I know you guys have been waiting with bated breath for this entry, I just know it! Well it’s Monday, two days after the run, and I’ve finally recovered enough to blog it out. My friend and former coworker Kelly came with me to the 4H Mud Run!
I woke up nervous. Not badly nervous, just nervous. This was not only my first mud run, it was my first 5K. Ever. I injured my foot before I could even run a 5K alone. I hadn’t felt 100% for about a week before hand: digestive troubles, a sore throat, poor sleep and emotional issues made me worry I wouldn’t be my best self for this. It wasn’t the distance that had me worried, it was the obstacles. Yes, I’m fit, yes I can run (when I’m not injured), but I did not train for any of the upper body stuff. YES JOSH I KNOW YOU TOLD ME TO WORK ON UPPER BODY STUFF. (See? You got your shout out!) I had some idea what I was in for, but what I experienced was well beyond what I expected!
We arrived at the fairgrounds early, maybe too early. We tromped around for a bit, checking out the vendors and scoping out post-run food. Then we hit the port-o-potty and my friend Kelly and I split a bag of Honey Stinger Orange Blossom Energy Chews, courtesy of my June Adventure Run and got our hot pink duct tape on our wrists to mark us as belonging to the 11:20 heat before waiting in the start corral. I had absolutely no goal in mind but finishing. I didn’t care how long it took or how many obstacles I skipped, but I was going to finish, and I was going to finish with Kelly. We were a team!
Speaking of the Adventure Run, the guy who is the Tour Guide for the running group at the Adventure Runs was starting the heats at the Mud Run, which was cool! He mentioned that while this was labeled a 5K, it was actually 3.6 miles, a full half mile longer than a regular 5K. He also said he ran the course the previous evening and skipped a bunch of the obstacles, finishing in 50 minutes. Since I knew he was a “real” runner, I figured we’d probably take twice as long. We repeated the 4H oath and then we were off! We let the group pass us and ran at a slow pace, which was good, because the path itself was rough, full of rocks, eddies carved into the dirt from previous storms, and steep inclines and declines. I wish I’d been wearing a GoPro, because no one who wasn’t running the race could access many of the obstacles.
The first obstacle was a vertical climbing wall over a giant mud puddle. We watched two women much fitter than we struggle to make it over, and we decided we’d go UNDER! Piece of cake! Next we had to crawl through tubes and over some logs in another giant puddle. There was a break of flat ground before we turned a corner past some trees and saw it… a GIANT HILL… made entirely of LOOSE SAND. No ropes, nothing to grab onto. And one guy, just ONE guy, at the top, waiting to hand us a cup of water. UGH. It was a struggle: we used a previous person’s foot holds to slowly make our way to the top. After that we basically walked the rest of the run. It was exhausting! We went through several more mud pits, a creek with a steep edge where we had to climb out. I managed to make it out okay, but landed on my chest and got mud on myself up to my chin. I felt like Atreyu in the Swamps of Sadness!
There were two obstacles that were AWFUL, just AWFUL. There were two very long tubes that crossed a pit full of disgusting, stinking water. I have no idea what on God’s green earth was in that water, but there was no way in hell I was falling into it. We had what I thought was three options: balance over the tubes and risk falling into the water, crawl THROUGH the tubes and risk panicking from claustrophobia, or straddling the tubes and shimmying across on my butt. I chose the third option. VERY BAD IDEA. The tube, which was BLACK PLASTIC, was so hot I felt like I was getting third degree burns on my backside! I had to give up and go back. We wound up cutting through the trees off to the side and skipping it altogether. Unfortunately, the next obstacle we couldn’t skip. It was a giant field of rotting peppers. No joke. Someone decided dumping a giant tank full of rotting peppers that people would have to run through was a good idea. We had no choice but to breathe through our mouths so we wouldn’t lose our breakfasts and try to skirt the pile so we didn’t fall into the worst of it. This was the halfway point of the race at 1.8 miles.
There were several other obstacles, many involving ropes, tires, and of course, mud! There was even one where we had to climb a wall, then step onto a log hanging from a rope, shimmy to the other end, jump into another log, balance beam to the end of that one, then use monkey bars to finish. That one was kinda fun, actually. None of them were terribly difficult, until we got to the finish line. In order to finish, and to get that coveted finisher’s medal, we needed to run up a giant sloped ramp grab onto a rope, and haul ourselves over onto a platform before sliding down a giant water slide into a GIANT MUD PIT. This was the only obstacle where I felt that I might not make it, and we couldn’t skip it. Luckily there were two people at the top to help pull us up, because believe you me, there was no way I could have done that on my own!
Earlier in the day while waiting for our heat to begin we had formulated a strategy for the giant mud pit, but no amount of watching could have prepared us for the thick, sticky, sucking pit of despair that we landed in! I went down feet first and stopped myself before the really deep mud. But one step into the fray and I realized just how difficult this part would be. Every step was an effort, the mud threatening to keep a shoe, or an entire leg. Standing and walking was not an option. I crawled myself to the edge where it was shallower and used the drier edge to pull myself along, but even so, it was a full body effort.
An hour and forty minutes after we began, I stepped victoriously out of the sucking pit and, wiping the mud off my race bib, claimed my finisher’s medal and a much needed bottle of water! I cheered on my partner Kelly who was right behind me and we got our pics taken in front of the Mud Run wall before heading off to the shower truck! Unfortunately, no amount of rinsing would remove all the mud from our bodies. (It’s two days later and I still have mud under my fingernails and toenails, no matter how much I scrub!)
We got changed into our maxi dresses (thanks to Kelly for that perfect idea) and went on the hunt for FOOD! By that point my FitBit had said I’d walked more than 5 miles and 80 flights of stairs and I’d only consumed about 600 calories so far, so off we went to grab a couple sandwiches and other delicious fair goodies!
And of course we had to see some of the animals, especially the baby animals!
By 4 PM I was exhausted and ready to head home, where I immediately showered. Let me tell you, I had mud in places I didn’t know much could GET. They tell you to wear compression underwear, and THEY KNOW WHAT THEY’RE TALKING ABOUT. I don’t own any, but if, IF, I ever do another one of these (it’s sketchy at this point), I will buy some specifically for that reason. I got out of the shower, got dressed, went to brush my hair and found mud IN MY EAR. *sigh*
Anyway, I’m VERY proud of us for finishing! WE DID IT! And neither one of us got seriously injured. I’m nursing some bruises, a few scrapes/scratches and I’m sore in places I didn’t know I could be (the undersides of my forearms being sore was the most surprising) but I’m recovering well, although my Intermediate Kettlebell Workout was extra difficult this morning!
I hope all of you had an awesome weekend, and I’m feeling much better this week so you should get a full week of blogs, including a new protein bar recipe!
What did you do for fun and fitness this weekend?!