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The Color Run

May 24, 2015

The last several days have been a whirlwind for me, a crazy schedule of packing and moving and driving and even running. But, after considerable effort, I'm now moved into my new home in the suburbs of Nashville.

On Thursday, my father flew from Nashville to Columbus, a one-way flight that put him in position to be able to drive the U-Haul truck I rented without having to unnecessarily haul a vehicle behind it. Driving one of those trucks is tough enough as it is, but when you are towing a vehicle behind it the challenge becomes considerably more difficult.

Of course, when it comes to air travel, nothing is guaranteed. And, due to a mechanical issue with his plane, his flight ended up being delayed by three hours. That was unfortunate, though I actually needed those last few hours to do some final packing and consolidating.

We managed to load up the truck quicker than I had anticipated. I really don't enjoy moving at all, and I very much appreciate my Dad being willing to take the time/effort to help me with it. But he is as much of a morning person as I am a night owl, and with our goal being to make it south of Louisville to stop for the evening, hitting the road to give us time to get there before drowsiness set in for him was a challenge. Luckily we made it, albeit without much time to spare.

On Friday we completed the second leg of the trip, and while we dodged the often unpredictable construction-related road delays on Interstate 65 near Horse Cave in Kentucky, we encountered what seemed to me to be higher-than-expected traffic volume once we reached Nashville. Either things here traffic-wise somehow became even worse than they were when I left three years ago, or there were simply more drivers out on the road trying to beat the Memorial Day holiday weekend rush. Perhaps it was a combination of both.

Unloading is typically a quicker process than loading when it comes to moving, in large part because you aren't having to play a puzzle game to figure out how to get everything to fit properly into a moving van when you're emptying it out. However, we ran into some difficulty due to my house being a two-story building with a staircase that go up three stairs and then takes a 90 turn to the right. It made moving my queen-sized box springs upstairs a *major* challenge, but we made it work.

On Saturday morning, with my body aching from the move, I did what any reasonable person would do: I took part in a 5K race. It wasn't just any 5K, though -- it was the Color Run. My friend Jen, who I worked with in Columbus and who now works as a reporter for a TV station here in Nashville, talked me into taking part. Her running buddy had backed out, so she needed someone to participate with, and I figured it would be a nice break from the drudgery of moving.

I knew about the Color Run from when it was held last year in Huntington, where it also took place on a Saturday morning just as it did here. I had to work the morning of that Huntington race since WSAZ was (and I presume still is) perpetually understaffed, and it was rather strange to see bright areas of color spray set up as I drove home after my shift. I had to weave my way through blocked-off areas to get back to my apartment on 3rd Avenue, which was quite tricky since that road was part of the course.

I had heard nothing but good things about the Color Run event, which has a strong emphasis on fun over competitive running. Some people like to run; I am not one of those people. But this was an untimed 5K event, and there were plenty of people walking and taking their time with it. Again, the emphasis is on having a good time. That was convenient for me, particularly since I blew up on the opening portion that went up a rather steep hill.

Jen and I posed for a pre-race photo on Saturday.

Prior to the race, Jen and I competed in an inflatable maze race called the Fun Cycle. Sponsored by the Shout detergent brand, the maze race is a quick (as in 30 seconds tops) sprint-style event with two large rotating padded horizontal poles designed to slow you up.

I found myself flashing back to high school freshman football practice at the old Father Ryan campus in the summer of 1991, where I took part in drills with a cage that were designed to teach us to stay low on defense. Instinctively shifting back to that training, I was able to quickly get low to avoid the rotating poles, including the lower of the two that I thought going into it would surely waylay me.

Somehow I beat Jen in the Fun Cycle, which I was not expecting since I had presumed she would smoke me in a traditional race of just about any length. For my winning effort I was awarded a Large-sized Shout t-shirt that I will probably give away since it would be ridiculously skin-tight on me. But a win is a win, and it doesn't take much to bring out my competitive streak.

I was impressed with Jen's ability to quickly utilize her smart phone for a bevy of photos, videos, and posts along a variety of social media sites. The speed with which she pulled it off was particularly impressive.

As for the Color Run itself, there are designated points along the way where workers spray powdered paint at the participants. Getting doused with color is part of the fun -- you actually want to be sprayed with the stuff. Luckily for us, lead-based paint has been banned for decades in the United States. At times it was like a mini dust storm running through the color stations along the way.

Overall it was great fun and I'm glad I took part, though the more practical thing to do would have been to use that time to sleep/rest. But after months and months of doing very little of this sort of thing in Columbus, I was ready to have some fun.

The post-race celebration took place in front of a large stage, and that is where I was actually blasted with paint the most. The sweatband that I had around my head made me look extra-comical after the fact since that section was completely devoid of paint once I removed it. My head was blue, then I had a giant stripe without color, then the rest of my face was mostly blue. I looked ridiculous.

To point, on the drive home from Jen's place (after we caught a ride back to her apartment from a Lyft driver who luckily was cool with us riding in his car thanks to the seat cover he had in his trunk), I stopped at a McDonald's in La Vergne to grab a quick snack and to try their strawberry-flavored iced tea, which incidentally is really good. The woman at the cash window laughed at me, then the woman at the food window laughed at me as well. And rightfully so.

Trying to get the paint off proved to be more difficult than I had anticipated, in part because the breaker switch for my water heater was accidentally still off from when my father and I had been working on it last week. Yep, I was working with room temperature water on that one. After considerable effort, I finally managed to scrub away most of the paint.

After drying off, I looked in the mirror and saw that I had ended up somewhat sunburned in the area above my headband. It's not exactly a flattering look. Normally I am vigilant with applying sunscreen since I tend to burn so easily, but with the Color Run I wasn't sure how that might interact with the paint, so I opted to forego it. Live and learn, I suppose.

The moving marathon resumed that afternoon, and it involved hauling a giant (and very heavy) computer desk from my parents' place to here. It's an immense upgrade over the junk desk I'd had going back to my Ybor City era in Tampa. I also gained temporary possession of a china cabinet that my brother Matt is having me keep here until he, his wife Jenica, and their kids move to a new home, perhaps in 2017.

Adding the cabinet and desk, along with the beautiful, gently-used bedroom set that my Grandmama Blaylock gave me that we transported here on Friday, has provided me with a wonderful furniture upgrade to help fill some of the empty space in my new home. It's all very nice.

The next course of action for me will be unpacking the boxes I have all over the place and then deciding what will go where. It's not an immediate need, and with three bedrooms I have room to store non-vital boxed items for the short-term. But every day that I spend here in this house feels more and more like home, and soon enough I'll have everything set up, hopefully looking nice and customized the way I want it. And that's a great position to be in, to be sure.

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