In my quest to move more I decided to sign my family up for a 5K. Never having done a 5K I was not sure what to expect. I was a lifeguard for the Muddy Rudder this past fall, which is a 20-mile race with 10 obstacle courses having to do with mud or water. I was at the station where they had to crawl under barb wire and then crawl through a long tube and drop into the water. Trust me when I say the people plopping into the 5-foot deep water did not seem like they were living the dream! Many of them looked tired, wet, and less than happy. A lot of people came through with groups dressed up in all sorts of outfits. More power to them. I did not want a race that would leave me scarred physically or emotionally. I knew I wanted to do a 5K. I wanted one that was nothing like the muddy rudder. Although I am sure some people think it is fun….not my idea of a family bonding time. My husband has 2 permanent broken bones in his foot. Was not sure how this was going to turn out. Saw a friend signed up for the Bubble Run. Well, that just sounds like a grand time…right? Running through bubbles! Good, CLEAN fun! Actually, that is their tagline! For some crazy reason, I signed us up for the 8 am heat. The alarm goes off at 5:45 and we are up and moving. My 6-year-old was up as soon as we opened her door. We donned our crisp white t-shirts and powder blue headbands and loaded them into the minivan! We stop by “dunkins” for some coffee and a little sugar in the form of donuts. And we are off! The event was held at the Loudon Race Track which is about 30 minutes away from our home. We arrive and snake through a long line of cars waiting to park. With excitement, we crest the hill and see the blue Bubble Run tent and a few food vendors. What we did not see were bubbles. I saw the Start line…again no bubbles. Hmmmm? In my mind, I pictured frolicking through a field while little elves blew bubbles at my family. Ok…maybe not elves. Park car. Put on our bib numbers and follow the throngs of people heading towards the action. We hear announcements to head to the starting line. No check-in. No are you who you say you are. Easy peasy! You got your bib so jump in line. That is when I saw it. Two giant tubes covered in what looked like giant pantyhose hanging down over the start line. The excitement builds! There is a DJ and he is getting the first wave excited for the run. He is tossing out blue ducks and headbands. Course I throw my child up hoping she would catch a blue duck. Why? I have no idea and I would have been the one to carry that darn duck the whole race but it was free and the competitive side of me got the best of me! Sadly we did not receive a duck nor a headband which is odd because we all got one in our signup bundle. Then the most amazing thing happened. The giant bubble jets were turned on for a test. The most beautiful, fluffy, white bubbles came spilling out! The level of excitement just hit a new high. We don’t need any stinkin’ blue duck…WE HAVE BUBBLES!!!
The DJ said the bubbles would be epic today because there would be no wind. Cool. Along with this bubble bridge would be 4 more. Each contains a different color. The countdown is on. 10,9,8….ok you get it 1!!!! We are moving. The bubbles are getting closer and closer….! It was like walking through a giant bubble bath. My little one took the brunt of it but it was not too bad. Some bubbles to flap away. We had some in our hair. Loads of giggles and excitement. We keep walking. We hit the next one a kilometer away. It was pink bubbles. This time the bubble machine had obviously been on a while as the wall of bubbles was higher and there were more of them. A giant wall of pink bubbles. Having no prior knowledge of how bubbles worked we headed straight into the bubble wall. Except it was more than a wall. More like a tunnel. A bubble tunnel. Being taller I was able to swat my way to visual freedom easier than my 6-year-old. I reach freedom and realize she has not. I start swatting bubbles looking for her. I hear her giggle and she emerges covered head to toe in bubbles. My husband helps me clear off her face and we realize the 3 of us are now no longer white….we have all turned a lovely shade of pink. From our shirts to our skin.
Now with a little bit of warm-up, we are jaunting to the next one. My 6-year-old gears up as we see the blue one. She takes my headband and puts it on her eyes then takes her headband and puts it on her mouth. She takes my hand and we bravely attack the tunnel. Now, this was a little higher….my quest for visual freedom was a bit longer. We made it through and now there was a bit of blue along with our pink. We keep tromping along to the next one. This one is green. A fun shamrock green. A few more bubbles, still no wind. This time my husband plows a path and we follow behind. Good in theory but when you are under the bubble machine no amount of taller men will help clear the path as the bubbles are falling straight down on your head. EEEK! A little bit more effort to make it through. Child found. Head to toe we are in bubbles. Off to the next one. This is the last one…yellow bubbles!
I can see it from a good distance away. A mountain of bubbles if you will! This one was the last and obviously, they wanted you to remember it because the number of bubbles being pumped out was alarming! The standing bubbles alone were over my husband’s head. I take my little one’s hand and walk behind my husband. Well, that was pointless. As soon as we hit bubble apocalypse we all lost each other. I am ashamed to say I panicked and let go of my daughter’s hand. All I saw were bubbles. When I tried to breathe I breathed in sudsy bubbles. There was no point in orientation. I was not sure if I was heading straight, up, or down! Really! I keep walking which I hope was forward. To no avail, I am still in bubble hell. Wiping the bubbles from my face did no good. There was no place to wipe them. Breath-holding did no good…as you know we all need to breathe. All thoughts of my child and my husband fled from my mind. My only mission in life at that time is to find the end of this bubble tunnel of hell. I press forward with my mouth full of bubbles. I have visions of my body being found after I pass out from fear and lack of bubble-less oxygen. Then I hear it. Shouting. The rush in my ears subsides…I hear people cheering. Ok, so I have not entered a third bubble dimension…I am still in fact, on earth and will soon be free from the chains of bubbles that seem to have a stronghold on me. Bubbles in my eyes. Bubbles up my nose. Bubbles in my…well let’s just say I was fully covered in bubbles. As my panic was rising to a whole new level I see a light. I thought for sure it was Jesus coming down to save me and take me to heaven. But it was not my savior….it was the clearing of the bubble tunnel. Fresh air. Sunshine. Life! A quick survey tells me only my head it free. It would take a good deal more steps to be free from the bonds of bubbles. But wait. My child. My lovely family. Quick thoughts to abandon them came to mind. But no! I am THE MOM! I can do this. I see my husband further ahead of me. He can tell by my face that I do not have our child and I could tell by his face he did not have our child. We bravely do what parents have been doing for centuries. We abandon our own safety to go back in to find our child. He starts calling her name and swinging his arms. I follow suit. No way was this bubble monster going to claim my family. We all survive together or rest forever in the hallowed ground of good clean fun. My husband told her to wave her hands over her head and to walk to his voice. My husband. My hero! HE FOUND HER! He drags her out of the grips of bubble death and we all proceed to freedom. FREEDOM!!! We reclaim our child by wiping mounds of yellow bubbles off of her. She did not carry the enthusiasm as the last few bubble tunnels and I think she was relieved to be free. Quick high fives and we move on. All was silent until the little one said: “next year I want goggles and an oxygen tank.” Oh, sweet words of wisdom. My response “momma too baby girl…momma too!” We see the finish line. There it was. A blue beacon calling us home. We three hold hands as we cross the finish line. We did it. We finished our first 5K. We battled the bubble monsters and lived to tell about it. Sitting here now in my comfy chair having had a long shower and a good night’s sleep I am able to reflect back and report that overall it was fun. I will be better prepared next year. I will know what to expect and will, in fact, be investing in goggles and a solid scuba set! After all, there is nothing like good clean fun!