September 17, 2011

Hillbilly Mud Run 5K

*Edited Sept. 18 for the addition of more photos
Today, I ran a 5K, swung like Tarzan over a mud pit, climbed a rope ladder and stripped to my skivvies in a field. Seriously.

I agreed to this race a couple of months ago, against my better judgment. At the time, it was 793 degrees outside and running through the mud seemed like a bad idea, but doable. And then on race day, I woke up to 55 degrees and torrential rain. Not exactly what I envisioned for my obstacle course debut.

The race was in Ft. Smith, and I just knew we would be freezing and soaking wet the whole time. But when we got into town, it looked like there hadn't been much rain and it was about 10 degrees warmer there. Trea and I were planning to meet up at the race with the rest of our team, the NWA Jogaholics, who were about 15 minutes ahead of us. And then we got lost!! Google Maps failed to mention a very important exit number, and we zoomed right on by...and into OKLAHOMA. It seemed like forever before we got to an off ramp so we could turn around. My friends tried to pick up our packets for us and save us some time, but the race people wouldn't let them for some reason. I thought we weren't going to make it in time to run at all.

We finally found the one-lane dirt road that led to the race...a road that was in such bad shape I was wishing for a monster truck...and it was already 15 minutes until the start time.

Glad we didn't take my car
We had to park in a field that was pretty far away from the start and the registration tent. By the time we went all the way from the truck to get our numbers and chips - and then back to the truck to stow our t-shirts and goodie bags - the race started without us! We ran back from the truck to the starting line and saw our friends well on their way down the trail toward the obstacles. Again, not what I envisioned. Stupid Google Maps.

Thank you, Travis, for the photos!!
We were determined to catch up and made good time. While we were running, the weather was perfect, and I was actually too warm. Fortunately, some hillbillies doused me pretty good with a water cannon (i.e. homemade fire hose), and that cooled me off. There were no mile markers on the course, but I think we were about to the halfway point when we caught up to folks on our team. We had gone over a giant sand hill and had mostly been running on dirt bike paths and through thick brush -- most of which had been suspiciously free of mud -- when we saw our team at the rope swings. Trea swung over the mud pit ahead of me and sank up to his knees in black, stinky mud. This was the first serious mud we had seen the whole time and it smelled way too much like sewage. I swung over and to the side and only sank a little over my ankles. With much squealing and prancing about, I made my way across without falling or losing a shoe. Then it was just more dry trails and thick brush, with a couple more obstacles. Not much mud though.

My favorite obstacle
I'm not complaining or anything. Running with mud in my shoes is not my idea of a good time, so I was happy to not have mud from head to toe. But I had judged the event based on the photos from the previous race and expected a lot more than what we got. I should've looked more closely at the obstacle descriptions for today's race rather than relying on past photos for details...since upon further examination, the race organizers consider a little pile of gardening mulch to be an obstacle. Basically, it was just a trail run with about 4-5 actual obstacles and very little mud. But I will say that mulch is super easy on the old knees!

John found a way to get dirty! Go big or go home! (Notice me in the background realizing there's mud on the mouth of my water bottle. Mud runs ain't my thang, y'all.)

Trea ran with me and made sure I got through the obstacles. I think I'll keep him.

We definitely got dirty, just not nearly as dirty as I expected since there was only one real mud pit. And that turned out to be a good thing since there was no where to change and no operating showers or water to clean up with!

Which leads us to my stripping to my skivvies in a field. 

There was no way we could get back in the truck like we were. Our bottom halves were totally disgusting. My pants and shoes were heavy and weighed down from all the mud -- so they had to come off. I tried to hide behind the truck door, but it was an open field with people coming and going in every direction. Hope they enjoyed the show! We put everything in a garbage bag and tried to clean up with baby wipes. I had just gotten my clean pants on when the skies opened up and it began to POUR. After we left the race area, we drove around Ft. Smith for a bit looking for a place to eat, and it was raining so hard we could barely see the road. The folks that ran the course in the second wave definitely had no shortage of mud!!

So...I don't love mud runs. BUT, we had a good time, and it was fun to mix things up and do something different. And I always have fun with my running buddies. Yay team NWA Jogaholics!


  1. I know I sound sick in the head, but I totally still want to do one someday! haha!

    That whole getting lost and running late for the start totally sucks!

  2. You're right, sometimes it just fun to try something new, even if you don't think it will be your "thing." Plus, who doesn't want to hang out with frunners (friend runners) even if there is some mud involved?!?
    Love the pic of you discovering the mud on your water bottle! :0)



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