The Color Run – Hampton, GA – 4/2/16

The quest for medal two of four medals in five weeks started super early, especially given that this allergy season has been wreaking havoc on my sinuses and ability to breathe. The Color Run was at Atlanta Motor Speedway, my home NASCAR track, but it’s still a good drive from my house.  While I know how to avoid traffic getting to the track, I did not want to contend with check in lines, so my goal was to arrive by 7am and power nap in the car after check in.  On the way to the track, I passed the Oscar Meyer Wienermobile and that made my morning, but little did I know there was more to come.  Knowing the track that they would likely have the real bathrooms open, I knew where I wanted to park and I was there ahead of schedule.  It was still dark and quite chilly with the wind, but I layered up and made my way to check in.  On my way to check in, I realized the Wienermobile was going to be at the run!

Always be kind and patient if you are the first check in/packet pickup of the day.  I think I hit them a few minutes before 7am and my code would not scan, so they had to enter my name manually to find me.  Technology isn’t foolproof, folks, but patience as the check in person worked through it was key.  After getting my bib, I went over to get my packet of goodies that included a shirt, headband, tattoos and safety pins.  The consignment sale mom in me has found a second source of safety pin hoarding!  I decide to buy a fun pair of sunglasses and finally I went back to the car to pin on my bib and put on my tattoos (sparkly silver happy went across my upper arm, while the color run logo went on my face) and take that much needed nap.  The much needed nap was in a warm car as I was needing to blast my heat.  I was just hoping some warmth would come with the sunrise as short sleeves were my only option.

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After the power nap, I decided it was time to check out things as a lot was actually going on now.  I played find my friend via text messages as I kept getting to the place she said she was by the time she had moved on.  I finally found her and then we headed to get in line to start the race.  The start line folks got us good and motivated and tossed out free stuff and then finally we were set free.  The run isn’t timed, but I still wanted to get a good training run in, so after high fiving the color unicorn (color-corn?), I was off and headed downhill.  Before I knew it, I made it to the pink color station and finally had some color on me. And it could be seen on my white shirt and my black pants.  Yes, the colors show better on white, but my pants certainly showed the color, too.

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After pink, we were looped closer to the perimeter of the track and eventually ended up running near the no longer in existence Elliott grandstands, where I realized I had run once before, when I barely made it to the track for the 2011 rain delayed race, that Jeff Gordon won.  It’s amazing how much more quickly things you are used to walking pass by when you run them.  Next was a turn inside the track and up a big ramp to the old Weaver stands which is now RV camping.  We actually got to see the inside of the track and it made my NASCAR loving heart happy.  After a selfie taken like I had never been to AMS before (ha!), I ran on to the orange station.  The backstretch run went quickly and then it was down the ramp (raise your hands if you love downhills!) and back out of the track.  Water was here and I’m all about my hydration.  At this point, I was feeling great in the run, having fun getting color tossed on me and I was enjoying the relatively flat course.  Atlanta needs to join Bristol and Daytona and do their own races.

I kept running on the backstretch side of the property, which might be the area I was least familiar with, and loved that the signs still said Weaver parking (RIP grandstands my first Cup race tickets were for).  Soon blue was upon us and I was loving that blue came after orange.  We looped back by water and then we were running just outside turns 1 and 2.  I had no idea there was a road so close to the turns, so I took another selfie there.  From this, I knew it wasn’t far to the finish.  Of course there was the yellow station, which had the most enthusiastic color throwers of the race.  There was so much color on the ground that I was able to pick some up and get a little color on my hat.  Good news for anyone fearful of color in the face – they don’t really aim at your face.  After rounding the turn 1 end of the track, the tropicolor (2016 theme!) station was next and after running through palm trees, bubbles and tropical music, more color was added.  And then all that was left was the finish line.  I got my shiny medal and more color and made my way to the stage to see what this post-race party was all about.

And what is was all about was getting as covered in color as possible.  I just missed the first color toss and stuck around for the next one.  Suddenly, I was not just covered in color, but I also sparkled.  I had packed a change of clothes, but my daughter wanted to see the color on me, so I headed home glittery.  I tried to shake off some powder before getting in my car and luckily nothing appears to have stained my seats.  What was funny was after getting home and seeing how the color got under my shirt.  What was not so funny is the orange and yellow mixing in my armpits and sinking in, so it took a second shower a day later to make progress on getting the color out.  Apparently color sinks in with sweat.

This race was one of my two fun/mud runs and it was indeed fun.  Despite probably running more seriously than a lot of people out there, I stopped to take pictures, and had a blast getting covered in color.  And high fiving the unicorn was pretty special and fun.  The Color Run social media team is on top of their game, too, responding to tweets so fast, I don’t know how they do it.  If you’re a new runner or even a walker, this is a fun race to get moving and have some fun, so go check them out if they are in your area.  My kid has asked to do this race now, so I will let you know if it passes the kid boredom test!

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