It all started with Prison Break Race… from that point on, I was hooked on the obstacle course lifestyle. It didn’t take long for me to try a few more: Mud Hero, 5K Foam Fest, Polar Hero. The first promised a gratuitous amount of mud, the next threw foam into the mix, and the last was fearlessly scheduled during the winter. Each was interesting, and may even be featured in future posts.
When selecting races, I was always driven to go for the most unique first. So when I heard of Color Me Rad, a 5k race where you get blasted with colorful dyes while running, I was definitely intrigued. I knew I’d have to try it at least once, so I signed up immediately. It’s important to mention that unlike the races I did in the past, this one did not have physical obstacles – only dye.
Now with obstacle races, typically, there’s so much mud and water involved that it is generally advised to leave your phone in your car. I’ve always done that, and I figured Color Me Rad would be no exception; however, I was wrong. Color Me Rad surprised me by including an extremely convenient protective case for phones. For once, I could actually bring my phone with me, and take photos of the experience. Great thinking on their part.
Prior to the actual race, since I wore contact lenses, I pondered how I would protect my eyes from all the dye that would be thrown at me. To do this, I went to the dollar store and bought a really cheap diving mask. I took the most colorful one they had, bright neon green, and, since it wasn’t the best quality, I went ahead and cut out the part that was under the nose, so I could continue to breathe despite wearing it.
Come race day, my mask worked… for the most part. I ran with it up on my head, and when I approached a color “gate” (a specific point in the race where their staff throws/shoots dye), I pulled it down to guard my face. Now, generally, you’re told that their staff is specifically instructed to NOT target a person’s face. This makes sense; however, my experience was a little different. At the first gate, no less, one particular staff member specifically targeted my face, laughing in an almost maniacal way. If I was wearing a GoPro, replaying the footage in slow motion would have been priceless if only for the guy’s facial expression and momentary lunacy. After the encounter, I reflected and figured I was likely being targeted because I had some form of facial protection, unlike the majority. Not all staff members succumbed to momentary lunacy, however – the majority behaved reasonably.
Regardless, by the end of the race, despite being equipped, I was completely covered in dye. The mask did a fairly good job, but it didn’t stop the dye from finding its way to my eyes – it only reduced the amount that made it through. Granted, I was at least partially to blame. At another color gate, near the end, I decided to walk slowly to increase the time their staff had to shower me with dye. A bit overconfident, you might say – but the dye, in and of itself, was no big deal. What was a big deal, unfortunately, was having to take a big breath during this slow march through the gate. In doing so, the timing was such that I inhaled right as a huge yellow dye cloud slammed against my face, giving me a big dose of yellow, and a heavy coughing fit to match.
Still, despite these inconveniences, it was an interesting experience – and if I were to do it again, I’d probably go even crazier with the facial protection. I’d engineer something more functionally reliable, while also making sure it looks exceptionally ridiculous for everyone else’s benefit. Without any face protection, I’m not sure I’d do it, though. Even when I ran through the gates, due to the timing of the throws, sometimes, the powders still messed with my breathing – which is kind of the last thing you want messed with.
The resulting dye, below: