Okay, I think my internet problems are okay for now, so here is the post I meant to publish yesterday!
This past Saturday was my big day. It was my 5K Color Run. If you aren’t familiar with it, basically it’s a 5K run where every so many yards they have a section set up where you run through people on both sides of you throwing powdered dye directly at you, and these sections are different colors. I did not take my phone with me as the powder is so fine that it actually goes through your clothes and that would have ruined my phone. Plus, I didn’t want to have to worry about carrying my phone with me. Why would anyone do this? Because it is So.Much.Fun. Also, The Color Run organization works with ColorCancer to raise money for cancer research. Their tagline is: “Because cancer comes in every color.” I love that. I am so glad this was my first run ever. It meant a lot to me, and I know my dad was there with me on Saturday. There were a lot of cancer survivors running, too, and I felt a lot of overwhelming emotions that day. The ColorCancer people had a booth set up where you could go get your hand painted and leave your handprint, your mark, on a Hope sign. Mine was purple for my dad. But, at the next one in June, I plan on doing one for my dad and one for his dad, who passed away from bone cancer. If I had an extra hand I’d do one for colon cancer which my mom was diagnosed with a few years ago but they caught it early and she didn’t have to go through chemotherapy. People, I cannot stress enough how important early detection is. Go.Get.Checked.Yearly! It really is important.
I got to the event area by 6 am. I then discovered that since I had checked in the day before at the scheduled sign-in location I didn’t need to check-in that morning. I was an hour early now. By the way, to all you Sherlock fans out there (like me) the sports store where The Color Run’s sign-in location was located a couple of stores down from (I love this) Sherlock’s Baker St. Pub & Grill. I am going to HAVE to go back there and check that place out. Yeah, that still makes me grin. Sorry about the digression; back to the story.
So, the day was cloudy and windy. It was actually a little chilly so I was glad I wore my jogging pants, although I did have a pair of shorts on underneath just in case. I had my Happy shirt on (it’s what it’s called, seriously) as well as my Happy fake tattoo on the back of my neck. I was one of the most conservatively dressed people there. One of the big things the organization behind this encourages is fun and that includes in your dress as well. There were people wearing tutus (I have already been told one has been ordered for me for the Chicago run), people wearing rainbow wigs, white wigs, striped socks, colorful socks, and all manner of crazy, colorful clothing. And everyone had their fake tattoos on.
At around 7 a.m., people had begun streaming in. They had a stage set up and sometime around 7:15, they began warm-up exercises using a local Zumba fitness coach. She was fantastic. She had the crowd energized and dancing and stretching and having so much fun.
I did not take part in the Zumba warm-ups. I was too busy watching the Tornado run all over the place, and I got my own stretch in and warm-up just making sure he didn’t disappear in the crowd. By around 7:30, there were so many people around it would have been easy to lose the Tornado in the crowd, but the area was so closely watched by people that even if I had lost him someone would have found him. There were A LOT of volunteers. Plus, they had a blue tent set up for lost kids right in the middle of the parking lot where we were all at. And, at one point during the Zumba warm-up, they made an announcement that if you lost your kid you aren’t a bad parent and one woman yelled out “yes I am”. For some reason it was terribly funny. I’m chalking it up to being up at 4 a.m. to get 3 kids and myself out the door by 5:30 so we could get there an hour before it was actually necessary. (I’m still doing a mental face-palm at that.)
Then, at 7:45 a.m. they had everyone Conga to the starting line. How fun is that? The line was huge! There were so many people. They had us all just line up in one area and at 8 a.m. they started the run, sectioning us off in waves. I’m guessing there had to be 50 or more people in each wave, and I’m not sure how many waves there were but I’m seeing six different sections in the pics I have. To be honest, when I was on the home stretch to the finish line which was after I had gone through the last color section (about 1/4 of a mile away from the finish line) there was a 1/2 mile section I was looking at and there was not an empty space. It was full of that many people running or walking in the race, one section beginning, one section heading to the finish. I did not get a pic as I did not have my phone. But it was awesome!
There were senior citizens, kids-big & little ones, adults of all ages, runners of all levels, cancer survivors, people who lost loved ones to cancer, and people just wanting to participate and have fun. I was in the third wave to go.
In the above pic, look for the woman in the yellow hat and blue shorts. I’m right next to her. Yep, that’s me, with a big smile, though it looks like I’m sticking my tongue out for some reason. I wasn’t, I swear!
See? Tutus. I did pretty well I think. I made it all the way through the first color section (there were four total-yellow, pink, blue, and purple) and to the first water station. I went ahead and stopped for a small cup of water and it was actually about 15 minutes in, which is where I’ve been stuck for a while. Now here’s the thing. Most people did NOT run. There were a majority who did but most people walked it, especially those with little kids. This is a fun run so it’s not actually required to run. This made it a little difficult because people pretty much just walked anywhere they wanted instead of on the right so that the runners could avoid them. I looked at it like this: not only was I doing a run, it was an obstacle course. So, really, I was getting a pretty good workout! I got through the water station and I made it through to the next color section before I had to stop and walk. I ended up running through that section (pink) but I had to stop at the next water station. They had one set up after every color section. Trust me, they had to. It was so windy that the dust from the colored powdered got everywhere, like beach sand. What I truly enjoyed was watching the volunteers throwing the powder. They were having as much fun as we were. But I’m am very sure, they are going to be washing dye off their faces and bodies for several more days.
What I really got tickled at is that there were several of us from wave 3 that made it all the way to the people who had left in wave 1, and at that point a couple of ladies from wave 2 saw us and exclaimed “Is that wave 3? Yay! Go wave 3! Wish we had that kind of energy! Woohoo!” Honestly, the most fun of this was being in this group of people. They really wanted to be here and the energy from all of us was incredible. It truly was a happy thing.
I made it until halfway to the third color section (blue) and I had to walk again. I had gone up two steep inclines (ha!) in the middle of a crowd of walkers, nonetheless, and my legs finally just gave out. So, I walked to the blue section and jogged through it the best I could. I probably walked about a 1/4 of a mile total. I began running again halfway to the last color section (purple) and I made it all the way to the finish line. But, I really thought I wasn’t going to make it. My legs were in so much pain at this point. They were burning and letting me know they were really ticked off at me. Then, I rounded a corner and I saw hundreds of people coming towards me and in front of me, and my god, the energy that went through me at that sight. It was awe-inspiring, and I was a part of it! Suddenly, I felt renewed and I knew I could finish this thing running. And I did. At the finish line the runners were given packets of powdered dye and I opened mine and gave it to the Tornado once I found where the kids had parked themselves. I have great kids. Have I mentioned this? They didn’t complain too much and they were awesome!
I was hot and sweaty, windblown, very little make-up on (understandably), and wishing I could do it all over again (once I rested, of course). This was absolutely fantastic and the only thing missing was a friend to run with me. That would have made it all better. **cough cough Laura cough cough**
The best part of it all came when I got home and took a look under my shirt. My abs and back were the brightest blue they could be. I looked like I was part Smurf! It was hilarious. Then, I took off my shoes and socks. I had purple toes! The dye had gone through all those layers to my feet. And best of all was the underside of my arms because every time I raised them, there was this flash of blue. And that part still has not come off completely. Oil based soap is your friend after this run. Trust me. I know what I’m talking about. It may not get all of it off but it gets most of it to wash away.
I truly cannot wait until June to do this again, and if this were the only run I ever get to do for the rest of my life, this one was worth it. It truly was the happiest 5k on the planet. Maybe that’s because I know how hard I worked for it.