I’ve done a few mud run / obstacle courses before today. I have participated in two Run For Your Lives events as a runner (and once as a zombie). The results were less than stellar. The first time I tore my hamstring on the very first obstacle and had to walk the entire race. The second Run For Your Lives event I was already suffering from a second hamstring injury from a half marathon 2 weeks before. Believing the race was cursed I participated in the third race as a zombie only(which was a blast). It was at the third zombie run that I met Emily (I changed her name to protect the innocent). Emily was also looking for someone to run a Warrior Dash with so we made plans about 7 months ago to conquer the Warrior Dash.
My goals today were:
1. Not get hurt
3. Have fun
4. Be careful to not find out the hard way that Emily was a serial killer who would drug me and keep me in her basement and feed pieces of me to her Golden Retriever Buddy (I watch WAY too much Criminal Minds).
Pre-Race: I thought they had forgotten about me until 2 days before the race. I actually went back through my emails to ensure I had actually registered. On Thursday I got the last minute details about what to bring, what to expect and the cost to park ($10). They followed up with a weather update (it was expected to be hot with the possibility of thunderstorms) and advised everyone to hydrate.
I have a pretty standard and uninteresting pre-race ritual which I departed from for this race. The night before we celebrated the birthday of a good friend by going to Fogo de Chao in B’more. I stuffed myself with steak/pork/chicken etc… On top of that I had a a bit of port to wash it all down. By the end of the night I was a wee bit bloated.
Race Day: 8 hours after gorging myself I still felt full. Never again. I said a small prayer to the Warrior Dash Gods that I would not have any body malfunctions and I was out the door.
Normally I am ridiculously early to every race. We were planning to meet up at 0830 to run at 9. I thought I was ahead of schedule, but I did not factor the walk from the car to the registration tent into consideration. So I was a little late (my apologies to Emily). Luckily the registration was no more than 5 minutes and I walked right up to the gear check area where Emily was waiting. I had just enough time to hit the bathroom before we entered the corral to start the race.
—-Side bathroom note: at 0845 the Port a Potty was the cleanest one I have ever been in. It is worth it to get an early start time for this reason alone. I did find my “triple super knot” I used so I would not lose my shorts during the race, also made it extremely difficult to pee. It literally took me 5 minutes to get the knot out.
The Race: I had a blast. We weren’t out to compete and win. We were out to have fun. The race starts off through a pretty narrow trail through the woods. We eventually found our way to the obstacles. They seemed to start out easy and get a little harder as time went on. We climbed over and under a bunch of obstacles with some muddy patches in between. Some of the aggressive runners were splashing mud on the more mindful runners. I guess you can’t really complain about getting dirty during a mud run. I tried to splash back, but I am pretty sure I got the worse end of that plan. The hills got steeper as the race went on.. If you don’t like steep hills you aren’t going to like the second half of the race. The obstacles did get a little more challenging later in the race. There were a series of mud hills with mud ponds between them. The thick and slippery mud made it difficult to find traction and propel yourself up the mud mountains. Goliath was fun. It consisted of a climb, a balance beam with water squirting on you followed by a slide to a cold deep pool. I watched the guy in front of me plunge to the water below the balance beams and realized it was higher than I expected. The race ended with a long extra muddy mud pit. Be careful at the end of the mud pit, it is extra slippery. The race ends with a leap over the flames (we high-fived as lept to victory).
I love the costumes. They had Waldo (he is at every mud run), Wizard of Oz characters, and plenty of people in the creepy body suits. Emily and I had discussed going as Hanz and Franz from Saturday Night Live. Probably for the bet that we went as ourselves. The muddy sweatpants and sweatshirts would have added a miserable amount of extra water and mud to carry around the course. There are also a lot of super hero costumes. Some people are very comfortable with their bodies. I saw one Batgirl in particular whose skimpy Bat hot pants were working their way into her Bat cave. It was an image burned into my soul (and not in a good way). God bless you Bat Girl.
Post Race: You are presented with your handsome Warrior medal as you cross the finish line. Down the line they have water and then small bags of snacks. Unfortunately your hands are covered in a thick coat of mud. Not really a great time for picking snacks out of a bag, The opportunity to at least attempt to clean off a handful of muck would have been nice. Emily and I meandered to the Facebook Kiosk and took this:
If you are interested in hanging out they have food, beer (1 free beer with your race), and bands. My days of hanging out and drinking beer all day in caked-on mud have long since past. I had a horseback riding lesson to get my daughter to, and Emily was going to play soccer in the afternoon so we didn’t hang around. We were off.
There was little wait to get our gear and head up the hill to what we hoped would be a hosing off. On the way up the hill we were informed they were out of water. What? Out of water after the 0900 wave. Oh boy. They did have more water trucks arriving as we were leaving. Hopefully it wasn’t an issue for the rest of the day. When I got back to my car I used a combination of baby wipes and bottles of water to clean up well enough to get in my car and head out. I would suggest bringing a few gallons of water in your car to clean off with. Garbage bags and a change of clothes are a must.
Goodies: The hat, the shirt and the medal.
******I would give it 4.5 stars. My day went really smooth from check in until the time we left. The obstacles were challenging but fun. I would do it again in a heartbeat. Emily was not a serial killer (or she is a patient one) and had a wicked funny sense of humor. We seemed to run at a similar pace which always helps. She would have fit right in with the Run For Your Lives Food Gang from a few years ago. Overall it couldn’t have gone much better.