Neon Orange and Neon Pee: Our First Family Race! [Plus kettlebells in the pool!! 2013 is off to a fun and fit start!]

by Charlotte on January 2, 2013 · 34 comments


I don’t even know what’s happening here but I love it. 

Dec. 31, 2012,  12:59 p.m.

Me: 10-9-8-7DickClarkMayHeRestInHeaven-6-5-4-3-2… Yay! Happy New Year!

Husband: Arriba! Prospero ano y felicidad!

Kiss kiss hug hug “Get a room!” “We have several and are paying way more than they’re worth every day!” “Wow. Buzzkill.” “Here’s to 2013, the year of the zombie mortgage!” “Just shut up and kiss again.” Our friends are great.

Jan. 1, 2013, 12:01 a.m.

Me: Crap. We have a race to run in the morning.

Husband: We don’t have to do it. Who schedules a race for the morning after the night you know everyone is guaranteed to stay up too late, anyhow?

Me: I know. And yeah, we do. We signed up! And it’s our first Official Family Race! (Only, mind you, because kids were free registrants).

Husband: sigh It’s a good thing we don’t drink.

Me: sigh Okay then, let’s go get in our -15 degree car and drive home so we can pay an exorbitant amount of money to our babysitter and get a few hours of quality sleep.

Jan 1, 2013, 2:00 a.m. 

We got home and went to bed. Oops.

Jan 1, 2013, 9 a.m. 

Nevertheless, the bright below-zero Minnesota- morning sunshine (ahem “sunshine”) found all six of us here:



Lined up at the start of the first annual Commitment Day race! You can tell by our faces who’s really excited for this. (Read: me.)


Thank goodness we had our sweet matching hats on to keep us warm! Lakeville Lifetime Fitness handed them out to all of us running in memory of my friend and trainer, Steve Toms, who died two months ago. They’re neon orange (his fave color) and had his name stitched across the front. Not going to lie: I got a little choked up when I looked around the stadium and saw a sea of orange hats. And then I laughed because we were all running in honor of a man… who hated running. One of his favorite things to say to me (usually while I was running on the treadmill) was, “Nowhere in the Bible did it say that Jesus ran everywhere! He walked! And if the Son of God walked then it’s good enough for me!”

And yet Steve had been registered to do this race with his lovely wife Ashley, because his life’s mission was to help people commit to a healthy lifestyle. Commitment Day was his baby and the run was just the teeniest part of it – the real point of the race was to get people to commit to one healthy change for 2013. Just one! Because from small changes come big results. They even had a huge banner at the start line where we could write down our commitment. I wrote “Spend more time with my family” with little hearts all around it. (And I wrote “Do less crack, er, sugar” too – no hearts – since I can never stop at just one thing to change.) My husband drew a picture of a bed. Smart aleck.


By the time we got queued up, most of us were starting to get excited. Some of us had to be, ahem, talked into it still.


We had a lot of time waiting for the race to get started. So, photo op, duh! Who is that dark and handsome man?? (And you’re welcome for not posting all eleventy pictures we took during that half hour.)

The run was supposed to be 5K outside, along the scenic-yet-freezing-in-every-sense-of-the-word river, but at the last minute race organizers said anyone with kids under 12 should run inside the Metrodome thanks to -15 F temps. No complaints here! You know how I love to be cold…  So the start line wasn’t very impressive. Was it this crack in the floor? Or the next one? But my 8-year-old was so excited to run (he really thought he could win it, bless him) that as soon as the gun went off (read: lady standing on a box and yelling), he took off like this:


This is one of my fave pics of him ever. I swear he ran the race twice, what with all the hopping, leaping, ninja moves and break dancing he did. You just don’t see that kind of exuberance in adult races! (Although you don’t get tripped every 10 fit in adult races either…)

My 10-year-old was super excited too. He kept saying “This is REALLY hard mom!” but he never stopped running. (Didn’t help that he’d forgotten his tennies and was running in snow boots.) Yet both of my older boys ran the whole 3.2 miles! I was so proud of them. When I was their age, one mile was total torture. They’ve been training with my husband and 5K was a total coup!


Seeing her brothers run inspired 3-year-old Jelly Bean and she insisted on running an entire lap (8 laps for the whole race) by herself. I could not get over how stinking adorable her little legs pumping up and down were. (Again, you’re welcome for not posting all 20 pictures of that lap.) Also, you like her chosen running outfit? Sparkly and a skirt! Wherever would she get that idea??


This is how the younger two spent the majority of the race. My 6-year-old never did perk up and insisted on being grouchy the whole way. Nice thing about jogger strollers though is that you can’t see their faces so it’s a lot easier to pretend you can’t hear the whining.

Of course there was a lot of pit stops for newly potty-trained Jelly Bean. (For the first time in 11 years I’m DONE WITH DIAPERS!!! Wahoo! But I forgot how much I hate this Every Public Toilet is a New and Exciting Adventure! phase. We went to Target the other day; we were there for one hour. Sat on the potty 17 times. Peed 0 times.) These were made even more entertaining by the fact that apparently no one in sports stadiums flushes toilets. Jelly Bean was fascinated by the color of all the urine left in the bowls. “Wook! Yewwow! Brown! NEON OWANGE!!” Oy. Someone had their Flinstone vitamins that morning. Also, I love that she knows what “neon” is.

Son #3 finally got into the spirit of things by giving high-fives to everyone we passed (lie: everyone was passing us).

At the finish line! Sweaty, happy and not missing any family members! Win on all fronts!


In line to get our swag (a sweet journal and another t-shirt – I now have 4 Commitment Day shirts!) we ran into Steve’s wife Ashley (center) dressed head to toe in neon orange. Her custom Nikes even said “Steve” on one shoe and “Toms” on the other. Her whole family, including 78-year-old grandma ran the race outside!

And, you guys, I just this second noticed that she was wearing both her and Steve’s race bibs. Now I’m crying. Eesh. Love you, Ash!!!


Okay. Deep breath. This was the family we hung with for most of the race day. They have 6 kids and so between the four adults we were chasing 10 kids under 12. Did I mention we didn’t even lose one? We. Are. Awesome.

karaI also ran into fellow fit-blogger and author of Hot Sweaty Mamas , Kara Thom! I love this lady!

On the way home, as I listened to the dulcet tones of my sons punching the crap out of each other (they swear it’s fun?), I had a realization: This was by far the most fun race I’ve ever done. And I’ve run a lot of really fun races! What made it different this time was thanks to my kids (and my foot injury) I put zero pressure on myself. No expectations at all. I wasn’t even sure I’d finish. (I promised I’d stop running if my foot started to hurt again which thankfully it didn’t – huge thanks to all of you for all your helpful suggestions!!) So every little thing – each friend, each giggle, each kid skip-hopping over the finish line – was a gift. I expected nothing and got everything.

Bonus: The morning of New Year’s Eve a bunch of my girlfriends and I did a free aqua fitness class together. I finally got to try kettlebells in the pool!!! And no, no pics. We did a lot of swinging, squatting and splashing. We had a riot hanging out together. As for the class? Meh. I still love kettlebells. I still hate pools. And there isn’t enough lotion in the world to make my skin forgive me for 3+ hours in a chlorine bath.

What a fabulous, fit and fun way to start 2013!

How did you guys ring in the New Year? Anyone have a fit (or fun) tradition they do every year?


{ 33 comments… read them below or add one }

Kristina January 2, 2013 at 8:06 am

So glad I won that registration! It was such a fun race and I got a bit verklempt at the beginning. All those people, wishes for a great year and hugging. It was my aunts first 5k and I told her we should make it a tradition. Though we’ll have to find some way to keep our butts a bit warmer :)


Charlotte January 6, 2013 at 12:07 am

So glad you enjoyed it! I wish I could have seen you! It was so crowded though…


Alyssa (azusmom) January 2, 2013 at 9:52 am

What a fantastic way to start the year!!!!!
I just have to ask: kettlebells in the pool? Regular ones or special ones?
I took a yoga class. My balance was off because we, too, stayed up later than we should have, but it was still fun.
Happy New Year to you and your gorgeous family! :)


Charlotte January 6, 2013 at 12:09 am

Yeah, yoga’s one of those exercises you can’t cheat through when you’re tired or off. (Step class is another one! LOL!)


Alyssa (azusmom) January 2, 2013 at 9:54 am

What a fantastic way to start the year!!!!!
I just have to ask: kettlebells in the pool? Regular ones or special ones?
We went to Yosemite over the weekend. I’d t like to make THAT a tradition!
I also took a yoga class on New Year’s day. My balance was off because we, too, stayed up later than we should have, but it was still fun.
Happy New Year to you and your gorgeous family! :)


Deanna - Coach Calorie January 2, 2013 at 10:01 am

Oh I loved this story, especially the shot of your son jumping over the starting line. If only he could bottle up that enthusiasm and sell it :) I finally got my daughter to run a 5K with me this year and now she’s addicted. Happy New Year to you guys!


Charlotte January 6, 2013 at 12:11 am

So fun that you run with your daughter! I love that my kids are getting old enough to actually do stuff I enjoy;)


Amy N. January 2, 2013 at 10:37 am

Looks like a blast! I think ninja kicks are underutilized in 5k runs. Great to get your whole family out! (Especially when you don’t have to freeze outside!)


Charlotte January 6, 2013 at 12:13 am

Totally agree – there should be more ninja kicks (and breakdancing, frankly) in races!!


Kim January 2, 2013 at 11:28 am

What an amazing way to start the new year!! I love the tribute to your trainer/friend (and his wife has the most amazing spirit in her smile!!).


Charlotte January 6, 2013 at 12:15 am

Thank you – she really does light up a room!


Meghan@themeghamix January 2, 2013 at 11:58 am

Aw, I love it! Your kids got so into it. Isn’t it crazy how much fun you can have when you don’t pressure yourself? :D


Charlotte January 6, 2013 at 12:16 am

Yeah. It just occurred to me that I don’t even know my finishing time! Didn’t even think to look, lol.


Happier Heather January 2, 2013 at 12:18 pm

Looks like you guys had fun! My favorite race is the one my fiance’s son did with me on Thanksgiving. So cool.

Happy New Year!


Charlotte January 6, 2013 at 12:17 am

Happy New Year to you too!


R January 2, 2013 at 12:26 pm

I love your stories :) This whole post made me giggle. Happy New Year!


Charlotte January 6, 2013 at 12:18 am

Thank you! Happy New Year to you as well!


Crabby McSlacker January 2, 2013 at 2:19 pm

LOVE the adorable pictures and the whole thing sounds so amazingly healthy and wholesome it almost made me dizzy.

Our new year’s day tradition is more sedate–a hike or a long walk somewhere purdy–but in my mind it sure beat sitting on a couch watching parades or football games.

Happy New Year, everyone!


Charlotte January 6, 2013 at 12:21 am

I miss hiking so much… Minnesota is SO FLAT. Especially where we are. And while there are plenty of lakes to walk around, there’s just not much in the way of scenery here in the ‘burbs. Glad you had a good new year’s!


Quix January 2, 2013 at 3:06 pm

What FUN! I’m actually very impressed you came home with the right amount of kids after 5k of all that! :) Happy 2013!


Charlotte January 6, 2013 at 12:22 am

I KNOW, right??


Jen@HealthyFoodandFamily January 2, 2013 at 3:54 pm

So awesome that your entire family ran this race and everyone had fun! This is one of my family goals for this year, for to become more active and actually having fun together doing things instead of laying around watching movies and eating nachos…


Charlotte January 6, 2013 at 12:23 am

Although nachos ARE awesome. Maybe a post-race snack?? ;)


Gaye Pauroso January 2, 2013 at 7:09 pm

I LOVE your photos. Your family is adorable. Sure, you had to get up early on New Year’s Day, but those awesome photos are forever. So worth it. ;)
Happy New Years!


Charlotte January 6, 2013 at 12:26 am

Aw thank you! It def. felt worth it after we finished;)


Erin Deniz January 2, 2013 at 9:13 pm

Great post! Love all the pictures and the humor.
KBs in a pool? Yes, I too have questions.
Thanks for sharing your experience. Pretty inspiring for getting one’s fam into action.


Charlotte January 6, 2013 at 12:27 am

They were pretty standard kBs! And we did with them basically the same as you would on land – just with the added resistance and support of water!


Stefanie January 3, 2013 at 5:38 am

Gotta try the kettlebells in the pool class – sounds unique! My 7 year daughter loves to run, and sometimes we have a mommy-daughter run that really ends up in looking at dogs along the way and talking about what we are going to eat for lunch ha ha – great fun though. Love the family races – I need to get my whole family to try one!


Charlotte January 6, 2013 at 12:28 am

It is def. unique! Let me know what you think when you try it!!


Jody - Fit at 55 January 3, 2013 at 6:00 pm

Love love love!!!!!!!!!!! The pics are so much fun & the remembrance – HUGS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Charlotte January 6, 2013 at 12:29 am

Haha thanks Jody!


Bek @ Crave January 4, 2013 at 7:23 pm

What an awesome race! Seems like a lot of fun :)


Charlotte January 6, 2013 at 12:33 am

Thanks Bek! It was:)


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