S.L.A.M.er of the Month – February
Meet Lauren Wood of Stroller Strong Moms – Columbus
I never had a problem with my weight growing up, and I stayed pretty active but was not an athlete. One time I scored a point for the other team in basketball. It was bad. I mostly sat the bench. I was more into friends and choir than sports or fitness through high school. I got married at 19, and I gained 13 pounds within just a couple months. I began running with my sister-in-law, Kari, and we stayed consistently inconsistent with at-home videos in between short runs. I was running 5K’s every once in a while, but I wasn’t winning my age group or anything. I got pregnant with my first son, Dorian, and began training for my first marathon shortly after he was born. Kari and I trained at 5:30 a.m. Monday thru Friday, and I went to work immediately after. I pushed my son in a chico stroller, not at all made for running, and I stopped on the side of the road to nurse when needed.
I completed my first half in January 2013, thinking it was just the halfway point to my goal. Unfortunately, mine and Kari’s bodies didn’t bounce back like we thought they would, probably due to skipping a couple weeks of training in order to run the half. We fizzled out and lost all the ground we’d gained. From the half in January to May of that year, I got pregnant and quickly lost the baby, then got pregnant again with my son, Sebastian. I ran periodically during that pregnancy, and I continued to workout about 30 minutes, 3-4 times a week.
When I got pregnant with Juniper, my husband and I decided I would stop working to stay at home, and in January 2016, 9 months pregnant, I started Stroller Strong Moms. Whew, y’all. I didn’t know what was coming. My first month was slow and modified for my giant, pregnant body, but I jumped back into running 4 weeks postpartum and started back to SSM 2 weeks after that. The GetFit challenge jump started my post pregnancy weight loss journey, and I lost 16 pounds in 10 weeks. I trained for months doing long runs and hill workouts with all three kids in my double Bob, and Kari and I finally completed our first full marathon in November 2016.
Now, a year later, I am almost back to my pre-(first)pregnancy weight, but that is actually mildly insignificant to me when I consider the stamina I’ve gained mentally and physically.
I feel confident that the strength and endurance training I receive at SSM contributes in a major way to my running success since I have never been an avid runner until now. Being part of this community of mamas motivates me to work harder longer, and I can do it without sacrificing time with my three babes. Though it can be challenging to combine fitness with motherhood, it has absolutely been the best thing for my heart, my body, and my kids. The days we SLAM are our most enjoyable days with fewer meltdowns and more patience. I love that my kids get a front row seat to healthy living, and I hope that it encourages them to keep their bodies moving as they grow. Next to loving the Lord, I believe an active lifestyle is the most valuable lesson I can teach them. Fitness is so much more than just body improvement–it is strengthening the mind to overcome challenges and to constantly push yourself to do better.
My kids and I will have a thousand real-life mile 18 walls, but I want them to see their mama push past it in exercise and in life. I want to watch them go from 3 lb. weights to 10 lb. weights and feel the pride of pushing past their original expectations of themselves. Stroller Strong Moms encourages me to always try one more push up, one more stair run, one more burpee. This group of women lovingly pushes me to run faster, and to go further. I feel indebted to the instructors and to the community of mamas who throw snacks at my kids when they scream and hold my crying baby while I finish running stairs.
More than just a great workout, we are a village of moms who greet each other with happy hearts, even when we’re 15 minutes late to class or battling a tantrum after the first station. We are growing as individuals, becoming stronger in mind and body, and learning that motherhood is all about supporting each other. This is why I SLAM.