Last Monday, Dad, Ellen, and I participated in The Color Run. Oh, I mean, we Color Ran.
I began hearing about The Color Run sometime last year (probably through Pinterest.) After completing the Couch to 5K program in the Spring, I was so excited to register for the Run in Birmingham, and I somehow talked my dad and sister into registering with me. Honestly, we didn’t train very hard and we weren’t too interested in logging a good time — we just thought it looked like a lot of fun!
The Color Run is a 5K where volunteers throw colored powder on you at each kilometer marker. You start off wearing white and as you run the race you get colored yellow, blue, pink, and orange. At the finish line every participant has a color packet to throw in the air to celebrate and get even more colored. Sounds like fun, right?
On the day of the run, we got up early and headed toward Barber Motor Sports in Leeds. As we pulled into the venue, it started to rain. Getting out of the car, we had a five minute conversation about whether or not to bring an umbrella. We didn’t want to have to carry it while we ran, but neither did we want to stand in the rain for an hour-and-a-half waiting for the Run to start. We finally decided to bring the umbrella, and I cannot even tell you how glad I am that we did. We got lined up in the starting chute (with lots of time left to stand there and wait) and the bottom fell out. Seriously. Cats and dogs.
But despite the rain, everyone was so excited. Girls were wearing tutus and tiaras. Guys were sporting fake mustaches. Neon was everywhere. And this couple? A cheerleader and Elvis? Turns out I’m related to them.
Meet my cousin, Josh, and his sweet wife, Amy. I’m so glad we found them in the crowd and got to run with them! And standing next to Josh in the starting chute was kind of like sitting at the cool kids’ table in the lunchroom. People wanted to take his picture. He was kind of a big deal.
In the starting chute, we were getting geared up. Not warmed up, mind you, as there was no room to stretch. Several people around us couldn’t wait for the finish line and threw their color packets over the crowd before we even started. Meanwhile, it started raining even harder. Have I mentioned that I was thankful for that umbrella? It at least kept me from getting soaked through before we even started.
Finally, fourteen minutes past starting time, they let us loose. I folded up my umbrella and off we went. I had never really run in the rain before, and I have to tell you, I didn’t mind it! It was nice and cool, and rain dripping down my face feels much less gross than sweat dripping down my face. Running on the track at Barber Motor Sports was also a neat experience. I wasn’t quite prepared for the hills, but we made it. At the color stations we put on our sunglasses and held our breath as we ran past the volunteers and got doused with color. Now, I imagine the effect is different when it’s not raining, but the powder got a little pasty when mixed with the water. And it ran. We passed a girl who had gotten a good dose of blue powder, and Dad said, “Those are the worst varicose veins I’ve ever seen!” in reference to the rivulets of blue running down her legs.
We made pretty good time considering we were slowing down to run through the color zones, walking up some of the larger hills, and splashing through several inches of water on the track. At the finish line celebration, it was raining even harder, so our pictures are blurry. (By the way – thanks, Ellen, for bringing your waterproof camera!) But here’s the end result:
As proud as we were to finish with a strong time, we were even prouder to get home and get cleaned up. (Well, at least I was.) And it sure was nice to eat a big meal at Jim-N-Nick’s for lunch, and even nicer to see other (still colorful and soggy) color runners there.
But as I reflect on the race, I don’t really feel like I experienced a true Color Run. What we did Monday in the monsoon was a completely different race than what I expected. Don’t get me wrong– it was a ton of fun, but still not the conditions of a true Color Run. I guess the only thing to do is sign up to run it again next year! Who’s with me?