My First 5K Ever!!!! ( Color Run recap )

What is time and where does it go?

When I signed up for my first 5K, it seemed ages away. I dutifully trained but it still seemed so far away I couldn’t picture actual race day. It seemed like it would never arrive.

Then one day I woke up and found an e-mail in my inbox telling me where to go to pick up my packet.

line 1

Packet pick-up took 40 minutes. 

The night before, I was excited. I made a big production out of shaving my legs because I read the swimmers in the Olympics did it the night before their first race to shave time off, so I figured what the hell, maybe it will help. Haha.

I woke up on May 11 and I was panicked. I’m not ready, I’m not ready, I’m not ready, I’m not ready. The farthest I’ve actually run on a treadmill is 1.8  miles and that was difficult. How was I going to do this!?!!?!!!?!

Although I knew better, I didn’t and couldn’t eat all day. I was SO NERVOUS. I was convinced anything I ate up would come back up. So I paced around my room alllllll morning. Then I would stop because I thought I would get too tired and have no energy for the race, even though my room is not most definitely not big enough to do that. But then I felt too anxious to be sitting so the pacing would resume. Lather, rinse, repeat for 4 hours.


lots of people waiting to race. this is the worst picture of the crowd that i have, but the only one that included the chick in the wedding dress. priorities. 

I ran it with my roommate, friend from college, and their co-workers. Baltimore had two races- 9 AM and 2 PM. 25,000 people were registered!! While you waited to start the race, the Color Run staff – I kinda want their jobs, they were so cool – threw free swag out into the crowd. They gave out color packets at packet pick-up so we played with that and got colorful before the race even started. They also had two Zumba instructors set up on a big stage in the back leading at least 100-150 people in Zumba routines. Zumba fit perfectly with the energetic buzz of the Color Run.

There were a number of parents who ran with their kids in strollers, which I thought was awesome. While waiting to start, there were annoying pre-teens behind me singing Taylor Swift. Congrats, strangers, you picked the ONE artist I loathe the most. Nice work.


At 2:50, our heat (wave?) finally started.  I was so relieved. I really just wanted to get going and get this damn thing over with. As we were finally underway, I did fine for a while. There were no markers, I don’t have a fancy cool Garmin watch and I’m a terrible estimate of distances so I don’t know when but eventually, I got tired.

Our group split up and got separated. I stopped running for a little– I was hot, tired, STARVING and thirsty– and started employing some dazzling jog-walk tactic for 8-10 minutes. It was a terrible tactic, as it was so hard to get my legs pumping again after walking. Nearly all of the people nearby were walking so that made it especially hard to get myself going again – and stay going – when everyone around me was walking. So that was the part when I had to dig in mentally because I knew I’d be so annoyed with myself later if I walked when I was more than capable of running.

I assumed I’d never catch up to anyone from my group again so I was really excited when I spotted some of them ahead. I thought, wow this must mean I can run really fast!

The race was really fun. I knew the color stations were intense and that you want to avoid getting the color in your eyes or mouth, but I didn’t count on not being able to see as you ran through it! The color was just everywhere and clouded your vision. I wound up putting my shirt over my mouth when it got bad so I wouldn’t breathe it in.

One of the funniest sights all day was a teenager, running backwards to pelt his friends with color, turned just in time to run smack into a dumpster.

The route was weird (Baltimore problem, not a Color Run problem) so at one point the large wave we were running and got confused on where to go, and there was nobody there to direct. Half went one way, half went the other.

Crossing the finish line was exciting. My first thought was something like “THANK GOD IT’S OVER!” We started at 2:50-ish and when I remembered to look at my I-phone, it was 3:55 and we’d been done for about 20 minutes. So I’d estimate it took us 40 minutes. Give or take.

finish line

somewhere toward the end i decided to wear my hat backwards. ????? this is right after i crossed the finish line!!


the self-appointed color victor.


i think i wore my wristband too tight. 

Then we were trying to figure out where to go and what to do. We went to one bar and had a few beers, then went to another bar to get food. It was so cool to walk through the streets of Baltimore and see practically everybody on the streets looking like a colorful mess. I was all but salivating at the idea of food. When the waitress came out with my entree and was scanning the bar to figure out who it belonged to, I all but shouted at her “THAT’S MINE!” like some bratty two year old on the playground.

After I successfully stuffed my face, we left the bar only to discover that it was pouring. At least the rain had held off for the two races. When I got home, I looked like this.


Colorfully soaked. the last “selfie” i promise.


I bought this hat for $5 at Walmart. Best purchase EVER. It kept the color out of my eyes, which was essential, and now with all the color, looks really cool. If you run a Color Run, don’t go without a hat or sunglasses.

Another piece of unsolicited advice, the color really does get everywhere. It soaked through my shirt, my shoes and my socks. It was all over my stomach and back which I did not expect. It also has not yet come out of my favorite white (i guess that’s my own fault) sports bra. Most of it came out for the most part on all other articles of clothing.


If you are a non-runner reading this and you want to run a 5k, the Color Run is the best one to start with. Of course I have absolutely nothing to compare it to, but the atmosphere is just fun and relaxed. Everyone is just excited to be there and anxious to color themselves and look like a mess. The race is not timed. Nobody is there to set any PR’s. People of all shapes and sizes show up to have a good time being active. The majority of people I saw were walking the whole time. Somewhere in the middle of the race I was overcome with happiness and gratitude for the Color Run’s existence because it gets people out there. The only reason I did a 5K was because it was The Color Run. So, it’s a beautiful thing. Can’t wait to do it again in July in Philly. Hopefully by then, I can run the whole thing. I will most definitely eat beforehand, ha.

I’m glad it’s done, and I’m SOOOOOOO glad I did it. I feel so proud and excited. First race, first 5K ever: DONE!!!!!! The idea of a 5K seemed way out of reach (readers who have done a half or full marathon, feel free to have a laugh at my expense) because I was lazy and out of shape so that I actually did one and ran for most of it makes me deliriously giddy. I trained hard for something and did it! Who knew?! I feel like this is indisputable proof that I actually can get in shape and that my body and I can work in tandem to do whatever we want whether it be classes, races, etc.

Thanks for all your support along the way, friends!

Oh, and the day after the race, I turned 24. 🙂 that’s pretty marvelous, too. 


59 thoughts on “My First 5K Ever!!!! ( Color Run recap )

  1. Happy belated birthday! Congratulations on your first ever 5k!!!!!!! Definitely jealous of your hat protection because when I did the color run it was a huge mess for my eyes and mouth. You’re a smart woman!! Getting your first race under belt is awesome but bad news: it means you’ve likely been bitten by the bug and will now spend copious amounts of money and time on more and more races! Ha! Congratulations again!!!!

  2. Congrats girl on your first 5k!! You picked a really fun one to do! I didi the color run last year and it was a blast! I am signed up for one on June 9th, going to walk it as long as baby is still in, which he should be!

    Happy Monday!!

  3. You’re making me SO SAD that I didn’t get to run this!!!!!!!! I seriously wanted to do it so badly- especially now that you mentioned they had zumba! I’ve been trying to sign up for a color run for years. One day I will, mark my words. I’m glad you had a great first 5K experience!

    • thanks, sarah! that’s a shame you can’t do the one that’s literally coming right to where you are. i’ll keep you posted if i do it! you can sign up to be a color thrower and be sure to throw the most at me 😉 ha.

  4. Love your commentary and the fact you shaved your legs to shave some time off your run, haha! Congrats on finishing your first 5k, thats great!! I am running a Color Me Rad run next Sunday….good to know about not being able to see!

  5. Great recap, love how your hat looks afterwards! I kind used to want to do a color run but I heard the color lingers for too long (my friend said his armpits were dyed blue for a while lol).

  6. Happy belated! I never ran a Color Run but my best friend did in San Francisco and I went to support her. The energy there was seriously something else! I’m glad you had such a good time.

  7. Congrats! I ran a Color Run last year and it was so much fun! I had color coming out of my ears and nose for ages! That’s awesome that it was your first 5k too. I would NEVER laugh at your expense, I remember my first 5k! It’s an experience you’ll never forget!

  8. Woo! Big congrats on your first 5K. You’re right that the Color Run is perfect for a first race- it is so causal and laid back.

    I am looking forward to doing it again in Philly in July! What brings you to Philly this summer?!

    Oh, and now that you’ve done a 5K…you’ll be hooked. And one day when you complete a half marathon, you’ll look back and think it was crazy that you were ever nervous to do a 5K! Like you, I was totally not a runner, but that all changed after that first race!

    Way to go!

    • Thanks so much, Jess! I’m from Philly – Delaware County, to be specific – and my family wanted to do the color run together, so I’ll be doing it all again!

  9. Congratulations! I’m glad you had so much fun. That’s seriously the most important part 🙂 I hope you continue to do races!

  10. What a great-sounding 5k! You did so well, you should be really proud of yourself, congratulations! I always always get nervous before any race, so don’t think you’re alone, you aren’t! Happy happy birthday too 🙂

  11. Congrats on your first race!! I can’t believe that it was SO late in the day – I wouldn’t be able to eat either! I love that you headed to a bar after the race, color and all. That’s my kinda girl 😉

    • thanks! you are going to have a great time! surprisingly my shoes are not that bad at all. i know people put theirs in their washer to get the color off, but i didn’t.

  12. Loved this! I’m planning to do the Colour Run here in Sydney later in the year… which will also be my first 5k since I was 14. Glad to hear its not super stressful… and well done!

  13. Pingback: MIMM: Color Run, family style. | city & the cubicle

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