I've been meaning to write about this for a while. Sorry for the delay! A little over two years ago, I was introduced to the website seeMOMMYrun.com through a friend's email. It came at a time that I was desperate for mommy companionship and desperate to get in shape. I think this desperation was key for me, otherwise I may have been too nervous to "put myself out there." Basically, it is a networking tool for mom's who want to run/walk with other moms. When you register (no cost) you select your state and then they show you all of the running/walking groups in that state. I haven't messed around with all of the tools too much, but I think you can look at different groups based on city, pace, distance, etc... The greatest thing though, I think, is that the site is so supportive of running/walking with a stroller. This was key for me! They also send out a newsletter with articles and promotions at some of the sponsors. Again, I have not taken advantage of most of this, although I did use some of the links to research jogging strollers.
The first "group" I found was back in May 2006. I found a nearby town that I knew I could navigate to and signed up. The group only consisted of one other runner, I think. She emailed me back (they don't give out emails or last names, just last initial) and we set up a meeting time at a park. I was very nervous about meeting a "stranger," but the public location and the fact that we both had small children helped me get over it. To make a long story short, I met a great lady with a little boy about 6 months younger than Isabel. She was in much better shape than I was (another obstacle I had to overcome), but she was so supportive and encouraging on our runs. She was interested more in the companionship than a super workout. We met weekly and soon had a third mom and her two kids join us occasionally. We even let our kids play on the nice playground nearby after our runs somedays. We talked about lots of different things that were going on in our lives and shared tips and experiences. It was a great place to vent. I stopped running with her after I found out I was pregnant in August and was so terribly sick. Fortunately, she had found some other women to join her by then. She did end up coming over to my house and walking with me a few times and we had little play-dates with the kids after our walks. She ended up moving that winter because her husband got a new job, but we still keep in touch.
Last summer, after Alexis was born, I looked for a new group to join. I also considered starting my own (an option on the site as well). This time I found a group in my actual town. The funny thing is, the "founder" of the group never got back to me, but I was able to connect with another woman through the group and we just decided to meet on our own. She had twin boys who were in between Isabel and Alexis. We met at the pond I usually walk around near my house which was great for me. Again, it worked out wonderfully. This time though, we walked. I don't think she has an interest in running and Alexis was so small that I knew I wouldn't be running for a few months with her anyway. We kept meeting about once a week, although not a specific day, just whatever we both had open, until the weather turned bad. We started back up again a few months ago, and today we had a great walk with a stop at a playground nearby for the kids to play at. (We hadn't done this before).
The other blessing that came out of this was that both of these women that I randomly met are Catholic. We are all at different "stages" of our faith, but it was great to discuss things and just have that support and understanding that I know I was having a difficult time finding elsewhere. Obviously, it was God providing for me, in a most unexpected place. Needless to say, I have had a great experience with seeMOMMYrun.com. I've already started checking out the groups in Colorado Springs and there are quite a few. We'll see if I have the same good luck!