As of last Thursday, I am down eighteen pounds (and that was at my doctor’s with clothes on and having had breakfast and lots of water…it counts- believe me. My summer of rebirth is going very well in many ways, but I still have a long way to go with the scale, and many other changes I want to embrace, too. Today I conquered a fear and learned that I am stronger than I thought I was…and it felt really good.
I ran in ‘The Color Run- Shine! 5K’ here in Birmingham with two of my colleagues and several of my clarinet students- complete with a colorful tutu and the temporary tattoos they gave us. Of course, I put ‘The Color Run’ face tattoo on upside down and backwards early this morning- I AM Heavy D’s daughter, after all. This was my first race since before I severely broke my ankle five years ago, and I have been afraid to try running on any official level (I used to do 10Ks all the time, did a half marathon, and a biathlon). One of my students had mentioned the race to me, and I saw it as a wonderful goal as I began my new eating and fitness plan just over a month ago. And it was- it got me outside to train (mostly run/ walking), and made me fall in love with pushing myself again in the way that only running can do.
My big goal was to just finish the race…preferably alive. When I used to run 10Ks, I scoffed at 5Ks, thinking they were wuss runs….no more. This was plenty of challenge for me, and I have a new found respect for those 3.1 miles. I drove out to Kohl’s to pick up my race packet, and the Color Run people had a real party atmosphere going on, with loud music and lots of Color Run bling on sale. In a moment of insanity, I purchased a colorful tutu to wear in the race. I figured that if I was going to do this, I was going all the way. Not exactly the accessory of choice for my ample backside, but getting into the spirit of the race seemed to be important.
I woke up at 4:30 this morning, feeling the race day excitement. As Dan prepared to go teach his early yoga class, I donned my running gear and tutu, pinned on my race bib and headed downtown. The looks I received from people driving down the street were priceless- I wish I could have videoed them. As I got closer to the starting line, it looked almost like a clown convention was descending upon Birmingham – color everywhere, zany costumes, and lots of tutus. I was not alone.
I ran into my UAB friends, and we found our place in the starting line-up. All the while, there was a deejay pumping loud music, getting the crowd excited, and throwing out free stuff. The race is done in waves and is not timed. It was great to see people of all shapes and sizes, families with children- just a terrific mix of people all there to do something healthy and have a good time. Finally, the countdown came and we set off. I had already told my friends that I was going to run on my own- I was afraid that I would hurt myself if I tried to keep up with someone, and knew I needed to listen to my body and do what was right for me.
Throughout the run, you pass through color zones where volunteers are waiting to throw the henna color of that zone on you. Over the course of the race, you are covered with blue, green, yellow, red, and orange. It is madness – chaotic and….really fun. I felt like a kid running through a sprinkler, but instead of water, we got splashed with color. By the end, I looked like a mix of the Tin Man from the Wizard of Oz and rapper Nicki Minaj. It was wild- and totally out of my comfort zone…just what I needed.
Once the race ended, the party continued with more music, color sprays, and dancing. It felt good to see so many people out having a good, healthy time on this beautiful day.
So what did I learn today? I learned that I am stronger endurance-wise than I thought I was. I learned that doing something completely different that makes me feel a bit uncomfortable is good for me- and that things like that are typically not nearly as scary as I build them up to be. I learned that facing the things that I fear will help me to overcome them. And, I learned that I still love to push myself. Just another step on this ‘Summer of Renewal’. I hope the summer will bring lots of new adventures and lessons.
We’ve decided that we’re looking for another fun run soon….we’re thinking a Zombie Run is just the ticket. Count me in!