We are Stroller Strong Moms



Stroller Strong Moms just recently celebrated some anniversaries. We had two huge parties! Columbus celebrated its two year SLAMiversary and Savannah celebrated its one year SLAMiversary! Click the SSM blog to read more and find out what SSM is all about!



Meet Reba


My name is Rebecca Paull, and I am so proud to be a Stroller Strong Mom and to be on the race committee board of Light Up Columbus 1k/5k/10k! I first began attending Stroller Strong Moms in November of 2011 as a member. I loved the program so much I became a certified group fitness instructor in May of 2012 so I could begin instructing our ever-growing group. There are so many special aspects of SSM I could go on about forever. I’ll just say that being in an exercise environment with goal-driven, amazing, and dedicated mothers is a powerful thing. We challenge each other, we inspire each other, we set goals together, we meet our goals, and then we set new ones. If you’re reading this and you don’t know how to start a fitness regiment, I would strongly suggest you find a group or start a group. Having someone to keep you accountable is key, or at least it has been for me.

Six years ago, I was never a runner. My husband, Joe, however, is an avid runner and always has been very active. Countless days he shoved me out the door and dragged me along on his runs. I would be 20 feet behind him of course, frustrated and breathless. About a year into these shenanigans, I came to the realization that if I didn’t start to enjoy running, I would have a bad attitude towards fitness forever and our marriage would not be functional.  I had to change my outlook all together or else I wouldn’t be able to share his favorite past time with him. I started taking mental notes from him about how to make time for a daily run. My excuse list starting getting shorter and shorter as I watched him lace up in the rain, in the middle of a busy workday, with kids in tow etc. and I started doing the same. You can make excuses or you can just run. So fast forward to now, 6 years into running, I feel like I’m still a new runner, yet I feel achieved. I have run A LOT of 5ks, a few 10ks, two half-marathons, I ran across Georgia in a relay team for Run Across Georgia/ Run For The Heroes which benefitted a local organization House of Heroes. I am currently training for my first marathon, The Soldier Marathon on November 9th.  I’m beginning to realize I like longer distances, much to my mother’s discomfort. (Sorry, mom.) It’s very exciting to know there are so many lessons I still have to learn as a runner, so many more opportunities I will have as a runner, and it’s something I can possibly do forever.  If I had to make a list of why I love running it would be rather long, so I will just list a few off the top of my head.


TOP 10 REASONS REBECCA RUNS or the reasons she can think of at the moment …

10. Running is cheap.

9. Running gets you from point A to point B.

8. My kids are taking notes on my lifestyle.

7.  Running is good for you (as long as you’re doing it right.)

6.  Running allows me donate to a charity and burn calories at the same time.

5. Running has opened doors for me, career wise.

4. I get to be a part of an awesome running community in Columbus, Georgia.

3.  Running helps put my life into focus and clears my head.

2.  Running allows me to see my surroundings up-close and personal.

1.5. I like to rub it in my husband’s face that I have run further than he has.

1. My marriage is stronger because of running.

So now I would like for you to know why I am excited about being on the race committee for Light Up Columbus 1k/5k/10k. I’ll mention a quick story from my run across Georgia experience, if you don’t mind. I promise I have a point. I had already run 7.57, 6.84, 7.0 as my duty for the relay. Now it was time for the quicky 3.96. It was midnight and we were at a transition point St. Mark Catholic Church. The road was Orphan Cemetery Road. No kidding. As a Catholic, I felt comforted, but still scared to run at night and kept imagining baby ghosts. (How could you not?) My last runs- there were always runners from other teams in front or behind me, which was totally relieving since it confirmed I was in the right place and going the correct way. So I started off on my run, pepper-spray in hand (they told us to be cautious of dogs, ha.) The entire run I felt sluggish and heavy legged. I was in the dark and there was not a fellow runner in sight. I kept looking ahead and behind me at the rolling hills praying to see a light from a headlamp. No lights. I was alone. This is where I’m going to make the connection, get ready. This is how I would imagine some parents feel when they find out their child has Autism. Every story I’ve heard, a pediatrician hands you generic pamphlet and sends you out to make the calls for your child. Not in all cases, but in Ava’s case (see Ava’s story on our blog) that was the story. I want to help shed light on these parents and children. There can be insurance reforms, there can be awareness events, there will be a Light Up Columbus race in April 2014 that I get to be a part of. Although I don’t know much about Autism, I do know that with proper rehabilitation and special schools it can be treated and possibly eliminated. Children in Georgia are being denied top of line treatment and that can be fixed with insurance reform. Georgia currently doesn’t have insurance for these children so by ‘lighting up Columbus,’ we can play a role in changing that.


10 Tips For Your First 10K from Active.com

There is something magical about the 10K distance. On one hand, running 6.2 miles demands your respect and attention, but on the other, it isn’t so far that you can’t train for it—and run several 10Ks—in one season. It’s one step beyond the 5K and a great segue to the half or full marathon distance.

Now that you’ve built your mileage and successfully tackled a 5K, training for a 10K is well within your reach. Here are 10 tips for training and racing for a 10K in 10 weeks.

Click here for the tips: 


Mikey’s Story


Michael was my first baby and he was an easy one. He was fairly quiet, took very long naps and even at 12 months he could sit by himself and look through books for an hour at a time.  He was a bit on the later side of crawling and walking, but these things came in due time.  His words, however, did not. At 15 months, at 18 months, I was still waiting to hear his first words, to see him wave bye-bye, and to have him blow me a kiss.  Despite my efforts to have more concrete answers and to have him evaluated for autism, which I was certain was a possibility, it took another full year to receive that diagnosis. 

An Army move, a second baby, and a long waiting list to see a developmental pediatrician contributed to the delay in diagnosis for us and are just a few of the reasons why it can take so long for young children to be diagnosed and to be able to start appropriate treatment.  I actually felt that the diagnosis was the easy part compared to the next steps. I wasn’t so much rocked by the news of his diagnosis as I was about what to do next.  The team of specialists who diagnosed Mikey did not recommend a course of treatment for him.  There was no guidance from the doctors about therapies that might help him.  Instead we were handed some generic information about autism and a pamphlet about local social service programs – all of which were a two hour drive from where we lived.  The huge volume of info on the Internet was totally overwhelming and let me to more questions than answers – there seemed to be a lot of quick-fix fad therapies out there.

And so the learning curve was huge about what to do for Mikey – about what was going to be the best use of our resources. I felt the intense pressure of time because I knew that intense, early intervention was the greatest hope for the best possible outcome for Mikey. It felt like his whole future depended on what I could do for him right then.  We eventually discovered that ABA therapy, the gold standard of treatment for autism, and the one our Army health insurance covers (we are the lucky ones!!!) was not available in our area. 


So we had to make some tough choices as a family and make some big changes to get Mikey the help he needed.  My husband had to choose between pursing the jobs in the Army he really wanted and asking for an assignment that would offer Mikey the best treatment options. The kids and I moved ahead of time to his next duty station in order to begin treatment.  But despite these any other difficulties, we were of course grateful to have the opportunities to get Mikey the help he needed.  And now, six years later, I can definitely say that those choices and Mikey’s hard work has paid off.  He is a talkative, compassionate, bright and happy child with a great sense of humor who I know has a whole lot of good things to offer this world.

We are excited about the upcoming LightUpColumbus for Autism event and can’t wait to run alongside everyone who is there to support autism awareness and all of those affected by autism.  Be sure to look for Mikey who will be running and probably cheering on all the runners the loudest!

Learn the Signs of Autism

From autismspeaks.org


Autism Speaks’ multi-year Ad Council public service advertising campaign stresses the importance of recognizing the early signs of autism and seeking early intervention services. Recent research confirms that appropriate screening can determine whether a child is at risk for autism as young as one year. While every child develops differently, we also know that early treatment improves outcomes, often dramatically. Studies show, for example, that early intensive behavioral intervention improves learning, communication and social skills in young children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD).

One of the most important things you can do as a parent or caregiver is to learn the early signs of autism and become familiar with the typical developmental milestones that your child should be reaching.

The following “red flags” may indicate your child is at risk for an autism spectrum disorder. If your child exhibits any of the following, please don’t delay in asking your pediatrician or family doctor for an evaluation:

  • No big smiles or other warm, joyful expressions by six months or thereafter
  • No back-and-forth sharing of sounds, smiles or other facial expressions by nine months
  • No babbling by 12 months
  • No back-and-forth gestures such as pointing, showing, reaching or waving by 12 months
  • No words by 16 months
  • No meaningful, two-word phrases (not including imitating or repeating) by 24 months
  • Any loss of speech, babbling or social skills at any age

The M-CHAT (Modified Checklist for Autism in Toddlers) can help you determine if a professional should evaluate your child. This simple online autism screen, available on our website, takes only a few minutes. If the answers suggest your child is at risk for autism, please consult with your child’s doctor. Likewise, if you have any other concerns about your child’s development, don’t wait. Speak to your doctor now about screening your child for autism.

You can learn more about how to recognize the signs of an autism using our Video Glossary. It contains over a hundred video clips illustrating typical and delayed development. Whether you are a parent, caregiver, relative or friend, it can help you learn the subtle differences and spot the early red flags for ASD.


Though autism spectrum disorders range from mildly to profoundly disabling, a diagnosis of ASD is an important turning point in a long journey. Autism Speaks has many resources for families whose children have recently received a diagnosis.

These include Autism Speaks 100 Day Kit and the Asperger Syndrome and High Functioning Autism Tool Kit. In addition, ourVideo Glossary provides information about a wide range of treatments and behavioral interventions that may be suitable for your child. Within the glossary, you can also download descriptions of these treatments and interventions.

Please visit Treatment of Autism and our Resource Guide for more information. Have more questions? Autism Speaks’ Autism Response Team can help you with information, resources and opportunities. Call us at 888-288-4762 (en Español 888-772-9050) or email familyservices@autismspeaks.org.


Lindsay Platky: From Zero Interest to Hooked on Running

My running journey is a very new chapter in my life and truly starts with my introduction to Stroller Strong Moms. Before SSM, I had been active most of my life, but running had eluded me. I had zero interest in running for pleasure and thought my abilities were better suited for other forms of exercise.
In 2012, an Army move brought my husband and I, and our soon to arrive baby boy, to gorgeous Savannah, Ga. A friend stationed at Ft. Benning told me about SSM and in September, at 8 weeks postpartum, I was anxious to meet some mama friends and shed the baby weight. I found so much more.
The New Year’s Get Fit Challenge was a game changer for me. I lost 9 pounds from my pre pregnancy weight and increased my strength and speed ten fold! In March I finally participated in my first race with SSM. To be honest, I was in it for the pretty tutus and a fun Friday night, but I surprised myself by beating my goal time by 3.5 minutes!! I WAS HOOKED!!
I have since completed six more races with my SSM family and have cut my 5k time from 23:37 at the March Shamrock Run to 19:31 at the September Tunnel to Towers Race. Interestingly, my husband has been in Afghanistan since February, and has completely missed this transformation. The other moms joke that they feel sorry for the man, as he is coming home to a SUPER competitive, driven and health conscious wife (no more junk food in the house, sorry babe!) – but I know he’ll be so proud of my accomplishments.
I am currently training for the Savannah Rock & Roll 1/2 Marathon with hopes of finishing under 1:40. I am thrilled at the prospect of running this race with the women that inspire me most. I have become super competitive in my running pursuits, and I hope that my drive, commitment and passion can inspire a few mamas to put on their sneakers and get out there. Before March, I had only run in two ‘fun runs’ in my life, and seven months later, I’m placing in each race I run. My best piece of advice for brand new runners is to allow yourself to step out of your mental and physical comfort zone. Running at your 5k pace should be a bit uncomfortable, your muscles are working hard to propel you forward. Don’t give up, because crossing the finish line is an amazing reward for your efforts. Hit the pavement, start today!!
I can’t wait to meet up with my SSM Columbus sisters in April as we all band together to Light Up Columbus for Autism. It’s going to be an epic evening!

Stroller Strong Mom Story: Andrea Sands


Andrea was our very first SSM member of the month in November of 2012. She has since moved to Alaska and is enjoying the outdoors with her beautiful family. Andrea is so excited about LUC in April and she can’t wait to represent from afar by participating in the Virtual Glow 5k/10k for LUC!!! Click here to read her SSM story.