By Krystina Lucido
When Megan Kearney was a new mom and couldn’t find any support system in Harford County to get in shape without taking away from new responsibilities, she took it upon herself to get moms just like her together for Stroller Striders, a group that met one hour a day to work out. Still, the participating moms wanted more.
“I had a group of moms who had come to me and said, ‘What do you do to stay in shape?’ and I told them, ‘This isn’t my normal workout, I’m a tri-athlete,’ ” said Kearney. “So those women wanting to get more from me asked if they could train for a triathlon with me. From that grew this desire to get women into the sport and so began the GoMamaGo team.”
The women mostly train for triathlon events, but each woman has her own goals she sets for herself. Kearney believes the well-rounded nature of the three different disciplines offers the women not only a good workout but also a stress reliever.
“Each generation helps the forthcoming one,” Kearney said. “Seeing how she handles her priorities and time management and where you fit in a workout. The girls that don’t have kids are watching the 30-somethings who have newborns, like myself, juggling their workouts and trying to find time between work and other commitments.
“We have girls who are just going into college, so they are dealing with the different stressors in their lives, but basically my goal is to just help these women find a passion with the sport but not make it all-consuming, which it can be.”
The main event the women train for is the Philadelphia Women’s Triathlon and Dualthon. The training program for the event is 12 weeks long so the group gets together a maximum of four days a week to train -- two swim practices, one track practice and one bike ride.
What makes GoMamaGo unique from other training groups is the work the group does beyond physical training.
“There’s a lot of clinics and seminars that we do,” Kearney said. “Psychological skills training to help mentally prepare the women for the race; skills like visualization, concentration and trying to keep them motivated in the right ways. There’s nutrition seminars that we do, transition training clinics that we do, as much as we can pack in to build knowledge and educate the athletes because I really truly believe that the more they know, the more confident they become about the sport, about participating in the sport, and that sort of quells some of the fears and nerves that they have going into the race.”
The program has now grown beyond just “mamas” to include all women from 20-60 who benefit from the support system of working with other female athletes and the de-stressor the workouts themselves provide.
“I love the program,” said Kelly Haggerty, an athlete relatively new to the program. “I used to be an avid half-marathon runner and I can’t run long distances anymore so I was looking for a program to stay active and learn to do activities other than running. I read an article on GoMamaGo and met with Megan back in October. We put together a 12-week program for me incorporating swimming, biking, running, weight training.
“I’ve never been a triathlon athlete. I’m not a cyclist. I’m not a swimmer but to have someone 15, 30 years older than me saying, ‘You can do this. You can get in a river and swim 50 feet, no problem.’ Knowing you have the camaraderie of women to cheer you on from start to finish, it really is an amazing program.”
What started as Kearney trying to get in shape within the constraints of raising a family became a chance for women to make taking care of themselves a priority and therefore taking better care of their families.
“It’s our mission to help women make their health a priority and find a sport that they can pursue for a lifetime and I truly believe in the sport of triathlon,” said Kearney. “I think it’s fun, exciting, you have to do a mix of the three sports and I think they’re all fantastic sports for anybody, anyone, any age group to participate in.
“That said, my goal as a coach is to see that our children and the future generations to come can see us making our health a priority and to set positive examples by being in shape, by being active and making healthy choices.”
Posted May 22, 2009