Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Race Report: The Color Run 5K - Atlanta

Again, I am late with this report, but I'll make up for it with the colorful photos!  As I was browsing the Georgia race calendar for fun races, I discovered a video for The Color Run 5K.  I have often toyed with the idea of doing one of those crazy muddy/challenge races, but was always worried about not being strong enough for some of the obstacles.  This race appealed to my need to get down-n-dirty without actually having to deal with...dirt!  Also, I figured a 5K with a fun atmosphere might actually give me a chance to win an AG award.  When I saw the fun and frolicking video footage from previous races, I was sold.

I didn't quite realize how big this race was going to be.  They actually decided to schedule an encore race because the first one sold out of its 5,000 slots!  The day before the race, I carefully read all the fine print about the "semi-permanency" of the color we would be anointed with.  Then I saw that the race was not even going to be timed!  Truly it was a fluff race, but I was going to go out there and have fun, by golly.

I left for Piedmont Park early the morning of the race so I could get one of the limited parking spots near the start.  After the race, I needed to scoot out early to pick up the kids from the place where they were impatiently watching Rob play his tennis match.

Because of this early start, I was able to scout out the site and go for a warm-up run.  The first thing I noticed was that I seemed to be the oldest person in the entire park - by FAR!  Truly, I was a relic.  This was definitely the 20-somethings' scene.  I was determined not to let that get me down, though.  Instead, I snapped a couple shots of the colorful signs and got one of me in my pre-race "white-shirtedness."

Then I made my way to the starting line to wait for the remaining 45 minutes.  Lucky for me, I met the one other guy who also looked to be in his mid-40s, and we struck up a conversation.  He was standing in for his step-daughter who had pneumonia.  We chatted a bit, but it was very hard to hear because of the obnoxious music blaring right in our ears.  Man, I am getting old!  Beach balls were being tossed around, and we even got a few waves going.  The announcer tossed out prizes into the crowds as well.  I didn't wear my Garmin because a) I didn't want to subject it to the indignity of being sprayed with color, and b) because time was obviously not the object in this race.  :-)

Finally the gun went off and we started running.  The 40-something guy and I headed out as swiftly as we could, although people resorted to walking pretty quickly.  The pace was definitely leisurely, and we passed folks left and right.  My intention was to run, but to just sort of enjoy myself.  However, because this guy as going pretty fast, I decided to try to match pace.

As we passed the first "color station," I braced myself for the initial blast of yellow I was to receive.  It truly was so potent that it was hard to breathe for a moment!  By the second station, I had figured out that covering my face was an excellent idea.  The other guy kept up the rapid pace and I started getting a bit tired.  I had no idea how much of the run we had left.  I just knew that we had two more stations to hit (or, rather, to be hit with) before the end.

Looks like fun, doesn't it?!

Luckily, the race took a downward slope and I felt a little better.  I knew our pace had to be less than 8-min. miles, but there was no way of telling.  Close to the end (although I didn't know it), I told the guy to "go for it," and I slowed my pace.  Then I turned a corner and saw we were at the end!  I was bummed that I gave up when I was so close.  I estimate that we came in somewhere about 20th place.  Since there was no timing though, it didn't really matter.  In fact, after the race as I made my way back through the park, I could see a long line of people who had not even left the gate yet!

At the goodies table, someone remarked about my colorful teeth.  There was nothing I could do!  My hands were completely covered, and everywhere I had sweat, the color had seemingly cooked onto my skin.  Swishing water and munching on a granola bar did not help in the least, so I just gave in and allowed myself a big, toothy, goofy grin!

With no time to chat, I bounded back to my car.  Although I had laid out a tarp, my car still got quite a bit of color as I scooted in.  What's really funny is that I had to cross the line of runners to get out of the parking lot.  Resigning myself to a long wait, I put the car in park.  Then, in amazement, I noticed that a traffic director actually made the "racers" stop so I could pass!  Funny thing is - I don't think they minded in the least!

As I drove around the corner, I saw the crowd passing through one of the color stations at a slow walk.  Note to self: If you do this kind of crazy race again, be sure to stay up front.  Walking through would not have been my idea of fun.

To reach the tennis courts after the run, I had to walk through the YMCA.  Needless to say, I got quite a few quizzical stares!  A couple people recognized that I had just done the Color Run, but most folks, just looked at me as if I were coated, head-to-toe, with color.  Oh...wait.....

The kids and hubby (and all the tennis players) got a good look at me and enjoyed laughing at my foolishness.  I was very glad to get out of there and home to shower.  Although much of the color came out with a good scrubbing, I did have to go to church the next morning with quite a bit left on me.  Even the next day after my regular run, I noticed that the remaining paint on me had blended with my sweat and had stained the neckline of my shirt.  Oops!  In the future, I think I will stick to the "clean," timed races, especially when a fairly good chunk of money has to be shelled out for the "race."

This coming weekend, I have a 10K in which I'm really hoping to break 48 minutes.  I promise a more timely race report for this one, no matter what the result may be!


  1. Cool! I've wanted to hear about these races. I would be annoyed that they didn't time it. Can't you have fun and compete at the same time?!

    1. Yes, it was still fun without a timing chip, but I doubt I'll be signing up for it again next year!