Something I’ve come to enjoy (and actually seek out) on other blogs are the writer’s race recaps. There’s something satisfying about reading about someone’s race experience. Seeing them go through the same anxieties – and joys! – makes it not as scary to think “Hey, maybe I could take on a half marathon!” So here we go 🙂
Today, I’m going to recap my experience at The Color Run of New Jersey. Although I’ve got some reservations about calling it an actual “race”, it was a great experience! It was September of 2012, and I was looking for something fun to break up the monotony of my October half marathon training. The fact that the event was only a few miles away in Englishtown, NJ was a huge bonus, and hey – free t-shirt and great photo ops. How could I pass it up?
When we arrived, the line to pick up my number and t-shirt was ridiculously long. Like, think of how long you would consider “ridiculously” long, then double it. I think we waited almost 90 minutes. So while everyone around us enjoyed the party atmosphere, there we stood, growing more and more impatient (and desperate for a bathroom). Finally, I got my number and took my place in the corral. And I waited – again – this time for almost another 30 minutes. And I noticed that even after that ridiculous wait in line for my packet, they let just about everyone into the corral, bib or not! I had paid $35 and waited all that time, while people just wandered in and out of the crowd – more without numbers than with. But anyway…
Usually when I race, I race alone. This is OK. This is why I do it! It’s my “me” time. My time in the corral is spent getting loose, into the zone, psyched up, etc. This time, I went about it alllllll wrong. As I waited, I saw that I was basically the only person running alone. At times it seemed like I was the only one actually running. Because as it turns out, the Color Run is less of a “run” and more of a Color “Let’s All Meander Through a 3.1 Mile Course with Dozens of our Friends”. Which is awesome! But not what I expected.
So when it was finally my turn to start, I crossed the line and tore out of the gate feeling good! And then: the crowds. You know that frustrated feeling you get when you’re making your way through a crowded mall only to have the people in front of you stop dead in their tracks, forcing you to jolt to a halt and change directions? Yeah, that happened every 5 feet. Toddlers wandered into my path. People with strollers and groups of 5+ people walked in a horizontal line, blocking everyone from passing. Couples and friends stopped to selfie in the middle of the path. It was frustrating to say the least.
Now, why is it a “Color” run? At just under each mile, there were stations of people hurling different colored powdered cornstarch at you (pink, blue, green and yellow), and there were lines to walk through the stations. Actual lines just to continue through the crowd. After fighting it for so long, I finally just gave up and enjoyed it – if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em, right?
So where I could jog, I jogged. When I had to walk or even stop, I didn’t get frustrated. I encouraged the powder-throwers to hit me with their best shots. I even kind of wished I had just dragged my husband into the course with me. Hell, he hadn’t registered, but neither had half of the people on the course with me! At least we could have had some good photo ops!
Either way, I made my way through the winding course and enjoyed myself. The crowd even thinned out towards the end of the race, and I got to sprint for the finish line on my own, giving the hubs the chance to snap this awesome picture:
After the finish, they encouraged people to stick around for the post-race party, which was really just a crowd of people gathered around a stage/truck blasting techno music and holding cheesy dance contests, with “color bombs” every 15 minutes, where people would stop everything and blast each other with packets of colored cornstarch until we couldn’t breathe. So my husband (my poor, long-suffering, still clean by this point husband) held my gear while I dove into the crowd and got nice and colorful, until I finally called it quits.
With the race done, we went back to our car and dusted me off, then sat in close to 90 additional minutes of traffic to get out of the Raceway parking lot (there was a lot of waiting that day), and I spent close to an hour in the shower that day washing cornstarch out of places I never want to see cornstarch ever again. My shirt had to be thrown out, but my shorts and sneakers fared just fine with a good washing.
Overall, I would recommend The Color Run to someone who’s definitely *not* serious about their race. This is a purely fun, have-a-good-time get together where they don’t time you at all, and you’ll spend more time waiting and walking than actually running.
Would I do it again? Maybe. With a big enough group of people. But you have to admit, there are some pretty cool photo ops.