What a year — 2012 brought about many changes for me. One of them was a fresh outlook on fitness, food, and health. What a better way to cap off the year than with my very first 5K run?
From the first moment I heard about The Color Run, I was obsessed with doing one — watch this video and tell me you don’t feel the same! Unfortunately, my schedule would not cooperate. When it was in New York City, I was in Denver. When it was in Albany, I was in Oahu. And when it was in Oahu, I was on The Big Island. I was starting to think my Color Run dreams might not come true.
And then I saw there was a race on December 15th, 2012 in St. Petersburg, Florida — the next town over from my dad’s side of the family in Tampa. So I called my aunt and asked if she wanted to run 3.1 miles with me while being pelted with various colors of cornstarch powder. Lucky me — she said yes! It soon turned into a party with my Dad flying in from Philadelphia and my friend Paula, who I met at The Banana Bungalow, flying in from Dallas to cheer us on.
The Color Run is purely a fun run — it’s not even a timed event. At first I was a little disappointed to hear that, as I thought it would be fun to look back on my first ever 5K race time when I run my first marathon (ha!) But I got over it pretty immediately when I felt the energy in the air that early Saturday morning in St. Petersburg. There were thousands and thousands of people representing every age, walk of life, and level of seriousness. I was blown away by the creativity people showed in their outfits and costumes!
The race officially started at 9am but with such an enormous group it took over an hour to get all the waves out of the starting line. I was so glad we got out in one of the first groups. There was a sea of white in every direction. With dance music blaring, a DJ pumping up the crowd and prizes being thrown out to the loudest cheerers, it was the wildest 9am party I’d ever been to.
And then we were off! The race took us down Beach Drive, across the St. Petersburg Pier, and back up Beach Drive again. It was a fantastic route, with the ocean visible for a majority of the run.
And then there was what makes The Color Run so colorful — every kilometer, there’s a designated color station where runners are blitzed by color via volunteers and staff. First up was blue!
So far, so good — my aunt Karen and I teamed up with Wander The Map‘s Jenna and Micah (we found out we were both running thanks to Twitter!), so we had a nice little group going.
Next was orange, where I realized that after two kilometers I was still feeling great! Running three miles on a regular day would still be somewhat of a challenge for me — this does not come naturally to me — but it’s true what they say about that extra race day boost of energy!
Green and pink flew by, and soon we were at the final station — yellow! Here, our photographers Paula and my Dad were waiting for us with lenses raised. They got some amazing shots while they were waiting for us to appear.
I couldn’t believe some of the getups people were wearing. I need to be more prepared next time! All I did was take a pair of scissors to my Color Run T-shirt.
Before I knew it, we were at the finish line! It wasn’t quite the same feeling I had when I finished the Flower’s Sea Swim — in which I almost cried tears of happiness — but it was a fantastic moment nonetheless.
See the camera on Micah’s head? He made this awesome video from the run, and I even make a cameo! I challenge you not to smile when watching this.
No one was safe from the color — even the spectators! Post-finish line, it was time for the fun to begin.
The after party is the best part of The Color Run! I had never seen anything like it — thousands of people partying wildly at 10am. Upbeat music, energetic music, neon colors everywhere — it was basically one big sober rave.
That morning was one of my most purely joyful moments of 2012. I was surrounded by family and new friends, I had just ticked off a milestone in fitness (a year ago I couldn’t run a mile!), and there were bright shiny colorful smiles everywhere I looked. I can’t say I know where, but I know that I will run The Color Run again!
To cap things off, a few before and afters…
Are you a runner? Do you know of any other fun 5 or 10Ks like this? Would you travel to get to them like I did? I’d love to hear from you in the comments!