With my northwestern adventures coming to a close, it was time to head back to Toronto for another dose of city life. First on my list of things to do was hunt down an apartment. Never actually living in the city I’m looking for an apartment in has made me a bit of a whiz at finding places to live online (there are tons of sites like: AirBnB, Roomorama, HomeSuiteHome and *gasp, yes even kijiji if you’re looking for a place to stay for a few months in Toronto).
As a result, I only visited 1 property before agreeing to a rental contract and was on a bit of an apartment-shopping high taking the TTC subway back from the visit, putting me in a vulnerable position of wanting to make more impulsive decisions. As a result, upon seeing a sign for something called the Color Me Rad run in my subway car, I decided I NEEDED to do it.
Basically, Color Me Rad is like any other 5k run, but with the small difference that you get pelted with paint several times throughout the course so instead of finishing the run tired and sweaty, you finish tired, sweating and looking like a rainbow (aka awesome).
After explaining the concept to my bro, he was on board right away and the next thing you know, we’re standing at the starting gate, waiting for the race to start. Plotting our strategy for how we planned to win the heat. My bro was talking a lot of race jargon like “hard on the downhills” and “full on at the finish”, but all I got out of it was “run fast”. My personal strategy involved wiggling to the front of the pack before the race started so we wouldn’t loose precious start time getting corralled by leisurely joggers. With that, when a gaping pathway magically appeared leading to the front of the line up, I bolted towards it. I had made it about ¾ of the way when I realized WHY the gap had appeared: a race announcer had decided to shoot paint out of a fire extinguisher into the crowd while running through the gap. Being right front and centre, I ended up taking a mouthful of fire extinguisher-blasted paint (its made of corn-starch, so I didn’t die, don’t worry) just as the start of the race was signalled.
Wheezing and wiping a thick layer of paint off my sunglasses (which were given out to everyone at the start of the race – obviously for good reason – a still managed to take off with a bolting start. Once my vision was clear, I looked beside me to see my bro puffing along beside me. Then, I looked ahead to see… nothing. There was no one ahead of us, just an empty pathway. This seemed a little strange because I figured there would be at least a few idiots who would sprint out of the starting gate and inevitably run out of steam after about 5mins. Maybe I was the idiot in this case!
Soon enough, however, another couple put the pressure on, running up beside us on multiple occasions, but falling back time and time again. With our awesome pace, we soon made it to the first paint station where volunteers chucked huge bags of paint at runners. Since we were the firsts to make it to this point, I was fully bombarded with (more) pink paint. After the fire extinguisher incident, I was fully ready for the splattering this time around.
After making it through the clouds of paint, I could start to see stragglers from the heat ahead of us. This complicated things a bit, as I was now getting hosed with paint while weaving through groups of people. Luckily, being travel-sized has its advantages here and I was able to make it through without much difficulty.
The rest of the race saw more paint guns, puffs of colour and a LOT more people. My bro was also definitely a better runner than I was and had set a challenging pace. As we neared the finish line, he urged me to “finish strong” again, but by that point, I could only increase my speed by about 0.00002km/h. We hadn’t seen the other couple (or anyone else from out heat) for the rest of the race, but I was worried someone would pull ahead at the last minute so I urged my legs to summon some type of hidden strength.
Fortunately, they pulled through and we were the first from our heat to cross the finish line!
To celebrate, we joined an excited wave of people partying around a DJ who was throwing prizes into the crowd. To add to our winning streak, I caught 2 more pairs of sunglasses and my bro snagged a T-shirt.
In summary: running while getting blasted with paint is AWESOME!