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Once upon a time, I had this crazy notion that I wanted to run in the mud. Somehow I convinced a perfectly sane person to run in the mud too…and she convinced others. And together we ran Mud Hero – a 6 km, 18 obstacle race!

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Obviously this tale has a happy ending and I survived with the full use of my hands, and not confined to a hospital bed. But it was still quite a day! With the exception of being a bit stiff, sore, scratched and slightly sunburned, I am so happy!

I had trouble sleeping the night before the race (I’m a nervous pee-er), so I was sleepy yet still up early to cook breakfast… eggs and sausage for my “last supper”. What was I thinking? Lasagna would have been a much better breakfast! Or chocolate cheesecake…Big Guy and I picked up G.I. Jane, Big Guy’s friend who decided to dress like a ninja (i.e., black jumpsuit), and hit the road by 9:30 (I often refer Big Guy and his friend as “Dumb and Dumber”). We all noticed the line-up of dump trucks at Tim Horton’s, but I was so nervous, I was nauseous and I didn’t even want tea. For anyone who knows me well, knows that I have to be in bad shape to say “no” to a cup of tea, especially Tim’s tea.

We arrived to a line up at the Conservation Area and marvelled at several groups of runners as we crawled along. Some people wore team shirts, while others were dressed in hot pink tights or neon striped socks and headbands. Parking lot A was full, so we kept driving up the hill. Parking lot B was full…passed a farm yard full of vehicles, around a corner, up another hill…Parking lot C was not full. It was, however, a field on the side of a steep hill. Since we were at the bottom of that hill, we abandoned anything we didn’t need to carry. I abandoned my purse and the towels. I packed my change of clothes and flip flops, camera, wallet, cell phone and 1 bottle of water. And we made the 1 km trek to the entrance of Mud Hero. As we neared the entrance, I could hear screaming and groaning coming from the woods on the left. It sounded like a village being torn to pieces by an unseen foe in a sci-fi horror film, and I broke into a cold sweat…

We waved furiously when our team drove by! I also called Hubby and told him seriously consider whether to come since he’d likely have to park so far away, and since Little Guy wasn’t keen to come anyway, a long walk + a grouchy boy would not = a happy day for the guys! Good thing I brought one of the cameras.

We registered without incident, pinned our bibs to our shirts, and tied our tracking chip to our shoes. So they could find my body after all! I went to take a “before” picture but even though I had charged the battery the day before, it would only turn on and off. Murphy’s Law! I have a “before” picture on my cell phone, which I will retrieve soon. I need “technical help”…We found the rest of our team, checked our bags, and lined up outside the “starter pit”!

Gates to the starter pit opened 15 minutes before the race. The starter pit was the area where we stood in the blazing sun like a herd of cattle waiting to be slaughtered. There were about 300 of us in the noon wave. Loud throbbing music, and an even louder D.J. tried to get the adrenaline pumping and stir up enthusiasm. I was more concerned about conserving my strength.

As the final countdown began, an upbeat version of Adagio for Strings from Platoon began to play. If you’ve seen the movie, you will recall that famous scene when Elias (played by Willem Dafoe) is running for the helicopter with a mass of enemy running behind him. And that poignant moment when he finally falters and falls to his knees in slow motion. He reaches to the sky and falls just as the helicopter flies over him. I found it ironic. Here I was, about to run for my life with an army of runners behind me (about 200 to be exact)…and at some point, I will likely fall to my knees and lift my hands to the heavens before I collapse and my body is trampled in the muck!

10…9…8…hug Big Guy and shout “I want to be cremated”

…5…4…take a deep breath

…2…1…an air horn, loud shouts and fist pumps. I shout and fist pump too – this might be my final swan song. The space around starts to clear as people press forward…and I start to run…