Guest Blogger Cristina Peczon-Rodriguez takes on a colorful local 5k race with her son.
If there are two things that my 4 year old likes to do – it’s run around and get dirty. And so when one of my girlfriends posted on Facebook that she was going to join the 5k Color Run in Irvine, I was in even before I could hit send to reply to her post.
One of my biggest frustrations of being a mother of two small children is that I have no time for any exercise. I know everyone says that as the kids get older, you can start to hit the gym or even take your kids with you for one of the Mommy Stroller groups. But I have the kind of boys that don’t do well sitting still –for almost anything. So dragging them with me would be just about impossible without me stressing to near death about them touching equipment that might fall on them. My older one usually won’t have anything to do with his “baby brother’s stroller” unless it means cruising along on my stroller’s skate board attachment, so a regular stroller group is totally out too.
But an event where the actual object of the race is to get covered in as much color as you can stand? Yes, we are definitely in! After talking about what was going to happen in the color slinging event, my husband and I decided that it was going to be better if only my older son Aiden and I joined. It might be a little too long and too intense for my 2 year old to take during what was going to be his nap time.
Not actually a 5k run – more like a 3.1 mile walk – I had promised myself that I was going to train beforehand. However, life as a mother of 2 tends to give priority to just about everything else and so, before the race day actually came I had only prepared by doing three things. I bought a second hand jogging stroller that I didn’t mind getting dirty; I walked a mile around our neighborhood lake exactly once, and the day before the race, I managed to haul my kids to the Road Runner Sports store in Costa Mesa to pick up my packet and grab a couple shirts for the kids. That was it!
We chose to run the afternoon race, thinking my kids might not so be great if we ran first thing in the morning. Scheduled for the run shortly after noon, we decided to leave our place by 10am to make sure we had time to pick up Gatorade on the way, and find a good parking spot. I packed sunscreen and light snacks. I wrapped my phone in plastic wrap, and we were ready to roll. After making our way to the OC Great Park, we met up with my girlfriend and her two boys in their own jogging stroller. We were ready to rock and roll!
Participants from the morning races, caked in cheerful colors, danced and strolled by us as we did our last minute preparations. My girlfriend brought dust masks; bottles of bubbles in case the kids got bored; and various snacks. We all put on sunglasses and her boys even had earmuffs for the loud noise.
The Color Run isn’t your average competitive race. In fact, there is probably as little competition as you could possibly imagine. The race isn’t even timed. Participants start in 5-minute intervals, and you are encouraged to dance, cartwheel, and skip as much as you want.
Participants came in all shapes in sizes. I swear, we were by a runner in an alligator suit. Rainbow wigs were everywhere. Girls dressed in tiny white tank tops with matching mini shorts just waiting to smeared in color. We even spotted a trio of very muscular men wearing nothing but tiny white tight shorts and grey cycling shorts. One of them had a rainbow colored tutu inverted over his head. This was clearly a carefree bunch.
Having one stroller each, my girlfriend Nicole and I maintained a brisk walk to the right of the happy moving bunch with our boys. More serious runners took their own pace on the left. With the hot sun bearing down on our backs, we welcomed the cool breeze that was like our on-call air conditioning to keep us cool. Her boys were asleep within minutes of leaving the starting line while mine spent the entire time talking about all the runners’ cool outfits.
At the first color station, my 4 year old was a little nervous and pulled the cover of the stroller over his head, even though he had both sunglasses and a dust mask on. Once we made it past the station with just a bit of blue on his shoes and lower legs, he decided it was not even remotely scary and he was totally in.
Before each color station, there were porta potties and cute color signs where runners could pause for a photo and catch their breath. Nicole and I stopped at each station for a photo op and my son, Aiden, ran through the color station on foot to give high fives to all the volunteers who were there to douse us with color. He danced through the volunteers who tried to get him with dye and he squealed with happiness and laughter.
The color is actually made of cornstarch mixed with dye. It is completely nontoxic and contrary to what I had expected, didn’t stain. In fact, my 4 year old finished the race looking quite like the happy rainbow that reflected his personality. Aiden begged me to not wash his shirt so that he could wear it to preschool for show and tell and so I treated it with vinegar and ironed it as directed by the Color Run website. But after washing, it turned out to be as clean white as everything else.
But the colorful memories we made were priceless. Thankfully we managed to get enough of them on camera. And since my 4 year old had a grand time getting painted from head to toe, I guess we will have to do it again next year.
About the Author:
Cristina Peczon-Rodriguez was a newscaster, TV host, commercial model, and newspaper columnist in Manila. She now lives in Orange County,CA with her husband and two young sons.