When my wife and daughter signed up to do the color run, they asked me if I wanted to do it with them, which meant taking our four-year-old son along as well. I pointed out the fact that the color run was a 3 mile jog, during which assorted people threw bags of color in your face, and that Edward was incapable of making it from the car to the front door of Costco without throwing himself on the ground in front of moving vehicles and demanding to be carried because he was sooooo tired. So no, I was not going to attempt to make it three miles with him. Plus, I hate running. I was not looking to exhaust my fat self.
Edward was not happy with this decision, because, like most decisions, it was one that he did not make. He demanded to be allowed to run the color run, swearing by every bone in his tiny, four-year-old body that he would not get tired and he would make it the whole way. Then he mentioned that we should bring the stroller, because he might get tired on the way and not make it. We finally compromised, in that we would go and watch the women of the family do the color run, and also I would buy him a new train.
When we pulled in to the fairgrounds where the race was being held, the place was already packed. Luckily we had registered the evening before, so all they had to do was have me take lots of pictures of them doing pre-race stuff (like putting their heads in the kaleidoscope tubes), wait for 11 hours in the longest Port-O-Potty line ever, and then get in place for the beginning of the race. Bear had somehow sneaked past security and was in the back of the stroller, watching everything from over Edward’s shoulder. Once we saw that everyone was in place, the boys and bears headed to a less crowded area in order to get a good picture of the intrepid adventurers.
The best place to watch the runners from was directly next to a quartet of giant bubble machines. No, you couldn’t see the starting line, or the racers, or anything else due to the excessive bubbling, but it was the best place to stand because Edward was running around chasing bubbles, and not complaining that he could not do the race.
They came dashing past at the end of the 3rd wave of racers, and we waved and smiled and shouted “Hi Mommy!” and “Hi Ruby!” until we couldn’t see them anymore, which meant that it was time for us to move on. Obviously the best photo ops were going to come from being at the color stations and watching them get attacked by strangers, so we needed to get there first.
Yellow was the first color to be thrown at them, and I could see the cloud of yellow dust rising from the top of a building in the distance. It was going to be tight. I demanded that Edward get back into the small umbrella stroller that he doesn’t fit into anymore, and he demanded that I go away and let him chase more bubbles. We finally reached an agreement that involved me grabbing him, strapping him in, and then running for dear life. We made it to the yellow area just in time, but once the pictures were taken, I had very little chance to determine where the next station was and how we were going to beat them there.
Zoom! Across the grassy fields! Zip! Down the dirt paths! Zydeco! We danced our way past, around, and through the mobs of yellow runners in an effort to capture the magical moments that the pink area had promised us. Ruby was going at a good clip, but she is only 7 after all. I was able to outrun them and set myself up to capture the action using my state-of-the-art telephone. It was around this time that the wheels started to complain on our very old and overtaxed umbrella stroller. Edward pointed this out to me in a complaining sort of way, as if I could fix everything. But alas I could not, so we just kept on going.
We had more time between the pink and the purple areas, because the runners had to take a long loop over the hill and through the woods, whereas I did not. We made it to the purple area in record time, which turned out to be very bad for my lungs. I realize that the runners were getting the chalky dust thrown directly into all of there facial orifices at point blank range, but at least then they were through. They could hold their breaths for the minute if they needed to. I stood at the purple color station for 10-15 minutes, breathing in the sweet, sweet, deadly purple that turned my innards the color of a cartoon eggplant. I spit purple. I coughed purple. I was purple. I had never been more relieved to see my family members come into view.
The only problem now was that the blue station was very close to the purple station. I didn’t know if I was going to be able to outrun them this time. But I had to try. Racing across the rocky and bumpy parking lot, I was determined to take those final pictures, and when we were a few dozen yards away, the stroller breathed its last. The back left pole that held the wheel in place snapped completely off. I was suddenly pushing an uneven tricycle full of 52 pounds of grumpy preschooler. “Hold on!” I shouted to my son as I pressed forward. “Don’t lean back!”
We made it. Barely. I pulled Bear out of the back of the stroller and Edward, refusing to get out, lay on the ground as the stroller collapsed around him. I got the pictures just in time, but then made one final, horrifying realization. The colors were done, but there was still a finish line. I needed a picture of them crossing that finish line, full of pride and purple. “Edward!” I called out in desperation. “Come here! I am going to carry you!”
With Edward on my shoulders, a broken stroller in one hand, and a bag full of Bear in the other, I took off running, one final sprint toward the finish line. Halfway there I saw a trash can and ditched the stroller, much to the dismay of my passenger who punched me repeatedly in the ear while loudly sobbing “Goodbye my sweet, sweet stroller! I love you!” I wish I was making this up.
We made it just a few seconds too late to get the perfect picture, but I got some shots of them coming out of the finish gate, and some of them post-race that are pretty good, so all in all I would call it a success. My wife thinks I may have run more miles than they did. I don’t know about that (I did skip that woods loop), but I did my running over uneven ground with a stroller, a four-year-old, and a magical bear weighing me down, so I will agree that I got a good workout. Ruby was so proud to have done the run, and she got some great bonding time in with her mother, so, despite my trials and tribulations, it all worked out for the best. And next year I will probably run it with them. It’s way too tiring not running it.
Also, it has been three days now and Ruby’s hair is still blue…