Tuesday, October 07, 2014


(TL:DR- I did a fun run. Now go about your business.)


So...guess what I did!  I participated in the Color Run (The Happiest 5K On the Planet!) (TM)!

What?  No, seriously, I swear.  Stop laughing.


Anyway.  I'm not really comfortable explaining my motivations as to why I decided to do a 5K.  That sounds mysterious, but really, it's because my reasons embarrass me.  Let's just say that I had a moment (while in Disney World earlier this year, which happened to coincide with their marathon/10K) where I realized I had no excuse not to at least try.  It was as simple as that.  I also knew I needed a goal of some kind to work on, because y'all...I don't do anything.  *Try to disguise your shock, please.*  I have nothing to work towards.  I stay busy a lot, but really all I do is work and go to church, and God forgive me for saying it, but I need something somewhat enjoyable to throw in there on occasion or I'm going to get sick of both of them. Although a race isn't something I'd necessarily consider enjoyable, I'd already decided that would be what I'd do. Who knows, maybe I'd love doing it and I'd have a new hobby.  Anything is possible, right?

Now, I'm sure if you look hard enough, or at least know what you're doing, you can find a 5K going on somewhere all the time.  Alas, I'm really clueless about those kinds of things.  Also, I'm fairly sure that even if I found some random race going on, any serious, or even semi-serious, runner doesn't need a novice like myself getting involved in a race if they have no idea what they're doing, because they'll just get in the way.  Randomly, and trust me on the fact that I was sure it was a long shot, I decided that if I could find "one of those races where they throw colors on you" I'd do that one. Those looked way less intimidating than others, plus, you know...colors.  So I sat back, somewhat certain it would be a while before anything like that happened, and prepared to forget about it.

Less than a month later, the ad for the Color Run showed up on my Facebook feed. I took it as a sign. Oy.

To give myself a little credit, I didn't punk out on it.  I saved the information and when the day came to actually sign up and pay my entry fee, I did it.  In fact, I did it on the first day so that I wouldn't have time to talk myself out of it.  At the time I didn't know it was considered a "Fun Run," but only because I thought a 5K was a 5K.  I didn't know the difference.  It was also a fundraiser for the Arts Council, and hey, I like art, so win-win!

I had to start totally from scratch on this one, and by that, I mean I had to Google "5K" and see what that equaled in American.  No, I'm not kidding, I had no idea how far a 5K actually was.  Turns out, it's 3.1 miles.

That's....actually not that far.  Not really.  Now, I say it isn't far, but I only know miles in terms of driving, so 3.1 miles didn't sound completely un-doable.  I began going to the gym more often to see if I could actually run/walk that far without dying.  I had to train a little bit, I knew, because I'd never done anything even closely resembling a run before.  I called what I did training, albeit an imperfect kind, because I know running inside of an air conditioned building on a treadmill isn't exactly a great way to get ready for an outside run.  My allergies, however, insisted on this kind of thing.  Apparently, I'm allergic to everything with leaves, and sometimes just driving home with the windows down is enough to seal off my sinuses and give me migraine strength allergy headaches. So, I figured that I'd just run inside and then see what happened outside! 

I actually did get much better.  By the time the actual race was close, I could run almost half of it, which for me is huge.  Not great, not Olympic qualifying, but for me it was great!  Baby steps, right?  I was getting excited about it, which for me is like getting excited about getting an injection. It was confusing. However, I was informed by a lady to whom I happened to mention I was doing the Color Run to, that it was really not a big deal at all. She literally shrugged.

Her words made me go all Sad Monkey inside.
I hate going Sad Monkey.

Understand, I wasn't looking for her approval or anything, and I know I'm not so sensitive that everyone needs to give me a big ol' pat on the back for doing something that can be done by a six year old, but I'd been WORKING towards this, damnit!  To me it was at least kind of a big deal, if only because I was stepping way, way out of my comfort zone to do it. I rarely ever do that. By the point I'd talked to her, I knew the race itself wasn't serious, but it was still something difficult for me, and when she said that it made me feel less excited and more...I don't know...dumb.  I felt dumb for being excited about it, and for considering it to be an accomplishment of any kind. Stupid, I know, but she totally harshed my buzz.  I know she didn't mean to be dismissive on purpose.  She is one of those people who doesn't have a mean bone in her body, but she also doesn't have a great deal of tact, so I won't hold it against her!  THANKS, BUZZ KILLINGTON! :)

Anyways, it kind of took some of the fun away, but I was still going to do it.  Don't let the muggles get you down, right?

The closer it got, though, and I started to wonder if I'd actually do it!  Not because of what that lady said, but because it was such a weird thing for me to do. Honestly, they are called comfort zones for a reason.  I don't usually do exercise things.  I certainly don't make it a habit to just sign up for stuff like this without someone else talking me into it, and really, this kind of fun run is something you do with friends or with your kids or whatever.  I was beginning to feel very nervous about the whole thing. I wasn't worried about actually running/walking the thing, but it was more about it not really being a "Me" thing to do. Does that make sense?  Anyways, I kept thinking "What am I doing? Why am I doing this?" and I kept answering myself by saying "You aren't wasting the money you paid to do this, now shut up and quit being a weenie!"  I don't always get along with myself, so...yeah.  Anyways, I was asking myself what I was doing right up until I was walking up to the starting line. Really, I was very confused.  

Although the fun run isn't timed, I still ended up having a relatively small time frame I had to be finished in, because I was supposed to sing at a funeral later that morning.  Within a couple of hours I'd have to do the whole run, get home, clean off whatever colors I was covered in, change into something appropriate and be at the funeral home before the service started.  Great.  I couldn't even just be lazy and mosey my way through.  OK, then.

Steve dropped me off at the starting place and I made my way through a sea of white t-shirts and people wearing tutus and colorful knee socks.  I don't really understand the tutus, but they actually sold them in the Color Run shop, so I guess they're a running thing? You got me. I was surrounded by strangers!  Eek. I was also trying to get near the front so that I could go out in the first wave of runners so I could get done sooner, but there were thousands of people there and I was stuck in the second wave.  No big deal.  I saw a lot of funny stuff.  A person in a full on Unicorn costume (he was a mascot of some kind) and a guy wearing a rubber horse mask, people wearing funny hats and things like that.  People watching was a lot of fun. Music was being played LOUDLY while a guy who sounded like a morning-drive DJ shouted things like "WHEN I SAY COLOR YOU SAY RUN..."   If it tells you anything about the people around me, one of the songs they began blaring was something called "Cha Cha Slide" or at least one of those kinds of songs you hear at wedding receptions that give you directions.  A girl in front of me shouted "Oh, my God they play some really good music!"  Oy.  I really just wanted to get started!  I don't like shouting one thing when someone else says another thing, or waving my hands like I don't care. I just wanted to run and get color thrown at me!  Also...funeral. I had to get out of there in time to do that!  After the national anthem, they let the first wave start.  I think they waited about 5 minutes, and then my group was allowed to start. As Forrest Gump once said:   I. Was. Run-ning.

I actually started off really strong.  I was running and thinking...hey, this isn't so bad!  Someone on the sideline gave me a high five.  People were cheering and it was awesome!  I don't know how far I got, but it wasn't that far, when my lungs said "NOPE."

I imagine they looked something like this, only they were also giving me the finger.

My allergies to outside have caused me to develop a mild, but nonetheless annoyingly persistent, adult onset form of asthma.  I'm usually fine, but occasionally I need my inhaler.  I usually go ahead and use the inhaler before I do anything that might require me to breathe a lot (shut up, you know what I mean) and I completely forgot to use it before this run.  My lungs locked up fast and hard, and since I wasn't getting enough oxygen, my leg muscles also clamped up, so I had to slow down to a walk.  Dad-gummit.  I actually had a moment of panic thinking that I couldn't breathe at all, but I got that under control. I didn't want to be the first person in Huntsville (maybe even history) to die doing a fun run. How embarrassing. Not once while running inside did I ever lose my breath like that, but outside it happened fast.  Oh, well, I just figured I'd walk until I could catch my breath and then I'd run again. It took a LONG time before my breathing eased, but it was partly because I walked as fast as I could.  I was able to kind of jog through the first color station (yellow) but breathing in cornstarch didn't do my lungs any favors.  I walked through the second (purple) and then there was a long stretch before the next station (pink).  During that stretch people were passing me, and I was passing others.  I began feeling a little irritated at myself that I was still walking, but if I can't breathe, I can't run.  Also, I was getting distracted because the route went right through the historic district and I kept looking at the houses along the way.  I couldn't help it!  It was the HISTORIC district, of which I am endlessly fascinated.  It got fairly hot and humid, which is never any fun, but I finally managed to pick up the pace a little.  Just as I was about to turn the corner, someone handed me a bottle of water.  That was nice, and the water was very welcome, but it's really kind of hard to run while holding a bottle of water if you aren't used to it.  I kept looking for a place to throw it away, but there wasn't anywhere, and I didn't feel right about throwing it down on the ground.  So, I had a Kanye West moment where I was resentful that I had to be responsible for a bottle of water.  The pink station came up and the lady throwing the color basically squirted me right in the face with the stuff.  They are supposed to keep the powder fairly low down, but I think she got distracted because it hit me right in the ear and floofed all over my face.  Yuck.

By that point I was breathing a whole lot better, and I managed to alternate running and walking more often.  I was getting hot and tired and I'm fairly certain I'd begun to hallucinate a little.  I swear I saw Andy Gibb on the sidelines, and unless I'm mistaken, he's dead.  I didn't stop and talk to him though because I was almost done!  Right before the last color station (blue) I saw Steve again!  Yay!  He took my picture as I rounded the corner and he got a couple of pictures of me there.  I went through the blue and onward to the finish line!  Just before the end, there was supposed to be a photographer, and I'd mentioned to Kenny that I was afraid any pictures that they took of me running would wind up looking like this:

However, he (a seasoned triathlete who gave me a lot of good advice about running my sad little fun-run) told me to find the photographer beforehand and basically be prepared to ham it up as I passed him.  So that's what I did.  Just as I reached the inflatable rainbow that signified the finish line, I put on a ridiculous smile and ran past him as if I was not hot and winded and had NOT just seen a deceased member of the Bee Gees!  So even though I felt like this:
Ok, so maybe with a little less dangling intestine...

I looked much happier crossing the finish line!  See?

I'm STILL holding that damnable bottle of water, too!

So I was finally done, and it felt really awesome to cross that finish line because I'd never done that before!  Yay!  I wasn't able to stay for whatever shenanigans that were supposed to happen once everyone got back in, so I handed someone my packet of color powder and headed home to get cleaned up.  It was very fun, and I'd like to do it again!  I'd also like to eventually run a real race of some kind, but that probably won't happen any time soon.  I'll work on it, though! One step at a time!

So there is the grand, sweeping saga of how I, inexplicably, decided to run on purpose!  YAY!

1 comment:

Jigsawdiva said...

Yay! Go Kelly!