ATLANTA -- At first glance, they look like any group of runners, chugging along the side of the road on a cold February morning.
"We're doing the run first before we do the swim," the coach said to the group of women.
They share the same hopeful finish line: an upcoming triathlon. But their starting point was a much darker place:
"My husband, he passed away suddenly and unexpectedly."
"I was exhausted. I was depressed. Deeply depressed."
"I'm not the woman I used to be."
"And I had to go home and tell my kids that their dad wasn't coming home."
They are all widows. They call themselves "hot widows".
"Healthy, optimistic, thriving widows," Mishael Porembski explained the meaning behindTeam Hot Widows. She started the group when she lost her own husband, and found the steady stream of pot lucks and coffee clubs wasn't easing the grief.
"I am creating what I think was missing when I became widow," she said.
She created a team of women sweating through a shared loss. "When I slip into my dark place, I know I can call Mishael and she'll pull me out," one of them said after a swim workout."
It's a pull out of grief so strong, it attracted Natalie Simmons. She's a woman who can't swim and never learned to to ride a bike."I have to do this for me, or else what else is left?" she said.
From grief to this -- a hysterically happy mom. Her teammates surprised her with a bike she still won't let her kids touch. "I'm still deciding what I want to name it," she said with a big smile.
Every mile, every lap, they grow closer together, closer to healing, closer to HOT. One captured the change in a simple statement so far from that dark place they've all been: "I look forward to the future with an open mind and a full heart."