We were both nervous, wondering how it would all work out. Would we like each other? Would we want to do this ever again? Would we get along - would we know what to do?? It was like a first date between me and the Mad Mountain.
Turns out, the burden of the race was on Mad Mountain. The course was nice, and the obstacles not too tough. My anxieties of being the weak link on my team were unfounded. Not knowing what to expect, I expected the worst. Here's the course map.
All the red "Up" arrows were things to climb over, and all the green "down" arrows were things to crawl under.
I really expected the course to be much, much worse. Since it was my one and only to experience, I can't say if it was easier than others or not, but I'm suspecting it was. Not to say that it was really easy, but it was doable. The only obstacle I could not do was the "monkey bars" - I just don't have the upper body strength for that. But all the other obstacles, some muddier than others, were not terribly challenging. Most used our legs, and I do think all my lunges helped me out, and that the 3.5 miles was just the right length for the race.
Here is our "Before" picture. The day before I found these tanks at Burke's outlet, so bought one for all four of us.
At the start all teams had to grab a "log" to carry for the duration of the race. We took turns carrying it, and it wasn't really heavy. Just enough weight and length to be a nuisance. Well, until about 1/2 way through when we just started getting sick of the log. For the first few dirty obstacles I was able to keep pretty clean by not actually getting on my hands & knees. I know, isn't that the point? I'm just not crazy about getting dirty.
That didn't last for long and we had a good bit of mud, but somewhere in the middle we ran waist-high right into the river. That was my absolute favorite part. The water was ice-cold, and took my breath for an instant. But then it felt delightful, and washed most of our first-half mud off. We had several "Forest Run" obstacles, which were basically trail runs with trees down on the trails (to jump over). I really liked these, running through the woods. The mulch mountains were huge piles of mulch that we ran up and over, and of course there were tires to run through (or walk through). There were also several rope webs to get through. My fear was a wall to climb over, and there weren't any walls. There were logs to roll under (made me dizzy), climb over; and mazes and pipes to crawl through. My shoes were squishy with mud and water, but they never came off.
Here we are "after":
I think I was the least dirty of our team. Carrie smeared on her Indian Mud Paint for the picture!
There were some nice costumes. My favorites were the chicken family and the girl superheros. Mudonna was cool!
Afterwards I was stiff and a little bit sore, but today (Monday) the only soreness I feel is the sunburn on my shoulders and neck. Our time hasn't been posted as of yet, but I think we did fine. We weren't trying to be the best, or the fastest. My goal was just to finish.
Since it was their first year, there are things I'm sure they will improve. The registration was slow, and inadequate for the number of participants. But they improvised and got everyone close to their advertised start times. We were off by about 10 minutes. One of our team members had the wrong number on her bib, so that had to be switched at the last minute. We didn't get ID bracelets for our beer (but we got our beer anyway), and the bag check-in station was kind of a joke. Our bags went back to the car, and then back to us at the end. The "showers" at the end just kind of muddied everything up more, instead of less.
Did I enjoy it? Yes. Would I do another one? Yes. This year? Maybe not. I still prefer just running better, but it was a nice change. I can see why they have become so popular of late. And being with a team was fun - we helped each other, and coaxed one another along.
Next up are some local races with fellow TRC runners. And maybe a 1/2 marathon in the fall. (Maybe).
One thing running has taught me, and my friend Laura had a nice blog about this recently (My Healthy Challenge) is that nothing is really out of reach. If I want to do something that involves physical movement whether it's a mud run, or a longer race, I can do it. That's freedom.