Perhaps it was just a coincidence that my training schedule called for a 5k the weekend I was already registered to run the LA Color Run with some of my sorority sisters, but I’d like to believe the running gods divined this run appointment. Yes, over the past few weeks, I’ve come to believe in the existence of the running gods. The sometimes spiteful, always spirited beings who oversee the training of all runners. More on them later.
Back to the Color Run. Their tagline is “The Happiest 5k on the Planet,” but what they don’t mention is that they’re, as my friend called it, the montessori school of races–a come-as-you-are, slightly disorganized free-for-all. In other words, everything I am not. I am structured, disciplined (for the most part), and competitive, and when I saw that the Color Run coincided with my scheduled 5k training, I thought that it would be the prefect prep for my half marathon next month.
Even though I was right about it helping me with my training, I was wrong about how it would help my training. It didn’t really help with endurance or pace or race protocols, but it did bring back the joy of running and made me discover how wonderfully frivolous it can be.
At first, I was extremely annoyed that they weren’t recording our times. After all, I’m a runner, and I need to be kept on pace! But you know what? It didn’t matter. It was just running for running’s sake (with people throwing colored powder at you along the way, naturally). Yes, I looked at the clock before and after, so I know my time was about 30 minutes, but I have no idea whether it was 28 minutes, 34 minutes, or 30 minutes exactly. This may sound silly to a non-runner, but anyone who’s ever raced or trained knows minutes matter. But on February 2, I let go of that.
And the other thing: you didn’t have to be a runner to participate in this 5k. There were plenty of people walking, pushing strollers, skipping, frolicking, and generally reveling in the craziness. There were people in goggles, little girls with Cindy Lou Who hair, guys with video cameras strapped to their heads, and everyone, everyone was covered in color and loving it.
Remember when you were little and you ran around the playground or played tag or just ran for fun? You weren’t trying to lose weight or beat your PR or improve your pace or endurance; you were just having fun. That’s what the Color Run was: a delightful break from the monotony I had allowed my training to become.
You guys, running is fun again!
All this to say, I’m hoping to bring a bit of the whimsy of the Color Run with me to the San Diego Half Marathon in a few weeks. Maybe not the eyes and nose and mouth filled with cornstarch-based colored powder or tie-dyed skin, but definitely the carefree, childlike mindset.
PS: If you ever have the chance to do a Color Run, do it!