The running of the 5K's

Apr. 25, 2013 @ 05:00 AM

I have never considered myself an avid runner, but last year I got more into running as a way to get more exercise, release extra stress and enjoy the outdoors. And by no means am I a cross-country runner, so it was challenging getting into the steady rhythm of running.

Each day I went for a run I pushed myself to move faster and go farther. I laced up my grey and pink sneakers and strapped my iPhone onto my arm so I could listen to motivational running tunes. Justin Timberlake and Lady Gaga make me run faster.

I even downloaded the Nike running app to track each run's time, pace and distance. My goal for each run was around three miles, the distance equivalent to a 5K. As I became a more experienced and more confident runner, I decided to test my skills and turn an item on my bucket list into a reality: running a 5K.

In September of 2012, one of my close friends and I registered for the happiest 5K on the planet, The Color Run. This event is a unique 5K experience that is focused less on speed and more on crazy color fun with friends, family and fellow runners.

There are only two rules for The Color Run. First, white shirts are mandatory at the starting line. And second, everything — including you — is covered in color at the finish line.

Each kilometer of the run is associated with a designated color and as we reached a color zone, volunteers bombarded us with handfuls of bright powder. Beware of one color thrower who likes to drench runners in yellow as he tosses a large five-gallon bucket of color into the air.

As we neared the end of the race, we were decorated with patches of yellow, red, orange and blue. Once we crossed the finish line the color extravaganza was far from over. Runners and onlookers gathered to celebrate with a colorful dance party where everyone threw individual packets of color. Pink, purple and green drifted through the air and settle on our shirts, skin and hair.

While I began The Color Run as a blank canvas, by the end I was quite the colorful masterpiece. I got to participate in one of the most memorable, colorful runs and was proud of myself for running my first 5K.

I will be running my next 5K this weekend with my mom. Her and I will be joining other women in the DIVA 5K race in North Myrtle Beach, S.C. The course is mapped out on the boulevard next to the beach, one of the most scenic areas to run.

In addition to some pretty awesome diva swag, my race bib will read "Diva Alyssa" and during the race there will be stations where we will receive boas and tiaras. As we cross the finish line, we will be given a medal, roses and champagne to toast our success. How could I ever pass up a 5K as regal as this?

Afterwards, runners are invited to celebrate at a post-race party at one of the oceanfront resorts. I am eager and excited to run the DIVA 5K, not only to accomplish running another 5K, but also to have the opportunity to share the experience with my mom.

I am not planning to stop running 5K's any time soon. In fact, I will also be running in the upcoming Gold Rush 5K in Rutherfordton with my younger brother. Come cheer us on!