Yesterday my Gym Cousin, my Little Sister and I went to pick up our Graffiti Run race day packets. We thought it was a little strange that the “St. Louis” Graffiti Run was actually over in Sauget, Illinois. I mistakenly thought it was pronounced Saw-Gut, Illinois, but a coworker told me, that it’s pronounced “Saw-Jay.” It sounds a lot fancier than it really is. We saw the St. Louis Arch behind us in the distance after we parked the car and waited in the packet pick up line in the blazing sun for at least an hour. I’ve never had to wait that long to pick up a race day tshirt, but I had my sister and my crazy cousin to keep me company.
On the ride back home to St. Louis, all of us were a little leery about this potentially back woods race in Mysteryville, Illinois. Illinois people and Missouri people are sometimes funny like that, we don’t really like to cross that bridge to the other side unless necessary. We are cityfolk and this was definitely more rural. We didn’t know if they would have us running through cornfields or what.
Despite our initial hesitations my Little Sister spent the night at my house. I laid out all of my race day gear in advance as usual to provide for a stress-free morning. We knew the Graffiti Run would be a fun themed race, so we had our mom make us tutus. I asked my Gym Cousin if he wanted a tutu as well, but he declined LOL!
We picked him up this morning and took the half hour trip to Saw-Jay. We had to park in a grassy field and walk about a mile to get to the starting line. I turned on my heart rate monitor because I wanted to count every calorie that I was about to burn. After a quick trip to the porter potty, we got in line behind the sea of white. I was told there were about 8,000 participants.
Unlike other 5K races that I attended, we were released in groups called “waves.” If you’re wondering, the color they throw on you is not paint, it’s dyed corn starch, it reminds me of colored baby powder, but it smelled kinda funny. After a countdown, our wave group threw our color packets in the air creating a colorful cloud and we were off.
My back was a little sore from this week’s intense, nearly daily Insanity workouts. It hurt to run and was a little worried that I might not be able to finish walking the entire route. I’ve been meaning to write up a couple blog posts about more of my “Insanity” adventures, but Insanity wears me out. When I come home after an Insanity workout, some nights it’s lights out before 10 PM.
My Gym Cousin tried to walk at our leisure pace but he couldn’t take it, so he took off running without us.
We were excited to see the first color stop come up, I think it was pink, even the creek along the side of the race path had pink water because of all the colorful powder flying through the air. We were doused with pink powder! It was wild crazy fun! But the runners were a little irritated because there wasn’t really room to run along the narrow straight path with walkers stopped for a splash of color. I wish I could tell you guys that this was my best 5K, but really my back hurt. I kind of wanted to cheat and crossover and turn back around but I knew that I would never forgive myself for that. When we were about halfway through we saw my Gym Cousin covered in blue running the opposite direction towards the finish line. We all cheered for each other. I pushed through the pink, the green, the blue, and orange. Some people rolled around in it to get totally covered from head to toe.
Finally the end was near… or was it? The pavement ended and we were back on the grass field not far from the main stage. Was that it? Did we cross the finish line? Was there a finish line? It all seemed a little anti-climatic. There was no time clock or announcer to say your number as you crossed the finish line. I know I probably sound like a 5K snob right about now, but to me, the finish line is the most important part. We took a few fun pics and made our way over to the stage. The vibe shifted to a party excited energetic atmosphere. There was a hype man onstage, loud music and hundreds of colorful people dancing. We danced around in our tutus until they started the New Year’s Eve-esque countdown to throw the color in the air. I ripped open my yellow color packet that I had previously tucked between my sports bra and my real bra…. 5-4-3-2-1!!! Everyone threw their color packets in the air. There was a vibrant rainbow of color that rained down on all of us. We danced and cheered as our faces and bodies were drenched with even more color. The fun color party at the end made up for all of the little idiosyncrasies. At the end of the party we felt like we definitely had enough color. There were a couple of guys with leaf blowers to blow off the loose powder before getting in our cars.
That mile long hike back to my car with the high-noon sun beaming down was hard for all of us. My cousin was so tired, he sat on my car hood as he waited for me and my sister to get there. They were smart enough to bring a change of clothes. Silly me, I forgot to bring a change of clothes, so I stood out there in the grassy field turned parking lot and switched my shirt inside out so as not to stain my cloth car seats. After taking the wrong highway and getting lost near a rock quarry or something like that, I took my cousin home, dropped my Little Sister off at home. I was confused when a lady in the neighborhood stared at me quizzically, I forgot my face and hair were sprinkled with color. Soon after we all met up again at my Gym Cousins mother’s house. All of the family was there for Sunday dinner for my grandmother’s birthday. I got to hug on my niece who was spending the weekend with my mom.
We showed off our wacky fun cell phone pictures from race and we all agreed that we took what felt like the best shower of our lives! I was glad that I had burned over 800 calories, because we ate delicious soul food, deep-fried turkey, BBQ, macaroni and cheese, candied yams, green beans with potatoes, potato salad and caramel cake. I did the best I could and only ate one helping and one slice of cake. But, playtime is over. I joined a weight loss competition with some associates of mine, the winners pot is nearly $400. The first weigh in is in three weeks; high-protein low-carb here I come!
P.S. My “Special Friend” (who ironically is a lot less “special” these days, we haven’t talked in a month or more) text me, he saw me and my sister on the race course, but wasn’t sure if it was me since we were covered in color. We exchanged pleasantries, discussed our confusion about the lack of a clearly defined finish line, and wrapped up the conversation before it turned into our usual heated debate about nothing.
P.P.S. Things are going good with My New List Guy. We have another date planned soon! I’m excited.