The Color Run. Columbus.
There are no words for how I felt on Saturday morning.
12,000 people. Downtown Columbus.
A beautiful, beautiful - stunningly perfect July morning.
Not too hot. A light breeze. Lots of sunshine and blue skies.
Lots of people in white. White tshirts, white tutus, white wigs.
All ready to be colored up.
I was nervous. But excited. LDH and I parked on the street and headed to meet our other friend, her parents and our friend’s friend. Once we met up, we took pictures (almost all on someone else’s camera! I was too nervous to take mine! And then we gave “Other Lauren” our phones to keep in her running bag!) and headed to the lineup.
There were SO MANY PEOPLE. They were letting groups go 1,000 or so at a time - and we were more than halfway back I’d say. It was not what I expected - and it was a little overwhelming at times - but it was good in a way, because it forced me to stop and soak up the energy/excitement.
I have no idea what time we started. How fast we ran. Or what our final running time was. But that didn’t matter.
I was running with one of my best friends (our other friends had injuries/sick/wanted to walk more) in Columbus on a beautiful day. Something I didn’t think was possible a few years ago. Something that was physically AND mentally very hard for me. Still hard for me.
When it finally came time to run, we were RIGHT at the front of the next group. The starting rope was being held right in front of us - and when the countdown reached one and the rope disappeared - off we went!
My legs cramped a lot at the beginning. But eventually that passed. My breathing wasn’t terrible - it was actually my best breathing run to date, I think, but my legs were definitely sore.
And if you look at the map I linked above - you’ll see the Color Zones and where they were located. I didn’t especially like how they were grouped - it was a LONG, long run between the Yellow Zone and the Blue Zone. But the zones DID help motivate, because just when you thought you didn’t want to run anymore - you looked ahead, and saw an explosion of color in the distance. So onward we trotted.
When LDH got to the end though, near the turn around from High Street to Spring Street, I turned back to see what was behind me. I don’t know why I turned around; I hadn’t turned around the entire run. But something made me think, “Look behind you.” And I did.
It was that entire stretch of road - all of High Street - COVERED with people.
It wasn’t until then - when I saw that sea of people - that I realized how big this race was. Seeing that long, long street covered with white and color splashes, truly inspired me to keep on this journey. That image there - was why people run.
I would have given anything to have my camera in that moment - one of the proudest, most inspiring moments of my life.
But I didn’t. I just have my memory of it - and the emotion I felt when I saw it.
And I got to share that with Lauren.
You know, LDH and I talked a little bit as we ran, but it was a lot of quiet too - a lot of observing other runners and listening to their conversations. It’s amazing how many people say “sorry” when they are running. Including myself.
"Sorry" - I don’t mean to squeeze past you. "Sorry" - I almost bumped into you. "Sorry" - I DID bump into you. "Sorry" - I’m not going as fast as you probably want me to. "Sorry" - I need a jogging break.
So many conversations that start with the word sorry while running. A mixture of being considerate of other runners - and feeling insecure.
Really and truly - I heard SO MANY apologies for running too slow. People slower than me, people faster than me. When in reality, we all should have been celebrating the fact that we were DOING IT. There should be no apology.
You know, the goal was to run the whole time without stopping. I consider that I ran the whole way except for three spots - and only then it was a very, VERY short walkbreak. We had to wait to go through some of the color stations, because so many people had it a little backed up! And I stopped once to get a cup of water from the station, chug it and then throw it away.
Whether it counts or not, who cares. I could beat myself up over it - or I could celebrate the fact that I did the most running in one stretch than I’ve ever done before. I chose to drive to Columbus for fitness, not just food. (Though - food was had!) And I was covered in color by the finish line.
Oh. Maybe you are wondering how we got these finale pictures if we didn’t have my camera and our other friends had our phones?
It’s amazing how many strangers will take pictures of you with their iPhones, and then text them to you, if you just ask. ;)