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.