Running sometimes feels like the bread and butter to getting fit. Oftentimes, people put one foot in front of the other to start their weight-loss journey. Others use running as a way to de-stress or bond with friends. And sometimes, people accomplish crazy running feats to test their strength. For instance, Robin Azron, a corporate lawyer turned ultra-marathoner, freelance writer and running coach, ran five marathons in five days for MS Run The US for her mom, who battles the disease every day. Or there's Zoe Romano, 26, who just ran the entire Tour de France course—yes, I said ran—over nine weeks, averaging 30 miles every. single. day. (For those of you counting, or know the TDF, that's a total of 2,000 miles.) She did this to raise money for the World Pediatric Project, which provides medical care to children in Central America and the Caribbean, aiming for a $150,000 goal. Running is not only the basis of so many of our workouts, it's what motivates people, like Robin and Zoe, to get out there every day and accomplish BIG things.
However, if you're just taking baby steps, and maybe like me, dreaming of a 100-mile race stays at that just that...that's okay. There are plenty of ways to get into the sport or even spice up your daily runs with fun events like The Color Run or the Electric Run and even the Mudderella 10K. Before picking up training again for my second marathon this Fall, I finally checked off the Happiest 5k on the Planet (The Color Run, as it's otherwise known) on my bucket list and headed out to Brooklyn to have some fun. I really didn't know what to expect as I entered the party zone (really, this race is one big party). But lining up for the race, which over two days 10,000 people came out to run, was surely the ideal way to kick-off what is going to become a long summer of logging miles. Here's what I learned at my first Color Run:
1) It's a family affair. Running really has become a way for families to bond. I saw so many parents with their small kids dressed up in white and ready to get blasted with paint. Some kiddies enjoyed the fun from their mom's running stroller, and I constantly nudged my husband to remind him that when our time comes, we'd be taking our little ones along, too.
2) Paint is your friend. If you want to cross the finish line a different shade of color than the clean canvas you started with, tell your paint buddies at each mile marker to color you up! I really embraced the yellow, red, green and blue color stations—and secretly wished for a pink one. (Hint, hint.) I think I accomplished my goal of getting as messy as possible.
3) Every age, size, height and weight are welcome. This was really a race for all. I was inspired by all the people who came out to have a little fun and work up a sweat, too. Some runners may have taken the race a bit seriously and sprinted it out, while others had a good time jogging with their friends or even walking the entire way. Regardless, everyone there logged 3.1 miles with a big smile on their face.
4) The after party is where it's at.I really think the point of running the 3.1 miles is just to get to the after-party of this race. Once we walked in, we were greeted with water and an endless supply of KIND bars to re-energize us for the concert. The race MC showered the crowd at set times with water, then alerted everyone to throw their paint bags up in the air. A big cloud of color erupted and before you know it, you're messier than you could have imagined. (A paint bag is a bunch of colored powder in a bag given to you at the expo, and when you're wet or sweaty, the powder will stick—hence the color all over your body!) I don' think I've ever danced so much on Saturday morning before 10am (well...maybe.). This is really your consolation prize for running the race. You don't want to miss this music-filled paint party at the end of the finish line. The faster you cross though, the more time you get to be silly.
5) Runners are the coolest. As we all know, or should by now, the running community really is the coolest group of people around. Who else could have thought of such a cool race? When only 1% of the population has done a marathon (hey if you're not part of that, it's okay, we still love you), why wouldn't these people, who actually do another sport's punishment for fun, be cool? The Color Run may be the hook you need to join in. Even my mom is doing it...so you should too! To check out upcoming locations in your area, click here. If you want to see all the race pics, find the hashtag #kindawesome on Instagram or Twitter and click away! The race was definitely kinda awesome too. To see all the fun fitness things I'm doing and get tips on working out, follow me on Twitter and Instagram at @FITNESSjenna
Now you tell us: What's the most fun you've had working out?