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A fronte praecipitium a tergo lupi. (In front of you, a precipice. Behind you, wolves.)

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Paint Your Runner!

We're still clean--no prerace paint dumpage here.

Recently the Hubs and I did a paint run. I have to say it was a blast, or would have been if I'd have eaten anything beforehand. The thing is, nobody really wants to see a whale explode. (Okay I'm wrong. People would probably pay to see a paint-covered whale explode everywhere. Heck, I watched one on the Internet and laughed for days about it. And there was no paint anywhere.) Let's just say I didn't want to see me explode.

Pre-race shenanigans
So this was the deal. We got these tickets from our daughter's Best-guy-in-the-world-who-isn't-a-fiance-yet
for Christmas. I thought it would be a lark and the Hubs will jump at almost any chance to run in a Saturday race right here in town for free. 

I'll be right up there with the front runners.
So there we were in the park along with a whole bunch of other freaks awaiting our chance to run through bronchitis-inducing clouds of colored cornstarch. I felt considerably under-dressed wearing exercise pants and the race T and a bandanna in case paint-y sweat got in my eyes (ludicrous since by fairly soon it was covered in paint anyway). I wasn't sporting a Where's Waldo get-up, crazy socks, a tutu, a wedding gown, or even a stroller full of screaming kid. Clearly next time I run in armor. Or maybe goggles and fins.

B, my personal photographer and me
So after warming up, doing the Macarena and the Cha-cha Slide and downing a half bottle of water, we lined up at the starting gate. I knew ahead of time I'd never see the Hubs again, 'cause when he runs, he actually moves forward at a fairly steady clip (though he did get passed by an older lady pushing a wheelchair. Hah!)

I, on the other hand, am regularly passed by old ladies with walkers. I did see one large woman I knew I could probably take. (I should stop saying that. I prove myself wrong every time.) 

Personally, I set my sights low. I wanted to beat at least five people, preferably six. And I wanted to run more than walk. Last race I only ran around the corners. I know, lame, but I'm working up to it from a life of not running unless someone was chasing me with an ax and a bad comb-over.
We're in there somewhere

So at the gun I started a glacier-slow lope. Grass grows faster. I've checked. All too soon I felt like death stalked me at every step. Why hadn't I choked down at least some kind of breakfast several hours before the race? Madness I tell you. I chugged some water and just tried to beat the woman with the stroller who kept out-pacing me to fetch her five-year-old.

At one point I looked back and saw just a few people. That proved to be a mistake. It appeared that I had been beaten by...well...about everybody. I have to say that totally rotted. I was puffing like it was the last mile of the freakin' Boston Marathon instead of 100 yards into a 5K paint run. I swear I saw a guy lap us (I've seen him win other races, so I know he hadn't been behind me all that way unless he started in Guadalajara, Mexico.) That chubbier woman I mentioned before? Blew past me at the starting gate and I never saw her again. Yeah. Shots fired.

Anywho, I did my best to make up for the fact of no breakfast thus no energy. Also the fact that I didn't have my kindle, which always accompanies me on my runs so I don't have to think about how icky I feel. I didn't want to get paint all over it. Plus the lack of anybody at all to talk to. And lastly the paint stations where people tossed paint on you were fun, but there were clouds of paint a panting person sucks right down into their lungs for their breathing pleasure. While I did want to be fashionably paint-y, I didn't want to be hacking blue muck for the rest of the month.

Really. I was running full-out.
Somehow I managed to save something back for the last sprint across the grass. Just as I was about to make the turn in, the Hubs came and ran a few steps with me to give me a boost or something. He'd been hanging out at the finish line for about a day and a half and was likely bored. Must have run out of reading material or something. (He came in somewhere like 40th or something. He said he only took 28 minutes so it must have been a shorter course than they said. Didn't feel shorter to me.) I was marshaling my reserves for the last gasping lumber through the gate, so I didn't get all chatty and pour the tea.

I don't even look like I'm running.
I picked it up to roughly the speed of drying paint. I could see my goal in sight: shade and a bottle of chocolate milk. Oh and the finish line. I charged across the grass like a punch-drunk snail, weaving only slightly in the baking sun. My arms came up in preparation for my shower of blue paint. I must have looked like a very happy Special Olympics runner at the end of a long haul.

The blue cloud at the end
I turn, then, and Behold! Not only had I reached my goal of passing six people, but there were a LOT of people behind me! I asked and found out I was in the first 1/3 of the runners! I nearly died a second time of amazement. Boy did that feel good, I tell you.

Reminds me of elephants in the Serengeti
The kids converged with more bags of paint ('cause we were insufficiently paint-y for them, apparently) and dumped them all over us, including down my back and in my ears. Then we went over and the race officials dumped the rest of the paint from the stations on us all. It looked like Woodstock there (except none of us that I know were naked).

I survived!
On our way to the car I spotted Waldo and forced him to take a picture with me. You have to do that if you actually find him. It's in the rules of Waldo somewhere. I never did find his cane, though.
Found Waldo! No cane.

It took me a solid week to get all the blue paint out of my ear.

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