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Gapers Block published from April 22, 2003 to Jan. 1, 2016. The site will remain up in archive form. Please visit Third Coast Review, a new site by several GB alumni.
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Sunday, December 3

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Bucket List Wed Jun 06 2012

My Chicago Bucket List: Run a 5k

Previous Entry: Riding a bike in the city
Next Entry: Becoming Everything I Am

Number 32: Run three consecutive miles without walking, faking a leg cramp or throwing up

I've never been what you would call an athletic person. I remember once in middle school making an impassioned speech to my gym teacher about why running the required timed mile once a year was by definition "cruel and unusual punishment." I'm not exaggerating; I was that kid.

But as I grew up I realized that exercise, especially in the forms of jazzercise, kickboxing or zumba, could indeed be fun. But I still never fancied myself a running person. And I certainly never thought I would be one of those people who PAID to get up at 6am and run a few miles with some insanely competitive strangers. Races clearly weren't my thing.

And then I found out about The Color Run: a 5k filled with color explosions at every kilometer and a gigantic dance party at the end. It is basically a 3 mile-run/walk/skip/dance all to the background of Rihanna, Ke$ha and Katy Perry. This was something I was willing to spend my $40 on.

color bomb.jpg

I'm not ashamed to admit, I trained for my first 5k. I didn't want to just run it; I wanted to look good running it. I didn't just want to run 3 miles; I wanted to run three miles, dance across the finish line all with minimal sweat stains and a smile on my face. So starting in March I ran 3-2-1 intervals attempting to increase my endurance. I spent my Saturday mornings running my now-familiar neighborhood 3-mile loop. And I perfected my iPod Color Run mix.

And then came The Color Run weekend and I was pumped. Like super pumped. My team, Jump4Joy, made white tutus (Thank you Pinterest). I had pulled out an old pair of sneakers to ruin. I even bought a fanny pack so I could be hands-free as I danced through the color zones.

But a few days before the race, I got the tell-tale sore throat which quickly morphed into a fountain of yellow snot and settled into a ragged cough. I was sick... in freaking June. Even though I downed as much Emergen-C as I could swallow and neti-potted every few hours, by race morning I was still feeling a little raw and ragged. But when I looked outside and saw the most perfect race day weather of all time, I washed some Sudafed down with a large latte and headed to Montrose Harbor.

There is something amazing about races that I never understood. It is the common spirit of camaraderie; the energy that comes from all being clad in sweatbands and white tutus in front of a start line; not to mention the awesome combination of Sudafed, caffeine and adrenaline. I ran all 5 kilometers, spinning through the color zones, dancing at the finish line even as I wiped sweat from my head and snot from my nose.

Team Jump4Joy.jpgLooking back at the course, I couldn't help but feel I had conquered something. I had asked my ailing body to do something and I had pushed through. That was something I didn't understand with all my middle-school whining. Sometimes things hurt. Sometimes we are uncomfortable. We sweat. Our hamstrings scream at us. Our lungs burn hot. But we keep going. We run, dance, and move through it. We push because we can. We push to prove to ourselves what our bodies our capable of. And because crossing that finish lines feels really really good.

And really that is what The Color Run is all about. It is about having fun by moving your body and not caring what you look like when you do it. The Color Run is the opposite of the timed mile in Middle School. It is about moving because you want to not so you get a "pass" on your physical exam for the year. It is about realizing that every movement has the opportunity to turn into a colorful dance.

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Architecture Tue Nov 03 2015

Paul Goldberger Describes the "Pragmatism and Poetry" of Frank Gehry's Architecture in His New Book

By Nancy Bishop

Architecture critic Paul Goldberger talks about Frank Gehry's life and work in a new book.
Read this feature »

Steve at the Movies Fri Jan 01 2016

Best Feature Films & Documentaries of 2015

By Steve Prokopy

Read this column »


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