Wednesday, May 8, 2013

10 Mile Xtreme Mud Run Part 2

I took off fast, leading the small pack through the first obstacle, which was through the straight-aways of a horse stable with bales of hay to hurdle over. As we got through that, the course didn't have any obstacles for the next mile or so, unless you count the terrain. Most of it was soft sand, hard and tiring to run through. My legs ached, and though I didn't stop running, my speed dropped considerably. Of course, so did everyone else's. As we finally made it to harder-packed dirt, I found myself in third place, with a much younger competitor not far behind me (he passed me not too much farther into the race). I wasn't racing anyone but myself, but it was fun to keep track of such things.

The next part of the race had plenty of obstacles. The first one was a ten-foot wall with hand and foot holds of an indoor climbing course. I'd never done that before, but I scaled it pretty easily, which made me happy. Mud finally made its way into the course with the next obstacle. It was monkey bars over a mud pit. I'll be the first to admit my upper body strength is severely lacking, so after attempting the first few bars, I decided to simply drop down and run through the mud. Hey, gotta get dirty at some point, right? Other obstacles in this part included pushing a large wooden cable spool up a 2x4 ramp, crawling in the mud under barbed wire, running up loose piles of dirt and into watery mud pits, and, my favorite, plunging head-first down a slick tarp into a huge mud pit. That one was refreshing!

After that group, some real challenges came. There were big hills of soft dirt, probably 20 or more feet high, to run up. This was tiring! Luckily, some had ropes dangling down to help us pull our way up, but the others were there for climbing without help. I'm not used to such challenges, but I found myself going up and down these big hills easily, which made me happy. Tired, but happy. After the final big down, which luckily had a rope to help, it was time to crawl through more mud under barbed wire and other things.

By this time, I was in sixth place in my group, and I think that's where I stayed throughout the race, but it was hard to tell because I came upon fifteen milers who started at 7:30. I lost track of my place, and I've yet to see any sort of final posting online. So I'm going to go with I finished six out of thirty or so competitors.

Next I came up to a rope dangling across a big mud pit. I've never had to shimmy across something like this, but there's a first time for everything, right? I made it approximately three-fourths of the way across before I decided I'd had enough. I let go, splashed down into the mud, and took off for more fun. The next little while was simply running on hard-packed dirt, which was a nice change of pace from the muddy and dirty obstacles. At about the six-mile mark of the race, I reached a volunteer who had sandbags piled up near him. He told me to pick one up (I'm guessing it was somewhere around twenty to thirty pounds and quite awkward) and run down the path until I saw the used sandbags piled up. I picked it up, looked where he was pointing, and saw it was about a quarter of a mile - quite a distance with a sandbag in tow. It wasn't an easy jaunt, but I managed to jog most of it. Let me tell you, it was a nice feeling when I made it to the end and put down that sandbag.

Next was another mud pit with barbed wire over it, and then it was another long run to the next set of obstacles. These consisted of an eight-foot wall (which I tried, but couldn't get over - again showing off my lack of upper-body strength), a ten-foot wall made for teamwork (I didn't even try this because I was out there alone), and a ten-foot wall with a knotted rope to help traverse (which I again tried, but came up with the same result as the eight-foot wall). There was then a set of three mud ponds with a log across the middle. There was little room between the log and muddy water, so I had to dunk my head under. Yuck, but also refreshing. To get out of the mud ponds, there were large mounds of mud, and since there was no traction, this was the toughest part of the obstacle. Each of the ponds had a bigger mound than the last, but after a few false starts with each, I exited and headed for the final major obstacle of this group, another mud pit with barbed wire to crawl under. This one was the toughest of the course because, although it was muddy, it wasn't muddy enough to slide right through. I had to actually crawl the whole way though muddy but rocky ground. I'm proud to say I stayed low enough to not get nicked by the barbed wire once. After that, it was a pretty straight shot to the finish building, with only a few four-foot walls to hurdle over, which were easy enough to clear even in my tired state.

The final obstacle was housed in the start/finish building - a mud pit with rings over it to cross. I tried, but after two rings, I couldn't hold on and plummeted to the mud below. I landed awkwardly and though I didn't hurt myself, one of my shoes came off. I had to pick it up and dash to the finish line in one shoe and one muddy sock. I finally crossed with a time of 2 hours, 11 minutes and 24 seconds. I had no idea how long this would take me, so I was proud of that time.

Once finished, I picked up my race t-shirt, my finisher medal, my wristband, and a cold bottle of water, which I downed greedily. My family took many pictures of my muddy self, and I headed outside to join the line for the hoses. I tossed my shoes and socks into the trash, and then decided my shirt could join them. And then it was time to go and continue our vacation.

I thought for sure I'd be sore for days afterward, but I really didn't feel that bad. My wife and I did a lot of walking, both while we were staying in Arizona with my aunt and uncle, and when we went back to Las Vegas, and I felt good. There was one point a couple of days later when we were walking through one of the casino malls in Las Vegas that my upper body started to feel stressed, but luckily there was a five-minute shoulder and neck massage booth handy, which cured me right up for the rest of the trip. All in all, it was a great experience, and I'm looking forward to doing another mud run in the future. Maybe I'll tackle this one again next year!

Pictures of me during and after the race coming soon!