Wednesday, October 8, 2014

September/October Member of the Month

Meet Kristin Khan 

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.

After college, I married Jamal, and we moved to Ft. Lewis, WA.  I was working and couldn’t make it to any kickboxing classes, but I continued running and doing the occasional pathetic strength training.  While Jamal was deployed he encouraged me to train for a race longer than the 5K’s I was used to running.  I completed my first half marathon in 2010 while he was away and ran my first full marathon in Portland shortly after he came home.

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 also 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.

Monday, September 1, 2014

August Member of the Month

Meet Kathleen

I grew up identifying myself with the athletic lifestyle.  I was taller, faster and stronger than most all my peers.  Having said that; I didn't make the 8th grade basketball team, my pr mile time was a disappointing 7 minutes (set as a freshman in high school) and I'm reasonably sure I've not been able to run a full mile without walking since 2007.  Those setbacks aside, I did manage to go to college on a track scholarship for the high jump. I did reasonably well and was certainly the strongest I would ever be for the rest of my life.  In the indoor season of my sophomore year I developed a compression fracture in my L1, not a great injury for anyone but a career ender for me.  

I spent the next couple of years dealing with the repercussions of a spinal injury, and besides trying unsuccessfully to get back into running a few times, I considered my active life retired.  I married my husband Andrew in 2006 but between 2 deployments, several  6+ week military training exercises, and my going to school and back to work it never seemed like the right time for kids. In the spring of 2012 we found out we were expecting what would turn out to be Adrian in Jan 2013.  

What we got was Adrian on Black Friday of 2012.  I was home alone for the holiday while my husband visited family in Houston Tx.  I noticed on Thanksgiving Day that I hadn't felt any baby kicks that day and resolved to see how things went overnight before going to the hospital the next morning.  I spent the night convincing myself that I simply hadn't been paying attention and everything was fine but the next morning I drove myself to ft Stewart to make sure everything was ok. 

It wasn't ok.  Somewhere between Richmond Hill and Hinesville my vision totally blacked out - while I was driving- and in the hospital the nurses were unable to rouse Adrian at all.  His stats dropped suddenly and I had an emergency c- section.  It was discovered I had had a placental abruption,  robbing Adrian of nutrients and oxygen over an unknown period of time.  Adrian was born with an APGAR of 2 but the staff was able to stabilize him and he was sent to the nearest NICU that could accommodate him in Augusta GA.  

He spent the next 3 weeks in the NICU in Augusta and 3 more in the NICU in savannah.  It was a emotional roller coaster for my husband and I,  punctuated with Andrew deploying to Afghanistan less than 24 hours after Adrian was released from the hospital.

Kelli Berger and her husband, who was my husbands captain at the time, came to visit us in the NICU. I didn't know her at the time but later she reached out to me to come to a FRG meeting in February.  I had never ever involved myself in FRG in the past but something compelled me to go to this meeting, I'm so glad I did!  Kelli told me about Stroller Strong Moms and I was intrigued.  I started classes in March and it hurt so good!   I've had various setbacks since then, Adrian rehospitalized for 3 weeks, a twisted ankle, a complicated second pregnancy, and then giving birth to my beautiful daughter Scarlett, but I've hung in because I love my SSM family and I despite my frequent whining- I love SLAMing.

Now that we are done having kids, I've promised myself that I will conquer my fear of the 5k before Scarlett's first birthday - that I will stop cheating myself in my workouts by giving up too easily - and I will lose 25 lbs and be able to wear the Lulu shorts Wat Dawg got me without grossing anyone out. Don't wish me luck, wish me DO!

Monday, July 14, 2014

July Member of the Month

Meet Tutt 

I should start off by saying that I am a nerd.  Comic books, Comic movies, Lord of the Rings, Star Wars and Star Trek.  I love them all.  But most of all, I’m a huge Wonder Woman fan. 

Since this is for Stroller Strong Moms and fitness we’ll get back on track.  ;) I was always active in sports growing up.  I played soccer, softball and basketball.  They offered a weight lifting class in high school and I thought it would be fun.  It was, I enjoyed lifting weights and working out.  However, I only did cardio when it was part of a sport.  I tried to keep up with exercising and lifting weights in college but it was inconsistent.  However, I had always considered myself athletic and in shape.

After college I married Courtney and our life in the Army began. Wherever the Army has sent us I’ve been active and gone to the gym.  In Fort Lewis I played intramural soccer and lifted weights, in Fort Knox I lifted weights and attempted to get into running.  But it was Fort Bliss that my fitness really took off.  Not only did I left weights but I took classes too; Step, Yoga, TRX, Spinning and Intro to Running. Intro to Running was taught by my friend Melissa who was in fantastic shape.  Because of her I got into running and ran 3 miles for the first time in my life.  I still consider that moment to be one of my greatest accomplishments.  I ran religiously 3 times a week and it was my top priority.  I trained and ran in the El Paso Marathon in 2010.  A few weeks later I was sidelined by chronic shin splints and once I started to recover from them I was pregnant with terrible morning sickness. 

We moved to Fort Benning in the summer of 2011 when I was just over halfway through my pregnancy.  I wanted to get back into working out but being pregnant gave me severe back pain.  Once I had Connor some friends told me about this class where you take your kids in the stroller and workout.  They swore that I would like it.  I was hesitant and felt disconnected from the military community.  (This is our first time living off post.)  Instead I worked out with a friend even through my next pregnancy.  Once I had Colin in February 2013 I had a harder time losing the baby weight.  My friend that I had worked out with for over a year moved to England and I thought what did I have to lose?  In July I looked up and decided to go to this “Stroller Class” that my friends had been telling me about for 2 years.  I was late to the first class and instead of getting out and showing up late, I sat in my car and cried.  Then I got out and walked Britt David swearing that I’ll be early tomorrow.  I was and Brooke was my first instructor.  She was so welcoming and nice.  I showed up regularly after that, late or not.  Connor and I both made friends. While I didn’t see any results in the first several months by February I could fit into clothes that I had worn between my pregnancies and some workout clothes from before I was pregnant.  

Since joining Stroller Strong Moms I’ve run 8 5ks, ran the relay in the Soldier’s Marathon and Ran Across Georgia.  I’ve made memories that will last a lifetime.  Stroller Strong Moms became not only part of my routine but it was something that I looked forward to each day.

We’re preparing to leave for Maxwell Air Force Base in Montgomery, Alabama.  I’m sad to leave all of my Stroller Strong Mom friends here in Columbus and in Savannah.  I can only hope that the Army will bring us together again. 

Monday, June 2, 2014

May/June Member of the Month

Meet Marleny

Hola a todos!

My name is Marleny Lyla Caso, I’m originally from Lima, Peru.
I started Stroller Strong moms when my baby, Lucas, was 5 months old.  Hard to believe he is now 1 year old!

 I’ve been a Stroller Strong momma since September 2013. One of my friends from Germany who was living here told me about a group of moms she always saw working out in the park.  So when we moved here in September, I decided to check it out…so glad I did! 

Honestly I had never been very active growing up because there is not a strong sports culture in Peru, when I was in the high school I used to play soccer and volleyball, but after a few years I had no motivation at all.  I was thinking more about my future and career.

5 years ago I moved to Germany to learn the language and to begin a new career over there. There I was destined to meet my amazing husband Shane Naniot.  He American and me a Peruvian living in Germany! Beautiful memories come back to my head…we had great adventures over there enjoying and learning more about Europe.  I used to bike a lot over there because it is a common mode of transportation.  After I met my husband we also did quite a bit of hiking.  I tried jogging a few times in Germany but found it boring.  I wasn’t too crazy about it and stopped altogether once I got pregnant in 2012. 

A few months later we moved from there to the US with a half-cooked first baby in the oven!  I gained a lot of weight while living in Columbus, GA because of the change in cultures, baby blues and different types of food (Fast food and big portions) It was hard to lose weight, so when we moved from Columbus to Richmond Hill I really wanted to try and do something different...

Thanks to my husband for being my biggest motivator! He always pushed me to try to keep running or just go out to take a walk.  He wanted to do a marathon in 2013 but unfortunately he did not because we had too much to do with the arrival of our son. Everyday that he was training for the marathon I wanted to run too but Lucas was so little at the time.  So after we moved here, I joined SSM to try to lose some of that baby weight, with the added benefit that I have since met a terrific group of friends (for me and Lucas!) and enjoy working out more than ever, especially running.  The motivation I get from this group of amazing ladies is phenomenal. After joining SSM, I went from having run hardly at all to completing several 5Ks and two 10Ks with my family.  My First 5k was in October with a slow PR 40 minutes.  After 3 months, my 5k PR was 27 min and I ran my first Savannah Bridge Run 10k  in November 2013.  I thought it was going to be too much for me but I did it! So I trained more and decided to do another 10k, the Savannah Hot Cocoa with a PR of 56 minutes.  I was proud to participate in the Get Fit Challenge 2014. I lost many pounds, became stronger, and I am totally loving my body and myself! My goal is to keep building up to a marathon. My husband and I  
were planning to run the Savannah Rock and Roll Marathon in November 2014, but since we are expecting  baby number 2  we  might have to hold off on that for now, but I’ll get there! 

I have loved being a part of these amazing ladies who push themselves to new levels and work so hard to accomplish their goals. Thank you SO much to Alexa for creating such an awesome fitness plan for both babies and mommies, and to Cassie and Kelli for the awesome workouts and MOTIVATION!  Don't forget to Sweat Like A Mom!


Saturday, May 17, 2014

April/May Member of the Month

Meet Erin 

I grew up training as a gymnast and competed until I graduated high school. When I got to college I thought I deserved to give myself a break for a while since I had spent so many years being pushed in the gym for gymnastics. I gained some weight but really I just felt lazy. That lasted a year. That summer, with my husband's influence, I picked up running (a little, like a mile and a half everyday) and it brought fitness back into my life. I didn't have to be in the gym for 4 hrs everyday to get fit, I just needed to do something everyday. From there I started running 1 half marathon every year and working out consistently, but working out by yourself can land you in a slump. 

My very intense husband was a great motivator but I couldn't exactly workout WITH my husband all the time. It wasn't until I was pregnant with Raygan that I heard about SSM and decided I would try it out once she was born. I started coming when Raygan was 5 weeks old. I came to of course get back in shape but also to work out and be pushed by other moms. I can honestly say I am in the best shape of my life because of stroller class. 

Some days I don't feel like coming, but I get out the door, and when I get to class I can't help but push myself once I'm there with everybody. It is that accountability and slightly competitive nature I have that make me push myself everyday. And I get to bring Raygan with me I want Raygan to recognize the importance of fitness in her dad and I's lives and for her to grow up not knowing anything different than fitness being a part of her daily routine. And my favorite question I get asked about SSM , " do you just meet up and walk with your babies?" Um no...Come try out a class!! Thank you moms for pushing me every day!

Monday, March 31, 2014

March Member of the Month

Meet Davida

Hi Ladies!
I have been a member of Stroller Strong Moms since the grand opening in Savannah; I am so thankful for this wonderful outlet! 
I am the oldest of five children, born and raised in beautiful Savannah, Ga! Although I wasn't particularly athletic growing up, I've always had a penchant for taking care of myself and being fit. My healthier lifestyle kickstarted after gaining the "freshman 15" during college at Georgia Southern University. Feeling uncomfortable with the added pounds, I decided to take steps to create a better me both physically and nutritionally. I shared my goals with my high school sweetheart, now husband Bryan. Many days after classes we would go jogging or work out together at the rec center. Bryan had always been physically active, playing soccer since 5, basketball and football. I figured if I could keep up with him, I'd be in good shape. After college and marriage, we continued to workout together, albeit challenging with our new careers, schedules and grad school. 

Fall of 2010 I was looking for more than my neighborhood walks, treadmill jogs and spin class workouts. I wanted to take my fitness to a different level! I also wanted to have more energy for my fast paced and demanding job! So, I signed up for a 5:45am 5k beginners running program. After weeks of training, I ran my 1st official 5k ; the running bug attacked me and there was no looking back! Two months later I ran my second 5k, signed up for both bootcamp and half marathon training. 
I was on a roll until I surprisingly but happily found out I was pregnant. Due to my doctors orders I could not continue to run, so training for the half marathon had to be postponed. December 28th 2011 Bryan and I welcomed our incredible son Jonah to our family. After settling into my new role, I finally felt ( physically) ready to get back to exercising. I tried getting in shape alone but it was hard and lonely. I knew a group setting would get me going, but, I needed something that fit my new lifestyle as a mom.

In the fall of 2012 my desire became a reality!!! I read on Southern Mamas that a moms workout group ( Stroller Strong Moms) was debuting in Savannah. I was sold when I read I could exercise with my son! So, I got my stroller, mat and baby ready for our first day of class. The grand opening was awesome, beautiful weather and friendly faces! My first few classes were very, very challenging. I was surprised that I could get full body workout with just a few pieces of equipment! I could barely keep up with the exercises without my knees buckling; I was out of shape more than I imagined. However, I was excited because SSM's was just what I needed, I had no excuses for getting in better shape.

Since attending class with SSM's, I have lost more than 25 pounds. I also started running 5k's again, and now I am stronger and faster! This past fall I was able to train and complete my 1st half marathon.
When I think I can't do another burpee, squat or push harder in a race, I think of my fellow SSM's who are probably tired too, but will push through until the end of the challenge. I feel so blessed to workout with a wonderful group of down to earth, encouraging and highly motivated women. Through SSM's both my son and I have made friends we look forward to seeing every week!
Thank you Alexa, Kelli, Cassie and Lindsay for the challenging and exciting workout classes. Alexa, I'm so glad you followed your heart and brought SSM to Savannah!

Thursday, February 27, 2014

February Member of the Month

 Meet Tess 

December 2013 (40 Pounds Lost!) 

Growing up, I was active but I never really made fitness an important part of my life. I was always comfortable with myself and the way I looked. As an adult I went to the gym, took a spin class here or a yoga class there. I would never have called myself fit, but I was happy. 

Then I had kids. Wow. I let my pregnancies do a number on my body. I gained more than the recommended amount of weight--by about 30 or 40 pounds! But I have my babies, and couldn't be happier about them. I just happened to let myself go in the process. 

In 2011 the Army moved my family to Columbus. My girl was 14 months old, and I heard about this group that was starting. Bring your stroller and your baby and workout at the park. Fantastic! I kid you not, I went to that park in September 2011. As usual though, I was late. I wussed out and didn't go to class. A few months later, I was pregnant and decided not to workout. 

September 2012

Oh how I kick myself for not going to class. 

After I had my boy, I finally made it back to that park. In 2013, I was so out of shape. Not myself. I was meeting new people who were all so supportive and polite, but I knew in my heart that I wasn't me. And I knew the only way I was going to change was to move my buns. Being unhealthy got me to my current state, and being healthy would get me back to myself. 

March 2013 

I tried so hard. And it payed off! Stroller Strong Moms is what got me going. The mix of running and strength training was exactly what I needed. I did a couch to 5K program on days I couldn't get to class and tried to cut out processed foods. I also made smarter choices. I doubt I'll ever be able to give up my coffee, but I can definitely do without the 400 calorie mochas and lattes!

SSM gives me motivation, encouragement, and just the right amount of accountability. I can go at my own pace, tend to my kiddos, and push myself beyond my comfort zone. Sure, the kids aren't always pleased about being strapped in as we pass the playground. And yes, I bribe them with fruit snacks. But when I see my girl doing step ups in our front yard or my boy doing his version of a side plank, I know I've made an important, lasting impression on them.

Today, I've gotten back to a better me. My kids are with me, learning, and are proud of me. My husband loves me however I am, but now he sees I am healthier and happier. His support and encouragement get me through each day. 

June 2013 (My first 5K!)

I still have goals for the future. Maybe even--dare I say it--a half marathon? All I know is, I have an amazing support group of ladies. Stroller Strong Moms is truly a blessing in my life. I always ask myself if I really want to do this. Can I get it done today? Change myself for the better? Well, the voice in my head tells me the answer is either, "Yes or Yes!"

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

December Member of the Month

Meet Holly 

I’m originally from Augusta, Georgia but I have called Savannah my home for the past 10 years. My husband and I met in college at Georgia Southern University in Statesboro, GA. We still have fun going to all of the home football games every fall.  We have a little girl, Mary who is 4 years old. When I was pregnant with Mary I felt sick all the time in the first 2 trimesters. The only thing that would make me feel better was to take a nap. Aside from going to work I never exercised when I was pregnant. I was afraid I would hurt her in some way. I gained 30 pounds during my pregnancy and I assumed the pounds would disappear after having her. Boy was I wrong. I think it was the accumulation of crazy hormones, not sleeping well and turning 30 that the pounds did not melt away as I envisioned. I joined a gym but made excuses about it because the nursery was stinky. After that I tried workout videos in my house but I felt silly doing them by myself. A year later I joined another gym but I quit going because the trainers got on my nerves and when I didn’t know how to use the machines they made me feel really dumb.
More than anything I enjoyed being outside running but I would not stick with it. I scheduled a couple of 5K’s throughout the year in hopes that I would get motivated. It worked for a little while but I would try to “train” and run a couple of weeks before the 5k in hopes that I would magically run faster in the race.

Last January I ran a trail run where I worked and lived at the time. It was an all boys Boarding school located in Savannah. My husband and I were house parents there and took care of 8-12 teenage boys throughout the week. They had a fundraiser one weekend which was a 5K trail run and since the starting line was in my back yard I felt that was a sign I needed to run. I remember it being one of the worst runs ever. I could barely run half a mile without stopping. I could hardly catch my breath. I walked and ran as fast as I could and I told myself that would be my last “bad” run. I felt too young to feel that bad. At the finish line of 43 minutes I almost passed out. Earlier that week, when I was running at Forsyth Park I prayed that God would lead me to a workout partner that would encourage me and teach me the right way to work out, I knew I could no longer do it on my own.
I am so thankful that God answered that prayer because within the next couple of days I found an announcement on Facebook about Stroller Strong Moms. They met at Forsyth Park on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays at 9:30. Perfect because Mary goes to school 2 blocks from there and school started at 9! I emailed Alexa and told her I did have a little one but the days she was in school but I would bring my empty stroller some of the days. She said great! No problem! (Little did I know her son was in Mary’s class!!)
My first week was so hard. I felt like I would pass out every time. That day we started the Get Fit Challenge and I could barely do 1 push up and could barely do a plank for 10 seconds. I felt so dumb. None of the girls laughed and they were all so encouraging. I remember the first 3 months I was sore everyday but so proud of my progress. My poor husband had to hear about SSM everyday because I was so excited. At the end of the get Fit Challenge I was awarded most improved. I owe it all to the inspirational ladies in the group.

 My friend Mandy (another SSM) signed up for a 5K in early February. That day it was cold and raining and she and her hubby came with their double stroller and I couldn’t believe how dedicated they were. I ran the entire way only stopping once to tie my shoe. I ran the 5K in a little over 29 minutes. I could not believe it. It was all because of SSM and the amazing trainers.  A month later was the Shamrock 5K Run. We all made green tutus and dressed in our best green. Even some of our husbands came out to support us. The Girls on the Run 5K was in May, such fun! Also in May was the Savannah Mile. We decided it would be fun for it to be a family affair. Jason rode his bike and Mary and I ran together. My sweet little girl’s legs ran the entire way! We finished in less than 17 minutes! Not bad for a 4 year old!

 Around July the girls started talking about the Savannah Rock and Roll Half Marathon. I encouraged them to do it but never even considered doing this. The more they chatted about it I thought more about it. Lindsay Von told me that there was no reason I shouldn’t do it. If I trained properly it was possible for me to do it. Davida also encouraged me and would even text me at 5:30AM on Saturdays to make sure I was awake to train! It was like a light bulb went off in my head, if these girls who inspired me every day could do it, I did not want to let them down! I continued coming to SSM and also joined another running group in September so I could get my long runs in. I am so thankful and proud to say that on November 7th I ran my first HALF MARATHON!!! I will say it was one of the most difficult things I have ever done but also one of the most rewarding. To see my husband, my mom and my little girl at the finish line was so amazing. For the past 3 years I have run the Savannah Bridge Run in December. It is extremely difficult with a 5.5 incline but once you reach the top it is indescribable. I could barely breathe and made it to the finish line in 44 minutes. This year I really wanted to do better. During the Half Marathon I injured my foot so I wasn’t able to work out and come to SSM as much as I wanted to and tried resting it and running when I could. I prayed that I would do better and to my amazement I finished 14 minutes faster than last year.

I cannot tell you how thankful I am for Alexa. Her dedication to SSM is unbelievable. Kelli and Cassie have been awesome as well. I gained many new friends and I am the most fit I have been in years. I pray that other moms take the first step and resolve to be a better you.