grand-mother and member of this November Project community here in Ottawa. If you have yet to cross high-fives paths with her, she will be ready. You can often spot her riding on her bicycle to and from workouts with Gord her husband. Our smiles continue to beam each week when we get to share our mornings with both her and Gord. Thank you for encouraging those that you share meals with, those that you talk to and those friends of friends that find out about November Project through you we are grateful.

I think a lot of people can say that they came to November Project for the first time because of a friend.

I had come across an online article about November Project being introduced to Ottawa and passed it onto a colleague at work who I thought would be interested. She began attending the 6:29 a.m. Wednesday 1/2-hour sessions in downtown Ottawa and she, in turn, invited me to try it out.

First impressions – I was warmly greeted on a chilly Ottawa Fall morning in 2017 I believe, introduced to others and quickly made to feel at home. I remember vividly doing push-ups and sit-ups on the cold cement walkway facing Parliament Hill and thinking that I have never laid down on such a cold hard surface to do exercises ever and somehow it was not that bad nor was I that cold anymore!

No, I am not an avid runner, and no, I cannot do a slew of push-ups or burpees in one go nor do I think I really want to. This place was even for average fitness folk like me who like the idea of exercising but especially enjoy the encouragement and example of others. I have been coming more or less sporadically since then for various reasons. But each time I would come back, especially after longer bouts of time, I was surprised that the organizers Liz and Lauren actually remembered my name!

My most recent return to November Project Ottawa was in early December 2018. Our 37th wedding anniversary actually fell on a Wednesday on December 19, 2018 and so I asked my husband to come to November Project with me as my anniversary gift from him. I received no concrete answer. The alarm rang in the early morning heralding that it was time to get prepared to go and my husband Gordon was not budging so I thought, well, it was a no and I would be off, as usual, on my own. 

To my surprise, he said, “All right, I’m coming but only if you promise we will not be running.” He had not been running since high school and even back then did not care for it much. “No, we won’t be running today,” I assured him, but I really did not know as I did not pay particular attention to what was planned for any given Wednesday. I just showed up.

He was greeted warmly just like I always had. And lo and behold, this Wednesday was, in fact, a running day, or PR day as November Project calls it which involved running up and down the stairs and along the locks by Parliament Hill and the Chateau Laurier Hotel and you know what? Gord loved it!!!

He has since been back again and again and so have I. We encouraged our daughter, Katarina, to give it a try who in turn invited her girlfriend Brynne who in turn invited a colleague from work.  And here you go the cycle continues of being invited because of a “friend”.

Here’s to bringing soles together,

Lauren and Liz


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