Total distance: 3.49 miles
This was was hard. Logistically and physically. I was determined to run it because I'd tried (and failed) twice last year, so I had a personal vendetta against this event. That said... it was a pretty awful outing for me, but I'm proud to say that I did not quit and I ran the entire thing. There were so many times I wanted to stop, but I told myself that, sure, I could quit anytime...but once I did that, I was done. Once you give up, you've blown the whole thing. Which really did make me think twice about stopping, which in turn got me through the middle of the run, and then it was replaced by the familiar mantra of "well, you can't quit now!"
I was a little anxious about accomplishing this due to the fact that I haven't run anything above 2 miles since my last 5K, I was wearing a pair of old shoes (not my running shoes), no music and no watch. And while my shiny gold fanny pack is great for its wackiness and for storing all my crap, the strap was a little loose and it bounced around like crazy.
This particular 5k doesn't actually seem to be designed with runners in mind. It's a very unfriendly course. To start, you have to navigate a sea of people walking or pushing strollers (sometimes three deep, taking up the entire street). At one point near the beginning, the runners actually got squeezed off the course, having to run alongside the road in the grass. I overheard another runner tell her friend that she heard people complaining about the runners. That annoyed me. It is called the Color RUN after all, not the Color Leisurely Stroll Through Downtown. Also, I'm no expert, but I really don't think babies should be breathing this stuff in. Adults probably shouldn't either, but at least our lungs are fully developed and we are at least cognizant of the potential consequences of our choices. I mean, I wouldn't bring my baby. If I had one. Which I don't. So maybe my opinion is invalid. Plus it would ruin the stroller. And those things are expensive.
Eventually the pack began to thin, and I found more space to run, at least for some stretches. I spent probably 85% of my effort just dodging people. Whenever we got to a color zone, everyone would just flat out STOP to get hosed with powder. Which left me with the choice of stopping so that I, too, could actually get some color, or keep running in order to meet my goal, therefore running down the middle and getting no color at all other than what happened to be floating through the air. This was incredibly frustrating and I gave up after the first two zones. I consoled myself with the fact that the post-race color was better and brighter, anyway.
Last but not least, there was an incredibly steep hill to climb for the last three-quarters of a mile. It sucked. I remembered it from last year, and it was a tad difficult even walking it. I soldiered through it, reminding myself that once I got past it, I had about a hundred feet to the finish line. It was rough, and no matter how slow I went or how small of steps I took, it was awful. Plus people were funneling back into a single lane so there was very little space to actually run.
I didn't have a watch, which in hindsight I was glad for. Since they used the same route as last year, I could gauge where I was and how much was left. Because of all the pedestrian obstacles, I would have been completely thrown off, anyway. My finish time was 41:41, which is my slowest 5k time, but because of all the weaving and dodging and general not-straight-path-ness of it all, my tracker actually told me I had run 3.49 miles. Yeesh.
Crossing the finish line was great, though. Some girl shouted a compliment about my fanny pack which put a smile on my face for the first time since the race had started. Plus then it was time to rip open our packets of color and really douse ourselves. I had managed to get good colors this year - one of the perks of picking up my race packet early. In past events, we've either had all blue in our group, or some combination of blue and orange. This time, I got pink and purple. One of them belonged to my friend but he disappeared so I adopted it as my own. So we got ourselves all colorful and took some pictures and then departed in search of food.
I'd call this a success. I finally conquered the running component of it (third time's a charm), we got wonderfully colorful, and the string of hot humid days disappeared - leaving us with my favorite weather of 70 degrees and cloudy. I am still very frustrated by the actual race, though, even though I did manage to trudge through it and run the whole thing. I think that if I do it again, I'm not even going to bother with trying to run it. It was clearly meant to be casual and to be enjoyed, and it's damn near impossible to run it and enjoy it. So next time, I'll probably just walk it and call it good, and find some other race to run. There is no shortage of 5Ks in this area.
I'm the one in the tutu. Because, obviously.