A Twist of Color

Stop me if you’ve heard this one before…

My knee has been feeling better.

Well, it has. I even ran a mile last Thursday. So, on Friday, I decided that a 5K on Saturday would be fine (if I can run a mile I can run 3, right?).

I got to work and went online to sign up for The Color Run. The run was at Portland International Raceway (PIR) and was capped at 15,ooo people. Apparently the $50 entry fee did not discourage enough people and the race was sold out. I looked on Craigslist for “Color Run” and between the cars for sale, the go-kart, the green Apple iPod 4g mini with a dying battery for only $25, I found there were only a handful of ads for the actual Color Run – and most of them were looking for race bibs, not trying to sell them.

So I posted to Facebook that I was looking for a bib, and my friend Erin came through. I was super stoked and got on the phone to Andrew to let him know to pick up my race packet. Unlike most runs where Andrew can pick up my race packet by just knowing my name, for this race he had to actually get a signed waiver giving him permission to pick up the packet – that’s the tightest security we have ever seen on a packet pickup. Andrew had also offered to pick-up some of our friends’ packets (read: All of Portland). Pickup was at PIR and there were about 6 volunteers on hand. Each runner had to be looked up on the available iPads. At one point the internet went down – this was probably Andrews fault in overloading the system with the amount of waivers he’d brought. Eventually all packets were in hand.

Andrew likes to be prepared for race day. The night before he checks the weather, the roadways, the race map, he dry-runs the drive 12 times to get a mean travelling time and sets up at least 2 alternate routes, he sets 3 alarms, puts his race bib on his runners belt, eats 8-10 gu’s in preparation and carbo-loads on 7 sweet-potatoes… that’s just for a 5K (most of that is not exaggeration).

This time it was good thing he prepped. Apparently the I5 bridge south from Vancouver into Portland was going to be shut until 8AM and we had to go around to the I205 which adds quite a bit of travel time, especially if Andrew listens to me and takes Marine drive across instead of I84 (oops).  By the time we reached back to the I5 to get to the MAX station from where we would then get to PIR, the I5 bridge south had been reopened.

We arrived at a MAX station about 3 south of Delta Park (where PIR is) and a MAX train pulled in. The doors opened and a wall of people stood there. Seemingly the entire 15,000 people slated to run were on this MAX train. My Israeli-New York-iness kicked into high gear and I let everyone at the door know I was coming in. There was a loud sigh and even a, “Are you kidding me?” but I pushed through dragging Andrew and our friend Jill in after me. The doors shut and we were off. The car was definitely packed tight – the good news is I now don’t need to give myself a breast exam this month!

At PIR there was absolutely no checking of IDs or bibs. I suppose the organizers thought that the heavy security check on packet pickup was enough deterrent to bandits (runners who don’t pay entry).

Contained in everyone’s race packet was a bag of color chalk or dust. People had brought theirs and were spreading the love prior to the run. As we were lined up for the run I notice Andrew kept moving away from anyone opening a packet of color.

Me:You do realize this is a color run? Right? You will get covered in dirty dirty dirty color.

Andrew: Not necessarily. I was told they throw color on the left and right sides of the track, I will run in the middle.

Me: Why did you sign up for a run where you would potentially get dirty.

Andrew: It sounded fun.

The run started and was set off in waves of people that were not sorted by speed or desire to run. The first half mile was jogging mixed with abrupt stops and interim walking. It was irritating. By the time we got to the first color station, however, we were at a decent trot. That’s when Andrew found out that they had people stationed on each side of the track AND in the middle of the raceway. He got unexpectedly doused by blue.

We got out of the cloud of dust and Andrew started wiping himself off as he ran.

The course of the race was on the racetrack and at one point veered off to dirt roads surrounding the track. I was going along really well, no knee pain and feeling really in tune with my running form. I had to go around a crowd of people who were walking and just as I got around them I stepped into a divot in the road and twisted my left ankle landing hard.

Recently I read Scott Jurek’s book Eat & Run. He’s an ultra-marathoner who comes off a bit douchey – but also has a mantra  “Not all pain is significant.” I started chanting that as I continued on my now-throbbing ankle. After about another half mile I could still feel the ankle but not the pain. I knew I would be alright. the bonus feature of twisting my ankle during the Color Run was that I stopped worrying about my knee.

At almost three miles I was starting to get winded. This was the saddest part of the race for me. I could not believe that three miles had done me in cardiovascular-wise. But, I made it through running all the way to the end. I was fine.

The reason we all got color packs in our race bags was to do a color dance of some sort after the finish of the race. I left Andrew near the water station so he could continue to wipe the icky dirty color off and went to do the color packet dance. Everyone opened up their packet at once and whipped them all over. We were covered in a cloud of color. It was claustrophobic and dirty. It was then I wished I had stayed with my cat Andrew at the water station.

After the run. I look like I swam in the Kool-Aid.


When we got home I put ice on my knee and ankle. The next day my ankle was a bit stiff but even as of today I do not have pain from the run.

I am sure there will be another setback or two – because that seems to be my M.O. But, I feel like I made it around a pretty significant bend.


2 thoughts on “A Twist of Color

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