Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Muddy Morning Run

I survived the Marines 5k Mud Run!  Just in case you were worried, as I haven’t posted since then……

It was a chilly morning, but my friend Zac was running also and his wife came along as support crew, so we clowned around and distracted ourselves from the fact that we were purposely going to run around in the woods, get soaking wet, and thoroughly muddy.

Clowning around pre-race

We started at the very back, which turned out to be a poor decision.  We are faster than we thought, so we had to pass the crowd of slower people in front of us.  If you know me, you know I’m not terribly coordinated, so that was maybe trickier for me than for others.  I caught up to Zac at the bottleneck before the tunnel, but lost him again once we hit the river.  Because of my tremendous physical skill, I fell over in the river pretty much immediately.  Cold, cold, cold coooooooold.  It didn’t really matter, because it was up to my waist later anyway.  Plus I ran into a submerged tree limb further along.  I didn’t think I’d be capable of running by the time we finally got done slogging through the water.  My knees were numb and my thigh muscles were whining.  I did, though.  And it felt like I was flying, because I wasn’t fighting the resistance of the water anymore.

I almost got knocked down in the first (knee-deep and fairly short) mud pit.  Managed to keep my feet that time—whew.  I was really glad I had the safety goggles to cover my glasses.  I don’t think I could have made it through the race without them.  I’m pretty sure the tiny rubber duckies glued to the safety goggles helped quite a bit, too.  After the mud pit, the course headed up a long, steep hill and the trail was barely wide enough for two people.  Not many chances to pass, unfortunately, and I was trapped behind slower people a couple of times.  There was plenty of space once we got to the top, plus a water stop (I did grab water, but just to rinse the sand out of my teeth—yuck!) 

There was some running at an angle—no real trail there, just grass cut shorter on the hillside, then a steep downhill (what goes up must come down).  My Trail Runner Magazine reading helped out and I got to try a particular downhill technique for the first time—I passed people—woo-hoo!  At the bottom of the hill, the trail headed back into the woods (stuck behind people again periodically).  I was thrilled to realize I had enough breath to shout “sweet lid” at a lady who had on a snazzy hat (as I passed her—hee). 

Before I knew it, I was across the last creek and headed for the mud pit.  200 yards of cold, muddy water and plenty of rocks.  Lots of caution tape, so you had to stay completely in the mud to get under it.  Once again, thank heaven for the safety goggles—the duckies kept me afloat, I’m sure of it.  The easiest technique seemed to be to let my feet float and pull myself along using my hands.  Then across the finish line and into the big crowd of incredibly muddy people.  Done!

Turns out Zac had slowed down repeatedly to look for me, but I must have passed him (maybe in the river?).  He came through the mud pit about a minute after me—and nicely held the caution tape for some of our fellow runners.

Cold but victorious

It also turns out that somewhere during the race, I had injured myself.  I got some nasty scrapes on my shins and had to visit the first aid tent after rinsing off and dressing in clean clothes.  Also got some wicked bruises, which didn’t really appear til later in the day.  Considering how often I fell down and the terrain we went through, I felt pretty lucky overall.

I will definitely plan to do this again next year, and I made some mental notes about things I could do to make it more fun.  Here they are, don’t let me forget:

  •  No slacking off during summer runs.  I felt strong during the run, but I was faster last spring.
  • Gotta get my own support crew--Allison was great, but of course had to focus on "her" runner.
  • Braid my hair--maybe even wear a swim cap.
  • Find different gear--something like compression tights and a shirt that dries faster.
  • Get back into swimming (my arms and back were crazy sore for the next few days).
  • Rinse off in the river instead of fighting the crowd at the outdoor showers.
  • Bring a thermos of coffee for warming up after.
  • Bring two towels.  At least.

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