It was a 6.2 mile obstacle course through mud. And when they say mud, they mean smelly, thick, suck your shoes off mud that varied in depth from get your shoes dirty to getting stuck all the way up to your belly button. They didn't mess around. I read in the newspaper that it took 21 days to create the course and they used tillers and bulldozers to create the 6.2 miles of pain. Thanks to the insane weather in Central Ohio lately, the past 21 days were full of crazy rain and storms so that made for not just mud but slippery and wet conditions.
There were 6 of us (3 are on my triathlon team) that stuck together for most of the race so we met up about an hour before the race to make sure we were in the right place and to get the clean, pre-race photos. It's probably pretty obvious but some of these were taken by The Pilot and his nice, clean camera and others were taken with a waterproof disposable camera.
We entered into the DGAP (Don't Give A Poop) category, which suggested that anything goes, including costumes. I figured that if I was going to run through the mud, then I might as well look good doing it. What, don't all 30-year old professional women own pink tutus?
We were in the 10:30 am wave and we all took off into the woods. While it was very hard to judge how far you had traveled since there weren't any mile markers, I would say we ran close to a mile before getting to any man-made obstacles. We spent a lot of time running through the forest, up and down ravines and across small streams (most of this was in mud that just barely came up over our shoes.)
I love how there is a perfectly good bridge to our right but the race arrows were telling us to run through the mud, so we did. :)
Just when we thought we were going to lose our shoes because they were so full of mud, we got to walk through a muddy stream to "clean off."
We finally got to our first man-made obstacle! This was initially a challenge for us shorter ladies because the top ropes were too high we couldn't reach! That's why there are so many of us on the same rope. It was the only one we could reach!
Next up was the first of two rope swings. I was really freaked out by this one so I waited to watch poor Bethany try it first. She looked great on the mount but then we all realized that the ropes were too short (joke's on us, Mud Run!). She ended up fully submerged in the drink! At least she was able to laugh it off! But then I realized it was my turn. Mine ended very similarly except I nearly landed in the dirt pile behind me instead of the dirt pile I was trying to reach.That's Bethany behind that blob of mud on the lens and I'm looking on in fear...
It was then time to run around in the woods some more but we also found some random things we had to climb over. I'd like to point out that I'm only 5'3" so climbing up over this stuff was HARD! My wimpy arms had to work really hard to pull myself up and over some of these obstacles, hence the reason that I am only just now able to fully lift my arms, three DAYS later.
The Mud Run calls it the Stairway to Heaven. I call it scary! This thing was crazy high, wobbly and slippery from all the muddy people before us!
Once we all made it over, it was time for a real crawl through the mud. I'm sure the intention was to Army crawl under these ropes but again, it smelled and we were starting to get really tired and I don't think we were even 1/2 way through at this point.
It was back into the woods again for some insane ravines. We had to climb up and slide down multiple times. It was crazy hard and so exhausting. And I can't believe I'm going to post this picture but I'll take one for the team (or something like that) and share it all.
Clawing our way upAfter we had to swim across the Olentangy River (see the video below for my reaction on that), we had to climb up a ravine, enjoy a cocktail (water) at the top and then had to immediately make our way back to the river. This is when it got a little ugly. I did not make my way down the ravine very gracefully. I lost my footing and slid down the.entire.ravine. on my back. I hit every rock and tree on the way down before I finally caught my right arm around a tree (I have the bruise to prove it), and flipped onto my front and got a mouth full of mud. I am awesome.
Here I am hugging a tree for dear life as I tried to regain my composure and spit out the mud. You can also get an idea of how steep the hill was that I slid down.
Luckily right after my graceful slide, we had to cross the river again. Before that though, I "brushed" my teeth with some muddy river water. Awesome. I could have done an Orbit commercial.
I also faced the scariest man-made obstacle. The Leap of Faith is an 8 foot high platform with a pit of water on the other side. It seems so simple. You just have to jump into the water. Two problems. I don't think I've jumped off anything that high since I was 10 years old and didn't have any fears. The second problem was that the water was muddy. You had no idea how deep it was. My team mates all jumped and went under. I was still on the platform with Mark and I almost climbed back down. He told me we'd do it together so he counted to three and we jumped. Scared the bejeezies out of me! This was the obstacle that I thought I would want/need goggles for but I decided that I didn't want to carry them. I came up out of the water and couldn't wipe my eyes off (they were covered in mud) so I just had to open my eyes. All I could see was a film of mud over my contacts. Ouch. After Mark dragged me out of the water (I couldn't see the edge!), I tried to get a spectator to let me wipe my face on his clean shirt but he didn't seem down with that so I had to trudge on....right into the over and unders.
I did not like these at all. You are fully submerged and have to go under one log, then climb up and over another and then under and over again. My eye balls were on fire! Luckily there was a sprinkler going (to keep things nice and muddy I guess) right after the over and unders so I could at least wash my face/eyes with clean water.
Since there aren't photos, I'm not exactly sure of the order of things but I do know there was a hellish mile of nothing but running through mud. I'm talking thick, suck your shoes off mud for what seemed like miles and miles. It might not have been a full mile but it sucked! I'm a slow runner on pavement, so this was really pushing me to my limits. There was also another rope swing out there that didn't end up in a mud pool but just into a sloppy pile of mud (again, the ropes were too short....or maybe I'm just too short...).
The race finished up with a trench run. They dug a trench that was probably only 2 feet wide and varied in depth from 2-3 feet. And it was full of mud and water. And there were random holes to fall in and twist your ankles and knees. And sticks to scratch the crap out of your legs. It was awesome.
We started as a team and finished as a team. I don't think I could have done it without them! I certainly hope that they still will answer my e-mails when I suggest these crazy things....
They had a fire hose tied to a tree so you could attempt to clean yourself off. I think the water was about 33 degrees. It was an instant ice cream headache when you stepped into it. Yikes. I didn't get very clean. I changed my clothes but it took a very long shower and lots of scrubbing to get the mud off. I won't go into all of the details but there was mud and foliage everywhere!
My shoes and socks were sacrificed but my clothes actually came clean after two trips through the washer. My tutu even held up well! I can't seem to get the dirt smell off it but it looks clean!
It wasn't until I cleaned up that I realized I had a pretty good sized cut on the back of my leg and I had quite a few small scrapes and scuffs on my arms, legs and back (from my graceful slide no doubt). I also have a nasty bruise on my arm where I hooked myself on that tree....but I wear them like badges of honor! I finished the darn thing! All 6.2 miles of it....in a blistering 2 hours and 27 minutes.
My only gripes with the whole race were that finishers were supposed to get 2 beers at the finish but I never saw any beer. Just some hot dogs. Not that I really wanted a beer but we paid for it! Yes, that means that I crossed the finish line and got a hot dog. No medal, no beer. Oh well. Also, there was a $3 charge to check a bag. We paid $65 to do the race and then they were charging to check your bag? Lame. Especially lame since they shuttled us in from an off-site parking lot and everyone had a bag with their clean clothes for after the race. The Pilot was our official paparazzi so he carried my bag for me. And I didn't even have to pay him $3....I guess the lifelong commitment we are going to make in 60 days (!) gets me someone to take my picture and hold my clean clothes while I go running through mud. And someone to make awesome videos like this (Please forgive my mouth. I never said I was classy.).
And so this Gym Class Dropout is now a Mud Runner.