Our June S.L.A.M.er of the Month is Mindy Balash in Fairbanks, Alaska. Mindy faithfully comes to class three times a week (since she is working as a nurse the other two days) and gives her all at each and every class. Her form is admirable, her endurance is incredible, and her go-get-em attitude is contagious. This sweet mama has the patience of a saint and all the littles love her! We’re so thankful we have her in our tribe! Here’s a little more about her story:

Hi!  My name is Mindy.  I started attending Stroller Strong Mom’s in February of 2017.  A friend had invited my sister and I to “check it out” with her.  I was soooo nervous!  I grew up being active, but I never participated in group workouts or team sports or competitive events…also, I am an introvert! 

My 2 year old and I got to that first workout before my sister and friend.  I tried to “hide”, but one of the Mama’s encouraged me to join the circle “we aren’t mean girls” she said.  That statement is so true to what I have experienced at Stroller Strong!  The encouragement, the camaraderie, the familiar understanding of motherhood trials, as well as the friendly competitiveness and accountability have become such a needed part in my life!  I find myself planning events, excursions, and appointments all around being able to still get to my workouts!  I have found that I need the workout as much as the connection with “my tribe”, as Tiffany calls us.  And, man, what those workouts have done for me!

I work part time as a nurse at the local hospital and I have 3 kids.  Before kids, I would frequently run or go to the gym for my workouts. After kids, the struggle of juggling kids, work, and life made getting a consistent workout at home or the gym difficult, frustrating, and exhausting.  I love to run in our local races and I did our local marathon a few times.  My favorite race is the Beat Beethoven, a 5k in which we try to finish before the end of Beethoven’s 5th, so in about 30 minutes.  I love this race because it is the first one of the running season up here in Fairbanks.  It makes me excited for the summer to come!  Before kids, I would finish well under the time and win my free symphony ticket.  The first time it took me longer than 30 minutes was when I was in my first trimester of my first pregnancy… I had to stop to throw up too many times!  That was 9 years ago. My husband and I have run that race almost every year since, pushing kids and/or running with them.  I kept trying to beat Beethoven, but no matter how much gym time I had put in before the race I just couldn’t seem to get back to my pre-kid speed.  Well, this year I finally did it!  I had to sprint the last 50 yards, but I finally beat Beethoven again…all thanks to my S.LA.M. Family!

It has been a while since I have felt this strong and comfortable in my own skin.  The workouts at S.L.A.M. are always varied and challenging.  I enjoy being able to push myself and see results, but even better is being able to do all this with my children.  Don’t get me wrong, working out with kids is challenging!  But when I bring my 9 year old daughter to workouts and she works out with me and is growing up to understand that a strong woman is a beautiful woman and that that strength can happen while also momming and when my boys can be in an environment where strong women is the norm and can grow up with the expectation that a woman is strong and healthy…this is priceless.

I am honored, surprised, and excited to be nominated as S.L.A.M.er of the Month, but really we all are….  Like that mom who helped someone else’s kid up after a fall during our run to the next station.  Or that mom who said “good job!” to everyone she passed on all of our 5 laps between our final 5 on Friday!  Or those Moms who ran and then waited at the finish line of the last race to cheer the rest of us through to the end!  Yep, S.L.A.M. is the best.  So, like we say around here in the summer when the kids are out of school… “Who is coming to workouts with me?!”