When I signed up for Albuquerque’s Color Run, it was with the understanding that I would aim to have nothing but fun. First of all, if you’re racing for a PR, how can you get gloriously covered in paint, which is the whole point? Secondly, I signed up as part of a team with two friends from work (our team name was “Cake or Death”). Part of the fun of running as a team is to actually, you know, run as a team.
Run as a team we did. The day before the race, Teammate Emily threw the idea of tutus onto the table (hand-sewn tutus, no less!). Having never run in a tutu before, or more accurately having never worn a tutu before, ever, I immediately supported the idea. Nothing makes a race a party like a tutu.
We all met up on Color Run Morning in downtown Albuquerque, not far from the starting line. After a paper cup mimosa toast, the donning of the tutus (I felt like a princess, and a never-to-be-disclosed amount of happy squeaking ensued), and a sufficient number of “before” pictures of us in our pristine white clothing, we headed for the action.
I’ll be honest; I wasn’t certain how the Duke City would receive the Color Run. Sure, we have some fit folks scampering around town, but a big organized event like this? I wondered, would people actually come? Would the race organizers and local volunteers have any idea of what they were doing?
Answers: YES, and [hallelujah] YES!
Thousands of people showed up. And refreshingly, despite the numbers, I never saw any crowd ugliness. No tense impatience, no sniping amongst runners. With no official race clock, with beautiful weather and with bright cheery colors floating through the air, really, why would anyone get cranky?
We traipsed along the course, my teammates and I, soaking up the festivity of it all. At every paint station, we slowed to allow ourselves a better coating in the technicolor dust clouds. We cheered for each other and the people around us, we capered in our tutus, we probably looked insane but didn’t care. We crossed the finish line with linked arms. It was awesome.
Then, after snagging bottles of water, we discovered that the color stations along the course had just been a warm-up. We stumbled upon…The Color Throw. Picture a mosh pit at a rock concert, only a happy, benevolent mosh pit. Now picture most “moshers” with packets of paint powder in their hands. Now picture a dramatic countdown, and the release of all that powder.
Oh my Lord. Color got everywhere. In my ears. In my pigtails. On my eyelashes. I’ll just say that my sports bra wasn’t much of a barrier, and leave it at that. My teammates and I danced to the music and flung paint, and cheered along with the rest of the crowd at a marriage proposal that happened on stage (she said yes).
We parted ways I think a tiny bit rueful that not even the funnest (yes, “funnest” is a word) day at work could top that. And I get that – a headband and paint-spattered tank top probably wouldn’t go over well in the office.
But just try and take away my tutu.