Well, Gentle Readers.
I’ve got to be honest about something- and don’t worry, it has nothing to do with my eating habits- but the truth is, I hate running. I really do. It’s been inconvenient throughout my life, as I really enjoy sports and have been playing soccer since I was about three or four. Perhaps you’ve read the book Maniac Magee or even A Separate Peace, but if you haven’t, let me brief you on a common theme in both- running. In both books (if I’m remembering correctly, since the first I read in sixth grade and the second I read sophomore year of high school), the main characters struggle with running at first, but then somehow run so much that they break through some invisible barrier and then find within them the ability to run almost endlessly, on some magical, fleet-footed plane.
From the age of three when I began soccer, until the beginning of junior year of college, when I opted not to play college soccer after going through offseason, summer workouts, and a single preseason practice, and the years of volleyball and tennis that occurred within that time frame as well, I never, ever, ever ran myself into that magical place. I never even came close. I think perhaps, somewhere in the back of my mind, I kept hoping that somehow that would happen. But let me reassure you, again, that it did not. Of course, my opinion of the short novel A Separate Peace can be summed up quite neatly in a Facebook group I joined many years ago titled “A Separate Peace Should Be Pushed Off A Tree.” Hopefully, if you’ve read the book, you’re having a very hearty laugh right now. For those of you who, luckily, have not, let me just say that I hate the book. Strongly hate it. So perhaps it was unwise to pin my faith on something from within it.
But what, I hear you questioning, in a long-suffering voice, is the point of this? Well, it’s just this. I hate running, passionately, until I don’t. That’s stupid, and doesn’t make sense, you say, quite logically. But let me assure you, it does. And if you hate running as much as I do, I’m going to grant you this magical exception to your own rule.
Last year, a good friend of mine suggested we do something called The Color Run in Tulsa. Possibly you’ve heard of these; you run a normal race, except I don’t think it’s quite as serious as normal organized races, and periodically along the way, people throw brightly colored handfuls/packets/boxes of cornstarch on you. It sounded somewhat strange to me when I first heard it, but I watched the promo video and was absolutely hooked on the idea. I don’t know why, because there’s not really much difference from normal running other than you get covered in a dyed baking ingredient. But, as you might have read about or seen on TV, India has an entire festival dedicated to this very act, called Holi, and it is a big deal there. And, you all, there is a lot of people in India, so maybe there’s something to this crazy talk.
But back to how this pertains to me, and not hating running. Unfortunately, the deadline for The Color Run was somehow missed by myself, and I did not end up going to it, much to my disappointment. So imagine my joy when I happened to see a Facebook ad telling me about something called The Color Me Rad 5K, coming in July 2012 to OKC! Not only was it cheaper than the Tulsa run, but it was much, much closer. I tried in vain to persuade my friends to join me, but no one could or wanted to for some reason or another. My sister claimed she was too poor; one of my best friends was selfishly studying abroad in Spain for a month (how dare she take the opportunity of a lifetime, booked ages before I even knew a color run existed), and another was going to be on vacation. Truthfully, I think it was just that no one wanted anything to do with something that had the words “run” and “Oklahoma in July” in the description. Luckily, and I really do mean it was lucky, one of my oldest and dearest friends Kasey Phipps, who’s more a sister than a friend to me, gamely agreed to try the madness with me, and we signed up and committed ourselves.
Now, July started out very rough for me. My Papa died fairly unexpectedly early in the morning on July 5. It was a shock; a horrible, painful shock. And I don’t know if I would’ve be able to get through it with even a modicum of the fortitude I managed if it wasn’t for Kasey. She and her mom came over to my Nana’s that afternoon; they brought us dinner and flowers and a card. They also brought support. Most of my Papa’s family has either already passed on or lives very, very far away, so there were only a handful of us present at his funeral. Kasey was one of them. She held my hand through the service and brought a smile to my face at a very dark time. That’s why, when on July 14 we rolled up to the OKC State Fairgrounds to get ready for the run, there was no one I would rather have been with, except my Papa. What followed was one of the most deliriously fun experiences of my life. There’s simply no word for it other than “fun.” I laughed, I sprinted, I walked, I was absolutely drenched in color, and I think the same goes for Kase. We wore ponchos home so we didn’t stain her car seats. Let me just tell you something; wearing a plastic poncho in a car with black seats when it’s July in Oklahoma and you’re covered in sweat, water, and cornstarch is a disgusting prospect. No amount of A/C is going to help you. To give you an idea of what we looked like, I present to you actual photographic evidence of fun:
Let me tell you how to overcome a dislike of running- infuse color bombs, sister-friends, no actual required running, and an amazing team name like “Colors of the Wind” (IT’S MY TEAM NAME NO COPIES OKAY). If you have not done a color run, let me strongly suggest at this time that you sign up as soon as possible to do so. Speaking of, I come to the reason why color runs suddenly came to my mind this post- I SIGNED UP FOR THE 2013 COLOR ME RAD 5K YESTERDAYYYY!!!! And not only is Kasey joining me, but we’re bringing along some friends to experience the joy with us. I cannot WAIT for Rachel to do this. And, even better, the run is in May this year instead of July. So anyone reading this who was thinking, I still don’t want to be outside in July, NO EXCUSES! Sign up now, seriously. I linked it just above there, and at the beginning of the post as well, so get out there and do it. It was honestly one of the best experiences of 2012 for me by far. And, even better, a portion of the race funds go to a local charity. This run also isn’t just in Oklahoma; they’re doing them all over the country at all times of the year so any out-of-staters reading this, I encourage you to check it out and see if there’s one coming to a city near you this year. I’m not sure what The Color Run, which is done by a completely different group, is like, but the people of Color Me Rad were ridiculously nice, gave out tons of free things, and just organized an all around wonderful event. But I know there are lots of different color runs out there, and if they’re half as fun as the one I did, I really hope you’ll give it a shot.
This segues perfectly into the other thing I wanted to talk about tonight. It’s been really neat, the two major things I wanted to talk about yesterday just happened to tie together perfectly (almost as a bathrobe would tie together…. BOOM, see what I did there?). And then today I knew I wanted to talk about the color run, and I just happened to find something I really wanted to talk about too that fits in seamlessly to my running theme.
I see many things on Facebook that make me sad to live on this planet. Many of the things I see just on the internet in general make it easy to start getting really cynical about the human race. But today, Facebook brought me something that made my day just as much as knowing come May 11 I’ll be getting absolutely plastered with color and good times. I happened to read about this story. In December, Spanish runner Ivan Fernandez Anaya was running a long-distance race. He was in second place, with no real chance of catching the leader, an Olympic runner from Kenya. Suddenly, however, the leader, Abel Mutai, pulled up ten meters short of the finish, mistakenly thinking he’d already crossed the finish line. Anaya had a perfect chance to race past him, but instead slowed down, stayed behind the man, and gestured him the last ten meters to the finish line.
The story pretty much brought me to tears. I am a strong believer that showing class is more important than winning, but many professional athletes- heck, most athletes I know of, professional or not- don’t really feel the same. I’ve just always felt that, when it comes down to it, it’s just a game/race/whatever it is. I’d rather be remembered for my character than the number of wins, and it’s always nice to see someone who apparently agrees. But even more, there is just kindness here. People were apparently shouting to Mutai that he needed to keep going, but he didn’t speak any Spanish. He had no idea. Imagine how bewildering that would be; you’ve just given a race winning performance and think you get to celebrate your victory, when suddenly everyone is shouting at you and you turn around and an opponent is bearing down on you and you have no idea what is happening. But kindness obviously transcends language barriers.
I don’t have a great, philosophical point or really much more to say that the article doesn’t tell you. I just think that we should celebrate and share any and all acts of kindness and class, and I wanted you to know about it if you hadn’t heard of it already.
I’ll end on a completely different note. I don’t even know how it happened, because the internet is a black hole where I lose all sense of meaning and memory. But somehow, in the unknown amount of time I spent puttering around on my computer last night, I came across these:
I. AM. OBSESSED. These absolutely CHARMING wellies by Emma Bridgewater say “it’s raining cats and dogs,” and are accompanied by little pictures of dogs and kitties. I cannot express to you how deeply I love these. I spent probably an hour trying to find out how I could acquire a pair of these, but they are unfortunately only made in the UK and not many are produced that I can tell. The cheapest (well, really the only) place I could find them sold them for about $75, after international shipping was added. I am rather crushed by this fact. If you didn’t catch on to this from hearing I have a bargain fashion blog dedicated to whole outfits for under $25, you might guess that I cannot afford a $75 pair of rainboots. However, as I have mentioned once or eight times, I’m about to graduate from college. And what graduation gift better says I want you to be prepared for the real, adult world than… a pair of Wellingtons? Yes, I think that certainly makes sense. To help me while splashing through life’s puddles, or something like that. I can sell that. Right. But really, where there’s a will there’s a way, and I am rather desperate to have these boots, come hell or high water, which these would be lovely to wade through in. And with that last saying I’m going to end this mish-mashed paragraph of idioms.
But hey, these totally tie into my running theme anyway. You run on your feet, and rainboots go on your feet! And, when we did the color run last year, we wore ponchos afterwards, and you wear ponchos when it rains, just like rainboots! See?! Nailed it.
PS I know I already used Spanish as one of my goodbyes, but I said “good night” then and this means “see you later,” and I felt like I just had to do a Spanish goodbye after reading that article, you know? I think I’ll do Kenyan next, though :)