Sunday, 17 March 2013

The Graffiti Run

Part of the fun in moving to Los Angeles, aside from ditching the rain and snow in favour of glorious sunshine, has been trying new things. Whether that be vegan food (and my first celebrity spot! Queen Latifah at the Urth Cafe in West Hollywood) or just, y'know, getting up quite early. In the spirit of this new sense of adventure, we signed up to do the Graffiti Run. This is basically a 5k where people through packets of coloured powder at you.

Husband read about it in the LA Times, which ran an article saying, basically, 'The LA marathon is on Sunday. This is on Saturday and is was less stressful and way more fun.' We found a half price deal for it on Living Social and that was that. Except the last time I did any kind of distance running was, quite seriously, during Field in 1999. (As a side note, did other schools call 'outdoor' PE 'Field' and only call it PE when it was indoors? Or is this another one of those odd 1950s throw-backs on Paisley Grammar School used, like how we had a Rector instead of a Headmaster?) 

Yup, it has indeed been 14 years since I ran more than a mile at a time. Frightening. With that in mind, we decided to do a bit of training in the week we had between signing up and the race. Essentially, this involved going for a run along the beach in the sunshine a couple of times. As training goes, it's a pretty pleasant way to do it. Beats those poor sods you see with rain dripping off their noses and purple legs running in a florescent waterproof on the Meadows in Edinburgh. Unfortunately this only proved that I get a stitch after about 1.5k and then have to slow down to a fast walk and gasp a bit. It wasn't a very good omen.

Our only pre-dust picture, sunny and clean!
Next thing we knew, it was 6am on Saturday and we had to get up and drive to Pomona, a city about an hour away from where we are in the West of LA. Husband was miserable and grumpy, I was excitable and almost certainly quite irritating. I took a mug of tea with me in the car which gave me just enough caffeine to survive (note to self- must buy travel mug...) whereas husband had refused one, and insisted on listening to NPR discussing the right-wing Republican conference the whole way. It was grey and cloudy and pretty cold. We were ready to kill each other as we sat in the thirty minutes of traffic leading into the car park. When we got out the car, we realised we were amongst the first few thousand people there. We got a sweet parking spot near the action and the sun was starting to shine brightly on a glorious day. Husband went off to find coffee whilst I joined the registration queue. After that, we were both decidedly chipper. Everyone was in a great mood, the atmosphere was awesome and the St. Patrick's day theme made it all the more festive. 

The fact you could buy green beer at the starting line at 8.30am- and believe me people were- made my own lack of athletic ability seem rather less of a problem. There were so many families, babies in prams, kids on scooters (I wish I'd known that was an option...) and young people in wheel chairs being pushed by relatives and friends. People had started throwing powder already. We were in the fourth group to start, so people were already finished. I am seriously proud to announce that I actually ran 3/4 of the 5k, only walking a few times to drink a bottle of water or 3 (WHO are these people who can drink and run?! My chin was the only clean bit of my as I dribbled all over myself.) At the 1k marker, they hit us with red powder. I was COVERED. I've no idea how, but husband was way cleaner than me. As we hit the next markers, I kept building up more and more dust, as he stayed relatively clean, until at the 4k mark a volunteer noticed and just sprayed it directly in his hair. We hit the 5k in a flurry of orange dust. It was really good fun. Despite realising that the family with the 8 year old and baby in a pram that we had started with had beaten us to the finish. 

Same view, different colour
The party atmosphere was brilliant. I slugged some more water as we danced and collected some packets of powder of our own to throw at one another. The amount of green (husband's signature colour) I am covered in shows you that he was better at getting the packet open than I was... When we were done with the party atmosphere/not inclined to get drunk at 10am since we're no longer students, we brushed off the worst of the colour and headed for a McDonalds. Heavenly.

Anyone know how to get dust off a camera lense?!
Husband now thinks we should do some more running. He's talking half marathon. I'm not convinced. I did really enjoy it, but I suspect that was the atmosphere (and the fact it was decidedly non-competitive.) We'll see, shall keep going with the beach runs in the evening since I really am quite lazy and it's nice to watch the sunset and listen to the crashing waves. But running and being timed? I'll have to stop the stitches first. 


  1. I'd enter a 5km if it was like this :) My school called it Games when it was outside and PE inside, we only got Games once a week. Roz x

    1. seems to be the common consensus- Games rather than Field. Ah well, was bloody awful no matter what you called it. Hockey in the snow seems to be my defining memory of it. Especially since joggies were banned so we were freezing in shorts!

  2. I am so impressed! Also, sounds like so much fun. The Santa Monica 5k/10k is also a nice, easy race in October. Two of my friends ran the marathon today. So impressed(again).

  3. Wow amazing, inspiring.... and fun too it seems, with all those colors and powders.
    We are trying to get ourselves to run at least 1 time per week, it is hard because I have no physical condition. I'm impressed!


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