Hello! My name is Annie. I am originally from Westport, CT. I am 35-eekkkkk how did that happen??!! I am married to the first person I ever loved and the last person I plan on ever loving. We have 4 CRAZY rambunctious, amazingly spirited mini mes. I grew up super active. Played every sport known to man. Soccer, lacrosse, softball, ran track, swam… You name it, I did it. I LOVE sports – playing them. Not watching them. After college when there were no more sports I became a gym rat. Going at 4am before work every single day. I crushed workouts. I felt off if I didn’t get a good sweat in.
In 2010 I got pregnant with our son, Bear. When I was 3 months preggo my husband deployed. Up until that point I stayed really active. It quickly became a really difficult deployment. I panicked. I basically just waited by the phone for him to call for 5 months. In doing so I gained 70 lbs. 70 friggin pounds! Bear arrived September 15th, 2010. He was born with some physical issues (don’t want to go into all the details) and we immediately had to rush from Ft. Benning to Atlanta for proper treatment. By 6 weeks old, he had his first surgery. I had to continue driving over 2 hours to Atlanta once sometimes twice a week. Needless to say losing the baby weight… Not a priority. Then when bear was four months old Jon deployed again. Two days after he left I looked in the mirror and didn’t even recognize myself. So I said f it! Let’s do this. And in the four (maybe 5) months he was gone I lost all the weight and started feeling like myself again. But something was missing. It wasn’t fun. I didn’t have any friends. It was me and bear and the gym. BORRRRRING! I was the only one of my friends with a kid. So that was fun.
When my husband got back I pretty much got pregnant right away. But this time I vowed to stay fit and healthy. Well… That didn’t happen. Once again life got in the way. Bear had to have two more surgeries. The drives to Atlanta continued. I was EXHAUSTED allll the time. We moved to Savannah in December 2011. Andddd I was still driving to Atlanta from here for Bears doctor because there wasn’t anyone in the area who could treat him (eventually we found someone in Jacksonville). So once again I gained 70 lbs. UGH! We had the hell raising spit fire that is Lily February 13, 2012. Pretty much immediately after her I went back to working out. But it was sooooo lonely. I did nothing but be a mom and go to the gym 1 hour a day. No adult interaction, ever. Then one fine day my friend Kim Kap sent me a message saying that Alexa Smith was moving to Savannah and that she was starting a group called the Stroller Strong Moms. My first thought was oh… Great. A bunch of women gabbing and doing Jane Fonda-esque workouts with their perfectly coiffed children in tow. Man… I wish I could go back in time and slap myself. Regardless of what I thought… I went to the grand opening in September. And holy sh*tballs was I wrong. It was a ball breaker. A kind of workout I wasn’t used to. Needless to say I was hooked. Besides the amazing workout, I started making friends. Little did I know that these would be the women who would show me what true friendship is.
In February of 2013 my husband deployed again. Three weeks after he left I found out I was pregnant with número 3. Talk about TERRIFIED! He was gone. I was alone and pregnant raising a 1 and 2 year old. When I told my SSM sisters, they all rallied around me. For the next nine months they took care of me. My (third) c section was scheduled for November 18th, 2013. Jon was scheduled to arrive home from his nine month deployment on November 16th. Well… I went into labor earlier than I planned. I was scared to death. This was my third c section. I needed my best friend there to crack inappropriate jokes, yell at nurses/doctors and call me a baby when I started crying (all good natured). Instead I had an amazing friend and fellow ssm’er hold my hand during the c section. I am so thankful to her for being there through one of the scariest moments of my life. Piper was born on November 14th, 2013. For the next 24 hours my slam sisters rotated through my room to make sure I was never alone. Jon walked through the door on November 15th @ 10pm. I can remember that moment like it were yesterday. I think it may have been the happiest I have ever been. The next couple months were chaos! Piper got RSV at two weeks old and was put in the NICU for a week. That’s where we spent thanksgiving. But by the grace of god she recovered. She still sounds like Tony Saprano when she breaths:) then at 5 weeks she got salmonella. Seriously… That happened! So again…fitness… back burner. But I was determined to get back in shape. Afterall with this pregnancy I only gained 45lbs and even worked out the day I went into labor. More so I didn’t lose all my muscles. Which was a HUGE plus.
Then one fateful St. Patrick’s day, Alexa plyed me with cocktails and told me about this little thing called RAG (Run across Georgia). After several fireballs I agreed to relay 260 miles across the state. What I didn’t take into account is that 1. I was thirty-four 2. I had just had my third c section in under 3 years 3. I was raising three kids 4. I was not/ am not a distance runner and 5. There would be 30+ extra pounds pounding on my 34 year old joints. Regardless we trained. And we trained. and my girls pushed me to do things I really didn’t think I could do. They were always so supportive and so encouraging. Come May, I thought I was ready…Hahahahhahaha!!! My first leg was over 6 miles at 1pm in 100 degree heat straight up hill. My shoes literally melted. I didn’t know I knew that many cuss words. But that whole entire run Lora, Kim and Tutt screamed, cheered, swore with me and even got out to run a little bit. And somehow I not only ran further than I had ever run before on that leg, I was able to do two more legs. Kelli was my saving grace on my third leg. Somehow once again I had a seven miler, straight up hill in the middle of a ridiculously hot day. More tears. More cuss words. She ran with me. She encouraged me. She chased a dog for me. She reminded me why I was doing what I was doing. So there I was 6 months after having my third c section at 34 years old running further and faster than I ever had before. Proud doesn’t seem to adequately describe the feeling.
While I LOVE LOVE LOVE the workouts, what does it for me is the camaraderie. The all out encouragement. Over the past three years I have watched these women cheer until their faces turned blue, wipe the tears off their friends faces, crack a well placed joke to make those tears stop, physically pick up another mother, share ridiculous kid pooh stories (my fav), make meals, give hugs, share personal secrets and so much more. I cannot even begin to tell you how many times Cassie has come to my rescue. It’s getting a bit ridiculous at this point:) Everyone in this group is a GIVER. They will give you everything they have and then some. These women have been with me through 3 deployments. They have taken me and my kids in for thanksgivings, Easters, Christmases, birthdays and Halloweens. While the group is always changing (current people moving and new members joining) one thing seems constant…the integrity of the group is never compromised. The drama stays out. The workouts stay insane. The support is unwavering.
On June 2nd we welcomed our fourth and LAST child, Rowan. Nine weeks after c section number 4 in four years pushing a double stroller (with MULTIPLE stops to take pictures) I ran a 5k in 32 minutes. Before Stroller Strong Moms, before kids I was struggling to run a 10 min mile -singular. Ten years older, 4 kids later I am in the absolute best shape of my life. I am constantly amazed at what my body is capable of doing. Anddddd I have the absolute BEST friends I have ever had. Talk about a win win:)