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Illustration: Luo Xuan/GT

It was the morning of Saturday, June 17. I was signed up for my first ever 5K run in the afternoon, and my body was just not having it. Although I had had a good night's rest, I felt extremely tired, and it was a mental struggle not to just go back to bed and pull the covers over my head. But I couldn't. I had paid my entry fee three months before, and money does not grow on trees, so come hell or high water, I was going to participate in The Color Run Beijing.

Dubbed the "happiest 5K on the planet," according to the event's website, the Color Run is a global event that promotes good health and happiness across over 200 cities and 40 countries around the world with upbeat music and lots of paint.

The chance to participate in The Color Run first came up just a few months after I made the switch to start living a healthier lifestyle. So, I jumped at the opportunity. It was going to be my milestone, my proof that I was on the road to healthier living.

But here I was three months after registering, and I was faltering. Somehow I managed to get out of the house. I self-talked and grumbled myself all the way to the starting line, and I all I can say is I am happy I did it. It was inspiring.

The starting line was a cornucopia of people from all walks of life, students, young couples, even parents with kids in their strollers, and my friends were just awesome. We had talked about it for weeks, and their enthusiasm was infectious. They had me covered in every color imaginable long before our wave started. Paint and water were everywhere. There was a sense of comradery in the crowd that's hard to describe. I got painted by Chinese participants as well. We took photos together, and some even photo bombed pictures of me and my friends. By the time I made that first step across the starting line, I was ready and rearing to go.

The event was well worth the effort. First of all, I completed my first-ever 5K event - something I would not have thought possible a year ago, much less have had the inclination to try. Second, I learned firsthand how transformative just a pinch of enthusiasm, good friends and an open mind can be. I also developed a stronger appreciation for my friends and pushing yourself to achieve your goals.

Although I did not run the entire 5K, overall, it was surprisingly easy, and I am certain that a part of it was because I was surrounded by so many inspiring people. For example, one of my friends doubled back to check on me throughout the race. She even waited for me on the last leg, and we crossed the finish line together, which meant a lot to me.

Now that I have one 5K under my belt, I feel empowered enough to try another. Perhaps I will get help to improve my running technique and run the next one. But one thing is certain, I will be among the first 100 registrants for the 2018 Color Run.

This article was published on the Global Times Metropolitan section Two Cents page, a space for reader submissions, including opinion, humor and satire. The ideas expressed are those of the author alone, and do not represent the position of the Global Times.