Respect the Run: The Color Run Indy recap

This morning I had the pleasure of completing The Color Run in Indianapolis.  It was sold out but I was lucky enough to  be gifted a bib from a friend who signed up and wasn’t going to make it.  We went as a family so Babu and the kids could spectate and join me at the finish line color party.   If you have never heard of The Color Run, it is an untimed 5K with color stations at every k where runners are sprayed or otherwise coated in different colors as they run or walk, or dance through.   There were things I liked and things I thought they could improve upon.

The  GOOD:

  • Is it untimed, so the whole point is to have fun and enjoy the run and the party afterwards
  • Almost everyone wears a white shirt and many wear something else fun, like tutu’s or crazy knee socks, headbands etc.. I wore a pink tutu.
  • The start is staggered in 1000 people at a time waves to allow for better spacing on the course
  • They give you one color bomb packet when you pick up your race gear and you can buy other packets at the party for 4 for $10.  So both kids were able to have 2 packets of color for the party.
  • The DJ/Emcee  did a good job of pumping the pre race party up  as everyone stood in the chute  waiting for the race to start.
  • The early packet pick-up was at a running store in the next town over so it was easy to grab my race gear beforehand and avoid waiting in line on race morning.
  • The Color Party afterwards was really fun, we threw color bombs about every ten minutes and our family enjoyed it through roughly two throws.
  • I ran without a phone because I didn’t want it to get covered in color, this was kind of nice because I had nothing and no one telling me what pace I was or wasn’t keeping.  I was able to simply run with my hair down and the wind and sun in the face.
  • A color station at each K gave me something next to concentrate on,  I like being able to break runs up into chunks.
  • No one on the course had any kind of attitude, everyone was just there to have fun and it was a nice vibe.

The NOT so good:

The lack of actual color

I went on the website and looked at the pics, read the FAQ’s  and did some general reading about the race.  So based on that, I was expecting to come off the course covered in color.  They even have detailed drawing of the color stations and how the outside lanes are high color zones and the inside lane is a lower color zone. All the pics show people with lots of color.   In my head I was imagining some sort of powder spraying contraption at each station.  I wore an old white shirt, old shoes and sunglasses  in order to plan for getting colored on the course.  I wore my hair down for this race because I have always wanted to do that and it seemed like the perfect opportunity to try it out.  I had visions of color covered hair upon finish.  In reality there were maybe 12-15 people at each color station to man the whole thing, and they were squirting the color out of  big squeeze bottles, or throwing it out of 55 gallon drums with their hands.   So if you wanted any color you had to be sure to get all the way over to the left or right, then get in the long line to get through the station and be squirted.  Hardly anyone got very much color at any station. I managed to get some more at the later stations because I made sure to dance a little and turn a little through the line and basically force the issue.

I was very disappointed in the lack of color on the course.  The web site makes it look like everyone is just simply coated in the stuff and you need to pay $45 for this race ( a STEEP price for a 5K) so you can be too.  Then when you get there it was like, this is it??? Big let down.   I found out a friend of mine worked a color station and asked her if she thought they were undermanned.  She reported back that the guy in charge at their station remarked it was the smallest group of volunteers  he had ever seen and usually they have 20-25 people manning each color station. Hers had 11.

The lack of volunteers, water and nutrition:

There was one water stop on the course, which is fine for a 5K, the problem was I was in the 2nd wave and the volunteers already could not keep up with those needing water.   It looked like they were trying to fill the usual small plastic cups with water from some sort of water station contraption, like a soda fountain.    The organization also states on their site that they want everyone to bring their own re-usable water containers to “be green”.  So I wasn’t expecting to be handed a bottle of water at the finish, like ALL the rest of the 5K’s I have run.   I saw roughly no one with a re-usable water bottle on the course or at the after party. Except for my kids because we packed them both full water bottle containers before we left the house at  6:30am.   Plus, if you’re just going to use the same plastic coated cups that I see at every race for your station but you want to be green, well I just don’t see the point.

Usually when  I reach the finish line of a 5K, there is a cadre of volunteers lined up in an after chute fashion handing out water, or manning tables lined with bananas, maybe bagels, perhaps cookies, sometimes even chocolate milk.   I realize that a 5K isn’t but a tiny training run for those of us who run any sort of distance, but considering the high number of walkers I had to bob and weave through, the number of small children I saw throwing fits about how they didn’t want to go any further, and the number of groups panting about it’s only x more K,   this probably wasn’t just a tiny training run for a good portion of the 10,000+ participants.  I had a great run, Babu said I came through the finish  in the first couple hundred runners. Once  I was through the banner there was…. NOTHING.   After some searching I noticed two tents set up on either far outside of the park, wandered over to one and they were pouring out tiny cups of trial sized muscle milk and some sort of tea, obviously vendors.   I needed water dammit, so I looked some more then wandered over to the tent on the opposite side of the park and found, you guessed it, small usual plastic cups being poured out of a water machine manned by roughly 4 volunteers who couldn’t keep up.  Most runners were grabbing 2 cups, because we JUST RAN 3.2 miles and after any run you need water.  There was no nutrition of any kind. zero, zip, zilch, none.   Can you imagine how the later finishers  must of felt being out in the heat longer due to their wave start and/or slower walking/running times.   I was infinitely glad I ate a protein bar for breakfast at 6am.

This crap does not come off easily:

Being doused in color while running was fun, being in the middle of 100’s of people throwing color powder is fun, for about  an hour.  After that you start to notice that it is in your nose, mouth, ears, matted to your hair, bleeding through your clothes to your skin;  you get the picture.  The pink is the worst, I have pink spots on my skin and hair that are going to stay that way  for a few days.  I have a pinkish tinted cell phone cover.  I had to scrub my face, hair and body repeatedly to even begin to make a dent in the mess and parts of my body are still stained in colors other than pink.  Yes I knew this going into the event, yes I just complained that I didn’t get more colored during the race, yes I got my bib for free ( thanks Granny P), but  do not underestimate the GIANT MESS this stuff makes.

Overall I’d give The  Color Run 3 stars and I probably won’t ever do it again.  It was fun to do once, it was fun to have the family join me, it was not worth the let down during the color stations, lack of volunteers and  hydration/nutrition for the $45 a bib price they  feel is fair to charge.

Respect the Run: Getting to 500

Happy Tuesday Lovies.  I ran the One America 500 Festival Mini Marathon last weekend on Saturday in temps above 70 and  90% humidity, it was great and it sucked all at the same time.  Pretty sums up any 13.1 run right?   According to Runkeeper the race pushed me over the 500 miles run mark since I started running in November of 2010.

Race Recap

The One America 500 Festival Mini Marathon is the nations largest Mini capping entrants at 35,000 each year.  It is held in downtown Indianapolis, Indiana as part of the month long festivities for the Indy 500 and part of the lure of this course it the privilege of walking on the track for 2.5+ miles of the race.  I can only liken it to running in a 3 ring circus or festival.  There are bands at regular intervals all along the course and spectators are plentiful  throughout the course as well.    There are so many walkers and runners that you are always moving in a mass of people.  The line of those currently on the course stretches for miles, the starting corrals go from a-z and stretch for blocks  past the official start gate.  There are TV crews, the water stops are manned with giant crews of people, in short it is huge.

I was nervous about this race for the entire week. I had no idea how my legs, foot, hips were going to cooperate.  The forecast of heat, humidity and possible thunderstorms was freaking me out.  I’d (still) really like to have a half marathon where I run the entire thing with only walking at the rest stops.   I seem to  lose it in the last 3 or so miles every time when my mental and physical strength are low.  I made sure to hydrate and get outside to get acclimated in the days leading to the race.  Babu and I got plenty of relaxation and sleep, we got up on time  and  I noticed I felt pretty good.  I took a trip to the Chiro the Monday before the race for an hour deep tissue  and adjustment tune up.  I’m going to do this before every big race now because I think it really helped.   Saturday morning when I got up I was able to dress and walk around with zero pain or tightness.  I can’t tell you how long it has been since I had a morning like that.  The early morning was plenty cool and comfortable.  I knew it would be closer to 80 by the time we hit the last hour of our run, but I was counting on adrenaline for the end and the bling to get me by. We crossed the gate at exactly 23:23 in and I took that as a little sign. We started running and I felt GREAT! Like giddy great. I could breathe,  I wasn’t sore, the foot stopped hurting in the first 5 minutes.  This is the run start feeling I have been craving and missing for the last 2 months of training.  Before mile 2 I had sweat dripping off my arms, my first indication that it was humid in spite of missing that chewing your air feeling that comes in July.  We stopped at every water stop and in the beginning I mostly did the swish and spit, take a few small sips, then pour the rest on my wrists and hands trick.  One stop I put half the glass on my head.  I learned not do do that do much though or by the end my running skirt weighs about 5 pounds.   I ate my Sport Beans before we got into the track and wished I didn’t make that pit stop to pee when we got in. It cost me about 5 minutes and I don’t even think I had to go that bad.  Discovering my running skirt felt like an extremely wet swim suit of sweat was my confirmation that it was really humid.   The thing was in spite of the humidity we were keeping a sub 13 pace.   I even got high!  The  rush started at mile 3 and took me all the way to about mile 9.  Right before mile 9 we came out of the track.  I didn’t notice any big difference in weather or terrain. My legs still felt great, my foot still felt good, my attitude was in check.  We were only 4 miles from the end.  I  spent the first 9.5 or so miles feeling like the race was going great and it was pretty easy to do. At this point I even started cautiously calculating if we could make my goal of 2:45.  Out of the blue it seemed like it got really hard.   Not muscle hard, they were tired but no pain, I had no worries about my legs or foot making it the whole way.  I could still breathe, my mouth stayed wet, my heart rate was nice and steady. In truth if the weather had been different I could of pushed all of those things harder and I wanted to. But in order to force your body to make that leap you have to have either physical or mental boosting. You have to trick your body into giving you more, because it really doesn’t want to.     We didn’t get the 2nd package of beans onto our race gear so I didn’t have anything for a boost. Next time I’ll  make sure we have enough for me to take them at 6 and 9.  My ear buds were toast from running under every mist station they provided and I couldn’t get a music boost.   I have the worst wear bud luck at races. I noticed that in spite of the increased heat of the later time I was sweating less.  I started to get paranoid about feeling light headed.  I wanted to finish more than I wanted to finish at a 12:45.  I have 2 more races to run this season.  So I started walking.  When I noticed the feeling go away I’d start running again. this went on for another mile or 2 and it got harder and harder to run.  I made the call that we were walking to  mile 12 and running as much as the last 1.1 as we could.  Every mile from 10 on  our pace climbed higher, but I still felt great. I just could not for the life of me get a run going and maintained.  Those first 9+ miles were some of the strongest I’ve run in my life.   I wish I’d talked myself into trying harder to keep running at 10 and see how long it took to push through.

Babu isn’t good at giving me a mental boost during running.   He just kind of goes along with whatever I say I am doing.   He sometimes tells me to back off if I am spurting too much and that often annoys me, even though he is right.   He doesn’t push me too much to keep going and working through things when I want to back off.  He won’t do it just because I say it, he will wait until I actually do it and follow. he figures it isn’t his job to get in my head and make me push through. This is where girl running buddies are amazing.   We understand our mental run battles, and how to gently push and distract each other.  Babu doesn’t have this skill and he isn’t going to magically get it, he can’t grow it.  I’ll have to focus on my mental state those last 3-4 miles. I think  recognizing it is the first step because I think I could of run those last 4 miles at a sub 13 pace in spite of the weather.    It’s not like I haven’t had practice  pushing through, I took 2+ months training myself to run on tight legs for 4 miles.

We finished at 3:03 and I was a sopping, wet, stinky, super hot mess. But I  still looked good with my shiny new medal!   I feel much better knowing it was the slowest Mini in 20 years and finding out post race that  they put a yellow flag on the course at 10:15 am.   One day I will run an entire  Half and get that 2:45.  I am dreaming of a 2:15 some day, maybe in my 50’s!

My legs  are run ready this morning.   But my foot is not. I went to a new sports doc, I hate him and will be giving  him a little come to Lola talk on my follow up before deciding to part ways for good,  because my left foot finally cried uncle after the race.  It’s the same place I’ve been keeping an eye on since February.   Now don’t get all new sports doc on me.   When it hurt it stopped within 5 minutes, it didn’t start hurting after runs until the 10 miler and it was always pain free by the next run.  But yes I knew this was coming. I just hoped it would hold off until after the Mini, giving me time for 4 weeks in a boot and 6 weeks to train for the Rock N Rock Half Marathon in Chicago.  Turns out I have arthritis, bring on the old lady jokes. I also have an inflamed node and/or a Sesamoid  fracture. New sports Doc emphatically states if it is a  Sesamoid fracture I won’t be running in 10 weeks either.   If that is the case I’m transferring my Rock N Roll Bib to Babu who hasn’t registered yet and going to cheer him on.   I’m bummed about the injury, but it isn’t the same end of the world that it was last year.  I hate the boot, it really sucks for many reasons. But I will wear it and heal and try to concentrate on staying active in spite of it. New sports Doc says  no running for 4 weeks but I can do anything else as pain allows.  I got a stern warning about if it hurts during or after I’m not to do it.  I will be good, promise.  I have 2 more races to run this year!


Found my running mojo- Respect the Run

I’ve had this running post in my head since Wednesday of last week, and only just have a few minutes to sit down and get it out. I’m training for my 2nd Indianapolis 500 Mini Marathon.  Indianapolis is my city and  “The Mini” as we call it around here is always a topic of conversation every year.  Last year was my first one and it was very enjoyable. It is 13.1 miles of people cheering for you along the sidelines as bands  set up playing along the way.  The route takes you onto the  actual track for a loop and part of our downtown.   I followed up  that first 13.1 last year with the inaugural Women’s Half Marathon. Similar route but MUCH different in the support and entertainment arena.  It is probably more like what  most Half Marathons are like, you are running for yourself without much benefit of sideline support outside of the water and fuel stops and the handful of  husbands and friends on the sidelines.  

This year I signed up for both of those halfs again, and in my last running post I wrote about feeling kind of meh this  year about training. Partially it was the been there done that aspect,  last winter was pretty brutal and being a very beginner runner all of that outside training in the cold, wind, ice and snow served to  fuel my inner badass. This year it just felt like,  how soon will it get warm again?!? My right foot has been bothering me a little and I was afraid I was getting another stress fracture.   So far I have still not called Dr.  Hate because I am able to run with no pain and the pain I’m experiencing after has lessened.  I picked up new shoes after Monday’s run and tonight I will be running on them for the first time.

Running is 20% physical and 80% mental.  If you want to be able t push yourself and your body all of the miles needed to properly train and then race, you have to have something inside of you keeping you going.  Some runners adopt a mantra, a phrase they can repeat to themselves to help them through the rough spots.   Last year I had several, most of them were  resolute tirades aimed toward all of the crap that I went through during the Almost Divorce. This year, I had nothing.  I  had nothing so badly I had even forgotten about the need or want of a mantra.  I started this training program a few weeks ago woefully out of shape, as in struggle to even get a mile without walking out of shape.   As I run more it gets better by leaps and bounds. Last Wednesday was pace trials. Our first 3 miler and  a timed start.  I followed through on my plan to drop from the advanced group to the beginner group and let both coaches know.   Once they let us begin I started my run. If you haven’t ever trained with a group I highly recommend it. It is nice to have so many people around you, even if you start to spread out as the miles climb there is the comfort of knowing that even if there are LOTS of people ahead of you, there is usually also someone behind you. There are people you don’t know very well to talk to, there is always someone to give you some encouragement to just keep going.  I started in a  pack with about 8 other girls in my pace range and we kept up at about a 12 min pace for the first 2 miles.    I ran without walking no problems for those first two miles, the street was ice from sleet and the rainy icy pellets were hitting me in the face.  Cars were sliding on the streets we were running on and I started to feel it. The badass feeling was returning. I am conquering nature.  We turned onto the part of the route I call Farley/Tukle home, because it represents the last mile or so and I started to slow down. This was pace trials I  wanted to have as good of a time as I could, I wanted to be sub 12, not 12+.  Then it just sort of popped into my head,  run without walking. If I can just keep running without walking I can rock this to the best of my  ability. For the next mile as our group started to spread out  I ran that mantra through my head. Run without walking, run without walking, RUN WITHOUT WALKING!  And before I knew it I was headed down the stretch of the last tenth of a mile and to a time of 32:36.  I had found my mojo, I am conquering myself! It was an absolute breakthrough on several fronts. One it reminded me that I lacked a mantra. Two it reminded me that if you train, your body will respond. That you will never be as weak as you are in any given moment if you just keep moving. That your body is capable of so much more than you routinely ask of it and if you put the work in, it will reward you by responding.  I walked  away from that pace run knowing that I wouldn’t have to worry about walking anymore during training.  If I do the miles and keep up the training, if I fuel and water my body properly then I will perhaps even  be able to finish  in a better time that last year, set a new half PR.

Saturday’s ran came and it was  super  windy, Saturdays are a times run, 45 minutes as far as you can go, a simple 22.5 minutes out and 22.5 minutes back.  So group seems to stay a little tighter on Saturdays and I did a lot of talking about my weekend plans so I didn’t really need to call upon a mantra.

Monday’s run came and as I suspected the head coach placed me in the beginner group with the other girls and guys above 10 min miles.  We did a 3 and I turned onto Farley/Turkle home I knew I would have to dig for that last mile.  I didn’t feel like I needed to walk  but I knew I needed to go inside myself and find a mental place that would propel me to the end.  Then it came to me, respect the run. My mantra for this year will be respect the run and in extension respect the runner.  A reminder to myself that what I am giving my body and mind via running is nothing but good and pure. That  it is a gift to  be able to run, to  be alive to have the struggle of breath, to be married to have the support of my husband. It is a gift, this body God gave me,  and I will respect it via the run. I will use the run to mold it. I will respect and cherish the clarity and endorphin rush running brings me. I will  remember that The RUN isn’t something to be trifled with. RESPECT THE RUN!!!!

Happy running Lovies!