Wednesday, May 30, 2012

color runner: my tips.

On Saturday (May 26), I did the Color Run in Denver. It was great fun, and since I know so many people looking to do one, especially the one in Michigan at the end of July, I wanted to give you guys some first-hand tips and advice I wish I would have known going into it! If you've done a Color Run and want to add, please put your tips in the comments.

Yes, you will get an email the week of your run with information and tips to clean off afterward from the race directly, but I just wanted to share my perspective.

My friend Lauren and me
First of all, this is a million times more fun with a friend. I am no stranger to doing races alone (of the 12 or so races I have done in the last 14 months, only half of them have been with another person) so usually I don't have a problem with going alone, but this one would be incredibly different without someone to run with. I did it with a friend from work, and we had a great time.

Expect to be colorful for a while. You might not think that I am loaded up with color like in the pictures from the race's website. Well, maybe not. But that blue on my shirt? Soaked all the way through my shirt, my sports bras and right on to my skin. There was color stains in the creases of my elbows, and I had blue in my ears for at least two days. Oh yeah, and my feet got blue, too, through my shoes. Moral of this story: if you have someplace important to be later in the day (say, you're in a wedding), I would consider skipping the Color Run. Obviously do what you want, but this is my warning.

Also, you'll probably get more colorful if you roll around on the ground at a color station, or buy more color packets. I actually wish we had bought more (someone said they were 4 for $5) so we had some diversity. We are so blue because at the post-race "party" at the stage, they were only tossing out blue bags of color. 

Don't expect it to be like a normal 5k running race. This is for those of you considering doing this and trying to get an accurate read on a 5k time for your first run. To be honest, we weren't set on running the entire thing, and it was more fun that way. This run isn't timed anyway (unless you do it yourself) so it's a great way to get a feel for the distance without worrying about a time. If you want to run to see how fast you are, a different race might be better for that. People are stopping to take photos, to get color thrown on them and just generally having a good time, so you don't have a clear path to run as fast as you can.

Plus, the guy doing the announcements said before the start that this was in fact, a giant party with this little 5k in the middle. Basically this is true. Loosen up, have fun and enjoy it!

Don't wear anything you want to save for later use. This might not be true for everyone, but when I run, I sweat. I know - what a revelation! Anyway, when things get wet and then get touched by this color, the color tends to stick. This is how parts of my face and my elbow creases and things were stained with color afterward. So if you sweat, and then you throw your arms up in the air as you run through a color station, the color will probably stick to your armpits. This might be awkward later if you want to wear that shirt again. Plus, definitely wash your clothes separate afterward. If I had washed other things with my shirt, those things would have gotten ruined.

Protect your phone. You really probably won't need much when you do your Color Run but man, I was so glad to have my phone with me. I was able to text friends I knew were there and more importantly, I could take photos. Hint - if you have an iPhone, you can put it inside a plastic baggie and it will STILL WORK. I was amazed. If you have another kind of phone, I can't really speak to that, but you will want to protect it somehow. That dust gets everywhere. And on that note...

Protect your lungs. The color is just dyed cornstarch, which you can ingest because cornstarch is in food. But if you can find a bandana to take with you and cover your mouth a little, you might want it. When I got in my car after the race, I could suddenly taste all this dust in my throat, and it was not pleasant. At least make sure you have water for the ride home. You still might see color when you blow your nose later (sorry, but it's true), but the fun is worth it!

And most importantly:

Have fun! This is a unique race day situation - grab a few friends and sign up! You get a sweet sweatband, a t-shirt and a great time, and then you have some really sweet running pictures (or walking, if that's your thing - still worthwhile) with color all over your face. This was a great time, and even though the color got EVERYWHERE (my seatbelt, my bathroom sink, etc.) after I was done and I had (still have!) some color in my ears and and face and feet, it was worth it.

How many of you are color runners? Would you do the run again if it visited your city?

1 comment:

  1. 1) Get a hotel near the run if you are from out of town. Both Color Runs we've done they've had a special deal for participants at a nearby hotel. Being able to walk to the race site, not worry about parking, and shower at the hotel was well worth the added cost.

    2) Arrive early, especially for a summer run. Pick up race packets the day before if possible and arrive at the start at pick up time the day of. There will be thousands of runners and only so many fit at the start line & on the course at one time. If you come late, you may find yourself standing in the sun on hot concrete or blacktop for an hour or more waiting to start. There are also sometimes activities and freebies before the run (bandanas, string bags, frisbees)

    3) bring water. There will be water on the course and at the finish but NOTHING at the start. Our first CR it was 100deg F and we drank all our water 90 min before we finally got to start, then had to run 2.5k to find water on the course. It was brutal. We had been in line for hours and didn't dare leave to find water for fear of missing the whole event.

    4) if you are from out of town, bring trash bags for clothes and shoes. You'll want to contain all the dye until you can get home to clean things.