Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Amarillo, Texas

Another Color Run, here and gone. This summer is flying by and I am not ok with it. But it’s been such a blast! This color run was one of my very favorites! No sleep but plenty of fun. Literally, I got 2 hours of sleep every night.

            I flew out Thursday morning (I had to get up at 4am. Woof). It’s always easy to find all the other color run staff at the airport because we all wear something that says color run on it. Everyone on this trip was seriously so. Freaking. Awesome. So kind, so fun, and so hardworking! We got to Amarillo which was quite dry. I was expecting it to be humid as heck, but Amarillo is in the pan handle of Texas so the weather was perfect. We stopped for lunch at Torchy’s Tacos, which seriously has some of the best tacos I’ve ever had! We went twice because it was that good. That night we got everything set up at Kohl’s for packet pickup. And I acquired my 2 nicknames for this trip: “The BYU intern” & “Data” because my stupid phone ran out of data and I couldn’t use it.

            After set up we went to the tourist trap of Amarillo for staff dinner- Big Texan Steak House. HOLY COW. It was freaking awesome. It was totally decked out in everything Texas. You could ride in a limo from the parking lot to the front of the restaurant, and the front of the limo had longhorn antlers, or whatever they’re called. Also, they have this deal if you can eat a 72 ounce steak, fries, and a drink in under an hour, your meal is free. My stomach hurts just thinking about it. But it did it! I ate a 72 ounce steak! Haha juuuuust kidding. I’m not thaaat fat. But the food was so good. There were 2 cute little old men all dressed up with guitars walking around to serenate people with some country music. Seriously, I love Texas.

            On Friday we spent all day setting up for the event, per usual. The festival area was located on this hill area next to a hospital and next to some main roads. The first 2 I’d done were at a park, so it was a change of scenery for me. There were only 2500 participants at this race (compared to Hershey, 20k!) so it was really small, but that made it even more fun! My friend Ali who is literally the coolest person ever (she got kissed by Usher. How can anyone top that?) was one of the MC’s, and she asked me to sing the Star Spangled Banner! Hoooooly cow, I haven’t been that nervous in a long time. I used to sing all the time, but for the past 4 years I’ve had vocal nodules (like the girl from pitch perfect who has nodes) so I haven’t really sung because it hurts pretty bad, plus I’ve lost a lot of voice control. Regardless, I decided I needed to get back into it so I happily agreed. That night we went back for round 2 at Torchy’s Tacos. #Yumyums.

            The next morning we got up suuuper early, and with 2 hours of sleep I felt so rested and ready to go. Jk lolz. We got everything set up and then I just walked around trying not to pee my pants because I was so nervous. I kept practicing and making sure I had the words down to the Star Spangle Banner. When I was in high school I sang it at a basketball game and I tooootally messed up the words so bad. I don’t even know what song I was singing, probably something from Miley Cyrus. It was bad. So I didn’t want to do that again in front of 2500 people. Thankfully it went alright! It wasn’t my best, but for my first time singing in front of people in 4 years I didn’t mess up to horribly. Maybe I can convince the race director at my next race to let me sing it again. We’ll see.

            We finished clean up at around 3, and by the time I got back to my hotel I counted 37 mosquito bites, 2 of which were larger than a quarter. I fell asleep and woke up 6 hours later and completely panicked because I thought it was the next day already. Hehe it wasn’t. A lot of the staff got together and went to Midnight Rodeo, a place where every dancer’s dreams come true. There’s a country room with a circular dance floor, and then a hip-hop room to dance to some serious jamz. It was a blast. Something weird- as the guy at the front was checking my ID he noticed my height and said, “What?! Utah?? You’re too short to live in Utah!”…. um sir, you make no sense.

            And then as soon as it came it was over. What a fun trip with such great people. Can’t wait for another color run! Next stop, Grand Rapids, Michigan.

P.S. I would also like to announce that I have now overcome one of my biggest irrational fears- airplane bathrooms. I kid you not, every time I go in there I am silently praying and singing songs to myself so I won’t have a panic attack. But now I’m over it! Yayeeeee. I am still working on my fear of porta potties. Stay tuned. 

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Hershey, Pennsylvania

First off, before we get started, I’d just like to point out the embarrassing fact that I can’t even spell Savannah, Georgia. WOW JESSICA, WOW. This isn’t Jimmy Fallon where H’s are “EW”. Sorry I spelled your name wrong, city of Savannah.

Now that THAT’S out of the way, I wanna talk about Hershey PA! It was so. Much. FUN! Suuch a great weekend. Here’s de lowdown...

This trip was from Wednesday-Monday because Hershey had a two-day race since so many people registered. I left Wednesday and made it onto my flight right as they were boarding the last people. I just have this thing where I love to see how close I can make it I guess… More like I went through security twice because the first time they thought I was a terrorist with my opened yogurt that I hadn’t started eating yet. And they wouldn’t let me eat it on the other side of security- how lame is that? Well they have every right to do that. I could have been a terrorist with that yogurt. I’m kidding by the way, NSA…

            We landed in Baltimore and drove through some iconic Baltimore streets that made me feel like I was in Hairspray, except all the windows and doors on the street were boarded up. It was a little bit eerie I must say.

            We made our way to Hershey and decided to stop at Panera Bread because IT’S NOT IN UTAH, and we somehow got roped into some random guy trying to get us to join his multi-level-marketing company for protein drinks and wouldn’t leave us alone about it. The key to getting rid of those people is to not make direct eye contact, but just look at their forehead the whole time. Drives ‘em crazy.

            Holy cow, Hershey is INSANELY beautiful!! There were so many rolling hills with cute little barns all by themselves with tons of trees everywhere. I loved it. It was decently humid but it wasn’t too bad, except the last day when it was rainy.

Car pic of the gorgeous roads. 

            I got super lucky and had my own hotel room since there were only 3 girls. It was SAWEET. The first morning we had PPU (packet pick up) for the participants at Kohl’s and then we had a meeting. Pretty chill day. The next morning, some friends and I drove to Hershey High School and did a sprint workout on their track. That high school is DANG nice, and it was really fun to drive through the neighborhoods and see how much personality all the houses have.

Gorgeous morning @ Hershey High.

            We went to the venue (Hershey Park, right next to the theme park and the Giants Stadium) and set up all day. I love watching a huge park with just grass turn into a really cool venue. I dunno, maybe it’s dumb, but I love watching everything come together; maybe that’s why I like events so much.

For this race, The Color Run partnered with the Rett Syndrome Foundation, and our friend Noelle graduated from high school! Staff pic required. 

            The next day we woke up early for the race. The first race day went really well! The race director named Wally was a TON of fun. He bought sheets of birthday cake and just threw the entire thing into the audience. It was freaking hilarious. One entire cake went right in this girl’s face who was on her dad’s shoulders. It was amazing. She was totally fine, by the way. Wally also brought a water buffalo and was drenching everybody. It was so much fun! I had to go on stage to take some pictures, and the DJ came up behind me and dropped a big bag of yellow color all over me- I was completely covered.

            Since this was a two-day race, we didn’t have to take anything down after the race the first day! It was so nice. One of the vendors sold fried chicken and burgers, and they fed of the staff free lunch. Afterward we all changed and headed to Hershey theme park for freeeeee! That was so awesome. They have a water park inside too. I was a total idiot and decided not to wash my yellow-covered hair thinking that it would wash out in the water. WRONG. It turned my hair green!! Ya know I promise I have a brain inside somewhere. Thankfully the green didn’t stay and it washed out when I came home. Hershey has some sick roller coasters too.

            Race day #2. I made the decision in my head and in my heart that I was not going to get covered in color that day like I did the day before. I was going to avoid major colorful areas and leave the venue looking pretty clean.

About 30 minutes after they sent the first wave of runners, Wally came up to me riding a gator with another staff member. He rode up to me and said, “Hey Jess can you come here for a minute? I’ve got a question about sponsorship.” And I’m thinking, ‘Oh yeah let’s do this! I gotta impress’, and I run over and Wally throws a bucket of yellow color all over me. I. Was. COVERED. Then he started laughing and they drove away. SERIOUSLY?! It was actually really funny though. I totally fell for it.

 Everyone was efficient with cleanup and we got out of there at a decent time. I totally forgot to put sunscreen on and I wore a tank top all day. I have a real good burn to prove my stupidity. Thankfully it turned into a tan. Awww yeah.

Um... OW!!!

            After we got cleaned up we all went out to dinner at a place called Houlihan’s. It reminds me of the cheesecake factory. Yum yums. It was good. Afterward I went with my two ladies Julie and Jenny (the 3 color run girls were Julie, Jess, and Jenny. Those poor boys haha) and we drove around looking for an ice cream shop open past 9pm. Turns out most stores go to bed early. We did get out and dance to some seriously good 90’s hip-hop jamz in the middle of the street in the rain. #HERSHEYEPICMOMENTS

 They are so stinkin cool.

            The next day we went back to theme park for about an hour before heading back to the airport. I got 4 bags of pretzels on the flight home and my sweet Matteo was waiting for me at the airport. It was a great great trip! Next stop, Texas.