Fitness & Health

I want to be purple

Ali Schwabe | Fulcrum Staff

AFTER A BRIEF love affair with running in the fourth grade—I came 35th out of about 180 students at a cross-country meet—I officially broke up with the sport. Since then, we’ve flirted a few times, but each time something about it pushed me away. I hate how running makes me wake up early. I am not a fan of how sweaty it gets me. I get frustrated because I start in one place, and with running as my companion for 20, 30, or 40 mintues, I still end up right back where I started. I dislike how guilty I feel when I take a break from running and hang out with walking instead. And I’m miserable when I commit to running—instead of a mutually beneficial relationship, I get fire in my lungs and a cramp in my side.

But at the end of last summer, something changed. I saw a bunch of other people enjoying running, and I got a little jealous. Then my dad introduced me to a new way to run. In the first week of the training program, you run for one minute and then you walk for one minute. Repeat for a total of about 20 minutes. You only do it three to four times a week, and the next week you up the amount of time you’re running for, while maintaining a one-minute walk break, and so on.

Following this program for two months, I became a runner. Sure, I still need to take walking breaks. And yeah, I haven’t suddenly become a fan of waking up at the crack of dawn. And I’m really, really, really slow. But I do it. A couple of times a week, I run.

Running in and of itself still isn’t that incredible to me. Now that I know I can do it, one of the only reasons I continue to is because I know logically that it’s healthy. I don’t get that runner’s high people talk about. A lot of it is convenience: I can throw on my running shoes and be on my way—no need to remember a gym pass or a lock. I can simply go.

Enter Color Vibe 5K—a race where participants wear a white shirt and become a canvas. As you run through the course loop, volunteers at various “colour stations” throw dyed cornstarch at you, so by the time you cross the finish line, you’re a vivid masterpiece.

Sounds awesome, right? Well this past Saturday, I participated in the Ottawa event. It was my first-ever race and the only motivation I’ve had to drag my butt out of bed to run in the mornings since school has started. I had an exciting event to look forward to—and a reason to not be the slowest person on the planet.

I trained. Trained! Me, the girl whose co-worker asked incredulously, “Wait—you’re athletic?” as I explained to him I was running a 5K while simultaneously using my teeth to rip into a tub of Ben & Jerry’s.

Yes, I am athletic. I ran the course in the pouring rain and cold, and came in at 33 minutes, a record I haven’t hit since I was nine! Seeing a puff of colour off in the distance was enough motivation to keep me going. “I’ll just keep running till I get to the purple. I want to be purple!” Repeat for pink, blue, yellow, and orange, and bam! You’ve beat your record time and you’re covered in colours.

The race was fun, I feel good about myself, and I’m ready to hit the canal pathway tomorrow morning. Who knows when another race is going to come up? Maybe next time, I can crack 30 minutes!