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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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Obstacle #7 has kept me awake for nights because it involves tight spaces. I wasn’t worried about the mud-filled trench; I anticipated being covered with mud anyway. It was thinking about climbing through the tunnel that made me hyperventilate and break into a cold sweat in the middle of the night. We were supposed to crawl through a metal tube, through the mud trench with wires criss-crossing the surface (so you have to get down and get dirty), and then crawl up another metal tube. It was aptly named “Light at the End of the Tunnel”.

Yikes!!!

Although I had the option of skipping it, I was hoping that the excitement of the run would override my claustrophobia so I wouldn’t have any regrets. When the time arrived, all fear was gone…as well as the first set of tubes. I only had to cross the mud trench first, then climb up the metal tube, and Big Guy was behind me to encourage me if I got stuck or started to freak out. Of course I slipped climbing into the pit, fell on my butt, and slid right on in! It felt amazing to not only survive, but to thrive!

By this point, I was walking more than running between obstacles, and I was feeling nauseous after drinking water at the water station. The pathways were more modest ups and downs, and longer stretches on an even keel. The obstacles were also closer together. While part of our team still steamed ahead, more were hanging behind and enjoying the journey…joking around and cheering for each other at the tough obstacles.

Obstacle #8 was the Spidey Web. I had to weave between the ropes and trees, ducking and twisting, to get to the other side. I moved through it slowly, often waiting to let those who were moving faster get by me. My legs were starting to hurt and I focused just on the ropes immediately in front of me so I wouldn’t be discouraged by the amount of ground I had to cover. After another short run, I came to Obstacle #9 – the Hero Wall. There are 2 ways over this 8’ wall – either climbing over using a suspended rope, or climbing over using the wooden handholds. One way is easy; one way is hard. I didn’t even notice that there were 2 ways over, and thankfully (for once), I had chosen the easier way. There was also a ledge on the other side, so I didn’t have to jump!

Obstacle #10 was the Mystery Obstacle, but it was one of my favourites because it was the easiest (for me). It also had an easy and a hard choice…and I took the hard choice…the higher Balance Beam across a very murky looking pond. I confidently hustled across it and kept right on truckin’!

Obstacle #11 lived up to its name: Tipsy Turvy…that’s exactly how my legs felt when I was done. It required crawling or balancing across 30 feet of rope netting. In my case, it meant striking my least favourite yoga pose, downward dog…not that I do yoga because I am not bendy! I inched my way across…sideways…very slowly. While others were crawling forwards, one yahoo decided to use the wooden centre beam as a balance beam and dashed across. It wasn’t really a “legal” move but there were no referees.

Obstacle #12, the Camo Crawl required another tight space, but since I had aced the Light at the End of the Tunnel, I didn’t stop to think about it. In the pictures, the Camo Crawl involved crawling under a camouflage net, but instead it was a solid wooden structure across the dry ground. It was hard on my elbows and knees. I imagine that’s where I acquired a few scrapes and bruises (aka “war wounds”).

The Water Bridge was lucky Obstacle #13. It was basically a 2-way bridge with a spray of water on one side. The water was cold and I would have appreciated it more at the beginning of the race when I could still run…in more than in an effort to not look stupid short bursts of enthusiasm. Every person running toward me stopped to rinse their hands and sometimes faces. That should have been a big red flag…

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