Monday, December 9, 2013

YMCA Jingle Bell 5 Mile Race & Rudolph's Dash 2013

Life has been NUTS!
Working extra shifts,
work meetings,
work trainings,
basketball practices,
basketball games,
school programs,
Tim working on a side project,
traveling for the Thanksgiving holiday weekend,
sick kid,
birthday parties-
the list goes on and on!
I am sure you know how it is-
it seems everyone is busier and busier these days.
Even with all of this craziness going on
I have been working out regularly.
It was necessary to keep me sane!
Life happened.
Great workouts happened.
Blog posts DID NOT!
Now that I am back
the first thing I have to share
is my Jingle Bell 5 Mile Race Recap.
The Jingle Bell Race is part of the local YMCA Winter Running Series.
There is a 5K or 5 mile option and
you can sign up for individual races
or the three race series.
In 2012 I ran this race with my best friend
and a couple of other Coulee Region MRTT (Moms Run This Town) ladies.
This year, Tim and I signed up for the 5 mile series.
Packet pick-up was Thursday/Friday
and was super easy and quick.
Here is the forecast that we woke up to race morning:
We are in the middle of a cold snap!
We thought the Turkey Trot was chilly
but this was going to be worse.
We bundled up
and headed to The Y
where we had to get our timing chip
to attach to our ankles.
Since it was so cold,
we hung out inside the lobby
until it was time to start.
I was able to meet up with a co-worker
and a fellow MRTT momma before the race.
We were also able to get some pre-race pictures.
Micca, me, Nikki

me and my honey:)

Everyone trying to stay warm inside before the race.

Nikki the Running Ninja
Once it was about time to start we headed outside to the start line.

Heading outside to get started.
We were able to get a few more pictures
 and before we knew it we were off.
Pre-race: Running Ninjas
 Tim and I got separated a bit at the beginning.
As you can imagine,
due to the weather
it wasn't a large race
so we were able to get back together quickly.
The first mile or so my fingers were cold
but it really wasn't that bad.
It wasn't long and we came to the first mile marker- 8:54-
not too shabby!
I felt pretty good that first mile and was happy to see my time.
Shortly before the two mile mark
we made a turn and at that point
my fingers were starting
to get very warm.
I started to flip open my gloves for short periods of time
and then they would get cold again so I would have to close them.
About that same time I could feel my eye lashes
freezing together
and some of the frost from my hat was melting
and dripping down my face.
Mile 2- 8:50 pace
Again, seeing this time felt great
and I was still feeling strong.
As we started to close in on the 3 mile mark I started feeling it.
It was hard to breath through my mask
so I pulled it down but then the cold air
was hard on my lungs.
I tried to pull my mask back up over my nose
but it wouldn't stay because it was all wet from breathing
through it and it kept falling back down.
Mile 3- 9:00 pace
Between mile 3 and 4 I was ready to be done.
Despite feeling like we started out at a good pace- it may have been too fast.
Before mile 4 we merged with the 5K runners.
Tim and I were able to pass several runners at this point
 and it felt good!
It may have been just the push we needed.
Mile 4- 8:51 pace
In the beginning Tim and I talked off and on.
By this point it was pretty quiet.
We were both focused on keeping our pace
and getting it done!
As we made one of the last turns
and could see the Y,
I started to not be able to breathe.
The cold air was making it so hard to breathe
and I just couldn't catch my breath.
I tried to take a couple of deep breaths
and just keep pushing to the finish.
It didn't feel like I had much of a final push
but we got it done and were very excited
to see the final mile split of 8:38 pace.
My MotoActv said our time was 43:34.
Our official time ended up to be 43:39.
We were super happy with our time!
After looking at each other
we had to get a post-race picture!
Post-race: Jack and Jill Frost
As soon as we got the picture we headed inside
to warm up and grab some pancakes.

My Stats:
Gun Time: 43:39
Overall Place: 46/91
Division Place: 5/12
Sex Place: 15/45
Tim's Stats:
Gun Time: 43:39
Overall Place: 45/91
Division Place: 10/12
Sex Place: 31/46
In the end we heard that race temp was about -13 to -15 with wind chill.
After eating and visiting with friends
it was time to head home to take warm showers
and head back with Isaac and Aidan for the Rudolph's Dash.
Aidan did the race last year
and had been talking about it forever.
I wasn't sure how it was going to go with it being so cold
 so I was hesitant to sign him up.
After he continued to talk about it
 I decided to sign him and Isaac up
when I went to packet pick-up.
Aidan would be doing the 50 yd dash
and Isaac would do the 200 yd dash.
Once we got home and were getting them ready to go
Aidan was saying he didn't want to do it.
Isaac was very excited and was all ready to go.
We finally headed out and
once we were there Aidan didn't want to get out of the car.
He did this last year and ended up running with me holding his hand.
We headed inside and I got Isaac's number pinned on
while Aidan kept hiding from me.
Isaac was excited and ready to go.
By the time I finally got both of them ready
we headed to the gym to find
the kids making their way outside in a line.
We joined in and I had to carry Aidan because he still didn't want to do it.
I figured once I got him to the start line
he would do it just like he did the Jr. Gobbler.
I put him down with the rest of the kids
and started to make my way to the finish line
and he started walking away from the other kids.
As they said go he just stood there!
I ended up going back and walking with him.
He wouldn't even run
and when we got to the end he didn't want his ribbon
and wanted nothing to do with Santa and Rudolph.
I guess he woke up on the wrong side of the bed!

This is the best picture I got of Aidan.
 I wouldn't have forced him to do it
if he hadn't talked about it like crazy before hand.
He was the one telling us that he wanted to do it
so we signed him up!
Who knows what was up that morning!
After another age group of kids raced it was time for Isaac to go.
He was all pumped and excited to sprint it out!

Isaac is in the blue sweatshirt with the blue and orange hat.
  As soon as they said "go"
he took off and pulled ahead.
I wasn't sure if he could hold onto the lead
as they turned the corner to come towards the finish line
but as you can see he did great!
Isaac in the lead as they turned the corner.

Isaac in the lead and pulling away from the group.

Isaac coming to the finish line- he was pretty proud of himself after looking back.

I think Isaac is going to be my runner;)

Isaac and Aidan after Rudolph's Dash
Isaac did a great job
and was so proud of himself.
I have to admit that I was one proud momma too!
Overall, I think it was a great morning!
When you sign up for a race in December in Wisconsin
you just never know what you are going to get
and I think we made the best of it!
The YMCA does a great job putting on this race
and the price is awesome-
for the whole series we paid
about what you would pay for a single race-
can't beat that!
Doing the 5 mile series is also a great way for us to stay motivated this winter!
Stay tuned for recaps on the rest of the series-
The New Years Resolution Run in January
The Valentine's Heart Throb in February.
Edited 1/6/13 to add race stats 

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Turkey Trot 2013

BLOG POST #100!!!!!!
I can't think of a more appropriate way to celebrate my 100th blog post than by doing a race recap!
I did this race a couple of years ago with Tim, Riley, and my dad so I knew it was a great race. When we didn't have any conflicts with the date we had to sign up! This no conflict thing later changed but we figured out how to make it work.
Sign up for the The 19th Annual UW-La Crosse Turkey Trot was super easy. We were able to register and sign all our waivers online. The other nice thing about this race is the cost. The price does not include a t-shirt so if you don't want that you can get by pretty cheap. Of course that would never happen with my family but I think it is still a pretty reasonably priced race. We were able to get the early bird pricing and,  even with getting the shirts, it was still cheaper than most other races.
Packet pick-up was also super easy. I was able to walk right up to the appropriate table and didn't have to wait in line. The volunteers were helpful and got our stuff together quickly while I signed the sheet to pick up the packets for my husband and boys. I was back out the door within minutes. While we were there Aidan started talking like maybe he did want to do the Jr. Gobblers Youth Race but I couldn't get a good feel for if he would actually do it, so I decided not to sign him up. On the way home he was back and forth talking about doing it. I got all the way home and realized that they forgot to give me Tim's shirt. In the end it worked out well because he was able to sign Aidan up for the Jr. Gobblers Youth Race when he went back. Aidan continued to talk about doing it so we figured as long as Tim had to go back to the Rec Center and our baby-sitter was ok coming along to watch him in the Rec Center while we ran,  we might as well let him go for it.
I think we were all excited for the race after getting our bibs and shirts. The only problem was going to be the weather! After seeing this on the news it wasn't sounding like it was going to be a whole lot of fun.
We headed out early so we could get through before the road closures and to get good parking close to the finish area (We got Isaac's basketball schedule after signing up for the race and it turned out he had a game at 10- lucky for us it was near the race location). We were able to find parking spots just rows from the finish area and headed to the Rec Center to stay warm until the 9 AM start time. It was a cold and breezy walk to get there and made us all question weather we dressed warm enough.
Once we were in the Rec Center we made our bathroom stops,  met up with other runners that we know and had some fun getting pictures with the mascots. 
Pre-race fun in the Recreational Eagle Center
Before long it was time to head out for the start. New for this year was starting corrals based on your predicted finish time. They give awards for those runners that finish the closest to their predicted times. We predicted our finish time to be 28:13 so that put us in Corral 3. We all jogged from the Rec Center to our corral and then kept running around in the parking lot to stay warm while we waited.

It wasn't long at the first corral was off and we started to walk forward. After two minutes corral 2 was off and again we were moving forward. Four minutes after the first corral started we took off. It was COLD and WINDY for this first stretch. There were also patches of ice on the road so you had to watch your footing.
Through this stretch the boys were right with us and talked the whole time. Isaac was very curious about the timing process and how everything worked. Before we knew it we were passing the Mile 1 flag. During this stretch we were running on the road where they closed just the right lane so cars were able to come up on our left. It was pretty congested so we were doing a lot of weaving in and out of people but we did a good job of staying together.
Before long we turned onto a paved trail to go through the marsh. Finally we were protected from the wind and we were able to really enjoy the race and everything around us. At this point the boys started to pull in front of us and go on their own. It was still very congested and there were lots of icy patches to watch out for through this stretch. Tim and I commented to each other about how great this portion of the race was- beautiful views of the marsh and of the bluffs along with being able to see the other runner's ahead of us on the winding trail.
As we got to the Mile 2 flag we were still able to spot the boys in front of us but we were not catching them. They were running strong and that made me so proud of them. At this point I found myself looking at my wrist to check my watch... but wait- that's right... I couldn't wear my watch because of the predicted finish time piece of this race. That threw me for a loop for a bit as I am a numbers/feedback person. At that point I just paid attention to how I was feeling and realized that I was feeling strong so much stronger than the last time I did this race! I felt like I was keeping a pretty good pace and tried to push myself as we were getting closer to the stadium. During this stretch my fingers were finally getting feeling back and I even flipped open the flap on my mittens. My lips and face on the other hand were frozen and numb!
It wasn't long and we were coming off the trail and back onto a street where we were able to spread out a bit again. Since we had done this race before we knew that we were getting close to the stadium so we started to pick up our pace a bit, but we also knew that we still had to run one lap on the track so we didn't want to go all out just yet (my first time doing the race I didn't know that and started my final push as I came to the stadium only to find out I had that lap to go yet). As we turned to the stadium I was fighting off a high side ache. I took a couple of deep breaths and once we got onto the track Tim and I really picked up the pace to finish strong. 
It felt like a great race but we weren't real sure of our finishing time. I couldn't see the time clock at the end because my sunglasses fogged over and after pushing it a the end of the race neither of us could do the math to figure it out. We found the boys and made our way through the finish area, grabbed some cups of ice water (they were suppose to be just water but they were frozen due to the cold weather) and we got in line to get our race result print-outs. Again, I am a numbers/feedback person so this is a must in my book!
Isaac needed to get off to basketball so he and Tim gave me their bibs and headed off to basketball. Riley, Aidan and I waited for the results - we were pretty excited to see that Isaac placed 4th in the males 9 and under and we all beat our predicted times. We headed back to the Rec Center to warm up, grab a snack and wait for the Jr. Gobbler Races to start. We weren't sure if Isaac would get an award for 4th place so we were planning be there just in case. Riley and I did a little stretching and before long they were announcing that we were to make our way to the stadium for the Jr. Gobbler Races but the awards hadn't started yet. As we were making our way that direction I found on my phone that Isaac would be getting an award but we would be missing the awards to get it for him. There was a volunteer walking near us that heard me and Riley talking and she explained the process to us, letting us know that we could go back after Aidan's race to claim it for him. I really appreciated that she jumped in to let us know that. She was very helpful as we talked to her.
The Jr. Gobbler Races seemed a bit unorganized this year compared to a couple of years ago when Isaac did it. I am not sure if it was due to the cold and people not wanting to wait outside like in the past or what the deal was. We weren't sure of where to be or what was going on. Then I saw a group of kids Aidan's size that had yellow stickers on their bibs, like Aidan had, heading out to the track so we just jumped in line. We got Aidan to the start line and he was ready to go! Riley and I were able to head to the finish line to watch him come in and he did a great job! A big improvement over the Rudolph's Dash last year when I had to run with him to get him to do it! As he came through the finish chute the UW-L Dance Team gave him a participant medal and he was so excited! He got his first medal and was in heaven. We got a quick picture with his medal and headed back to claim Isaac's award before heading home to warm up. We were all freezing at this point but we were also excited to hear about Isaac's basketball game and to give him his medal.
The weather wasn't ideal but it turned out to be a great race for all of us. We had a great time doing it as a family and I think it will become a new family tradition.
Tim (27:07.83), Heather (27:08.97), Riley (26:38.16), Isaac (26:56.96)
Aidan (finished Jr. Gobbler Dash)
The two medal winners had to have a picture together.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Hug a runner

Have you hugged a runner yet today?
so get out there are get your hugs in:)
Cyber hugs to all of you ((((HUGS))))

I have had a crazy day
filled with work meetings
but I planned ahead
and was ready to  head to The Y
as soon as the boys were off to school.
I got in a great 5k run on the treadmill
followed by 15 minutes of rowing.
We are doing a local Turkey Trot
this weekend as a family.
This race is a bit different-
you predict your finishing time
and try to finish as close to that time as possible-
of course no watches or devices are allowed.
Going 'naked' (without watch or device)
is going to be tough!
For my run on the treadmill today
I decided to try to get as close to my predicted time
so I could see how that pace felt.
I managed to come pretty darn close to my prediction
and am feeling ready for the race on Saturday.
Now if the weather would just cooperate!
This is what is coming tomorrow:
We knew it would come our way eventually!
I was hoping it would wait until closer to Christmas!
Check out what happens after that system goes through-

23 degrees just in time for the Turkey Trot!

Looks like it is going to be a chilly race!
Time to break out all of the winter running gear.

Thursday, November 14, 2013


Operation Determination is turning 1 today!
1 year ago today I started writing this blog
and what a roller coaster year it has been!
I started Operation Determination
to share my health and fitness journey,
to show you that you are not alone in your struggles,
to inspire others around me to start their journey,
to hold myself accountable,
and to document my journey for myself
so I can look back on it over time.
Over the past few days I found myself
going back and reading all of my posts
and reliving some of the ups and downs from the past year.
I realize that posts haven't always been consistent
and have been all over the board
but that is because life happens!
This year has taught me lot
and one of those things is to
You just never know when that might not be an option anymore.

I would have to say
that this past year brought
with it the lowest of lows for me-
it was tough but it has also made me stronger!
Going through all of that
has helped me appreciate so many things!
My journey over this past year

 has helped me appreciate
and celebrate the good times-

This year was filled with them!

From time with family,

new adventures,

and vacations

to running my first marathon-

it has been an incredible journey! 

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Consequences and rewards

Why is it that when I don't workout
I am more hungry
than on days when I do workout?
Why is it that when I don't workout
 I crave junk?
This is why physical activity (of some kind)
is necessary for me each day. 
Running and working out really are like medication to me
and when I don't get it routinely
bad things happen.
Take for example what happened on a rest day last week!
last weeks rest day may have resulted in poor choices!
I didn't even care about the cookies-
it was the cookie dough that I was craving.
I had a few some bites of the dough and
quickly made it into cookies that were then given away.
I had a bump in the road
but I realized what I was doing,
corrected and recovered quickly!!
I couldn't agree with this statement more!
When I don't run or workout it isn't pretty!
I am
and impatient.
this is very true for me
There are a lot of changes at work for me right now
and exercising daily is playing a very important part
in me maintaining balance and 
in keeping me sane!

 Exercise is my "happy place".
It improves my mood
and changes my whole attitude around.
It may sound crazy
but it relaxes me.
I know there are plenty of people out there
that are thinking I am completely crazy right now
and a few years ago I may have thought the same thing.
The first step out the door
 is still hard sometimes 
but I never regret
getting a good workout in.

 There is nothing like a good sweat!
It releases so much more than
just toxins from my body!
Working out is a habit for me
just like taking medication daily.
The rewards are so worth it.
I don't want to face the consequences
on a daily basis or the larger ones
that come down the road from in-activity.
Everyone has their "thing"
that they turn to
when they are stressed.
For some people these things are negative
like food, drugs, alcohol, etc.
I decided to change this in my life and
I hope that I am showing my kids
all of the great benefits of exercise.
It isn't always about doing it to lose weight.
There are so many other great benefits!

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Let's go

I have had some great workouts lately
and am finally getting into a good routine as far as my workouts go!
I should add that it hasn't always been easy getting there though!
Here is a recent text conversation with my best friend that shows just what I am talking about:
Me @ 8:57 AM: "Lacking motivation today!!!!"
Her: "It's actually nice out! Not too windy, no rain yet! I'm trying to get this damn room painted so I can go run"
Me: "My legs feel dead today! May go swim but need to get moving. Just want to nap but now I am up so that won't happen."
Her: "Don't sit down! keep going before ur mind figures out what u r doing!"
Me: "Too late!!!! Sat down to eat breakfast and started watching a show."
Me with the picture below: "Maybe it should be a rest day so I don't have to give this up. Cozy;)"
Her: :(
Insert some chatter about work and needing to win the lottery.
Me with the picture below: "Mollie says lets snuggle today!"
Her: "Awwwww! Take ur rest day & work hard tomorrow! cute sweater! watch ur eating today if no workout.
Me: "$4.97 at Wal-Mart. The guilt is gonna get me! My eating is making good progress:) just need to keep going in that direction. The Halloween treats we made yesterday did get me though:( "
Her: "Ohhh but they looked good! I feel like I am more hungry on the days I don't work out. Weird.
Me: "I don't get it either but agree with you!!"
Me with picture below @ 9:40: " On my way..."
Me with picture below: "Here we go... first step is always the hardest!!!"
Me: "Pool is packed:( Good thing I packed running stuff too!"
Me @ 10:51 AM: "5 miles done! 48:24 Super excited about the scale today!!!! Back to where I had been sitting for a while- xxx.x :) Now to get back below xxx!!!" (NOTE: I am not ready to share these numbers but am working on getting to the point of sharing them in the future.)
Me @ 10:53 AM: "That run felt pretty damn good!! Next time I am talking lazy and crazy tell me that I am being CRAZY!!!!!"
Then I posted the following picture on social media.
Was feeling tired and lazy this morning after working
 the past 5 days (4 of them until 11 PM)
then the guilt started to hit so I got my butt to the Y
and had a great 5 mile #run.
Crazy thinking almost got me today but I won!!
Now look back at the times some of those were sent!
It took me almost as long to get motivated to go
as it did to actually do my workout.
Now think about the emotions tied to each of those periods of time.
Sitting at home:
tired, guilt, laziness, lack of motivation, depressed
proud, accomplished, excited, motivated, energetic, full of life
If I would have gotten my butt moving-
I would have been able to feel all of those positive emotions
of getting in such a great workout that much sooner!
In the end I was so glad that I got up and got it done!
I didn't let myself make excuses and I pushed through that bump in the road.
I have never regretted a workout-
I always feel so much better once I do it!
There have been plenty of times when I haven't pulled myself out of the crazy talk
and I always regret it and feel guilty later!
NO EXCUSES!! Let's go...
Having an accountability partner is a must for me!
I am very lucky that my best friend has similar goals-
running/fitness/healthy lifestyle/active living.
We text almost daily to see what the plan is for the day
and to encourage/motivate each other to keep at it!
It is a cycle and she keeps me on track!

I love this quote/graphic from Fellow Flowers- 

These are all things that I need to remember and
I am guessing that I am not alone!
Living an active/healthy lifestyle is a journey-
it doesn't happen over night.
It won't be easy.
There will be bumps in the road.
There will be days that you will want to give-up. 
Don't give up!
Focus on the progress!
Remember why you started!
Stay focused!
Give it your all!
Make sure that you have someone
to help push you,
 motivate you
and keep you on track!
Let's go and keep going!

Have you ever regretted a workout?

 Do you have an accountability partner? who?