The Day I Almost Died (AKA: That Time I Ran A 5k)

Before I almost died


It was a hot 90 degrees in Seattle, and, before I say anything else, let me tell you that I absolutely hate the heat. I moved to Washington after living in Georgia and Texas for most of my life. I’m a fall/spring/winter kinda gal. When it gets above 75 I want to sit in my car and blast the a/c with Katy Perry’s ROAR loudly reminding me that, yes, I’m still a winner.

I've run three 5k races so far,but this was the first one I didn't train for...AND my first color run. I was fairly confident I could keep moving at a semi-fast pace for three miles with absolutely no training. Yes, I'm stupid. Shut up.


After waking up early, dropping kids off at their grandparents' house, and driving for over 45 minutes, we finally found a parking space close to the shuttle that would transport us to the starting line. I was already too hot from walking the 10 feet from our car to the bus, and that's when we saw the sign: "Tickets: $20/each."


I ask the spawn of satan selling the tickets how long of a walk it is to the starting line.

"Oh, it's only about a mile. Less, if you're in shape!"

Ummm, okay. So, it's less of a distance the healthier you are? That makes perfect sense. Not.

Turns out it was approximately two miles to the starting line. My 5k was almost over before it ever even began. Fantastic.


After standing in line in the heat for over an hour to get registered we finally made it to the air-conditioned room where we would pick up our numbers and t-shirts. I was tempted to just hide out in there until Chris finished the race, but he kept looking over at me and smiling, like he was actually excited to be doing this together. The shirts were pretty cool with choices between neon pink, orange, or a crisp white, and, since it was a color run, I was definitely gonna get the white one. Chris was already putting his on when the nice lady asked me what size shirt I needed. She then let me know my only option was the pink shirt since (and I quote), "That's the only one they had in the big sizes."

I look around and I swear to god nobody else was wearing pink. I was surrounded by nothing but thin people in white. Some creative runners took scissors and chopped up their white shirts in this Project Runway-esque they were competing for Tim Gunn's approval and crossing their fingers that Heidi wouldn't wish them "auf wiedersehen." Whilst my very large, ill-fitting pink tent was completely unsexy.  

The Race

The race began and I started off at a nice pace, ready to finish in good time. Then, out of nowhere, some kid starts pelting me with huge handfuls of pink powder. I stop running immediately, mostly because I can't see anything but pink smoke, and a little because I think I'm going to die from color asphyxiation. If that's possible.

After the coughing subsides, I start running again.

I'm a slow runner. To be more accurate, I pretty much just walk with a slight hop in my step. I call it running, you call it walking. Potato, potato. And, to top it off, I was wearing that gawd-awful pink shirt that pretty much screamed, "I'm slow! Pass on the left!"

About 10 minutes in, the friction from my thighs being rubbed together like two elephant seals in heat was beginning to get to me. My feet were killing me. And just when I'd break through those mental barriers and reach a good running pace, I'd get pelted with green, blue, or yellow color bombs and start hacking up rainbow-colored phlegm. Not pretty.

While running, I tried to stay focused on what I was doing. Any experienced runner will tell you the biggest obstacle you'll face is your brain. You have to stay focused. However, tthe only things I could think of were:

Has it been a mile yet?

Should I get pancakes or waffles for breakfast?

Where are those mile markers?!

Syrup on my waffle? Or fruit? Fruit's probably healthier but I must be burning, like, five thousand calories running, right?

Am I almost there?

Definitely syrup. Definitely.

I hate this shirt.

After about 20 minutes (or less), I seriously considered finding the nearest Denny's, grabbing some moons over my hammy, and making a few stops at the color stations before meeting hubby at the finish line.

But I pressed on.

The Finish Line

Just when I saw the crowd of people waiting at the finish line, Katy Perry's ROAR came on my headphones. Between Katy reminding me that I DO have the eye of the tiger and the thought that they may have carbs near the finish line, I was inspired to sprint to the end. I was barely able to breath or stand but I made it, almost breaking down in tears at the end. Seriously. My energetic husband had finished about 20 minutes before me and ran over once he saw me.

He looks me over and says, "Wait. Why didn't you go through the color stations?"

"Shut up. Just shut up."

I was covered in boob sweat, blisters, and a fat girl pink shirt. But not a drop of color to be seen.

I managed to whine my way back to our car, approximately 5 miles away (so THAT'S what the spawn was speaking about before) and, yes, we stopped for pancakes on the way home...with syrup.

Moral of This Story

Train for your race.

Wear spandex or bring diaper cream for your thighs.

Eat pancakes.

The end.

 After the race. Okay, I got a little color. Just not on my shirt.