There is no other word for it- yesterday’s race was FUN. I was excited going in to it, but I couldn’t have anticipated what a great time it was. I actually ended up running it with a friend of mine, Faith (also a Mom of two), and a few friends from her nursing program. As it turned out, we were both able to leave our kids at home (thanks, Mum!), so it doubled as a “morning away” for both of us! Never mind that we left for Philly at 4:45 am.
Here we are fresh-faced and clean in our white shirts. We have no idea what we’re in for.
I was absolutely bouncing with excitement. 23,000 people gathered in front of the Museum of Art in the early hours of the morning, ready for 3.1 miles of color, and I was one of them.
The views were breathtaking- I was so happy to be exactly where I was in those moments.
We met up with the other ladies and got our gear together. They were selling Color Run knee-high socks at the Store tent, so we snagged some of those before joining the next wave.
Thanks to a break in the metal corrals, we managed to squeeze into the second wave of runners. The entire run was broken up into 23 waves, each one with about 1,000 participants. The first left the start line at 7 am, and every five minutes another would take off. It was so surreal to be standing in a group of 1,000 people in the middle of a city street.
A DJ counted down to our wave’s release, and soon we were all heading toward the starting line. With so many people I figured I’d be walking for the first 1/4 mile, but the crowd moved quickly and we started off at a decent jog.It wasn’t long before we saw a tell-tale cloud of color in the distance…
This was actually taken at the third color stop (orange). We had run through the pink, and actually dropped onto the ground and rolled through the blue station.
We stopped for a mid-race photo in front of the Fairmount Water Works, behind the art museum. The views on this part of the course were breathtaking, especially with the sun still low in the sky. The light was magical!
Coming up on the yellow zone! Due to everyone squeezing in to get blasted with as much color as possible, the congestion in the color zones made running impossible. The Color Run is not timed, and it is emphasized as “a run for everyone,” so it was really all about having as much fun as possible, and less about actually running. I definitely wouldn’t advise passing up the experience because of a lack of athletic ability- I don’t think it would have been any less fun if I had crawled.
The finish line! Of course the last part of the course was up a monster hill, so these pillars were a welcome sight.
The finish line was directly in front of the museum steps, so a lot of runners actually finished by running up the famous “Rocky” stairs. I could not dig up the motivation, but kudos to them! It was a spectacular sight- thousands of people doused in neon.
I reconnected with Faith and the girls after losing them in the yellow color cloud (people had started reaching into the huge buckets of color and throwing it all over themselves and the passing crowd- again, not a race for speed or time!), and we headed over to the water tent to hydrate.
It was so crowded, the volunteers were just shoving water bottles into any empty outstretched hand. Behind us, we could see clouds of color flying into the air from the finishers party. The DJ had been set up in a lot across from the fountains and was counting down to a mass color throw every 10 – 15 minutes.
The mass throw created these incredible color-clouds that floated above the crowd, with the added bonus that everyone below the throw was made even more colorful.
We knew where we were heading!
The closer we got, the more colorful people became…
until finally we were in the middle of a crowd of colorific people jumping and screaming to the music blaring from the DJ booth.
I will say this now: the race was a blast, but it had nothing on the events that followed. Imagine that you are in the standing room section of a concert, right in front of the stage. Now imagine that each person in the crowd has just completed a 3.1-mile race, has been provided with a packet of brightly colored cornstarch, and is pumping with endorphins. Bring that experience outside, and dial it up 10 notches. That will give you a good idea of what the after events were like.
Honestly, it would be worth it to walk the race just to be a part of the party afterward.
Even better, find a crazy friend (or four) to do it with you!
I had more soreness in my abdomen from laughing than I did in my legs from the mileage.
I know I keep saying this, but I truly cannot believe how much fun it was to be a part of something like that. I love the racing community for a hundred different reasons, but the creativity, zest for life, and propensity for a good time definitely top the list.
After we had our fill of color, we said our goodbyes and headed to the car. I was anxious to get home to J & C and take a shower, and Faith had her girls waiting for her. It felt so good to be out having a great time, knowing that I was going home to smiles and love.
Of course, we had to get gas on the way home. The poor attendant didn’t know what to make of us.
I am so glad that I am getting back to doing the things I love. It’s tricky finding a balance- between school and the kids and the general craziness that life so regularly dishes up, it’s so easy to stick less-demanding things on the back burner. I am finally figuring out a routine that fits my passions into my daily life, and the resulting experiences have been memorable, ones that I will cherish forever.
Proud to be a color-spattered runnin’ Mama. Until next year!