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Joy In the Journey

May 15, 2013

Color me happy! 
 Submitted Photo
Submitted Photo
Color me happy!
by Linda Beerman and Ranell Beerman
I asked our oldest daughter, Ranell Beerman, to write the article this week about a "Color Me Rad" race that she participated in this winter in Yuma, Arizona. If you think it sounds fun, I see there will be a similar event in Worthington during the Regatta Festival on June 8th. Hope all you mom's out there had a wonderful Mother's Day too!

Well, Color Me Happy, Healthy, and Helpful!

Spring has sprung! With it comes fresh air and pops of color emerging up from the ground and even in our attire. The fresh air makes us want to be outside. And color makes us feel more alive, youthful, and energized. Color. Even the word sounds fun, doesn't it? So, I don't know, maybe the word 'color' was what attracted me in the first place, or maybe it was the challenge posed by the '5k' listed at the end of the sentence. Either way, I thought enduring a 5k where there was color might not be so bad!

Maybe you've been hearing about some of the color races that have been popping up all over the place. A few months ago I had my introduction when I heard of one coming to our area (here in sunny Arizona) via a team sponsor at our church. It intrigued me and inspired me at the same time. Within the few months prior, I had begun again to focus on eating more healthfully. Plus, I used to be a big walker, and I had just starting thinking that it would be a good idea to pull out my walking shoes again. My first question, of course, was whether I could walk this 5k. Running would not be an option. I was thrilled to learn that yes, walkers are welcome! The races are not timed, and the whole thing seemed to be more about having fun than being an aspiring athlete. Perfect.

I trained by walking a well-known walking park in my city several times a week during the month prior to the race. Trust me, the training that I mention here was hardly, well, punishing. I simply walked the 1-mile park once or twice several times each week. I was happy to find how naturally I slid back into walking. I knew a 5k was approximately 3 miles (3.1 to be exact), and I honestly never did walk 3 miles at once before the actual event. I guess I knew I could make it, so I wasn't worried too much about the training. Mostly, I wanted a good but manageable challenge for myself in the dead of our very-busy winter season.

I should stop here and say, if you're not familiar with the color races, they all go approximately the same way. You register and pay in advance. You wear a white shirt. You walk or run the race as directed, and along the way they plaster you with color (sometimes colored corn starch, sometimes colored water). Then, you smile real big and colorful for the camera! Done and fun! Oh, and some of your registration fee goes to a local charity, that's the cool part we can't leave out. In my case, it was going to the Diabetes Coalition for our city. In other places it goes to Special Olympics, or other great groups.

Though I was participating with a team, it was more a team of individuals, so I drove myself and followed the crowd into the dirt parking lot where everyone seemed to be going. Here I was in my white t-shirt, as instructed, and my black workout pants, with my colorful fanny pack that I had purchased at the check-in the day before for my camera and keys. As soon as I parked, I knew I sort-of missed the boat. All around me were girls (and guys!) in colorful shorts and tutus, their hair all done up in bows and pink ribbons. They wore cute, glitter make-up, and sported their “RAD” tattoos in various locations on their bodies. I felt a little underdressed.

Not one to be easily deterred (or waste a good $40, not to mention all of that training!) I hiked my way down the street to the start zone. I met up with my friends, who were all going to be running (not walking) the race. We got in line for a group 'before' photo. Before COLOR, that is. There were a lot of people there. I had heard 2500 were going to be racing, and there were hundreds and hundreds already in the start zone, tossing up some of their pre-purchased color packs to get us good and messy and all hyped up! There was loud, energizing music pumping, just as there had been the day before at the packet pick-up, and the DJ was entirely entertaining.

The race started, and off we went! Every kilometer or so there is a color station where volunteers gleefully douse you in more color. Obviously unconcerned with my race time, I stopped to take a few pictures along the way. There were participants of every age, and one of my favorite things about this race was that entire families were involved! I saw young children running with their parents, and the tinier ones being pushed in their strollers. Some groups carried their own boom boxes through the course, which added some spunk as we moved along. I bet at least half of the participants were walkers, so I needn't have worried. Next time, I will take a team of walking friends! Because the groups I saw walking together were having the best time. The color celebration at the finish line fills in any skin-colored spaces you may have left on your body!

Yes, it took about as long to shower off the color as it did to complete the race, but it was worth it! If you find a color race coming to your area, I encourage you to get involved. For one thing, you are probably able to do more than you think! And how great is it that our entire families can be involved; let's get our bodies moving! It's a great boost to participate in an area event (and fundraiser!) with so many others. I'd say the whole thing benefits the local community in many wonderful ways. Plus, you might get a rockin' picture to take home as a souvenir!

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