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!
Up to this point, my shoulders, face, ears, and hair were hardly splattered, and my shirt was still snow white (except for the large handprint Big Guy blessed me with back at Obstacle #4). I should have clued in when every person running toward me stopped to rinse their hands and sometimes faces. Obstacle #14 was a large slide into a mud pit. I climbed the rope to the platform (with boards to brace my feet on) with surprising ease…my weight-lifting efforts paid off after all. Then slid down – how hard is that? I was overconfident…I tried to slow down by bracing my feet against the sides…I really did…but my efforts proved to be futile…I might as well have just cannon-balled into that pit because when I hit, I went under…all the way under…I had mud everywhere (and trust me, there are places where you should never have mud – it’s just wrong!). The professional photographer caught that moment in two close-up shots. Too bad I can share them (I have to purchase them first)…
My glasses were coated and mud had splashed in one eye, so I could hardly see. As I struggled to climb out of the mud pit, my feet slipping in the thick, black muck, I heard a voice tell me to reach out my hand. I could see one of my team members, a knight in shining soiled armour, dark hair blowing in the wind, outstretched arm, and he helped pull me from the mire. He didn’t even stay long enough to give me a chance to say thank you…
Someone at the water station took pity on me and gave me a roll of toilet paper so I could wipe my eyes and glasses before heading to Obstacle #15. I remembered seeing this obstacle on the drive in earlier in the day. It required scaling a rock wall and sliding down a fire pole. Again, I scaled that wall with ferocious speed. I also slid down that pole with ferocious speed, thanks to the muddy hands that gone before me. The closer I got the ground, the faster I slid, the mud squishing between my fingers. I could hear a couple of girls trying to talk their friend down, telling her that the harder she gripped the pole, the slower she would slide. Liars!
I could tell we were nearing the end and even though my legs were sore, and my left knee was starting to complain, I made an effort to keep running. There was a young couple with a baby watching the path along the road, and the Mom raised the baby’s arms and cheered, so I raised my arms and cheered too. I really appreciated their encouragement!
Only 3 obstacles to go – the end was in nigh! Obstacle #16 seemed easy enough, until I was in the middle of it. The Lake Walk is appropriately named – walking in waist-deep water in a nebulous lake. It was a long walk, or perhaps it just seemed that way as I stumbled and my legs started to scream with every step. It was no longer about lung endurance – it was all about muscle endurance. I could feel fatigue washing over me…I was too tired to even try to wash off any mud. Once I reached the beach, it felt like everything around me was accelerating. I could hear cheering, a D.J. shouting, and loud music. The excitement was palpable…and hope was alive! I was going to survive.
Obstacle#17 was an inflatable slide, only this slide was higher and it didn’t have mud at the bottom. I scaled it with ease and tried not to scream on the way down. And then the final obstacle, the obstacle shown in photographs all over the website…the Dirtlicious Mud Crawl! I hear our leader shout, “it’s time to get dirty”! As I fell (literally slipped and slid in on my butt again), I heard the D.J. offer congratulations to…and he said my name…how cool is that! Dirtlicious was just like the first obstacle – mud pit, crawl under logs…except the logs were much lower, and the mud was much soupier! All the better for post-race photo shots! Rather than crawl, I simply pulled my body along with my arms. I saw the professional photos and I look like I’m dripping melted milk chocolate!
Three of my team mates were waiting just before the finish line and we held hand and crossed it together. We cheered, we gave each other high-5s, we lined up to receive our medal…and we posed for a picture (to be posted Friday), before we hit the “showers” (i.e., PVC pipes that dripped lake water and were pretty…useless), changed into clean clothes in a sweltering port-a-potty…and trekked 1 kilometer…uphill…back to the car…Big Guy forgot to bring shoes to change into, so he had the added bonus of walking back to the car in bare feet. I was stiff, sore, scratched, sun-burned and a psyched (not psycho) Survivor!
Post-script: All week I’ve been singing 2 songs by Switchfoot (Album: Vice Verses)…I also listened to them on the way to the race. I won’t post the lyrics but if you like music or you’re a wee bit curious, here are the Youtube links: