By Punch Contributor Melinda ContrerasÂ
My first 5k was a run I completed last September. I won a free entry on a blog, but “secretly” only entered because the giveaway included a box of KIND bars, and I really love KIND bars. Â When I found out I won, I thought to myself, “Do I really have to run the race? I just wanted the KIND bars…” I actually won two entries, and told myself if I couldn’t find someone to run with me, I wouldn’t run the race.
I posted a callout for a running buddy on Facebook, and my boss volunteered to run with me. Â I knew I couldn’t back out after my boss had volunteered to run with me, and so began my journey to my first 5k. I followed a condensed version of the couch to 5K training plan (I only had a month to train), and to my mom’s surprise, I completed my first 5k. (When I first told my mom I ran a 5k, her response was, “Did you walk half of it? I know your body isn’t built for that.” Well thanks, Mom…For the record, I walked a little, but definitely not half of it).
The race that I ran was a color run, and it was super fun. It was the perfect first race for me because it was less about how fast you were (they don’t time you), and way more about how much fun you were having. My boss and I steadily jogged the course while I documented our journey on a little handheld video camera hanging from my neck.
There’s another color run in town tomorrow. Color Me RadÂ is not the same race I ran, but I think it will be safe to assume it will be just as much fun (if not more so), than the race I ran. Washington, DC is one of three cities who will be treated to “The SELF Edition,” of Color Me Rad, and Caitlin Leonard, Special Projects Manager at SELF Magazine, took some time to chat with me about why SELF chose to partner with Color Me Rad, and how she personally maintains a healthy lifestyle in between managing 5ks, music events, and her own wedding. Congrats, Caitlin!
Pamela’s Punch: Please provide a brief history of your educational/career background, and how you became involved with SELF Magazine.
Caitlin Leonard: I actually hold a biology degree from Clemson University, but fell in love with media and events after three years on W magazineâ€™s Strategic Partnerships and Events team. In 2013, I was named Senior Manager, Partnerships & Events at POPSUGAR before joining the team here at SELF.
PP: Why did SELF Â become involved with Color Me Rad?
CL: TheÂ ColorÂ Me Rad races align so well withÂ theÂ SELF brand. The 5Ks are super social and make fitness funÂ â€”Â both things that the SELF fan wants from her workout.
PP: What do you think makes Color Me Rad different from other color runs?
CL: Any opportunity to work out with friends and be outdoors is always great, but Color Me Rad goes above and beyond withÂ twice as many color stations, free photos and the one and only Gel Drop.
PP: How is the SELF Edition different from other Color Me Rad races?
CL: The SELF Edition will add a new explosion of SELF-approved colors to the participantsâ€™ palette. At the finish line, runners will take part in SELFâ€™s Finish Festival, featuring swag from SELF, as well as refreshments from Silk and Hormel.
PP: How/why were San Jose, Knoxville, and Washington, DC chosen as locations for the SELF Edition of Color Me Rad?
CL: We wanted to connect with our SELF fans in a variety of cities across the country. These cities have amazing health and wellness scenes, so we wanted to tap into the local audience and bring them a really fun event.
PP: How do you maintain health and wellness?
CL: The most important thing for me in maintaining health and wellness is paying attention to myself, and listening to what my body needs.
If you are constantly on the go, your mind will always be racing. You need time to bring yourself back to center and meditate on your goals so you can focus on whatâ€™s important.
PP: What is the most recent health/fitness goal you achieved?
CL: I actually kept my New Yearâ€™s resolutions this year â€“ no phone before bed (so I can disconnect), and meditate each night for a few minutes on all the good things that happened that day. It really adjusts your perspective and keeps you on a positive road.
PP: What is the next health/fitness goal you have set for yourself?
CL: Between balancing a busy work schedule, and a calendar full of summer birthdays, BBQs and weddings (and planning my own!) exercise tends to be the first thing that goes on my back burner. But this year, I made a commitment to myself to get to the gym a minimum of 2 times a week. Itâ€™s a small goal, but itâ€™s important to keep it attainable so I donâ€™t quit!
PP: How do you define success?
CL: Success is building your confidence, paving your own path, and conquering your goals, big or small!