I am not a “runner.” I have never been a runner. When I was in school, the mile run was always one of the most daunting tasks of the year. Even when I was in my prime of athleticism as an agile ten-year-old, I still never succeeded in clocking a mile in anything less than nine minutes. My short, muscular legs helped me achieve record times for short-distance runs, but I was helpless when it came to long distance. Once I hit high school, I stopped playing volleyball (or any other sport) and I was lucky if I could manage the wheeze-inducing run around the track in 10:30.
When I was in college, I started doing “runs,” which mostly consisted of jogging for five minutes, stopping to catch my breath, and then doing another five minutes. It wasn’t until I graduated that I decided I wanted to run. Really run. I was determined to run because, for me, this was the absolute most difficult form of exercise. I remember when I could barely run around the block without reducing pace to a trot. Then, I could run twice around the block. Then, for twelve minutes. Then, I could run a mile. Then, two. Finally, I decided that I was ready to brave a 5K race–something I had only dreamed of for years. I decided on The Color Run because I had seen so many friends’ pictures on Facebook and it seemed like a blast!
The day finally came and I was freaking out because I had never actually run longer than 2.3 miles without stopping for a break. I was also worried because I was originally supposed to run with my sister, but the run sold out before she got the chance to register. Luckily, I ended up meeting up with friends from college and we got to run together! Two of the three people had knee problems, so they could only run a few minutes here and there. As a result, I only ended up running sporadically. It was also difficult to keep up a good pace, even when running in the designated “fast lane,” because of the packets of powdered color we were bombarded with throughout the race. It was also late morning by the time our wave finally got running, so the sun beat mercilessly on our faces throughout.
In the end, I had a ton of fun experiencing my first 5K, but I felt like I had cheated. I didn’t have that sense of accomplishment or runner’s high that I so craved because I had not run the entire time. I was pretty sure that the my sweat was mostly a result of the hot weather and not due to my continuously running for 5K. I later learned that The Color Run was not actually officially the 5K distance it boasted anyway. Throw in the fact that it is not a USATF certified race and that it wasn’t timed and it’s starting to look like this 5K was meant to be more fun and not serious business running. As you can see on the right, I was covered with different powder colors and I’m rocking the Color Run t-shirt and headband. (Also, I promise I have arms and legs; I just cropped the picture.) So, maybe it’s a little gimmicky. Maybe they have an awesome marketing campaign. In any case, I bought into it and had a fabulous time walking through the color points with my arms raised up, ready to receive all that color! But, after the day was over, I knew that I wanted something more. I knew I wanted to conquer a “real” 5K. You know–one that’s timed and that’s truly the full 5K. More importantly, I wanted to experience that sense of accomplishment at the end of the race with the knowledge that I had run the entire time without stopping.
To be continued!