This Saturday I went out and ran my first-ever mud run, the Terrain Mud Run that I’ve been telling you all about. I almost got too lazy to blog about it, because of all my laziness, but they just posted the results so it felt like I should get to it. Mostly, because as of right now, I got 7th place! And that’s overall – I got 2nd for women’s, and 1st in my age group. This is very exciting, but I added “as of right now” because I just checked Terrain’s Facebook page, and there are a bunch of people complaining that their times didn’t make it into the results. So maybe there are some people who beat me and haven’t been properly honored yet, but for now, I will enjoy my 7th/2nd/1st place. The best part is that I was able to get 7th place in a race going a pace of 11:62 (I’m not sure how 11:62 differs from 12:02, but I can’t test what it really is because the distance was a vague 5+ miles).
Aside from not being a real time, 11:62/mile is usually no race winner. But this was a mud run, and not just any ordinary race. Running through the mud might sound like it could slow you down to 11:62 pace (or slower, in the case of everyone else except for 6 people), but the slowness was actually attributed to a whole bunch of things:
- The Terrain. It’s easy to focus on the “Mud” in the “Mud Run,” but we should actually focus on the event company’s name, “Terrain.” This was no road race, and my still-aching-5-days-later ankle tendons are a great reminder of this. The course was on some horse ranch or something, with super-uneven ground, and I almost turned my ankle about once every 50 strides, which is probably why most people basically walked at least half of the course.
- That One Really Annoying Hill. It was steep and long. I tried to run up, and then realized I could probably walk up faster, so I allowed myself to walk for this portion only. I was right, it was much faster than running.
- The Obstacles. I guess this was the main point of the run, and was definitely the most fun. At least the ones I liked. There were a few I wasn’t so keen on, like the part that you could mostly just run through, but every few turns through the forest you had to step over a 3 foot high log. Those were a little annoying. My favorites were the one where you had to crawl through a mud pit covered by a tarp so you only had about 2 vertical feet to move around in (I liked the spookiness), the tall wooden walls you had to hop over (I liked how this was easy for tall people and the short people could only hopelessly hop up and down with their arms above their head, and never get over the wall), and the one where you climbed up a rope over a much taller wall (because it was fun). My very least favorite was the one that was twenty feet of monkey bars. It looked fun, but turned out to be a humiliating reminder that my upper body strength isn’t as good as I think it is (especially when my hands are covered in mud). If you couldn’t make it, you had to make the shameful drop into a water pit and swim or slog through water to get across. Anyway, all of these things took a lot of time and made you run much slower than if you had just run through.
- The Teams. I ran as an individual, so this wasn’t a problem for me. But a lot of the people ran with teams, and seemed to be more interested in staying with the team than winning the race. This meant they were only as fast as their slowest runner. I think these were all like the people that always agreed with the coach that they should have a “fun season” instead of a “competitive” one.
Other highlights of the race, but ones that didn’t necessarily slow anyone down, were seeing my blogging buddy volunteering at the muddy slip ‘n slide thing (he got to spray water at people all day), the hilarious blind-folded maze where I walked around three bales of hay and got a fun new headband, jumping over a bunch of fire at the end, and then getting to eat pizza.
|Slip ‘n Slide to the finish line|
There was just one point of confusion during the race, that didn’t cause any trouble, just confusion. There was both a 3 mile and a 5+ mile course, and I had chosen the 5 miler. After about 2.5 miles or so, the course split into 2, as they often do for a multiple course run. This one was kind of weird though, because after doing just 2 obstacles, I found myself running with the 3 milers again. We continued on together until there was just the final fire-pit jump and slip ‘n slide finish, and I had resigned myself to only getting to do 3 miles, as I was sure that I had messed up somehow. But then at the very last second, instead of turning up to do the finishing obstacles, there was a sign directing me back into the depths of the course, to finish my 5 mile route. It was a little strange, because at this point I was running completely alone, with nobody in sight. It was a half mile before I caught up with any other runners again (the run started in waves every 15 minutes all morning, so there weren’t a lot of runners to start with, but I passed a lot from earlier waves on the way).
In the end, I got to walk away with an awesome new headband, a chunk of wood, and a brand-new t-shirt that stayed clean because I got to take a freezing cold shower with a hose after the run. It was just warm enough to appreciate it, and then I got to practice my changing-clothes-under-a-towel skills, because I couldn’t find the changing tent.
Next year I will be much more aggressive with my recruiting, because this was a super fun race. I might not run with you if you try to slow me down though.
|I took this picture myself, so you could see my awesome new t-shirt.|
It’s a good tee-shirt. I’ve been running in mine since I did the Eugene race last month. My sore knee, another memento of the run, I’m not so crazy about. I would not do this again, and it’s nothing against the Terrain people, I just think it’s kind of dangerous for me, and risks me getting annoying minor injuries that make my normal enjoyment of running suffer. (that was my rant.) Glad you had fun – and congrats on the 1st place in your age group!
That’s too bad about your knee – I think it is kind of a risky event for anyone who has had multiple ankle sprains or major knee problems, but it’s also a good reason to get back to balance/strength training! At least if you’re dead set on doing this stuff, which sounds like you’re not. But the t-shirts are awesome, so there’s always that.