Mud-A-Palooza: The Mud Run for Everyone

Disclaimer: I do not like mud. I do not like dirt. I was the kid who cried when they got dirt under their fingernails (now I only cry on the inside). I don’t garden. I have come around, thanks entirely to running trails, to accepting mud on my shoes. My blog and twitter avatars are from the same race- my first on the trails. Plenty o’ mud. That was gross, but turned out to be okay. Also? This will be long, but picture heavy. 

In my post Fitbloggin’ embrace-all-things high, a link for a discount magically appeared on my computer screen (thanks Gametiime!!) and I thought, why not? To know me is to know that is common phrase as I love to play the devil’s advocate. Always question your own motives. I still had my wits about me enough to know there was no way I was going to follow through without a buddy. 

Enter Kari.  My train buddy, Fitbloggin’ roommate, and newest social media- to IRL friend. We’ve spent the last two weeks trying to convince ourselves that this was a good choice. 

I did the Warrior Dash two years ago, and the parking situation was unreal. In a bad the worst way. I was paranoid about having enough time to get lost in rural Washington, find the parking, get to the farm, and pick up my race packet before the run. (The group hosting was short volunteers so there was no day before packet pickup. Which ended up being just the bib and a drink ticket.) Turns out this was the smoothest part of the whole process. Parking was right next to the registration tables/start area. I didn’t even get lost so the 20 minutes I padded my commute time with were unnecessary. I packed a book and sat in my car distracting myself from the growing mud-in-hair panic.

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I had to buy these shorts morning of, since I didn’t have a pair I was willing to risk to the mud pits. 

Kari got there, picked up her bib and we stopped for a before picture. 

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The first mud pit was maybe 50 feet past the start line. Total chaos (in a good way)! People were falling, children were screaming and crying, I was laughing…

Then there were climbing obstacles, going through giant tube-tunnel things, tires… oh, and the mud. There was definitely some of that. My favorite obstacle was the drainage ditch- there was a fairly steep drop into the gully and then a rope to help you climb back out the other side. It was above mid thigh deep on me. (so two feet deep?) I think the hardest-but-most-fun were the mud moguls. Dirt bike hills? I don’t even know what to call them. Shallowish holes had been dug, and all the dirt was pile up in between and then just enough water was added to make the pits like clay and the the mounds incredibly slick, 6 or so sets in a bunch. A few were filled with muddy water and they were all exhausting and fun!

The final obstacle started as a slide, but then things happened like they do, and it became a belly scramble down into a shallow pit of muddy water

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Barely even muddy. But…

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I did end up on the muddy side of things.

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Quite the look, no? (the belly crawl down ripped the heads off three of my safety pins!)

Three face wipes and 90 minutes in the car later I looked more like this: 

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which only took two showers to get completely clean. Not so bad, right?

The race itself was fun, and I am eternally grateful for Kari being there with me while I (temporarily) conquered this issue.

There were a few organizational snags (no gear check?! it’s a mud run! no as-advertised pile of sneakers to be donated; bummer. food trucks was just food truck. no shirts- originally advertised but then opted to donate that money to charity instead so I shouldn’t be bummed about missing out on another cotton race t, but I am. no professional photographer. lame. On the other hand, I loved that they marketed it as a family friendly event, because all the muddy little half pints running around were super cute) I absolutely think these were just first year growing pains and imagine things will only get better next year. 

I wore the wrong combination of socks and shoes on my run yesterday. For the first time in my life, I have a blister on the sole of my foot (I get them on my toes on the regular because I have wide and short feet- much like the rest of me) and also one on the end of my second-to-last toe. Actually that toe sort of looks like one of those (Pinky and the) Brain goldfish. 

Except my toe is not orange. I would probably go to the doctor if it was orange, but no promises. He would just tell me to quit running, so it’s not like he’s a real doctor anyway. (;

Be glad you aren’t Husband and keep him in your thoughts because I’m about to go stick my foot in his face in the vain hope that I can garner a little sympathy. 

I’m in full on summer and fall race scheduling mode right now. 

The hardest part always being, do I go with this race this weekend or that race the next weekend? How far do I want to travel? How small is too small?  Can I find a similar race (size, distance, level of difficulty) for cheaper? (Note to self: it’s not cheaper if your gas tank eats up the entry fee difference.)

Shout out to the race directors that use comic sans on their websites for giving me such a clear sign that their race is not the one for me. 

I’m only officially registered for two three four five, but there are two more I am definitely registering for plus another dozen or so that I want to do, but will narrow down to 4-6 and work them in. 

Oh! My mom has been talking up doing a 5K, so I’ll be surprising her with Couch to 5K sessions when she gets home (the parents are in Nicaragua digging latrines right now).

But, really. I’ve been spending all my free time at gametiime plotting my race schedule. If you aren’t local, I’m sorry for even bringing it to your attention that you don’t have access. If you are local, join! Now that they’ve added my favorite series (Evergreen Trail Runs), they have everything. Search by city, distance, or date range. You can save races to your wish list or your registered list. The guys who run it are super friendly and active on twitter (@gogametiime), and more importantly, active in the running community. 

For the record, they don’t know I’m plugging them. That’s how much I love them. 

one of you crossfitters come explain me a thing at my blog

the shoes- what makes them different and why do you need them to be different?

(visions of nonrunners asking “why do you need special shoes for running?” are dancing in my head)

now accepting knowledge via disqus comments, questions and submissions (links in the navigation bar at the top of the page), bottom of the post replies, tweets, pony express, carrier pigeons, ESP (but the neighbors are doing yard work so you’re going to have to think it very loudly to combat the mower) 

Give me a little credit, I did google it. But the results were just trying to get me to buy crossfit shoes and that was not the goal. 

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I’m proud member of this tribe. I still remember the sense of ‘oh, thank Garmin!’ when I found out that Dimity McDowell and Sarah Bowen Shea were writing a book for mother runners. They were far and away my favorite Runner’s World contributing authors and I was ready to leave the magazine and it’s two dozen rotating articles behind for good. 

Run Like a Mother spawned the website, and eventually developed into a follow up book, Train Like a Mother. Two books feels incomplete and there just isn’t enough neon on my bookshelves, so I’m keeping my fingers crossed for a third. 

Today’s AMR newsletter  was a check in on New Year’s goals. Weird, since I sure it’s only the beginning of March…

But okay.

1. Run naked- no tech gear, folks. No one is going nudist. This is done and done. When I first started running I thought there was no way I would ever do it without music. I’ve been running without music for a few months now. First the iPod died, then when I got a replacement my earbuds went on a deep sea diving excursion in the fish tank (post coming eventually on that). I ran my solo marathon without music. The garmin is harder to leave behind. But I raced without it in early June so that’s a huge deal to me.

2. Run a trail- this is hard to admit, but I haven’t been on a real trail this year. I say real trail because I did run a trail half in March, but the trail is one of those rail-to-road deals so it’s wide, totally flat, and paved. It’s not the street, but it’s definitely not a trail. I’m running my first trail 10K in August, though. I’m trying to decide between three in October and I’m eyeing another in November. #trail addict

3. Find a new route- I moved in April, so I’ve been doing a lot of trail blazing these last few months. 

4. When in pain, do not ignore it- I took a week off to rest some brand new shin splints. That one week spiraled into almost 5 weeks (illness, moving, just plain lazy), but the shins are fine now. Talk about turning over a new leaf. 

5. Don’t qualify your status as a runner- if you run, you are a runner, end of story. I’m there. I am a runner. 

6. Volunteer at one race minimum- mine is coming up later this month. Details in a future post.

7. Take it all in, for just one race- done and done. (check out the Fremont 5K recap somewhere down the page.) 

8. Set a numerical goal- I never did set a goal for this. I set off strong enough to hit 1000 miles in the year, but I don’t always actively track it and I have the memory of a goldfish, so who knows where I’m at for that. Let’s pretend that my distance race goals are the numbers we’re talking about here. 

9. Strength training- I have been SO GOOD about strength training since… September 2012. SO GOOD. And I like it. Need to finish this up so I can go do my strength training today…

10. Give yourself days off after racing- done. I like the chance to bask in victory. After my half in March, I needed the time off (hello, being improperly trained). 

11. Take the spawn(s) with you- the boy and I are participating in a virtual run this summer. I can’t wait to start this with him!

12. Ask a friend to run- uh, no. Nothing against anyone in my life, but I really prefer running alone. My mom is currently in Nicaragua, but when she gets back, we’re starting C25K. She’s been talking about wanting to do a 5K for ages, so surprise! we’re doing it. 

13. Go out even when you don’t feel like it- those crazy days where you just don’t have it in you, head out for a half mile and if that’s all you’ve got, turn around and head home. Or keep going. This has been pretty much every run for me since the end of April. 

.1- share the tribe-