The Color Kinda-Run

Here’s a confession: running is not always fun for me. In fact, a lot (okay, FINE, most) of the time I consider it work. Sure, I love that it makes me feel strong and healthy and accomplished. But it also makes me feel sweaty and wheezy and tired.

So why do I do it? Aside from the whole good-for-you thing, which is admittedly pretty important, I love that so many of my friends run, too.  It’s the reason I got into it in the first place, proving that, yes, I’d jump if everyone else did. Sorry, Mom.

And what’s so great about having so many runner friends, you ask? It means that we make plans to run awesome races together. It means traveling to other cities and states to run said awesome races together. But best of all, it means that they travel to MY city to run said awesome races with ME. I hate to fly, so this is understandably my favorite scenario, one that happened last July when Chicks Meri and Cam flew to the City by the Bay to run the happiest race on the planet.

Yes, that’s right. A happy race! And not just any happy race, The Color Run!  Doesn’t it just sound so fun? Because it was. So. Fun.

This is the gist: the 5K race douses runners with a splash of colored corn starch at every kilometer, so that by the time you cross the finish line you look like a super-colorful Rorschach. The race is untimed, so there’s no talk of personal records or “hey, I beat you by 0.05 seconds, suck it.” The point of The Color Run is simply to enjoy, get colored up, then party it up after you cross the finish line. This was our mission and we accepted.

Hey, if you tell me to take it easy and enjoy myself, I’m not going to argue with you. Plus, I was 18 weeks pregnant with my little Bug at the time, so I was more than okay being the tortoise for this one.

Meri flew in first and we palled around the city while we waited for Cam to join us.


Welcome to San Francisco in July. Beautiful, isn’t it?

Once Cam was with us, it was basically about preparing for the 5K – outfit planning and packet pick-ups, which included t-shirts, a headband, and a packet of color to use after the race – and eating. Oh yes, there was eating.


Cuteness with a crepe sundae.


Stuffing my pregnant face like a lady.


Getting pumped! Please note our t-shirts. Clear eyes, full hearts, free Tim!

With our bellies full  – really, really full – and our race day duds ready to go, we hit the hay. We needed to save our energy for all the happiness and color to come!

July 14th dawned bright and foggy and we woke early to get the party started. Fun fact: Cam is kick-ass at hair braiding, which means she is the Official Hair Braider™ at any and all races she attends with the Chicks.


Mmhmm, that’s right.


Meri is dreaming about freeing Tim Riggins here.

We made our way to Candlestick Park (go 49ers with your crappy old stadium!) and joined the bazillion other people who were braving the very chilly weather to run/walk/dance their asses to color nirvana.

Literally, there were a bazillion people there.


We were pretty far back from the start line and with the race starting in waves, we had to wait for a while to get going. But they were pumping awesome music through the speakers and the people-watching was pretty excellent, so we busied ourselves with jumping up and down to stave off the cold, pointing out some great costumes, and dodging the rule-breakers who were throwing their packets of color up in the air (hello, that’s for after the race!).

Oh, and we took some pictures, too.


We had the raddest socks there.


We love each other!


Showing off our impressive guns. And cuteness.

And then it was our turn! We began our trek around the stadium, starting off slow and steady with a brisk walk.

Well, there was some pretend-running.



And then? Then it was time for the color. Let me paint this picture (get it? Paint? Because of the color): you’re skipping along with your friends and fellow runners and then all of a sudden right ahead is a cloud of bright color. Truly the coolest thing. And when you see color, what do you do?

Why, you RUN, my friends. You run to the color and roll around in it (seriously) and stand in front of the color-dousers and make them douse you extra-good. And you cover your mouth because hello, it’s a cloud of color, but it gets into your mouth anyway. You don’t care! This is so fun! Wee, color!

They call it mellow yellowwwww.

Color Run volunteers happy to pose for a photo op.

You high five people as they run by!

Slap me some skin!

You stop for water, because all that frolicking and high-fiving and color-getting works up a thirst.

99.9% parched.

Note to future Color Runners: don’t park your car next to a color station.

Sorry not sorry.

We got through all of the color stations at a nice clip considering we were walking, and then there it was. The finish line and the beginning of the par-tay! As you can see, people were in no rush to PR.

As you can see, people were in no rush to PR.

We were done!


Cel-e-brate good times, come on!


Blue Sunglasses wanted to be a part of our cute crew. Sorry, dude, only room for three.


Livin’ la vida color.

We were also insanely thirsty. There were stations set up after the finish line with juice and coconut water and snacks, all of which had pretty extensive lines. But no water water. We just wanted water water! Hopefully they’ve remedied the water water situation since last July.

There was a Color Festival just past the finish line, which we moseyed over to.

Party time, excellent!

This is where the color packets came into play. Thousands of us gathered round a DJ set up at the front of the crowd, dancing and celebrating and taking pictures of our manginess. And then the DJ told us to open up our packets and we all counted down. 5-4-3-2-1…

The hills were alive with a color ‘splosion (ah ah ah ahhhhh). In the interest of protecting my phone, I didn’t take pictures as it was happening, but this was the aftermath.


Meri got it on her teeth…


Cam got a mustache…


I got it everywhere!

After some more dancing and celebrating, we decided we were both parched and starving (surprised? Didn’t think so), so we packed it up and packed it in and took ourselves over the Golden Gate Bridge to a magical place called In N Out. Sure, it was 10:30 in the morning. Sure, we were completely covered in colored corn starch. But Meri had never had the pleasure of stuffing an In N Out burger into her mouth, so off we went! We definitely got some looks from the other early-risers at In N Out, and I got my hair petted by some high dude who must have thought I was one big acid trip, but we enjoyed ourselves nonetheless.

Meri especially.


All in all, this was a pretty stellar race experience. And now that The Color Run is a total phenomenon, with similar races like Color Me Rad and Run or Dye,  there’s really no excuse not to do it again. Who knows, maybe it’ll be my first post-Bug race. There’s really no better – or more colorful – way to ease myself back into running.

What’s the most fun race experience you’ve had? We want to hear about it in the comments! 

Running with legends at RunDisney’s 2013 WDW Marathon Meetup

In January, I was lucky enough to be selected to attend RunDisneys Walt Disney World Marathon Meetup, held at Disney’s Hollywood Studios the Friday morning of Marathon weekend.

A friend dropped me at the park’s front gates shortly before we were asked to arrive for a 3-mile run around the theme park. After we were greeted and changed into white 20th anniversary RunDisney T-shirts, three members of the original Disney gang passed through the gates – Mickey, Donald and Goofy.

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A group of 100 or so extremely excited runners lined up to pose for pics. And while in line, I made an awesome new friend, Amanda. She and I together raced Goofy (he won) and chatted as if we’ve know each other for years, not minutes (love ya girl!)

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Goofy won!

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Racing Donald Duck!

Soon, we were greeted by a slew of running heroes – Joan Benoit Samuelson, the first female Olympic marathon winner in 1984; Jeff Galloway, former Olympian and master of the run-walk marathon method; distance runner Des Davila; Bart Yasso, Runner’s World’s chief running officer; running legend Bill Rodgers. Dick Beardsley, a TV and sports personality; and Adriano Bastos– now the 8-time winner of the Disney Marathon.


Being in such company was a bit overwhelming to say the least.

We were split into two groups:

–          9-minute milers with Des Davila, Joan Benoit Samuelson and Adriano Bastos

–          12-minute run/walk group led by Jeff Galloway, Bart Yasso, Dick Beardsley and Bill Rodgers

I had planned to try to the run-walk group, but when I realized I’d have the chance to run alongside some of my running heroes, I jumped at the chance. I knew I may never have that opportunity again.

Soon, we were off! I fell into step next to Des Davila and we chatted as we ran – about past races, favorite marathons, injuries and life. It was so nice to chat with her and run with her and she was so down-to-earth and lovely.

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Des running down the main drag at Hollywood Studios


shooting while running

I fell off pace midway through the run – I later learned we were running 8min/miles and I AM NOT that speedy!

We paused in the middle for a photo op:


Can you see me? Des and Joan are also in this pic. Also in the pic are new friends I made at the meetup, Kelly and identical twins Malinda and Leah.

And while there, I asked Joan if she would be willing to take a photo. She agreed.


Pic by Des Davila!

As for the run itself, we ran around the park, in between rides, and into the back lot area, past a whole slew of props, including through the studios tunnel, which is part of the back lot tour. Because we ran before the park opened, it was empty and quiet, which was a bit eerie since Disney parks are always packed.


This is one of my fave pics from the meetup and is of Des and others running past the old MMC soundstage. I couldn’t resist.

We ended our run at an outdoor venue where the Lights, Motor, Action stunt show is held. They fed and watered us and soon we sat down to hear what the experts had to say. They offered great tips on wellness, strategies for the weekend races, the importance of listening to your body and more. They also all decided Des would win any footrace held today.


Photo: RunDisney, the panel discussion, that’s Galloway on the left

A few more stars popped by to say hello.

Former NFL player Eddie Mason spoke about the importance of having a strong core (hello kettlebells!).

N’SYNC’s Joey Fatone told us how he signed up for a 5k race, then offered to run Goofy Challenge in place of his wife, who broke her foot.


Ladies and gentlemen, meet Joe


Photo: Courtesy RunDisney. I just asked Joey why he likes to run, Joey’s answering. Can you see me? haha

Comedian Drew Carey, who is injured so opted not to run, told us about why he charged his lifestyle –“I started running to be healthier, see my kids grow up.” Amidst what seemed to be a standup show, he also offered some very valued Price is Right advice: Let the Plinko chip fall from the middle of the board.

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 Drew Carey with RunDisney’s Bob Hitchcock right behind him!

After the chat and some giveaways (fantastic Disney-themed New Balance sneakers, RunDisney  bags and entry into next year’s marathon) we had the chance to chat with and meet some of the speakers.

Here are a few more pics from the event:

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With Des after our run


From left, Bart Yasso, me, Dick Beardsley and my friend Jenn Lazzaro


Yup- me and Joey, He’s super nice.


Adriano Bastos shows me his Mickey tattoos. He has one for each Disney marathon win. Guess he will soon be getting another!

It was an incredible experience and am so thankful for RunDisney for the opportunity to attend. I made some incredible new friends and reconnected with another. Thank you!

Swept off our feet! 2013 Tinkerbell Half Meetup

Meri and Vic here with our Tinkerbell Half Meetup recap!

Our trip to CA had been months in the making so when we heard about the opportunity to be a part of runDisney’s TinkHalfMeetup, an exclusive running party to kick off the Tinkerbell Half Marathon weekend at Disneyland, we jumped at the chance! For those who haven’t heard of or experienced a runDisney Meet Up firsthand, a little overview: selected runners are able to join the runDisney crew for a short early morning run/walk around the park and then are treated to meeting special folks and doing special things.

Amazing, right?  We were thrilled to be able to participate and talked about it non-stop the week prior!

We arrived at the Sorcerer’s Hat by the Disneyland Hotel bright and early, shortly before 6 a.m. We had rented a car and allowed an hour to make the trek from our bestie’s West Hollywood bungalow to Anaheim. We flew there mainly because no one in their right mind is on LA’s highways so early… that’s about the ONLY time those highways aren’t jam-packed!


We were not the first to arrive as many other excited runners were already gabbing – and shivering.  We quickly donned out new runDisney shirts (thanks runDisney!) and joined the crowd.  It’s always a little awkward starting up conversation with people that you’ve just met but once we got started, it was easy to fall into easy conversation.  After all, they aren’t just RUNNERS (which already gives you something to talk about), they love Disney just as much as we do!

(Photo credit: runDisney- we are on the left, next to the woman in the pink jacket, that’s Ali!)

Actor and Runner Sean Astin, Season 5 Biggest Loser winner Ali Vincent and Marathon training expert (and former Olympian) Jeff Galloway were also on hand.  Soon enough, we set off to run-walk through Downtown Disney and the parks!

(Photo credit: runDisney)Moments later, we were running along the still-dark Main Street USA in Disneyland, chasing a golf cart with an official photographer as he snapped some pics for the parks.We ran in and around Frontierland, New Orleans Square, through Sleeping Beauty’s Castle to Fantasyland where we ran into Tinkerbell at Pixie Hollow.
Vic snapped this pic of sleeping Beauty’s castle.  Seeing the park before opening was such a surreal experience; we waved to the workers who were getting ready to open the park and start the day. Yes, NYC might hold the title of the city that never sleeps but we’re fairly certain that Disney gives it a run for the money.

(Photo credit: runDisney) There’s Vic, on the right, in all black.


(Photo credit: runDisney) Meeting the fairy of the hour with some new friends!

Along the route, Meri chatted with Tara Gidus, runDisney’s nutrition expert, about pre-race fueling, treats, and running as therapy.  She spoke during our breakfast about the importance of making good decisions when it comes to food, both before and after workouts.

Everyone taking a twitter break…

After the Tink meeting (and tweeting) we followed Jeff Galloway back down Main Street toward the California Adventure park.

We took over Main Street USA. Did we mention that it was REALLY COOL to have the park to our little group?  IT WAS REALLY COOL!

We ran all over – past Tower of Terror, the Paradise Pier and Mickey’s Wheel and Cars Land.

Look at all of the colorful shoes, including many of the new Disney-inspired New Balance sneakers!  There was a New Balance rep. at the meetup and he told us all about the launch of the much-coveted shoes.  Hot ticket item (which sadly neither of us have)!

With the running portion of the morning over, we paused in Carthay Circle for a water break, and saw some familiar faces.


I only hope that we never lose sight of one thing — that it was all started by a mouse. – Walt Disney (We swear, we’re not sisters/twins/cousins separated at birth…)

We also got the opportunity to mingle a bit and chat with Ali, Sean, and Tara. Now, normally Mer is a little nervous/awkward/unsure when it comes to chatting with people she’s only just met but she followed Vic’s lead. Everyone was very down-to-earth and approachable.

Soon enough, we walked over to Cars Land where we had the chance to ride the new Radiator Springs Racers. (It opened last year.)  We were thrilled as we knew this was a hot new attraction and would likely have a long line once we made our way into the parks.

Here were are, LOVING the ride. (An added bonus was that our new friends Anya and Heather were in the rear seat of our car!)

Breakfast was at the very beautiful Napa Rose in the Grand Californian and on the walk there, we had the very special opportunity to chat with Jeff Galloway!  He showed off his bling (perfect 20 ring) that he received at the 20th Anniversary WDW weekend the previous week.  There are 95 runners who have ran every single marathon since they first started in WDW in 1994 so they honored those runners.

Jeff offered run-walk words of wisdom. Vic told him how she’d used his run-walk-run method the previous weekend (during the Goofy challenge) and was thrilled with the results.

It went something like this:

Jeff:  So I bet you passed people left and right in the last few miles of your marathon. Am I right?

Vic: YES! I had so much energy I didn’t know what to do with myself. I high-fived everyone I saw!

Jeff: That’s what I like to hear. Well done.

At Napa Rose, Sean spoke of his #Run3rd campaign in which you run first for yourself, second for your family and third for the cause of your choice. Ali told the story of her weight loss journey spoke about the importance of relying on each other for support.

Jeff Galloway spoke about his run-walk-run training technique and runDisney nutritionist, Tara Gidus, shared tips on pre-race meals, hydration and snacks.

As a final treat, Napa Rose executive chef Christine Weissman treated us to a delicious (and healthy) black bean cake with poached egg to round out the morning.

We are so fortunate and very grateful! Thanks for an incredible experience, runDisney! See ya REAL soon!  Why?  Because we like you!

(Photo credit: runDisney)