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We had a BLAST, and I’m so going to do it again, but I’m not talking about my recent ice cream trip to Sonic (ba-da-dum, see what I did there). This past weekend I strapped on a white shirt (yep, I risked white after Labor Day, but honestly, people were committing much bigger fashion faux pas) and got my running shoes on and ran The Happiest 5K on the planet and I took my lady toddler with me.

If you haven’t heard of The Color Run, it is a 5K race where people dress all in white and other peculiar attire (like tutus and tube socks) and run/walk 5 kilometers while additional volunteers throw colored starch at them at four stations. Trust me — it’s fun. Think about Holi Festival in India but with more “howdys” and “y’alls.” The 5K is fun; it’s a calorie burner and stress reliever, and it’s good for your body to run and smile at the same time, so The Color Run is technically better for your soul than eating plain vanilla ice cream (Blue Bell’s Birthday Cake ice cream is another debate).

When I arrived at Fair Park, I was pleasantly surprised that parking wasn’t an issue, as there was plenty of parking for all. There were a couple thousand barely-awake people dragging around wearing their tutus, silently herding themselves toward the music. It honestly felt weird to be just standing around dressed in white drinking the morning cup of joe and waiting for the joy to start. Then, the energy starts to increase and pick up, the music is loud and heart pounding, people are doing Zumba, and basically, before you know it, you are in a giant PG-rated rave all before 9 a.m.

Before the race, I was constantly concerned about the people and the lines and managing a crowd with a toddler and a stroller. Honestly, it wasn’t an issue. The Color Run has been around a few years and obviously the hosts have worked out all the kinks and hiccups and to the average runner, everything worked smoothly. They even thought about all the photos ops and placed signs and photo opportunities all around the start/finish area and throughout the course (even the Texas Ferris wheel was a good photo op during the race) so that all the runners can get their Instagram on. #Happiest5K

Here are a few secrets to running a color run from someone named Crystal:

1)   Pick up the race packet the day before. This really goes for any mega 5Ks. I picked up my packet the day before and there was already a line at Sports Authority. I don’t even want to image what the packet pickup was like the day of the run.

2)   If you need to go to a formal event later in the day avoid the teals, blues and purples. All the colors are washable…eventually. But the toddler had teal under her fingernails for a day or two. Next time, I’ll be more inclined to get pink or yellow for my personal color packet.

3)   Wear something ridiculous or you’ll feel left out. Get out the tutus and the tube socks and get your fashion faux pas on.

4)   Take a towel for afterward in the car. The color is transferable, and unless you are driving a mom-mobile already scarred with years of Cheerios and crayons, you’ll want to protect the seats. So be sure to take a towel or two.

5)   Take the kids. This 5K is meant to be an event that brings out the youth in everybody. My daughter loved going, and I even let her run through the pink section all by herself — she got lots of high fives. WARNING: The color throwers avoid throwing color directly at babies and toddlers, so she stayed fairly clean until I gave her a packet of teal to play with. But in return, I stayed fairly clean throughout the race because I was pushing her stroller, but some people were really drenched in color.

6)   Take a stroller if you have tiny people, and take a makeshift stroller cover. I didn’t do this, but the pushers that did probably have an easier clean up. I saw sheets and plastic covers that protected the strollers — very smart.

7)   Take the camera and take the “selfie.” I didn’t have an issue with any of the dust harming my phone camera, but there is a warning on the website about using a plastic bag to protect your camera. Either way, make sure you take it. There are photographers on the course, but with a few thousand people participating, your moment inside the rainbows of color may be missed.

There are no shortages of color runs in the DFW area. In fact, I noticed Dallas is kind of a hot spot for hurling color at fellow citizens. Sign up and run or volunteer.

  • The Color Run – this is the one that I ran and, of course, the one I’ll be running again April 14, 2014. It was well organized, energetic and everything moved smoothly from where I stood.
  • Run or Dye Christmas – Arlington is hosting a Christmas color Run in a few weeks. Register now. There are 13 Run or Dye events in Texas, including Denton and Dallas.
  • Blacklight Run in Fort Worth (It’s a color run in the dark under black lights) – It’s coming to Fort Worth on February 1, 2014.
  • Color Fun Fest – Coming to Dallas in the Spring of 2014.
  • Color Me Loco – Eight zones of color, hosted in Fort Worth on March 1.
  • Color Me Rad 5K – This 5K is claiming to be coming to Fort Worth in May 2014.
  • Neon Splash Dash - Happening in Arlington near the Ballpark on September 20, 2014.
  • The Graffiti Run – This will be next September, if they do it around the same time they did this year.
  • Color in Motion 5K – This one will be new to Dallas next November. You can sign up for VIP updates here.
  • Color Mob 5K – This 5K came last July, and there’s no word on if it’ll be coming back.
  • The Glow Run – It’s another night 5K that comes to DFW in November.
  • Color Up 5K – This looks like a smaller scale race that happens in every city in Texas besides Dallas or Fort Worth. It’s included in case you want to make a trip out of the Bubble.
  • Color Vibe 5K – The website says it’s coming, but no word as to when. But you can preregister.

Don’t want to run, but still want to throw color at the neighbors in your free time? I found an online store to buy small amounts of colored starch for parties or pranks (if you get in trouble with it, you didn’t read about it on BubbleLife).

The Color Run marked the 11th 5K I’ve done in the last two months. I’m currently engaged in a journey to run 50 5Ks (timed, themed, for a charity or for fun) in one year. You can follow my journey through my gofundme account or with the hashtag #FiftyFiveKs.

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