One crazy-fun activity is the mud run. For those of you who are not familiar, a mud run is a race, typically 5K or 10K, which involves not only running, but mud. LOTS of mud.
I ran a race this past weekend. We woke up extra early to beat the traffic. Thankfully there was no traffic, and we were just there extra early. I shivered in the cold morning air, but knew we wouldn’t be shivering for long. We put on our neon costumes (complete with mustaches and tiny hats) and found our teammates.
Once the race began, I’m pretty sure there were people regretting their elaborate costumes, because you plunge immediately into belly-crawling through a soupy mud puddle. Mud splashed up in my eyes and made my contacts sting. Other people on our team said they actually got a swig of mud. Maybe we moved into an alternate hog-heaven. And no one could resist, as they came up out of the muck, rubbing this dirty prize all over their teammates’ backs. Or bald head. Whatever.
We ran. I started thinking about how the mud (when you were not submersed in a bog and if you used your imagination) felt sort-of pleasant. We do this sort of thing to ourselves and pay a lot more for it, I mused. It’s called a spa. You go in and allow a stranger to rub your body down with scratchy dirt. At least here, I can rub my own dirt. And then they rinse you off (for us it was falling from a balancing rope into a dirty puddle, but similar idea) and cover you with more mud to moisturize. Yes, I told myself, this mud feels moisturizing. It’s probably good for my skin.
Then came the obstacles. I genuinely enjoyed pretending like I was Rambo, shimmying across rope bridges and hoisting myself over mud mountains. I guess I didn’t make the hurdles look as effortless as they did in my mind. I imagined myself with super-human strength. I was invincible. That was, of course, before the monkey bars. How do children play on those, exactly? For me it felt as though someone decided to grab my hands and tear my arms out. I found myself in the muddy mire below after the first rung. My boyfriend, however, with his superhuman strength, he actually made it from one side to the other. The race referees said he was the first one they had seen all day. Go Justin.
Our team did us proud. We had a range of non-runners to full-out athletes, and no one got lost in the mud or trampled in an uphill climb. Everyone kept moving, we helped each other, we looked back to be sure no one was left behind. If we had been filmed in slow-motion, our teamwork may have put Frodo’s gang to shame. Zoom in on fingers reaching out to help up a muddy, scratched hand. Yes, that was us, I say with pride, my chin held high.
We finished together and went to the showers. The showers were a mistake. The term “shower” is far too generous. They were PVC pipes shooting out ice-cold water. This would have been fine, If the pipes had been low enough or had decent pressure to actually get you wet. Instead, the pipes were poised 20 feet above your head so as to mist your body (which, if I must remind you, is saturated with mud) as you stand freezing below. You have mud in your eyelids. I blew my nose and blew mud. My socks I threw out, they were hopeless. Every area I pushed, squeezed, scrubbed, dribbled with brown water. I was not even remotely clean until 4 mistings later. Again, “clean” is relative. There were no longer granuals everywhere. Just in most places.
We high-fived and took photos and felt generally jovial and accomplished. I think those feelings override the scratchy eyes and the muddy nose-blowing, allowing us to recommend this activity to others and promise each other we will do it again. I know I will.
Since I enjoyed this race so much, I decided to search other races. I found winners in a few categories:
1) Most macho: Warrior Dash. For you daredevils out there, this race includes fire, walls, mud, rocks. If you’ve got something to prove, this is your chance. Do it with dignity.
2) Family friendly: Disney running. Who doesn’t want to go running with Mickey and Minnie Mouse?
3) Best Nickelodeon style: The Ridiculous Obstacle Challenge. You had me at “inflatables.”
So go! Run your race! Live the life that you have imagined!