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Saturday, November 14, 2009

Serve America Mud Run

I ran my fourth mud run this morning, a five miler, with an aching IT band. Result: I had plenty of fun and remained strong, plus it was for a great cause (the Wounded Warriors and other veterans organizations).

Arriving quite early (7:30), I didn’t realize that my race started at TEN. It was all good though (not “the” IT, but the general it : ), because I had lots of time to roam. The race took place at the old Lion Country Safari grounds, a family attraction from my youth. I remember going to Lion Country Safari at least once as a child (it was a drive-thru attraction, with wild animals roaming about). They’ve kept it much the same, wild, dirt roads, but with some man-made lakes (rather ponds), that I don’t recall. The best thing about arriving so early was that I got to watch the 5k mud run, which was enjoyable indeed. For the first time ever, I got to see the front runners cross the finish line. (I’m usually way too far back in the pack to see that!). There were three of them today, all neck-in-neck, when the lead guy ran off the course, had to turn back and lost his lead! The crowd groaned. A good ten minutes passed before another crossed the finish line, a few minutes later, another after that – all male. And then the first female from the 5k came in, lean and mean, and strong! I snapped a few pictures with my cell phone at the final mud crawl, and stood along the finish shoot clapping as muddy/wet runners came in before I went off to bag check and stretched my IT some more.

Of course, I chose the five mile, instead of the 5 kilometers (mainly because as far as distances go, I usually dislike 5k’s, because it takes me so long to warm-up – in other words, the race is practically over before I’m warm). As a future note, 5k’s for mud runs might be a good idea, especially with an aching hip.

Nonetheless, I did enjoy myself trudging through mud, running up hills, jumping over logs, pulling myself over walls, crawling through sand, jumping haystacks, and more. I’ve got that final mud crawl that all mud runs love to lay on us, down pretty good. It’s the one that we have to slide down into and crawl beneath ropes. Most people do that “army crawl” – not me, I let my body “float” and walk with my hands. Believe me it’s the best way to traverse it. I passed many in those final seconds.

I’d say this was one of the most enjoyable mud runs to date. I came in at little over an hour, passing many along the way. There were no timing chips – but time matters least in this kind of race. To do it is a feat. My accomplishment was that I never stopped, and I ran up every single solitary hill : )

Note to those of you considering one of these crazy races: to do well in a mud run, you don’t have to be a fast runner. You just need to keep a constant pace through all of it, and you need decent upper body strength, and most importantly need to know the best way to conquer the obstacles (that may take a few tries).

I mingled a bit afterwards, then hit the group showers. After changing into dry clothes in a shaded, cold, gender-segregated big tent, I headed back home, happy for a race well done.

Miles logged this morning: 5

Injuries acquired: a left bruised knee, a seam burn on my arm, and an IT band prevented from further healing.

Some scenes from the 5k

Oh the fun of a mud run!

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