Saturday, March 17, 2018

Q AND A WITH THE UNSTOPPABLE MISSY FARRUGGIA


Missy and her husband, Mike.

I met Missy Farruggia via social media after joining a Facebook group of 3,000-plus women who run, cycle, swim, lift weights, do yoga, and gather together on this platform to post photos of themselves in  action and cheer each other on through thick and through thin.  The group was started by Kelly Roberts, founder of  She Can and She Did . Kelly's motto? "No matter how hard something seems, we really are stronger together.  The future isn't just female, it's strong, smart, emboldened, united, driven, funny, and ambitious as hell."

One of the first things I noticed about this FB group was the very strong presence of Missy.  One of the first posts I read was her hilarious and hard-hitting story of how she dealt with someone who targeted her with racism during one of her daily runs.  How Missy handled the incident became legendary and oft-referred to in subsequent posts of other group members. 

Through Missy's posts, I learned that she is Native American, her young daughters run too, and she was a surrogate mom for a friend who could not bear children.  Missy triumphed over physical adversity in order to complete four half-marathons, which inspired the Facebook group to create a Miles for Missy Solidarity Run.

Over and over, Missy shows up in her posts - and in life, no doubt -  full of humor, courage, and support of others.  I was so pleased that she agreed to do this Q and A. 

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Q: How did you get involved in running? What is your current running  routine? 

A:  I have been running ever since I was a little girl.  My mom would take me running and I fell in love with it. I always felt so free and happy; I almost felt like I could fly!  It was a way to connect with Mother Earth.  I try to run every day, and my favorite time is first thing in the morning. I love finishing in time to greet the sun as it rises!

Q: What are some of your proudest moments as a runner?

A:  I have two proudest moments in running. I decided to sign up for my first race, a 5k. I was so scared because I had just come from an injury and was getting my running legs back. I had lost 110 pounds and when I got to the start line, I felt like I did not belong. I didn’t look like the other runners, who were so confident and happy.  I felt like I was gonna throw up. I wanted to go home, but my family was there and when I started running, it felt amazing! When I crossed that finish line, I was crying happy tears.I did it! It was amazing!!

My second proudest moment was the first time I ran with my daughters. Watching them discover their love for running made me fall in love with it all over again, but in a different way. After my injury, I appreciated it more and love that I can share that with my them.

Q: What kinds of physical activities did you enjoy as a child? As a teen? As a young adult?

A:  Running was really my only love; I didn’t do any other activity. 

Q: What keeps you going when the going gets tough? Are there particular people, places, experiences, or sayings that motivate and inspire you?

A:  Everyone has a tough run, everyone struggles. I think of my family and their love and it always helps me get through. My husband is the most amazing person I have ever met; he is my rock and best friend whose support and love keeps me going. My favorite saying is she believed she could, so she did! 

There is also an Apache saying: May the sun bring you new energy by day. May the moon softly restore you by night. May the rain wash away your worries. May the breeze blow new strength into your being. May you walk gently though the world and know its beauty all the days of your life.

Q: Do you have an overarching life philosophy?

A:  I believe in  being kind to one another and treating everyone equally. If we could just lift each other up and stop shaming others for the way they look or for their differences or beliefs, imagine what we could accomplish! 

Q:You have shared that you are Native American. What was it like growing up as a Native American female? What is it like for you now? How have those two identities shaped your life?

A: I didn’t really noticed a difference until I moved away from my family. The culture and traditions are so different and I found a lot of people were not so kind to those who are different. I did, however, find amazing, and loving people who made me proud to celebrate our differences and together we became stronger! I fell in love with my husband who is Italian, and we pass on our traditions to our two strong, beautiful daughters, Our differences are was make us great!

Q: You are a mom to two girls. What do you do to help your daughters stay confident in their minds and their bodies?

A: I encourage my girls to be strong.  My oldest is hearing impaired and her strength inspires me! I never want them to think that they can’t do something because of who they are. I always tell them they are smart, strong, and can do anything! I am so proud of them and look forward to see what they are going to accomplish in life. They are smart and funny and even if I wasn’t their mother, I would want to know them.

Q: What are a few of your personal goals and dreams?

A:  My goal is to run all the Disney half marathons. I’m a huge Disney fan and there is nothing more magical than crossing that Disney finish line! I have run three of their races and they are amazing! My first half was the Disney Avengers Half; it was an absolute dream come true! I have also run the Tinkerbell Challenge and the Disneyworld Half.

Q: What would you like to see happen on this planet in your lifetime?

A:  More female equality.  Women are smart and strong and not less than! We need to teach our young girls and boys that women are just as good as men and and that together we are stronger.



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