The post that I almost didn’t post…

…about the Rainbow Run 5k and anxiety.

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I’m in the mood for honesty, so I’m going to skip over the 10k that I ran last weekend and tell the honest story of yesterday’s 5k colour run, before the urge to sugar-coat it kicks in.

The last week or so hasn’t been pretty. It’s all the same old stuff, but piling stress on top of stress, plus an added emergency trip to the garage to have my car repaired, never leads to anything good.

On Friday, my fiancé and I escaped from the DIY and other things that have been stressing us out and took my borrowed dog for a long walk. We covered 8 miles through some lovely countryside and along the canal before taking him home (where he immediately brought me a squeaky toy to throw – so much energy!). It was good to get out in the fresh air and do something active. The evening was spent watching There’s Something About Mary because we wanted a really feel-good film.

I thought that after that I might have had a good night’s sleep and woken up excited to do a colour run with some friends.
I did not.

I woke up late and couldn’t bear to get out of bed. The thought of leaving the house was terrible. I dragged myself down to the kitchen, made Alex a cup of tea and a green tea for myself. I went back upstairs and forced myself to get in the shower. Then I dithered about, wandering from place to place to get my running kit, find my race number, and eventually ended up sitting on the edge of the bed with my tea. I did not want to go. I felt like crying when I thought about having to go out and run surrounded by people. Had it not been a charity run, I wouldn’t have gone. In fact, the only reason I kept pushing myself to get ready was that a few people had sponsored me for the run and I felt like I couldn’t let them down by not going.

I cried when I pinned the race number on my t-shirt and then saw that it wasn’t straight. I yanked it off, declared I wasn’t going, then carried on getting ready. I was sure I was going to be late and miss the registration cut-off. I stuck some bread in the toaster and forgot about it until it was burnt, but covered it in nut butter anyway because I needed something to eat.

Alex drove me to the race venue, the beautiful Parc Bryn Bach. Several times I nearly insisted we turn around and go home. Halfway there the skies opened and the rain just poured down.

By the time we got to the park, the rain had stopped so Alex dropped me off on the roadside. I started to walk up the hill to the park and he passed me in the car, then got stuck in traffic. My legs felt like marshmallows. There was no energy in my body at all. I told myself that if I could get to the car I would just get in and we would go home, no matter how disappointed in me everyone would be. I couldn’t even run to where the car was inching forwards. The traffic finally started moving and I kept walking to the park. I didn’t know where I was going and as the marshals were busy directing traffic I just wandered around until I saw the crowds.

I had been told that registration would take place at the visitor centre, so I headed for that. There were plenty of people milling around inside, but no sign of registration. I decided to use the loo there and look for registration afterwards. I stood in the queue for the ladies for what felt like ages. It didn’t move and I felt like I was in the way of the people trying to get to the gents and the disabled loo, so I gave up and told myself I didn’t need to go anyway.

Two other confused ladies were looking for registration, and we were eventually told that it wasn’t at the visitor centre but near the start line. I trudged over, signed disclaimer form in hand, and found the tent. I handed over the form, which by that time was incredibly soggy because it had started to drizzle, and that was that. No name ticked off a list, no further instructions. I felt I may as well have not bothered with trying to find registration at all. That really is my only criticism of the day – the lack of signposting to where we were supposed to register (as well as the fact that we were told one place when it was another), and that it seemed a largely pointless thing anyway.

I’d signed up with a group of about 10, but in a crowded field full of people wearing white t-shirts, I couldn’t see them. I wandered around feeling (and probably looking) miserable and lost. Once again I considered just going home, but just as I was reaching the point of walking away, one of the group found me.

Things improved from then on. We had a chat, then joined in the group warm-up and the Nation Radio selfie.

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Photo credit: Nation Radio

At that point, the DJs doused the crowd with paint from pressurised canisters. We then made our way to the start, where we were set off in waves.
It was difficult to run because so many people in front were walking, so I ran and walked in intervals with one of the girls. We did more walking than running, but had a good chat all the way around, and managed a running finish.

The volunteers, especially those throwing the paint, deserve a huge shout-out. Their enthusiasm was brilliant and they looked like they were having a blast. It was a great event, raised a lot of money for the excellent children’s hospice, and all around me I could see people having lots of fun.

I collected my (somewhat bizarre) goodie bag, which contained sunscreen, a makeup palette and a 9 Bar, had a photo with the girls and our medals, then met Alex for the drive home.

I felt guilty for not enjoying myself as much as I could have, especially as it was a charity event. I felt like I hadn’t appreciated it fully, and all the hard work the charity and volunteers had put in. The volunteers, especially those throwing the paint, deserve a huge shout-out. Their enthusiasm was brilliant and they looked like they were having a blast. It was a great event, raised a lot of money for the excellent children’s hospice, and all around me I could see people having lots of fun. I still feel bad about that. I felt bad for not running more of it, even though I was keeping company with someone who couldn’t run more. But a text from my friend yesterday afternoon, which said ‘I’m impressed you made it there’ and another saying ‘seriously well done’ reminded me that I actually did really well to go and do it at all.

After three showers, most of the paint was off me. After two good scrubs, all the paint was off the bathtub. We went for a walk in the afternoon, then came home and watched a fitness documentary, both of which did wonders for my mood and motivation.

So. A totally honest post about how bloody difficult it is to get yourself out and moving when you’re battling with a bout of anxiety. Going for the run wasn’t a magical cure, didn’t make me feel happy, but it did at least make me feel that I’d done something.
I feel quite hesitant to post this, but I’m going to do it anyway, so please be kind if you’re commenting.

Kolor Dash

I’ve never been so orange in my life…

I woke up yesterday morning, excited for my first running event, the 5k Kolor Dash in Newport. Not only was it my first event, but also a colour run organised by and in aid of a great charity, St David’s Hospice Care. And I was going to be running it with by best friend. What could be better?

Alex had agreed to come along and support us (not at all influenced by the promise of BBQ after the run), so after a healthyish breakfast of cereal, strawberries from our garden, and cocoa nibs, we set off for Tredegar Park in Newport.

We got there fairly early. Registration opened at 10 o’clock, and we knew parking was going to be tight so we wanted to make sure we were there in plenty of time. There was a little confusion for both us and Liz, because the park wasn’t signposted at all coming off the motorway, but we all made it there and headed over to the registration tent at about half past 10.

Everything was so well organised and efficient. We collected our numbers and then headed back to the park entrance to find a toilet. With that taken care of, it was time to meander over to the start, where the DJ was playing some energetic music to get people fired up. Alex left us to find a spot to spectate, while we tried to join in with the warmup. I don’t know about you, but I’m not so good at getting into things like that. The personal trainer and Bollywood dancers leading the warmup from the stage were fantastic, but I think Liz and I both felt a bit awkward.

We made a small error with our placement at the start. Because we knew we would be doing running and walking intervals, we decided to start near the back. We ended up a little too far back, behind quite a lot of children and people with buggies. That hampered our start, so our goal of running the first mile and then doing intervals for the rest sort of went out the window.

The course was 3 1-mile laps around the park. It was a little frustrating having to dodge and overtake, but as a lot of the slower runners and people with children dropped out after the first lap, the second two felt easier.

The volunteers showering runners with paint powder were brilliant. As you can see from my face, the team at the orange station were particularly enthusiastic! Sunglasses were encouraged, to keep paint out of runners’ eyes, but somehow the first cloud of orange went straight under my glasses and into my eyes anyway!

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Attempt at a running selfie
The music was fun – every time we came around to the start of a new lap we’d have a great song like Gina G or McFly.

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Better attempt at a post-run selfie
Afterwards, we claimed our medals, took a few photos, then headed back to our cars to clean up a bit. Thank goodness for baby wipes! We went back over to the park to get some food and coffee, and watched The Bollywoodettes perform while we sat on the grass to eat.

The whole day was well organised, with a lovely atmosphere. I love the engraving on the back of the medal – my first medal for a live event! I hope the Kolor Dash runs again next year – I’ll definitely be signing up! Huge thanks to St David’s Hospice Care for putting on the run, and to all the staff and volunteers who gave their time to make it a success!

It was great fun, and running with Liz was brilliant. I’m definitely looking forward to our 10k together next month, and I really hope we can run together more often, even though we live 50+ miles away from each other.