Sunny, breezy and loud, I stood there shoulder to shoulder with friends and a crowd of two thousand people up early to run a 5K. And not just any 5k, the Color Vibe 5K. If you haven’t heard of these runs, they are known for colored chalk-powder that is blown or thrown at you while you run the course. Music pumped loudly while the deejay charged up the crowd. We danced and jumped and stretched to stay warm and get ready for the run. I was surrounded by teenage girls in too-short shorts, the serious athletes recognizable by their defined calf muscles and serious running gear gadgets and middle-aged women dressed in rainbow tulle tutus and pig-tails.
The runners, the wanna-be runners (like myself who is more of a "wogger" - a term I coined for my awesome running move that is somewhere between a walk and a jog), the not-runners-at-all, the young, the old, gay, straight, black, white, brown - everyone belonged. I could see with my own eyes that people could still come together and be without division or hate. I noted how diverse the people were around me and felt a little hope for the world I live in.
And then it was time.
3. 2. 1.
The deejay counted us down and we all let our color packets loose into the air.
For this one, brief moment, the air was hazy and thick of color and magic. You could almost reach out and touch the energy of excitement surging through the crowd. I had seen a video before, but it was all together something different to be right in the middle of it. I can’t remember if it was quiet or loud, I only remember feeling and it was one of those moments I felt inherently alive. Color splashed everywhere and a hilarious pandemonium ensued of laughter and cheers and screams of delight as everyone was drenched head to toe in bright, flashy neons.
My friends and I made our way through the course. Stations of yellow, pink, green and blue powder thrown at us while we ran through. I stretched out my fingertips and leaned into it. The goal seemed to end up as vibrant with color as possible. We jogged some and walked some. We talked and laughed and I could feel my muscles burning as they moved, but in the good kind of way that makes you feel strong.
We finished in 44 minutes, 3 minutes under my last 5K time. I gave myself an internal fist bump because it felt good to know I had gotten faster even if it was only 3 minutes. Because it was THREE WHOLE MINUTES. I felt the weight of what it meant for me to cross the finish line. How there have been so many times I would start things and not finish them. Or hesitate to ever begin because I didn't believe in myself that I had the courage to complete whatever it was. Starting and finishing things. It's what I do now.
To stretch out my fingertips and live vibrantly.