Moms Unite

A No-Excuses Exercise Outlet


     Hooking up with a mom’s group is pretty much de rigueur for any new mom. Otherwise, when your child projectile vomits, you will freak out and believe him to be demonically possessed, whereas another mom could help you grab a towel, call the doctor and relax. Women share tips, rescuing each other from that inevitable moment when you want to give yourself a swirly just to drown out the noise.
     But you might consider a particular mom’s group that merges the camaraderie factor with physical exercise, such as, which is a free online site that helps you find other moms in your city to start a running or walking group.
     There are nearly 58,000 members nationwide, and 15 different groups in Oakland alone. These range from the 8-minute mile runners “Wanna Run” group who log 4-6 miles each outing and have been meeting since 2005, to “the Grateful Moms” who walk 1 to 3 miles, maybe blissed out on Jerry Garcia, and joined up in 2009. Alameda has two groups, and Berkeley has 10.
     It’s free to register and gain access to already-existing groups, or you can start your own. You determine your pace, your schedule and write up a welcome message to anyone who might join your group, listing information like whether dogs are welcome on these strides and whether the point is to exert or to socialize.
     Launched in 2004 as the brainchild of Virginia mom Andrea Vincent — she conceived the idea while running, eight months pregnant — the group is cheaper than a gym, lets moms off the hook of finding childcare while they exercise (two words: jogging stroller) and exerts subtle peer pressure to continue exercising since it’s not a solo activity.
     Member Holly Parton ran the See Jane Run half-marathon in Alameda in June 2011. She says, “I enjoy running with other moms. We usually get a better workout in because we are having such a good time we run an extra mile, or we are laughing so hard our abs are getting a workout also.”

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