I can't even tell you how proud I am of them for so many reasons. The first being that I couldn't work up the nerve to run MY first 5K until I was 28 and a half years old. And even then I was so scared that I was in fretful tears as we pulled into the parking lot. I begged my husband to just take me back home. I'm glad he ignored me because that 5K was an invaluable life experience for me. And although it took me another two years to work up the nerve and stamina to run another race, it was my first scary stepping stone into the running world; a world I have grown to love with all my heart.
I was a big baby about my first 5K, but my babies were fearless for theirs. After I finished my first Color Me Rad 5K last year and they saw how much fun it was they wanted in on the next one so I promised them we would do one together. The color runs are so relaxed and fun I figured my kids could handle it. But even still, I was nervous. 5K is 3.2 miles. A lot of adults can't do that distance. How would my 7 and 8 year old do? Especially with no more training than walking to and from school about half a mile each way every day. That and just the rigors of being active kids.
I shouldn't have even worried. I totally underestimated them. They did marvelously!
They loved going to packet pickup, something they've been dragged to a couple of times now for myself. This time it was for them! Kids were able to race free, so I only had to pay for my registration. Unfortunately it didn't end up being totally cheap. Dee wanted every single accessory they were selling at packet pickup and he sure knew how to play his mom who wanted to make sure his first race experience was positive as possible. We ended up purchasing a race packet for each of the kids for only $15 each. It included a T-shirt, a racing bib of their own (SUPER glad I did this! It made finding post-race pics of them easier. Plus, it made the experience that much more real for them!), non-permanent tattoos, sunglasses, and a bracelet. We purchased a couple of packets of colored powder too (something I wouldn't have done in hindsight since they were throwing out oodles of them at the start and finish lines.)
We used the bathrooms, did a little crowd Zumba, and waited at the starting line, soaking up the experience. The atmosphere of the Color Me Rad runs are awesome. Lots of loud music and good energy. Everyone's thrilled to be there. There are people of every size and shape, age and physical ability. Lots of bright colors everywhere. Just a lot of good, family-friendly fun.
And then we were off!
In less than a mile, Jeigh was too warm and wanted to lose her sweatshirt. We ducked behind a tree and switched her out. Much better. Shortly after that, Dee realized his shoes were too small and were making running difficult. I kept trying to convince him to just take them off and run in his socks. He kept saying "No! I don't want to be like Camille!" His aunt Camille, who finished her full marathon in only socks. I think he was making some sort of connection between "lose the shoes" and "run 26.2. miles".
The kids ran for quite a bit of the first mile. We did a lot of walking too. I would say it was about half and half. Jeigh was dedicated. Her face was stoic and focused every time we started running. Dee was a lot more relaxed about it, soaking in all the sights and sounds of the race.
There was a bit of whining, especially from Dee. He had to be convinced a couple of times that this was "fun" and that it was almost over. I don't think his shoes were helping him at all. I finally convinced him to ditch the shoes around mile 2. I carried him on my back for a bit to give his feet a break, but jogging with a 60 pound eight year old on your back who is spilling water all over you isn't that much fun. I set him down and he did much better in his socks. Jeigh didn't like the powder getting in her mouth and choking her. She was kind of split on how "fun" the powder was once she started breathing it in.
I didn't mind the powder so much until I stopped just outside the Orange Color Station to take out my phone and record the kids going through. Someone at this station was aiming to kill. While I was recording, a big handful of orange powder was slammed straight into my face, going down my throat, in my eyes, up my nose. Ugh! It was terrible! I was spitting orange for the rest of the race. All part of the hazards of a color run, eh?
At one point I turned around to look at the kids and I saw a dad, pushing a stroller, hit a bump in the pavement and went crashing over and on top of the stroller, crushing his child underneath. It looked awful! I felt so bad, but we were ahead of him and I could already see tons of people gathering around. There wasn't much we could do, but hope it wasn't nearly as bad as it looked. Yikes!
For all the mishaps, we still managed to have a great time and make it to the finish with smiles on our freshly colored faces! The kids were so proud of themselves for finishing! And I was proud of them! They did it!! They did something that many adults can't or won't do. The pride has lasted for several days. I haven't heard a single "I want to do that again!" but I do keep hearing how much fun they had and that they can't believe they finished it.
Getting clean after a color run is the best! Look at that filthy water!!
I know it was just a dinky little 5K color run, but this was such a great way to share something I love with the people I love. It was such a fantastic experience and probably more fun than any race I've done alone. It made my mother's heart happy to see two pairs of little running shoes next to my size 12s and to watch my children following--literally--in my footsteps.
I don't know if they've caught the running bug, but it hardly matters. What matters is that they know they can do hard things, no matter how young or old or small or big they are. I hope they are learning to endure, to have hope in the joy and the relief of the finish line. And simply that running and being active is FUN! Proud, happy mom over here!!