Sunday, September 28, 2014

The Color Run: Missoula, MT

Back in the fall of 2012, I got the distinct impression that the universe was trying to tell me to get up off my butt and start running.  The idea crept in on its own and then 3 times in as many days, something came up about 5k runs.  The first was on an airplane.  The airline magazine had an article about "fun runs" including The Color Run.  Normally I don't even read those magazines and I never take them with me but this time, I did both.  Then, the customer I was visiting told me how she was running in a 5k that weekend.  The third day I saw someone wearing a shirt from the Color Run.  And on it went, there were more subtle hints and I kept thinking about it so finally, I looked it up and The Color Run was coming to Dallas (where I still lived then) that next April.  So, I started training.

Then we moved.  By that January I was living in Montana and would not be in Dallas in April to make the run.  Some time passed where I didn't train after moving here...we were learning our area, buying a house, generally getting settled.  But the seed had been planted and the universe isn't one to be put off so easily so eventually I decided to go back to training.

I should preface this by saying that my "running" would be laugh to some.  First, I don't run non-stop, I do run/walk intervals.  I don't know how fast I am running either since I don't actually track that specific part at this point but I do something in the neighborhood of a 12-13 minute mile.  So, not fast.  If you want to get nitpicky about my definitions here, you can probably just stop reading now.

And for those of you worried that this is going to turn into a fitness blog or a sad weight loss tale, you should be okay after this paragraph.  I am overweight.  I have been for most of my 20s and all of my 30s and 40s (so far).  I gained after my 2nd daughter and let me just say:  IT IS ALL MY OWN FAULT.  I am not saying things like stress and life didn't contribute but I am the one who ate what I ate and I am the one that didn't make time to exercise.  I was thin and fit all through my teens and into my 20s and have played lots of sports including at various time:  volleyball, softball, basketball and major league rules women's amateur baseball.  I played a year of soccer.  I threw shot put for the track team.  I ran the 2nd leg of the 4x440 relay.  But even back then, I HATED running long distances.  When the coaches would send us to the track to run sprints or bleachers or lines, I would be happy to lead the way.  If they said, "ya'll go run a mile", I would be the last one dragging in.  So I'm not sure if the universe really knows what it is doing at this point.

The Color Run didn't turn out to be my first 5k the way I thought it would be.  After I had been training (for no particular race at that time) about a month by myself, David decided to start joining me.  And "joining me" is a loose term since we start together and ride back together but don't really stay together the rest of the time.  I do my thing, he does his.  I walk faster, he runs faster.  The company he works for offered to pay for its employees to do the Missoula 5k which was part of the Missoula Marathon weekend.  So he signed himself up and after he mentioned this to me and I asked why he didn't sign me up, he signed me up too.  (Sometimes the obvious isn't so obvious to David.)

But The Color Run is still out there and I decided to look it up and see about doing it in DC or Philadelphia where I could go and see if my daughter would meet me there.  When I went online though, there was a star in Western Montana that had to be Missoula.  They have not had The Color Run here before (they have had other similar races).  So I immediately signed up.  My cousin was planning to come here for a visit at that time so she also signed up but the universe decided it wasn't in the cards for her and so we transferred her registration to David a few weeks before the race.

Here we are pre-race.  The race is being held at the University of Montana and they suggested you get there early as parking could be a problem.  We got there at 7:30 for an 8:30 start.  We could probably have arrived at 8:15 with no problem.  It is cold out, probably in the low 50s, before the race starts.
To help get people warmed up, the girl in the pink on the stage is doing a Zumba style routine for people to follow along to.  We weren't that cold.
People are dressed in all manner of things including lots of tutus...
even the men.
This guy who ran the race in a black suit.  They encourage, but don't require, participants to wear white as much as possible.  The bag that woman has was one of the giveaways along with a t-shirt, a headband (the group in the next photo are all wearing them), and some temporary tattoos.
There were lots of crazy socks and we saw a handful of people in full bunny costumes.
They do a conga line over to the starting line and the emcee gets everyone to sing "Party in the USA" by Miley Cyrus.  I think everyone but David knew the words.  They have multiple bubble machines going and people are cheering and, like me, taking lots of pictures.  I put an arrow over the emcees head so you could see where he is in relation to me before I tell you what happened next.
The Color Run's mascot is this unicorn.  He comes up right in front of us and starts dancing, trying to get either David or the teenage boy next to us to boogie with him but he is SO barking up the wrong trees.  While I am taking his picture - WHAM - I get hit right in the face with something.  The emcee, from the distance he was at - hit me right in the face with a bandana in a plastic sleeve.  He had been throwing things into the crowd before this but I never expected him to get things out this far, much less hit me right in the face.  The bandana fell over the barrier we are standing at and a kid picked it up and carried it off.  I think someone must have said something to him because he came back and gave it to me.  Normally I would have let him keep it but I was still out of sorts from being hit at all so I still have it.
They said "run on the left, walk on the right" but that was all pretty quickly abandoned.  David and I got stuck behind this one family a couple of times.  There were so many of them together (in matching family shirts) that they stretched across the whole road and you couldn't get around them on the narrow parts of the trail.  As you go along, there are "color zones" like the blue one here in the photo.  As you go through, they squirt dry color powder on you from bottles.  The color is dye in a cornstarch base and most of the workers aim at your chest or lower.  The only time that didn't happen was in blue when the guy threw it right at my face making me glad I had on sunglasses.  David made it through pink, blue and yellow with barely any color at all other than on his back.  I got a little of each but am really not overly covered at this point.  We both got more in the purple zone than anywhere else until...
at the finish line they hand you a color packet to use at the "after party".  We got turquoise, not a color that was also a zone.
So as you will see from these after pictures, we did more damage to each other than anyone else did.  David poured most of his packet down the back of my hair and shirt.  The next day, I still had color coming out of my hair when I washed it.

I took a couple of pictures of the after party but remember the guy in the black suit?  I bet his pictures are better than mine.  He brought a drone.
The Color Run claims to be the Happiest 5k on the Planet and people were definitely happy.  There were a lot of people in fun outfits, there in groups, laughing and having a great time. 
Because Missoula is about 30 minutes from our house and we need stuff from the store, we decide to go there before going home.  Some people know right away what we have been doing and others just stare at us like we are really strange.  In the first store a woman says to me "looks like fun" and I told her it was.  At WalMart someone took my picture (they thought I didn't know) so I may end up on the People of Walmart website (though I have to say a little color on my face doesn't seem like much compared to what I have seen on there). 
Another woman who sees me stops and says, "you look amazing!"  And do you know what?  I feel amazing too.
PS.  The color mostly came out of the clothes in one wash.  The skin was a little tougher.  I tried using makeup wipes on my face but just ended up looking like a smurf.  We both had to scrub pretty vigorously with a loofa to get it off.  Even then some of the places where we got sweaty, like around the bracelet we were required to wear, didn't come all of the way off the first time.  Even yesterday, David had some transfer back to his skin from a necklace he wore during the race that was over a week ago now.  So The Color Run may be over, but it will be with us for a while.

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