I grew up in Michigan being pretty active and playing basketball, but once high school came around I was too intimidated by the competitive nature of sports and even put off taking the required gym class until the very last semester of my senior year. It was that semester that I ran the mile for the first time without stopping (I’m sure it was the slowest mile I’ve ever run) and my love of running began.
In college I continued to run and took kickboxing classes, but I also became anorexic. I hid it from my family, friends, and boyfriend (now husband). It’s really disturbing to look back on now, but after a lot of soul searching and a couple eye-opening trips to Africa, where surprisingly, overweight, not skinny, women are a symbol of beauty and prosperity, I started to get on the right track with eating and exercising normally.
In April 2012 we were living in Richmond Hill, GA and had our son, Caleb. I became a Stay At Home Mom and continued running with my jogging stroller, but it was getting lonely and isolating. I was debating going back to work just to have adult interaction and a sense of worth. I knew Cassie and she kept telling me about Stroller Strong Moms in Savannah and how she had just started as an instructor there. I was reluctant to try it because I figured it would be lame and easy, but I mean, we’ve all seen Cassie, it obviously works for her.
So I finally tried it in May 2013. Of course the first class killed me! I couldn’t believe how intense the workout was, and not only that, but everyone was so friendly and welcoming. I joined Stroller Strong Moms and I started feeling a lot less isolated as a mother and started to see toning in my body and results in my running. I always had the mantra that “slow and steady wins the race”; of course, I never actually won a race with that mentality, but I always finished without stopping! Now, I felt challenged by all the faster moms to work on my speed and I ran the 2013 Savannah Rock and Roll Marathon 45 minutes faster than my previous marathon! For the first time, I stopped being so fixated on being skinny; I wanted to be strong, and I felt like everyone else had the same mind set. It was the first time I was around a group of women that didn’t talk about the size of their thighs or waists, but rather, the speed of their last race or how they could finally do real pushups.
In May 2014 we moved to Columbus, GA. I was really sad about moving, but the two redeeming factors were that I still got to go to Stroller Strong, and I had a couple friends here already, one being Nicole, who was also a Stroller Strong Mom! I went to my last class in Richmond Hill on a Friday, moved on Saturday, and went to class in Columbus on Monday with a borrowed stroller from Nicole because mine was in the moving truck. It was so nice transitioning to a new place while still having SSM to keep my routine and get me out of the house. I was also 12 weeks pregnant with our second son and really wanted to work out during my pregnancy after seeing all the awesome moms who worked out pregnant in Savannah.
I joined SSM thinking it was just a workout group, but it has really influenced me in the past year and a half that I’ve been a member. It’s motivated me in many ways, and even motivated my husband, who was beat once in a race by a certain really fast Stroller Strong Mom in Savannah (Lindsay P) and refused to let it happen again! It’s given me a community of mothers to seek advice from, and it’s also allowed me to show my son that an active, healthy lifestyle is important. I know I’m a quiet person, so I don’t voice it often, but truly the friendships and daily encouragement I have received from all the other moms and instructors in both Savannah and Columbus is something I’ll always carry with me. And every time I meet a mom that’s new to the class, I try to welcome her the same way I was welcomed.SLAMER OCT4