First, let me start off this post by assuring you all that I am not a runner! Not even remotely, not even a little bit. I do not enjoy running (does anyone really?), and I am not anyone’s definition of a good runner. That being said, the beau and I participated in The Color Run (aka the Happiest 5k on the Planet) this morning, and it was the first time that I’ve a) run a race without having to stop and walk for a bit and b) maintained a positive mental outlook throughout an entire race.
I have huge problems with my mind giving out on me mid-run, bullying me into quitting when my body could actually go further. I don’t know if it was the colorful excitement at every half mile or the overall demeanor of everyone involved, but I consider my performance in The Color Run a huge success compared to other 5Ks that I have run. I’m obviously still on a runner’s high, so here are my seven thoughts for future Color Runners:
1. Don’t wear anything that you wouldn’t mind having paint stained until the end of time, but do wear white.
I wore an old Planet Fitness t-shirt, running shorts that I’ve had since my middle school soccer days, and the only tennis shoes that I have right now (the perfect excuse to buy some new ones? we shall see). It seems crazy to wear any other color since the whole point is being a paint-splattered, tie-dyed mess by the finish line. That being said, I put all of our Color Run clothes in the laundry when we got home (I have a gorgeous new Whirlpool Cabrio set (similar and similar) that I love), and the “Super Wash” setting with a “Pre-Soak” and “Deep Wash” got all but a little pink out from under my arm.
2. Prepare for the paint dust to get everywhere, including inside your eyes, nose, and mouth.
The Color Run might have been a very different experience if I hadn’t had my trusty sunglasses. I just used a cheap pair that I didn’t care about, but it made all the difference when the paint was flying around each of the checkpoints. I didn’t have too much trouble with breathing or eating the cornstarch-paint. However, others runners used bandanas to cover their noses and mouths, so that might be something you would be into. Also, protect your electronics! I used a plastic zipped bag for my phone, and it held up just fine!
3. Show up well ahead of the start time.
The start line is like a huge party with music, giveaways, an MC… oh, and stretching. Don’t forget to stretch! With that in mind, it’s also a line. A line that we had to wait 30 minutes in before getting onto the actual course. Granted, we did get to the run right at start time, so learn from our mistake and get there half an hour before the race is supposed to begin.
4. Feed off the positive energy around you.
60% of participants in The Color Run have never previously participated in a 5k, and I personally believe that this is the perfect first run. The music is great, the people are so gung-ho about the experience, and it’s a very chill environment. With thousands of newbies on the course, the whole “runners on the left, walkers on the right” tends to get thrown out the window at points, especially during the paint checkpoints. Try to stay positive and keep in mind that most of the runners are there for fun, not to beat their previous time (because they probably don’t have one)!
5. Don’t skip out on the Finish Festival. Seriously.
After running 3.1 miles, you might be tempted to run through the finish, grab your free Kind bar, and head back to your car to towel off and strip down. But don’t! At the end, each participant receives a packet of cornstarch-paint; every ten minutes or so, the MC leads the finishers in a countdown to a color throw, and believe me, it is an experience. Word to the wise: take a deep breath before the powder lets loose!
6. Expect to spend (at least) 30 minutes getting rid of the paint.
Lather, rinse, repeat… and then repeat again. You will have paint everywhere: on your toes; across your back and stomach; in your ears; under your nails. Oh, and make sure you have a loofah/washcloth/something more than your bare hands to really scrub the paint off. Being totally honest, this is a more-than-one-shower job. So don’t plan anything important the night of unless you plan on explaining your pink eyebrow or the blue smudge in the crease of your arm.
7. Run with your friends, and get into The Color Run spirit!
Strap on the sweatband, tattoo “HAPPY” to your forehead, dress up with your teammates; getting into The Color Run spirit is everything. And don’t run alone! In my opinion, running is hard enough as it is, but with a group of friends surrounding you and powdered paint being thrown in your face, it can easily be the best 3.1 miles of your life!