Wednesday, May 1, 2013

10 Mile Xtreme Mud Run - Part One

A couple of weeks back, my wife and I went on vacation. The plan all along was to hit Las Vegas for a few days, and visit my aunt and uncle who live in Bullhead City, Arizona (right next to Laughlin, Nevada on the Colorado River below Davis Dam). When I saw there was a mud run in the neighboring town of Fort Mohave, AZ right around the time we'd planned to go, I decided to plan the vacation around that. We went for a couple of days to Las Vegas, headed to Bullhead City for the weekend, and then returned for two more days of Vegas fun. Turned out it was a great vacation on all fronts! For this post, however, I'm going to focus on the mud run, since I've had so many people ask me what in the heck it is. I haven't made any posts about running and exercise in awhile, so consider this a foray back into the topic.

The name of the mud run was the Xtreme Mud Run, and it was touted as the longest mud run in the nation. It had distances of 15 miles and 10 miles, as well as a 10 K and 5 K (6.2 miles and 3.1 miles respectively). I ran the 10 mile course. A mud run isn't run in the mud, but on trails, which are dirt and sand for the most part. It's basically a distance race with obstacles. The mud part of the name comes from those obstacles, which are often filled with mud. And since that's the most visually striking part of the run, both during and after, that's where the name comes from.

I've done a few races over the last couple of years, including one mud run (the 5 K zombie infested mud run called Run For Your Lives - I really should have told that story, but I blew it. I'll be doing it again this year, and I'll make sure you all hear the story). Most races have thousands of people, but this one, being in a small community in the desert, had only 300 or so participants. I originally signed up for a 9 AM heat, since the earlier ones were touted as competitive heats. I'm not a competitive runner (except with myself), so I had no need to go against the hard-core running adventurers, especially since I was technically on vacation. When I got there, though, luckily an hour and a half early, I found out there was only one heat for the 10 mile run - the 8 AM one. Good. I wasn't looking forward to standing around for an hour and a half anyway.

The run took place on the Avi Indian Reservation in Fort Mohave, AZ. From what I could tell driving in, it looked to be on farmland, and there was plenty of that to cover 15 (and in my case 10) miles. I spotted a few runners from the 7 AM heat for the 15 mile run, and saw them running on the dirt with no obstacles in sight. So it wasn't the strategic view that I'd hoped for (there were almost 40 obstacles set up to go over, under, and through, and for my distance, there were almost 30), but I was glad to see the event had started in a timely manner. I arrived to a large building that housed the start and finish line, as well as the final obstacle - rings to cross over a mud pit (like monkey bars, but rings on ropes instead of bars). I could feel the excitement in the air as I checked in and got set to race. The other competitors also had energy and nerves flowing off of them, and I could tell just by looking around that there'd be great camaraderie on the course, something which is a ton of fun in these races.

I watched the 7:30 heat (the final group of 15 milers) take off, and I slathered sunscreen on (hey, it was a relatively cool morning, but we were in the desert!). My uncle took my pre-race pictures, and I warmed up for the adventure. When it was finally time to line up for the start, I found that there were only two, maybe three, dozen other competitors in the 10 mile distance, a far-cry from any other race I'd ever done. As the guy at the starting line gave us our instructions, we all bounced up and down, working out the pre-race jitters and warming up, all in one. Finally, as the clock hit 8 AM, he shouted "Go!" and we were off.

How did I do? What was the course like? Was I sore for the rest of my vacation, which still had almost 5 days to go? Find out next week! For now, here are some picture of me awaiting my starting time. Enjoy!

Here I am up in the stands awaiting the fun!
 Here are three of the staring/finish line.

 My wife, Amber, and I in front of the promotional poster. I think it looks pretty cool!
 Here's one of the promotional flags. Like the poster, it's pretty nifty!
 Amber and I in the stands.