The night before the big race Jacob succumbed to a cold that stuffed his nose up. He did not sleep well. Which means I did not sleep well. But at 6:30am I was raring to go. Josh took a bit longer. Okay, so he was still in bed sleeping. 🙂 When we finally got all the kids in the van and drove away we felt like we were on Amazing Race – a show Josh and I both enjoy watching, just getting to the start line. We arrived on time, but missed the parking lot area. So we drove an extra 15-20 minutes backtracking. Then we had to find Josh’s parents as they wanted to bring the kids back to their house so we needed to switch vehicles. We had 45 minutes until the race started. I nursed Jacob while Josh went to find them. Then we headed to the bus that would drive us to the start. 20 minutes ’til start time. Once off the bus Josh and I ran off to get our number bibs and drop off our belongings. About 6 minutes until start time. Ahh! We pushed through the crowd of yellow bibs, as they were in the second wave to run. We got to the back of our wave #1, the pink bib people, and two seconds later the horn blew. And we were off! Talk about cutting it close.
First up is the fire hose. I could hardly wait for the fire hose. It was sunny and hot already at 9 am. So I got nice and wet when I got to the fire hose and it felt wonderful. Not too far after the hose there was a small part of the course that had path A or B to help reduce the crowding of all the runners. I took path A while my friend who was also running the race took path B and unknowingly I passed her up. Since we got their just before the race started I didn’t have time to find her before the race. I spent the entire race watching for her ahead of me, assuming she was still in front of me. We finished only 3 minutes apart – we could have run the whole course together! Oh well.
The steeple chase was a leap over a small wall and into a pit of mud. It wasn’t hard or bad until I got out of the mud and discovered I gained a couple pounds in my shoes. Blah. And then the Omaha Beach Crossing. Sand. I do not like running in sand. At all. Horrible, horrible stuff. And then came the hill. Huge, long hill. If you look at the above course map the hill extends from the beach crossing all the way to the straw bale challenge. There are a few flat areas, but not many. Josh and I estimated that it was about an elevation climb of 420 feet. I walked a lot of that hill. After combat town the incline became very steep . Just walking up it made my legs burn. The cargo net climb was fun, except for the wait to do it. There was quite a line. Good time to rest, I guess. And then the first water station. Josh told me to drink at every station so I followed him advice and did so. I thought I was at the top of the hill now, but discovered after the bend in the trail we went up even more. Ugh. Such disappointment. I truly dislike hills. Why did I do this again? The straw bale challenge was climbing over straw bales. My aching legs! After all that up hill, to do more climbing? But then a gatorade stop! And after that the wonderful downhill. Relief! And I was 4 miles in, 53 minutes. I asked a fellow runner who had a watch on. 🙂 What an encouragement! I was doing much better then I thought I was. My training pace was 12 minutes/mile and even after all that walking up hill and waiting during some of the obstacles I was only at 13.25 minutes/mile pace.
Down in the loop was a mud pit with a 5 ft wall to climb over which I fell in. Last year Josh told me about the mud pit and thinking it wasn’t as deep as it was and ending up on his hands and knees so I thought I was prepared. Well, I was except that one foot landed on semi-solid mud while the other landed in a hole. And I plopped over. Next I had to duck under a net that covered the expanse of the Chosin reservoir which was bone dry. That wasn’t too hard to me, I just bent over and walked. A hose at the other side refreshed me again. More wonderful downhill and then the mudpits. This was probably were I was the most discouraged. The first mud pit was around 3-4 feet deep with a 5 ft wall in the middle to climb over. I don’t know if I can accurately describe how hard it was. My feet sunk into the mud and it required a lot of muscle to get my foot out. There was no way I could have run through it. I couldn’t even get my feet out of the mud when I jumped to get over the wall. I had to lean over the wall and pull my feet out. I was very relieved to finally climb out of the pit only to see another mud pit looming in front of me. I almost wanted to cry. But this one was only 1-2 feet deep and so much easier. Some big concrete pipes to crawl through at the other end awaited me and gave me a few little cuts on my knees.
And then the slippery slope. Very steep and continually hosed down with a firehose. Extremely muddy and slippery. I just kept thinking about where I was putting my feet and nothing else. I didn’t even look up to see when it would end. I was pretty exhausted by this point. And then another horrible hill! Okay, it wasn’t that steep, but I was too tired to run up it. At the top I was so excited, another drink station and I was at mile 6! I was almost done! And then my hopes were dashed when I caught sight of another obstacle. But it wasn’t so bad actually. It was called “over-under” since there were beams that you alternated going over and under. I went over a beam that I leaned on and swung my feet over like I was a gymnast. It was actually quite fun. The under wasn’t so bad – it helped I was small compared to other tall guys I was running beside at that time. But I could definitely feel my burning thighs as I lowered myself. The guy I followed was rather big and his legs visibly shook when he went under. A little more running and another mud pit. It seemed like everyone was crawling, but I didn’t want to lower my body. I didn’t want to waste any energy. But eventually I had no choice because after 2 steps an army guy yelled “Pink, down on the ground!” That was me. Up til this point I really had stayed rather clean. From my knees down were definitely dirty, but my bright pink shirt was mostly still bright pink. Not anymore. But as much as I disliked lowering my body down to my hands and knees, I loved crawling in that mud. The mud was cool and crawling used different, fresh muscles. I just zoomed through that mud pit, it was great. A steep downhill came up next. At this point I could finally hear the live band that was by the finish line. Have you ever run while listening to upbeat music? Just hearing that music gave me a burst of energy. At the bottom of the hill was a bend in the road, and the finish line appeared 100 yards before me!!! I did it!!
After getting some more gatorade and sitting a bit, I really felt rather good. I was elated that I finished and did so well. Did I mention my goal was to be under 2 hours? My time was 1 hour 30 minutes!! But looking back I really should have trained more for the hills. It was good to train for the distance running, but the hills really wiped me out. Or I should say, the hill. People asked me if I’ll do it next year, if I had fun, etc. My answer: I’m glad I did it, but it wasn’t really fun, and it’ll take a lot of convincing for me to do it again. I heard there is a 5k mud run in a nearby town. That sounds more my speed.
Oh…and I’m famous. 🙂 Here is a video clip, which is my children’s favorite movie right now. I run right in front of the camera at about the 3rd second. http://www.utsandiego.com/news/2013/jun/01/mud-run/ I saw the man there with the camera, but I thought he was taking pictures, not a video!
Some fun facts.
- I finished as the 48th female out of 190 in my age group.
- I finished 1145 overall, out of 3440 runners. Not too bad.
- The first woman to finish completed the course just under 48 minutes and was 50 years old. I guess there is hope for me, right?
- And for a couple minutes I ran beside a 79 year old woman. Impressive!
- The fastest guy was a 20 year old who completed it in 41.5 minutes. My friend stood by him as we waited to start, and he told her that he runs 50-70 miles a week. A little 6.2 mile run is probably a warm-up to him!
So there you have it. Now I’ll have to find other motivation to keep up my running. Every muscle in my legs ached the next day and I read that the muscles are torn and rebuilding themselves stronger. So now I don’t want to lose those stronger muscles! I went through a lot of work to get them. 🙂
Well, this post has gotten long enough, though I feel I could add more. So I will end this with my funny kid quip for the day: After a 4-year-old girl threw up from being spun on a tire swing, my pastor’s wife asked her if she had gotten motion sick. She replied, “No, I got swing sick”. Haha!