Good news, everyone! I finished my first 5K with all of my limbs! And I didn’t cry once. As promised, I’m going to tell you all about it. I apologize in advance if I get long-winded. It’s just that I’ve had many years hanging out with family members over the age of 60, so storytelling has become a bit of a habit. So has yelling at those damn young people and their rock ‘n roll music on my socially-secured lawn! Any way, let’s break this bitch down…
Ben (who you may better know as my skinny-ass boyfriend who can run without any training because he’s a genetic jackass like that) and I woke up around 7am—which is much too early for a Saturday, if you ask me—to mow down on some delicious bagels and peanut-butter, which we both burned because, apparently, the toaster hates us. I, naturally, was running around the house, trying to get all of my shit together for the race while chugging water like it was going out of style. Ben smoked a cigarette, watched TV, and did other “Ben stuff” (which I imagine is something along the lines of counting his chest hair). We got to the CenturyLink Center downtown at about 8:30ish, which gave us about an hour before we needed to get in line. So we took before pictures:
And then we visited the Porta-Potties. I won’t go into a ton of details about that moment (because I’m sure you get the idea), but just know that I peed for around two minutes. You’re welcome, kidneys. After emptying our bladders, we wandered aimlessly around parking lots and got in a few minutes of much-needed stretching (including some awkward eye contact with observing strangers). Then, we were lined up at the start line like cattle. But very active cattle because I doubt most cattle can run a 5K. And if they can, we need to give them scholarships or something.
I can’t even begin to tell you how massive this race line-up was. Like imagine a Chick-Fil-A grand opening. There were people EVERYWHERE. From what we were told, there were 13,000 people. Yes, you read that correctly—13,000 people. I believe that’s the record for the largest 5K attendance in Omaha (maybe even Nebraska?). And did I mention it was 96 degrees? I didn’t? Oh, well, yeah…it was like standing in pure menopause. You know what didn’t help? Standing in a crowd of 13,000 sweaty people while “Call Me, Maybe” was playing. Bitches be dancing. Now, as is standard at mass runs, everyone is released in waves of around 1,000 people every five minutes (Coincidentally, we also did The Wave about every five minutes while we waited). Ben and I were right at the front of the second wave because, goddamnit, we were ready—but not ready enough for the first wave. When they let us go, we took off at a pretty fair pace.
I think I would’ve ran the first kilometer without walking had we not gone up a hill. Those damn hills get me every time. I made Ben stop to walk for a minute, and then we jogged to the first color section: Pink (How cliché, right?). The color isn’t liquid, by the way. It’s a chalky powder that tastes like salt. And it’s everywhere—in your mouth, in your ears, in your rabies wounds, in your boob crack. I don’t know how it gets there, but goddamnit it does. And the people who color you either throw it at you by the hand-full, or they use ketchup bottles to squirt it at you. I honestly thought everyone was going to keep running through the color sections; but everyone stops to walk through and get as colored as possible, including the hardcore runners. Hell, some girls even dropped to the ground and rolled around in the powder just so they could get covered.
After the pink section, I made Ben walk some more because it was way too hot (and after waiting in line without water, the heat was kind of wearing on me). But then, after a few minutes, we jogged to the second color section: Blue. I think this was the best color section in terms of the color-throwers. I walked up to some little kid with a bucket of blue powder, and he just freaking nailed me in the face. Of course, I was laughing when he did this, so the blue got all over my teeth.
Then we hit the worst hill of the entire race. Creighton University students will recognize this one as the hill right next to the athletic department. I’m not kidding when I say almost everyone was walking up this hill—except for some hipster kid with a boom-box, who had to prove how hipster he was by going against what everyone else was doing. When we reached the top of the hill, a miracle appeared in the form of a water station. I don’t care how warm that water was, it felt so good. We walked a little more to let the water absorb and then came to a downhill street, which led to the third color section: Yellow. This time, when we got to the color section, Ben told me to keep my mouth shut so I wouldn’t get color all over my teeth (At least he didn’t tell me to go make him a sandwich). Also, while running downhill, we saw some chick full-on jog right into a parked car. And she left some colored powder on it from where she hit. IT WAS HILARIOUS.
We jog/walked a little more as the heat got worse; although, I could tell Ben really just wanted to keep going because, unlike me, he is unaffected by things like gravity, heat, or being human. Seriously, it didn’t help that there was only one water station, which we had already passed. I was tempted to turn around to get more water; but then I remembered that we were halfway to the end. Then, we hit the fourth color section: Orange. This one was probably second to the blue section because the ladies in there were just spiteful with their color ketchup bottles. Like I had more orange on me than any other color, if that helps you understand how vindictive they were. But hey, at least they took their anger out on my white t-shirt and not by punching my face, right?
After we finished that section, I realized we only had one kilometer of the race left. I told Ben that we’d finish out the last kilometer by jogging the entire way. I planned on doing that. I was kind of doing that. But then I had to stop for like 45 seconds to catch my breath and nurse a cramp in my calf. I’ve got to say, even though I did about 50/50 of run/walk during the race, it was a pretty awesome feeling crossing that finish line. Also, I’ve never chugged water so hard in my life.
And then it was time for the Finish Line Festival, where everyone takes their color packets given to them before the race and throws them into the air, polluting our once great planet! Yay, color mess!
And then we went home to scrub our skin off because we had a wedding to go to a few hours later. No, seriously. I think I actually lost some of my summer tan with how hard I scrubbed. But at least I didn’t look like I lost a fight to a three-year-old finger-painter. Bailey, 1; Color, 0.
On a serious note though, I would highly recommend this run to anyone—and by anyone, we’re talking first-time 5K runners, long-time 5K runners, experienced power walkers, mothers with extremely energetic children, people with a heat stroke fetish, people who need to get over their phobia of having strangers throw colored powder at them, etc. I’m just saying, I will definitely do this run again next year (and I plan on running more than just half the time).
WHO’S WITH ME?!
Header image via hellotravis.com