Being a stay-at-home mom can be a lonesome, exhausting experience. Play groups and other activities often bring mothers together, but few options exist for moms seeking fellowship and fitness.
Jennifer Lagasca, 32, felt that void after returning to Washington from overseas a year ago.
"I was feeling very isolated," said Lagasca, who has a 1-year-old son, Jake. "I had been here as a single professional, but never done Washington as a stay-at-home mommy. I tried the Gymboree thing, but decided this really [stinks]. People were just sitting around."
Then Lagasca discovered See Mommy Run. Started a year ago by Andrea Vincent of Manassas, See Mommy Run (www.SeeMommyRun.com) is a running group for mothers that has since expanded to 29 states. Several members of See Mommy Run are participating in this year's Marine Corps Marathon, including Lagasca, who is running her second marathon, and Vincent, who is running her first.
"They're totally motivated," Lagasca said. "Here are all these totally dynamic women, enjoying their kids. There is a whole range of running styles, ability levels, but it's noncompetitive."
Aside from keeping themselves fit, the moms hope to pass along good habits to their children. Jennifer Badolato, 34 of Montclair, has two daughters, Julia, 3, and Gina, 5. One day, they were running around the house with their dolls in their strollers. When Badolato asked them what they were doing, "They said, 'We're playing See Mommy Run,' " she said. "They were running with their babies like I do. I think it's good for them to see me do that."
Badolato is running in her fifth marathon, but her first since having children.
The tots do their best to keep their moms motivated. The group has onesies with the saying "My Mommy Runs Faster Than Your Mommy" and T-shirts with the slogan "See Mommy Run. Watch Daddy Try to Keep Up."
"I heard one of the kids in a stroller say 'Mommy, the other runners are running away from us. Catch them,' " Vincent said.
Long training runs are never easy, but as these moms will tell you, they are especially challenging when pushing a baby jogger with a 22-pound toddler in it.
"That was tough," Vincent said. "Now that I've done that I know I can do the marathon."
-- Kathy Orton