The Color Run Racine, Part 2

The colorful shirt we got

The colorful shirt we got

I was hoping to keep this post a little shorter than Part 1 of my report on the Color Run last Saturday. I can tell by how much I have to say that this really meant a lot to me and was a major step in my progress. So please bear with me, I apologize.

The 5k

We were instructed at the start line that walkers should stay to the right and runners to the left. I didn’t really know what I should label myself in that regard, but I didn’t worry about it too much. I was just going to do my thing and either move to the right or left as needed to do my thing. We began running and my friend learned quickly that it would be slow for me. She stayed by my side the entire distance, but my family disappeared right away.

Not even a quarter mile in, we hit a hill and already I was down to walking! I knew the hill was there from looking ahead at the course, so I was expecting it and tried not to get bummed. My friend’s approach was to let me know that was ok and to pick a point where we would start running again (top of the hill).

There were so many people there and lots of groups of friends, family, small children. The groups of walkers didn’t stay to the right so much as they were enjoying each others’ company and in the narrower sections of the course the run involved lots of weaving in and out. We were fortunate to have been near the front of the six thousand and it was much less crowded for us. It was fun to see the experienced runners whiz by dodging us all, not a care in the world. And even more fun, was that I was passing people. (One of my anxious visions was that I would be passed by everyone and come across the finish dead last. A bit ridiculous considering this was a fun run.)

Here’s how my friend encouraged me:

  • Don’t think about how thirsty you are, forget that. The important thing is you’re here doing this. (In other words, don’t think about the negative, focus on the positive.)
  • Check your watch, what’s your pace? Try to monitor your pace as you run and be consistent.
  • There’ll be water at the half-way point, you’re almost there.
  • You can’t stop running until you hit a mile! (The only time she pushed me, I made it)
  • When you need to walk, pick and name a point and get to it before you stop. (One point I picked was a group of walking people, a moving target! Not smart.)
  • Once you catch your breath start running again.
  • Watch out for cracks and uneven sidewalk.
  • Check your watch, how far have we gone? (Sometimes this was not a good thing if it was not as far as I was hoping!)
  • She didn’t push, just encouraged. She let me go at my own pace and decide when to walk and run. This was great the first time, but I can see how I could use a little pushing. I learned that I can push myself.
  • She talked to me a lot, the whole way. This was so nice, but oh, my, I had a hard time answering her since I was so out of breath. (This is the part I hate about my running and why I have to walk and don’t know why it’s such a struggle for me)

The course was very nice. It was in a city I don’t visit much, especially in the last few years. It started and ended in a park along the shore of sun sparkling Lake Michigan, below the technical college where I received one of my degrees. It then wandered over to a small marina and up into town along the main street where I had several memories to think about as I ran. There were two hills, the second one was just before half way and the point where I said (out loud) “Three miles is a long way!” (Really? No, it’s not!) The course finished with a big downhill back to the lake, a road I drove often to the parking lot for the two years I was at that college. I have to say, this is the fun part of running for me, to run along roads where my view is usually from driving. You get such a different perspective. And the weather couldn’t have been nicer. About 65F/18C and bright sunshine.

The color stations were crazy! A huge cloud of colored cornstarch in the air. No escaping it really, unless you found a way to go around. The coloring was a bit slow of course. This is not an excuse for my slow time, I used these stations as a needed walk time by making sure I ran all the way up to them. There were two lines of squirters on either side of the road and you lined up with one or the other to get squirted as you walked through. You had to spin around to make sure you got your coloring balanced.

When I crossed the finish line, I stopped my watch and took a peek. I was hoping for anything under 48 minutes, because I slacked off so much the last month or so. But wouldn’t it be nice to get under 45? My watch time was 44:41. Yay! Looking at this in a positive light, there’s lots of room for improvement!

Pretty fancy finish!

Pretty fancy finish!


Crossing the finish line, we were handed a color packet, a bottle of water and a Kind bar. Nice! All my anxiety vanished and I thought to myself that it was just like a really fun workout! I know my next 5k will be a real one and then the anxiety will help me, but in this case, I wish I would have just relaxed and let myself have more fun. Next year!

It was a huge party. There was a stage and a band playing and a big cloud of color over the crowd as people sprayed their packets to get the final two colors of orange and green. We did not end up participating in that part. We were trying to find everyone, none of us had phones to connect with or cameras to take pictures!

We ended up going to the local diner and having breakfast. Scrambled eggs, bacon, fried potatoes. I looked at the menu and thought I should order something really yummy like eggs benedict. But I was feeling so high and so healthy, I didn’t really want anything like that. A little bacon and fried potatoes would be treat enough.

What’s Next?

I plan to sign up for some official, timed 5k’s this summer and fall. I haven’t done it yet, but I want to.

1) I plan to get back to daily exercise with lots of variety. One thing I will focus on is anything aerobic that will help me to not get out of breath while running. I’m thinking: hill sprints, jumping jacks, jumping anything, stairs. My main fitness goal is still to run an entire 5k without stopping to walk.

2) Lose some weight and end this plateau. I still have at least 25 pounds to lose. Any weight loss will help me run better.


The Color Run Racine, Part 1

On Saturday morning around 7 am five of us donned white T-shirts and headed out 25 miles drive to the Color Run. If you’ve never heard of the Color Run, it’s a fun, un-timed 5k intended to encourage physical activity, especially for people who are not active. The idea is to make walking/running fun. The Color Run’s nickname is the Happiest 5k on the Planet!


I had this idea last year that this would be a good 5k for me to ease into running. I asked all my family (three grown kids, one significant other, one granddaughter, and my husband) if they would be interested in joining me. I also asked my neighbor and friend, who is a runner, if she would be willing to join me, since she knows all the ropes of running and races. I expected a resounding ‘No, thanks!’ from my family (they don’t have the running bug like me and at that time, none were already exercising except the significant other). I was very surprised that they were happy to support me and join me! We ended up with five of us signed up and only my one daughter and her daughter could not join us due to another commitment. Then my son was not able to come due to his work schedule :-(.

My neighbor has always been supportive of me and my feeble attempts at exercising. We joined a boot camp together about 6 years ago. I dropped out due to my embarrassment at being the worst in the class, while she kept going and took up running. It has bothered me since dropping out that I did. I could kick myself now, knowing how much healthier I would be if I had kept going. When she took up running is also when I got the idea that I would like to try that. But it’s taken me this long to actually do something about it (kick again). I was very happy that my friend agreed to do the Color Run with me!

You can guess from all the support I mustered up that I was pretty nervous about doing a run in public. The anxiety hit super hard as the run got closer. I was so disappointed not to have reached my goal weight and to know I would not be able to run the whole 5k. Those were long term goals that I was not meeting. I really had to dig deep to not give up based on just that. But my real goal is to just run no matter how slow and I love running even though it’s hard and I still have to walk a lot. I am improving as time goes on and I can’t forget that! I also know it’s mostly the mental side that holds me back, which is all the more reason to not quit and keep working on it.

In the week before the run, my friend encouraged me. She told me, that it was ok to not run the whole thing. She said our plan would be to run, then walk to catch my breath, then run, repeating all the way. She would stick with me the whole way. (This woman can run a 5k in under 24 minutes, which is great for our age.) She told me of her first 5k where she was not able to run the whole distance. She talked about our neighborhood that is not flat, so the hills are a challenge for a beginner.

In these couple months leading up to the Color Run, you might have followed my journey to get healthier and prepare for my first 5k, but I’d like to give a shout out to my family. First, my daughter began exercising and eating healthier. She’s never been much of an exerciser. She’s at a very healthy weight and her job can be very physically demanding, so she’s no slacker by any means. But her diet has been pretty poor and there has been no time dedicated to exercising. Here she is trying to eat healthier and exercising! I am so proud of her lifestyle changes! The same goes for her significant other. He had been exercising, but he stepped up his game to prepare for the run. He dropped ten pounds and spent countless hours on the treadmill walking at full incline! I’m so proud of him too. Even Darling has been seen walking. Maybe not consistently, but any walking is better than none! The whole point of the Color Run is to promote healthy living, and it certainly did for this family.

Back to the actual Color Run… Three of us had our packets ahead, but two needed to pick them up the morning of the run, so we made sure to get there early. We got a great parking spot in the closest lot to the start. I honestly had no idea what to expect. I was thinking there would be hundreds of people. My friend thought a thousand. We later found out it was actually six thousand. Whoa, that’s a lot of people. The other thing I discovered is that it was meant to be a lot more fun than my anxious mind had realized. People were dressed in bright, colorful outfits. Along with the white T-shirts prepared to be splattered with colored cornstarch, there were striped and polka dotted knee-hi socks, tutus, headbands, colorful duct tape shoe protector covers. I wish I had thought of how to bring my phone along so I could have gotten more pictures. (Some people had put their phones in plastic bags). Our packets included a couple tattoos and a striped headband. In order to feel more colorful, we used those. But if there’s a next year, we all decided tutus are a must!

My friend advised me to only have one cup of coffee and to eat something for breakfast. No problem there, since I’m a “morning eater”. I had my usual yogurt and fruit sprinkled with granola. I was careful to not drink too much water. We got in line about 8:45 for the 9 am start. We snuck in closer to the start, but we could see the people stretched a long ways out of sight. As it got close to 9 I realized how thirsty I was and my tummy was already grumbling that it was hungry. Sigh. Some people were drinking from water bottles and that was hard to watch. I was so wishing I had brought some water to drink while we waited. So, I learned I need to drink more water than I had!

Being a fun run, we had a DJ sort of guy at the start line entertaining us and giving away items like hats and frisbees. Close to 9, I started up my watch. With no official timing, I wanted a gauge of my time so I can measure my improvement in the future. At 9 we started, then we stopped. From as far back as we were we couldn’t really see the start line through all the people. We realized they were letting people go in waves. Now I understood what they meant by the start deadline was 10 am. It would take that long to let so many people start in waves. All this starting and stopping was hard on my anxiety! I didn’t count but I think we were about wave 6 to get released.

And there I was running a 5k. Since I got kind of long-winded with this post (sorry!), I’ll finish this in a second post.

Vicki, Paul, Mike, Eve, me

Vicki, Paul, Mike, Eve, me