Since Tough Mudder is looming ever closer on the horizon (September), some of our team members thought it would be a good idea to a mud run before then, just to get a taste of what we’re getting ourselves into.
Tasted like MUD, it did.
Fellow Tough Mudders Dave and Tara, along with my non-TM friend Hannah, and I headed down to Lathrop, CA for the Survivor Mud Run on Sunday morning.
I had no idea what to wear, so I went with a pair of compression capris (they went down just below my knees) and an athletic tank with a built-in sports bra, along with non-cotton socks and my regular running shoes — which I tied tight, double-knotted, and tucked in the laces. This ended up being the perfect thing to wear. I had no issues with lost shoes (we saw many on the course) or heavy clothing weighing me down. When I got home, I washed everything out in the shower and threw it in the laundry (even my running shoes) — everything came out almost as clean as before.
The weekend was the first really warm weekend of the year — highs in the upper 80s, so we were glad our start time was 9:30 — one of the earliest of the day. Registration was a breeze and we lined up to start our run about 10 minutes before the gun went off. The race was 3.47 miles and ended up taking us an hour and 42 minutes! We walked some of it because of the heat and the dust, and there were some incredible wait times at a few of the fifteen obstacles. I think we waited for 20 minutes at the Mud Slog (which was awesome — the thick bubbling mud was like something out of a 1950′s horror film). Lots of people bypassed this one because of the wait. We shamed them.
The hardest obstacle for me was the Cargo Climb — a cargo net that went up 20 feet and back down the other side. Heights and I are not friends, and I started shaking like crazy. I was like, “BUT I CLIMBED HALF DOME!” Didn’t matter — it still took me a long, shaky time to get up and over. By the time I got to the bottom, everyone cheered. Right after that I completely failed on the monkey bars — made it two or three bars in and my muddy hands slipped off.
One obstacle I sailed through that gave other people trouble was the pipes. Once getting over an extremely muddy, slippery hill, we had to shimmy our way through a 20-foot pipe that was maybe 2.5 feet in diameter. People were really struggling — claustrophobia! I decided to go on my back and I ended up sticking my arms out ahead of me like Superman and then inch-worming my legs (almost “shrimping” in karate lingo). I shot through that pipe and out the other side with no problem. Felt good to do so well. I also did pretty well on the walls — which were maybe 5 feet tall. I was able to spring up and over them without bruising myself significantly.
The last few mud pits were INSANITY. The mud was the consistency of paint, and we are all more buoyant than normal. People were floating in odd directions and there were arms and legs everywhere. It was so slick through the pits and up and over small mud hills that there was no way to gain any purchase — it was a lot of slipping and sliding and having strangers push your butt over each hill. I have decently strong arms, so I stuck my fingers in the mud, clawed into the top of the hills, and basically pulled myself up and over using my arm strength. At the end there was a long crawl through about a foot of mud under some ropes — I did that entirely with my army-crawl-style arms as my legs trailed behind me — it was quick and much easier than trying to crawl on my hands and knees. Needless to say, my arms and shoulders were a bit sore on Monday!
We crossed the finish line and got our medals! We were COVERED in mud. I had it in my mouth, my ears, my nose, and ALL UP IN MY BIZNESS.
The one thing that I think the event coordinators completely failed at was the showers. There were 5,267 people who participated that day, and they had only twenty showers! And they were all cramped together in this one place, so everyone had to stand like cattle in a pen trying to work our way toward the showers. We were behind three young guys in Speedos and sports bras — one of them had his eyes glued shut with mud! Poor guy. We waited for over an hour and I got a crazy mottled sunburn where the dry mud flaked off. The water pressure was fairly crappy, so I just got as clean as I could as fast as I could and then changed out of my wet clothes in a porta potty (EW.), threw my muddy shoes in a bag, and hoped the towel on the car seat would save Dave’s car from too much dirt. By the time we finished our shower, the line was three times as long as when we got in line.
We could have gotten our free beer for finishing the race, but we were all exhausted and hungry so we decided to head home. Minus the crazy shower nightmare (we decided to bring our own solar shower next time), we all had a really great race. If you’re looking for something outside your typical 5K, get down and dirty and do a mud run!