So, I think I’ve made it pretty clear in my past posts that I’m not afraid to get dirty. I took that mantra to an entirely new level when I did the Great American Mud Run with my boss on June 29th!
This run is an obstacle run. Each obstacle has a ridiculous name, which just adds to the fun factor of getting muddy with your closest pals. My boss had a pretty large group of runners, and she made us obnoxiously neon matching shirts:
The clean neon didn’t last for long. Our first obstacle was Balls of Flurry, where we ran through a bunch of hanging rubber balls as they filled the area with foam. Fun! From there, we hit our first mud pit, an army-crawl beneath barbed wire, known as the Muddy Moonshine. The third obstacle was the Pirate’s Net, where we climbed up a cargo net 15 feet, crawled over the top of the supports, and crawled back down the other side. I am terrified of heights, so I was slow but survived. When you’re shaking from being up high, it’s no easy task to crawl a cargo net up and back down!
It is worth nothing here that I am fiercely patriotic. Raised by a do-or-die-trying Army dad, I still proudly fly my American flag on my porch and stand with my hand over my heart when the colors pass by at any parade or ball game. I’m also eternally grateful for anyone who will willingly serve our country and risk their life to make sure mine is filled with freedoms not enjoyed by much of the world’s population. I mention this because in our corral was a group of soldiers who ran as a fundraiser for the Wounded Warriors. These guys and gals ran the entire obstacle course in full uniform, carrying an injured soldier (a dummy, but it was still a powerful image) on a gurney through each and every station. When we hit the cargo net, we all had to wait for them to send up soldiers to crawl over, then more to straddle the top, then we watched as they hooked up a pulley system and hoisted their “fallen comrade” over this obstacle on their journey.
There were folks who got impatient and went on around, but I’m glad to say that most of the group with whom I was running waited to watch these soldiers. And I’m so happy they did. My flag-waving, Pledge-saying, God-fearing American self got misty-eyed as I watched them work. And to think that thousands of brave soldiers do this in the line of duty everyday. God bless America!!!
We watched the soldiers through a couple more obstacles before we passed them. With every challenge, those soldiers arose to the occasion and symbolically carried their injured comrade to safety. Just take a moment and realize the implications of that on our own lives…
We got ourselves together and moved along the course.
Other obstacles awaited us. There was the Birth Canal, where we had to run under a giant tarp and come out the far side. The Sugar Cookie was where we crawled through another mud pit, then had to roll in sand before we got up. At the Walk the Line obstacle, we walked on a single rope as we held onto a rope overhead, all the while crossing over a pool of muddy water. There were muddy hills, between which were mud pits so squishy that they nearly sucked our shoes right off of our feet. The one where I laughed the hardest was called the Floater. We were supposed to run across a barrel bridge over a pool of water and make it safely to the other side. I think the picture says it all…
I will say we were cracking up so hard we could barely move. I helped my boss over the barrels when she fell in, then they informed us the ladder had broken and we’d have to hoist ourselves up and onto the deck. Seriously? Do you have any idea how difficult it is to do anything requiring upper body strength when you’re in a fit of giggles?
A few more muddy ditches, pants and puffs, and giggles later, we reached the coup de grace: the Fluge. This was a massive, 40 foot slide. We had to run up the back as they sprayed us with hoses, then slide down like three-year-old children, before making our way into the Great American Mud Pit and crossing the finish line. I have NO idea how the photographers didn’t get pics of me and my friends coming down that slide–we watched them snapping away, but alas…there are none. Just picture two muddy, screaming, giggly women sliding down a massive slide and landing on what was basically the floor of a bounce house. Yeah. It was freakin’ awesome.
The last part of our adventure was running up and back, crawling through a giant mud pit, then crossing the finish line.
After the race, we retrieved our bags and grabbed an energy drink. From there, we headed our separate ways. At this point, I called Soccerman to come and pick me up. I may or may not have chugged my beer without thinking about how I had just run a 5k and snarfed down an energy drink on an otherwise empty stomach. I also may or may not have realized this was a stupid idea as I walked a mile to the Wal-Mart to get picked up since the race parking was full. I also may or may not have fulfilled my true Redneck potential by getting picked up, slightly tipsy, in the WalMart parking lot and riding home down the expressway laying down in the back of Soccerman’s truck because I was too filthy to be allowed in the cab. I plead the fifth.
LONG story, but we had so much fun, I couldn’t skimp on this post. It was an epic good time. Fun, obstacles, mud, girlfriends…this was one of those out-of-the-box races that helps wannabe runners like myself realize that running really can be a good time.
QOTD: Have you ever run a mud race? If not, would you try it?