I'd heard about color runs...how trendy and fun they were. But I'm so busy with work and kids' stuff that I totally missed that one was coming to my town until two days beforehand when David Willey, editor-in-chief of Runner's World magazine asked me if I wanted three "tickets" to the already sold-out event. Some context: It was perfect timing, as I had just put out a message to the universe that we needed to find something fun to do--except I wasn't even sure what was fun anymore--and then I got David's email. I'd just been telling him about all that was going on (work, a demanding 16-year-old even busier than me, and oh, yes, there is the poor little 6-year-old, who's been getting dragged along everywhere, occasionally crying for food and water) so it was a welcome surprise and gesture.
More context: Sunday morning was the morning after prom. It was cold. It was raining (lightly). Would I even be able to get them out of bed? Would I even get myself out of bed? My first surprise of the day was that yes, they did want to get out of bed at 7 a.m. on a Sunday. We layered up (more on that later) and off we went. Second surprise was--by pure luck--we got an amazing parking spot. As a third surprise, even though there were 6,500 people signed up, we were ready to go in the first "wave" and the kids were looking happy and having fun. Fourth surprise: So was I!
Off we went. Adrenaline caused the girls to go fast at the start, and all my pleading to stay together went unheeded. Fifth surprise: I kept catching up with them. This is an untimed run, so it is really mellow (compared to the only other 5K I'd run). There were kids everywhere. People of all ages, sizes, and yes...colors! The rain held off and was just a gentle mist. As the girls ran, the layers came off until I had five shirts tied around my running belt. We ran. We walked. We laughed. The little one was a total trooper. And towards the end, after she was totally "bombed," she said this was the most fun ever.
There was a moment when my teenager and I remarked how weird it was to be talking about "bombs" in a fun way only a few weeks after Boston. But the spirit of Color Me Rad was like the antithesis of what happened in Boston. These were love bombs! This was just plain fun. Good exercise on a Sunday morning.
When we were done, we were filthy and exuberant. And my magic running shoes ran their last race while getting baptized in colored pixie dust, a fitting end for the perfect pair of shoes. And the perfect way to reconnect with my kids in a fun way that we ALL enjoyed. No one was left behind after all, and we crossed the finish together smiling, laughing, and glad we got out of bed for it.
And the color? It's cornstarch (GMO alert) with artificial coloring. Probably not the healthiest thing in the world, but it does wash out surprisingly easily (I was kind of bummed because I liked my hair a little pink). But at least we weren't eating those GMOs, just splashing them all over each other.
We'd all do it again. No surprises there!
For more from Maria Rodale, go to www.mariasfarmcountrykitchen.com