My friend Susan and I did our first obstacle course mud run this last weekend, along with R and his friend Chris, and it was wild. I can’t believe I actually did it! They say things like this are mind over body, and it is so.true. It was hard, but I’m proud I pushed through–I only skipped two obstacles: wall climbing, and platform jumping.
We received a Groupon offer for the Insanity Mud Run race, so we paid $35 vs. $100… a good deal, we thought. There was a 5 and 10 mile course (we did the 5), with 20 obstacles. If you’ve ever been to the Renaissance Festival in Larkspur, this race was just behind that area–we ran past the back of the festival buildings at one point, which was kinda cool. We crawled, hiked, climbed, ran, swung, jumped, slid, climbed, rolled, swam… the whole thing took us about 3 hours, but a good chunk of this was waiting in line at obstacles.
The first three obstacles really warmed us up for the course. We climbed this wall first… up and over…(On the finished wall, there were three ropes hanging down on that right side, and three would climb at a time)
The second obstacle was to climb another wall, then jump off a platform, about 20 feet high, into a mud pit with freezing cold water. Check out this girl–what a shot!
After watching people do this for awhile prior to our start time, I really thought I could just climb up and go for it, without thinking about it too much. I can still feel the fear in my stomach as I stood up there! I hesitated initially, which really messed with my head–it took a good few minutes before we just went for it. Susan and I jumped together, and the freezing water instantly took my breath away. I surfaced, and heard myself making this awful whooping noise–trying to catch my breath. I’ve never been in water like this before. I swam (kicked crazily?) to the muddy edge and used a rope to pull myself out. After this initial shock, we were ready to warm up, and ran to the next obstacle–a high cargo net, which we had to wait in line to climb.
After this we ran into the woods, where we had to crawl in the mud under ropes, then walk into a 6′ mud pit (I actually fell and tumbled in…waiting for that lovely bruise!), and use ropes to hoist yourself out of it. Most of the course was spent hiking steep climbs and descents through the woods–it was beautiful!–and then out of nowhere, you’d hear cheering and hollering, people encouraging each other at the next obstacle. It was exhilarating and awful not knowing what the next challenge would be. There were lots of smaller obstacles to do–crossing over a road on a log (with a rope to hold onto), climbing rocks with ropes, etc.
This was by far one of the most fun things we did that day:
They sprayed you with a hose before your turn, told you to tuck and go, and off you went. I flew down the tarp and supposedly made a good splash! I lost my sunglasses on this one. :) I remember spinning around near the end and flying in backwards…thinking, “oh my, here we go….!” An adult slip and slide… when else are we going to do something like this?? I think this was my favorite of the whole day. More fun than scary (although waiting in line was a little nerve wracking!).
In the last 1/2 mile of the race, you had to swim across an ice bath, and the water was up to the board, so you had to swim under it.
Luckily, by the time we went through it, any ice they had put in the tank had melted, so it was cold but you didn’t get that mental block of seeing ice in the water. We were dry and pretty warm at this point, so a cool down actually wasn’t so bad. Your thinking is a bit messed with by now. ;)
At the end of the race, you had to go across these monkey bars. I made it on one and a half, haha, and fell below. They gave you dog tags at the end, and a free beer, which was absolutely delicious after a strenuous 5 miles.
My favorite things about the day:
*Going through crazy obstacles with a dear friend who encouraged me through the whole thing! It was super fun to run with her and train–although next time, I’ll need to do much more training, esp for upper body strength.
*Being completely out of my comfort zone and facing it full on…even though I was shaking at times!
*I was so dirty and didn’t care at all.
*Capri spandex. These things are awesome. Kept me comfortable, dry, and protected the whole day.
*Seeing my husband army crawl across a rope over a mud pit :)
*Climbing tires up the mountain, using ropes to climb up big rocks on the uphill trails
*Going further than I ever have in a race–I’ve only ever done two 5Ks
Other thoughts about the day:
*There are some cah-razy people who do these races. We saw several do backflips into the mud pits, for example.
*I loved seeing people of all shapes and sizes on this course, getting out there and trying something.
*I was glad there were no fire obstacles, or wires to shock you, like in the ToughMudder or Spartan races
*I decided I am an exercise introvert :) I found myself feeling more nervous and jittery when people were yelling I could do it, or cheering for me, vs. quiet and/or no other people around me at an obstacle. I think that cheering can either really help you or hinder you!
*I have never been able to feel so many sore muscles, simultaneously. I am wiped! I truly had so much fun and really enjoyed the day, as crazy and tough as it was.
It’s an exciting thing when you realize you have more fortitude inside than you thought you did!