I think I'm finally starting to get this whole "fun run" thing. Yes, for most people those two words don't belong next to each other. But even for runners, for the people who actually like running, I don't feel like those people (listen to me ... "those people") run for fun anymore. They run because they're training for something or because they're trying to lose weight or because they need to de-stress. That's not fun, that's work.
Saturday night I did my first real "fun run" ever. The closest I've ever come to a fun run before was the Aloha 5K last September which for me was all about getting back in the running saddle post-marathon. For everyone else though, it had the intended purpose: dress up in silly costumes and go get some exercise with your friends before brunch. However, I ran it and wrote my whole race review from a runner's perspective: too many kids, not enough room to get around people, where was the runner's etiquette?, etc.
Jeez, lady, get over yourself....
Well, I did. And that led me to the Neon Dash
The nice people at the Neon Dash contacted me a few months ago and asked if I'd like a comped entry in exchange for promoting it. I said sure, not knowing whether or not I would actually be in to running a race on a Saturday night. Typically the only running I do on Saturday nights is running up a tab at the bar. Ba dum chhh.
I still wasn't sure if I was going to run the race up until about an hour before it, when I decided, what the heck. I had some time to kill before heading to a reggae show in OB, so I hopped on the trolley with my Clif Bar and La Croix, headed to Qualcomm Stadium, and checked in.
The check-in process was simple and smooth. After, there was a DJ and dance party getting everyone pumped up and some vendors handing out food samples. Meanwhile, about a million kids were running around acting as if running 3 miles in the dark while getting blasted with neon powder was going to be the most exciting moment of their lives.
And that's the point! Watching those kids, I couldn't help but feel like their energy was contagious. I like to run! Running IS fun when it's in the dark and you're getting blasted with neon powder! But you know what? So is walking and talking with friends while getting blasted with neon powder! And so is doing any fun, safe family activity where you get to get messy and scream and dance. It was an epiphany: these little 5Ks are supposed to be FUN.
The race itself was around the Qualcomm parking lot and there were four different colored powder stations where volunteers showered you with non-toxic neon powder. It was well-lit and there was a water station halfway through. The finish line let you out into a big dance party where they shot neon colored paint into the crowd while lighting you up with black lights.
Unfortunately for me, I had to miss the after party. Because I like to live on the edge, I planned on taking the 8:53 trolley back to my neighborhood in order to shower, change and make it to OB on time. Meaning that I had to run this 5K relatively fast. Luckily, I ran it in about 30 minutes flat according to my Nike+, which was about 5 minutes faster than my last 5K. Seems like the pressure of trying to catch a train helped! I managed to make my trolley and head home with enough time to wash all the powder off and get ready to do the type of Saturday night running that I prefer. ;)
Thanks Neon Dash for the comped entry!