Late last year, The Child told me that she wanted to do a Color Run. It’s an event where the runners/walkers are sprayed with colored cornstarch as they go through the 5 kilometer (3.1 mile) course. She had planned to run the event with a friend of hers so we signed her up without a second thought. I am not keen on obstacle course, mud or similar events, so I chose not to register.
As race day approached, we realized that The Child’s friend did not register because she had doubts about her ability to run a 5K. As race day fell on the day that marked the start of my training for my next marathon, I decided to join my baby in the event.
The race started at 8am at the Fairplex in Pomona at a nice toasty 86ºF on the 8th day of summer. I normally would not run a 5K with water, but because of the temperature The Child and I both did.
The event draws so many people that the race organizers have runners start in waves every thirty minutes. Because we wanted to beat the heat, we arrived early for the first wave. The Child has been blessed with the ability to run a mile in 7 minutes. On a good day, I average between 4 and 5 minutes slower. At a Disneyland race once, I kept pace with her for about 3/4 of a mile, but once she realized I was near her, she got mad and kicked in the afterburners leaving me in the dust.
I put everything I had into it the start of this race and was 4th in the race about a quarter-mile in. The Child, oddly was running about a 10 minute pace during the first mile and was behind me. Something wasn’t right. I stopped to take a picture of her as she passed me and then I stayed strategically behind her.
My child could be missing a limb and she wouldn’t admit that anything was wrong. I know that she was more than capable of running in the heat, so I shadowed her; whenever she walked, I walked. When she ran, I ran. It’s a weird feeling running with one’s child when one knows that something isn’t right.
I used to live near the fairgrounds in Pomona back in the late 1980s. Last time I was there at the Fairplex was with an old girlfriend, SueEllen Snyder. She passed away a few years back and as the race navigated through the fairgrounds, I flashed back on being at particular places with her during the county fair back in 1988. I remembered that time and place vividly. I said a quick prayer for her and her family and kept chasing my today.
The color stations are what initially had me not wanting to run this event. The idea of running through colored cornstarch was really not appealing to me. Turns out, I was right. I wore my wrap around sunglasses to keep the stuff out of my eyes and I held my breath as I ran through each station, none the less, after the race, I was spitting blue.
The very cool part about this race for me was that the last bit of this race involved a lap around the horse race track. As the Child was nearing the finish line and clearly not going to pass out, I decided to open things up a bit and run a bit harder. In my mind, I was Secretariat.
After I passed The Child, I found myself feeling like a bad parent that I left her behind just to feel myself opening up on a race track. That feeling was short-lived as my daughter sprinted past me. We both made a break for the finish line. I poured it on and sprinted past her at the finish line (although she claims she came in ahead of me).
The after party was held on the inside of the race track. There was plenty of room, lots of food and beverages for sale and a rocking stage. Every 15 minutes or so, they would have a color party where the race participants would open color packets and throw color in the air. It made for a beautiful moments, but also made for some additional coloring opportunities.
This was an incredibly poor way for me to start a 19 week marathon training program. My schedule called for 13 miles and as it turns out, I only ran 2.85 miles rather than 3.1. Seems the course was a little short, but oh well; it was an even more about fun and smiles than it was about pace and distance.
The Child had corn starch all over herself, in her hair, and in her ears. Turns out it’s not so much the corn starch, but the corn starch mixed with sweat that was the problem. Let me put it like this, when I took my shower after the race, my chest was dyed the color of the Wicked Witch of the West. Nothing like the site of ones self with dark green nipples. After two showers, my scalp was still blue.
The event was incredibly well-organized and fun. The staff and volunteers were high energy. The crowd was fun and the venue was safe. Best of all, the race pictures were free for download. Would I do another color run? Probably not, unless The Child does.
Post Script: As the day progressed, The Child became warm and started to complain of a sore throat. She has a bug.