My coworkers invited me to join their team on a local 4.5-mile mud run, so I signed up back in early December. Over the past few weeks, we accumulated approximately 18″ of snow, so the mud run logo was appropriately changed from:
We shuttled from a shopping center to the park… the bus took us off-roading into the snow!
We tried to warm up by the fire before trekking to the starting line, but our toes were already frozen. HURT.
The race started out COLD, but luckily the sun came out in full-force just as Corral 2 was called to approach the starting line. Our official race results said it was 9 degrees at the start, and there were 391 finishers.
We started by running uphill through the snow. It felt like trying to run in a swimming pool. Or really deep sand. The course was interspersed with a number of obstacles, most of which were really fun! I didn’t take any pictures, although I wore my phone in my SPIBelt (in a LifeProof case, in a Ziploc bag.)
Battle 1: Tire pit
Battle 2: Tunnel Underground
Battle 3: Hay bale climb
Battle 4: Wall Climb
Battle 5: Under /over logs
Battle 6: Swamp run, river crossings & tunnel
Battle 7: Net Crawl
Battle 8: Mystery Obstacle
Battle 9: Tube crawl
There were also a bunch of slushy/icy wooden balance beams over the river, but the scariest obstacles were the concrete tunnel “aqueducts” that run at an angle under both directions of the interstate and the grassy median, both full of knee-deep rushing water. You trudge through one, run around the park, and return via the other. They are LONG:
The race official on the bus assured us that we could bypass these obstacles due to the cold temps today, but there was no way to bypass them. We had to step off a snowy bank, down into the tunnels. From the website: “Hopefully you survive the fence and river crossings in one piece before making your way to safety through our darkened tunnel. Prepare to meet your match! Prepare to get wet!“
First of all, the tunnels were mostly pitch-black. I couldn’t see the people around me, so I held onto the wall with my right hand and sloshed through. We were knee-deep in water and I was very careful not to splash any higher than that for fear of my wet clothes freezing later. When we emerged, soaked, the cold water actually acted as an insulator, and my feet warmed up! On the return trip, we entered a different tunnel, and there was a small concrete ledge running the length of the tunnel, so I walked on that, walking my hands along the roof like monkey bars. (It was still pitch black. I was terrified of slipping and falling in!)
Most of the race route consisted of watching my footing as I ran through the snow. Where it had been trampled by hundreds of runners, there were icy stretches, and I fell twice into the deep snow. Every so often, we’d bottleneck into a fun obstacle, mostly testing our upper body strength. For all the crawling obstacles, being short actually helped me because I didn’t have to army crawl or put weight on my knees for any of them.
I did have one really scary mishap.
While trying to bypass getting my feet refrozen in one very wet, swampy area, I was sucked down into the springs like quicksand, engulfed in freezing water up to my chest! Luckily I was able to think fast to pull myself out, only then noticing the warning cones that had fallen over, floating around that area. I was soaked to the bone, through all 4 shirts, 2 pairs of pants, my leg compression sleeves, and 2 pairs of socks. My fleece pullover was quickly frozen stiff. For the rest of the race, I had no choice but to run to stay warm, for fear that my pants would freeze if I slowed down.
Runners who were around me when I sunk gave me hugs later, assuring me that, “we would have pulled you out!” There is nothing like the camaraderie of the running community. They were really scared for me!
Right after that, I thumped a deer crossing sign and then saw a deer scampering through the brush in the snow. Reminds me of that radio show call-in segment. You know the one?
One obstacle required carrying a cinderblock up the hill and back down. I opted to answer a trivia question and received an exemption! So that’s where my running buddy and I parted ways; she wanted to do the carry to practice for Spartan. I decided to save my back, since I had my spine fused when I was 17.
There were several fun parts of the course, like sliding down muddy-snow hills or grand jete-ing over the river onto slush.
Somehow I missed the memo that the race was 4.5 miles (I thought it was 4), so once I passed the 4-mile marker I started to question just how many miles I had signed up for! 5? 6? 10? 12? I finished and accepted the mylar emergency blanket that every finisher received, along with my medal. I had so much mud on my shirt and sleeve from where I had to pull myself up out of the springs. Being able to do 10 pullups in high school certainly came in handy! Although one sufficed in this case.
I changed every piece of clothing behind the porta-potties – I wasn’t waiting in line for the restroom:
In another near-scare after the race, I choked on my bagel quarter and almost needed the Heimlich. I remember trying to rasp something to my husband while it was lodged in my throat. We finally warmed up by the fire in dry clothes – so happy!
We caught the very last shuttle back to our car and walked around Target in our race getup. Of COURSE I ran into a coworker… oops!
I’m SO sore now – hopefully this kid will give me back my foam roller soon!
Other blog reviews of past years:
Obstacle Racing Media