Posted By Kristabella on May 21, 2012
About two months ago I was sitting on my couch watching The Real Housewives of Orange County and they were doing one of those mud runs. It looked like such fun, so I was determined to find one I could do.
I found one, the Merrell Down & Dirty series, and it was this past Sunday. The race was out by my sister’s house and I somehow convinced her and her friend Amy to run with me. (Thank God, because doing that run alone would have made me cry and just fall into a weeping mess on the grassy field.)
It was hot yesterday. Over 90 and super humid. Even early in the morning. I commented at 7 AM that the temp wasn’t too bad, because it was probably in the upper 70s. But our race wasn’t until 9:30.
We got there super early because my sister and her friend needed to pick up their bibs. One very negative thing I will say about this race (and this might be the only negative thing) is that the packet pick-up and race location were nowhere near each other. I drove an hour out of my way to pick up my bib on Saturday, thinking it would save me lots of time on Sunday morning. It did not. The line on Sunday morning was shorter than the one on Saturday.
So basically by about 7:45, we had our packets and had nothing else to do but wait. We sat in the hot, hot sun and just waited until it got closer to 9:30.
I stayed at my sister’s house on Saturday night, which meant I got to spend some time with my niece Maddie, who is starting to realize I’m the funniest person ever. She has the best baby giggle ever!
When I packed my overnight bag, I was super proud of myself for remembering to pack sunblock, knowing this was the first time my winter white skin would be exposed to the sun for any length of time.
Fast forward to Sunday morning, and I realize that I left my sunblock back at my sister’s house. I almost hear my skin sizzling with this realization. Thankfully my sister went into mom mode and decided to find us some. She asked some guy spraying something on himself if we could borrow it, but realized it was athlete’s foot spray and not sunblock. BUT! Athlete’s foot guy told us the Subaru booth had sunblock. And they did! And my skin was saved!
(I totally registered and added my name to every mailing list they had then, because a million emails is worth the fact that I’m not painfully burnt. Thanks Subaru!)
Finally it was close to 9:30. We got in line. We were in the last heat. I didn’t mind since I am a slow runner and I had no clue what to expect. Close to 10 AM, right when it was getting nice and warm and humid and the lovely breeze was dying down, we finally started the race.
Every time I run, I hate the beginning. It makes me hate running and I never understand why I started this stupid hobby in the first place. Add in a trail on not smooth ground, blaring sun, and I was ready, after about 2 minutes, to turn around. I didn’t.
When I told my sister about this race, she was like “OH MY GOD, THE HILLS!!” She knows this farm where the race was held because she used to live right there and go 4-wheeling on it. When she said this my mind thought “it can’t be that bad, I mean we’re in Illinois for Christ’s sake, it isn’t a mountain range.”
We got one mile into the race and there was our first mud puddle and third obstacle. This was a giant fence to climb. I ran most of the first mile. Until my sister pointed out the hills. And then I realized that those were not hills, they were mountains. With inclines steeper than any street in San Francisco.
Do you see it in the background? THIS WAS NOT THE WORST ONE!
This was the second time I wanted to quit.
I jumped in the giant mud puddle, fell on my ass and then climbed the wall. Mud is heavy. And it was only really on one of my shoes and my hands. But I walked up those hills. I thought I was literally going to die or pass out, but I did it. The worst was getting to the top only to realize there was more to climb.
After the second one, my sister took off. She ran when there wasn’t a hill and I did not. I needed to catch my breath. I figured I’d start running again once the hills ended. But it seemed as if they would never end.
We got to some more obstacles – more climbing – and then I ran into my sister’s friend. I decided to walk with her. From there on out, we walked almost the whole rest of the race in between all the obstacles.
There were 11 obstacles in all. They left like four or five until the very end. And they were like some of the hardest. The ones that required upper body strength were the ones I dreaded most. The climbing wall and the slippery rope wall were right near the finish line. I almost fell off both, but I didn’t. I made it up both.
One of the other final ones was a tarp pit filled with mud. I figured, being tall, that it would come up to my knees and I’d walk through it. Oh, hahahahaha! I couldn’t have been more wrong. I did a combo bellyflop/faceplant into this pool of mud. And then couldn’t figure out how to get back up. It seriously had to be one of the funniest things those people had witnessed all day.
I figured it out, got out of there, ran to the last mud pit and leisurely doggy paddled my way to the finish line. (I kind of forgot it was timed and do you know what is refreshing on a 95 degree day after running 3 miles and doing 10 obstacles? A giant pool of mud. No lie.) (Although, I’ve never been that dirty in my life. There was mud where mud shouldn’t be. It was squishy in my squishy parts.)
It took me one hour and one minute. I’m not proud of my time. I wanted to do better. I want to be able to run in the heat and humidity. My goal is to really train this summer to get myself used to it. I don’t want to be such a wuss again.
But my sister! I’m so proud of my sister, you guys! She had back surgery like a year ago. And she just started running like two months ago when we signed up for this race. And she not only finished, she rocked it and finished ahead of me by like seven minutes. And now she’s hooked and wants to do more races and more mud runs! I’m so proud of her! She did so good!
Overall, it was actually really fun! I’m excited to do another one in July with my SIL and hopefully my sister. And I’m excited to get into training mode and teach my body to deal with this heat and humidity like a normal person.
This race has to be one of the harder mud runs, especially with those hills. The people in charge of the obstacles are all Marines and they don’t let you quit. There is no skipping the obstacles and running around the climbing wall. And they don’t mess around with those obstacles. I didn’t think I could do it. I really didn’t. And I am really glad that I did. And that I have the bruises (and SORENESS, OMG!) to show for it.