Sunday, July 27, 2014

5 Things I Learned From My First Mud Run

Way back in March I signed up for the Spartan Sprint.  (It's in 2 weeks.  whoop whoop!!).  Then I found out about the Dirty Girl Mud Run.  It's a woman's 5k, and it took place at Amesbury Sports Park. It was an incredible experience, and I learned a few things about myself from doing it.

Strike a pose!
The wettest finish line I've ever seen!




1.  I am much stronger and flexible than I think I am.

The race began with us having to climb halfway up a hill to get to the start line.  Now I've seen that Amesbury hill before (you can see it from the highway) and I was immediately like "Gurl, whet?  I gotta go where?"  However, I took a deep breath, walked up the hill, and got off to a great start.  It was also really weird because as our wave was starting we could see a woman finishing the race running back down another part of the hill.  I immediately thought, "There's no way I can run down a muddy hill!"  There were a few moments where I was really surprised that I could do stuff.  I can climb a muddy hill.  I can climb an inflatable slide.  I can lower myself down a hill with a rope.  I had serious moments of "Get it, girl!!"


At the finish line, the DJ promised me a water bottle if I showed a dance move, so of course I had to show and prove.

2.  I like being around other people, but I also need alone time with my own thoughts.

Because I registered for this race by myself, I didn't go through the course with any friends.  However, I found that that didn't really make a difference.  Because I walked the course, I met lots of women from later waves who were running as well as walkers.  At one point, I met a family of women (this sounds like a wagon train story!  haha), one of whom had a knee injury and needed to walk.  These two women were very nice, but they kept wanting to talk.  I, on the other hand, wanted to concentrate on my breathing and on not busting my butt in the woods.  It was nice having people around me and I even saw a couple of friends and hugged one in the middle of a very steep hill climb.  However, I really enjoyed the mental centering that the race demanded of me.  I was also didn't want to eat mosquitos (which I did anyway.)



This obstacle is called "Get A Grip"
Scared to death, but staying cute!




















3.  There are tons of people in the world who want nothing more than to see me succeed.

I am very afraid of heights.  I don't like looking down from heights, and I certainly don't like to think about falling from them.  One of the obstacles was a 12-foot cargo net where we had to go up and over. I almost chose to skip this obstacle, but there was a woman climbing the net who told me that I could do it and that I can go as slow as I need to.  I got a quick picture on my way up the net, and in that moment I was telling myself that I could go back down if I wanted to.  However, this woman just wouldn't let up!  She asked me my name and kept cheering me on.  When I got to the top of the net and rung the bell, she cheered and told me to just swing my leg over to the other side and climb down.  There was a group of women under the net who were cheering all of us climbers on, and it was really cool.  I got lots of muddy hugs once I was safely back on the ground, and I stayed and cheered for other women climbing over the net.  It was a nice little party.



Made it to the top!
4.  Women's bodies are gorgeous!!

At the end of the race, we stood in a rinse off stations (about 30 hoses), and everyone stripped off their shirts to get all rinsed off.  After rinsing off we went into a big tent to change our clothes.  There was such a wonderful diversity of bodies, outfits, and shower styles.  It was really cool to see everyone sharing soap and garbage bags.  Everyone was complimenting each other on finishing the race.  I got to see what community looks like, and I always love that!


5.  My race.  My pace.

Dirty Girl was tough.  There were hills and mud puddles to navigate.  Mosquitos were out in full force. I had to constantly check my feet to make sure I wasn't going to fall on my face.  When I got to one obstacle (this big slide), I had to sit at the top for a minute and get over my fear of heights.  Here's a video of some women doing it in Scranton, PA.



I sat at the top and let some women go ahead of me while I took lots of deep breaths.  I think this is related to my feelings about being centered while exerting myself.  I don't want to rush myself or try to keep up with some imagined pace.  I didn't run one lick of this race and have no plans to run a lick of the Spartan Sprint, and my insistence on prioritizing safety, cheering myself on in my head (while spitting out mosquitos), and enjoying the process of making it to the finish line ensured not only that I enjoyed this event, but has gotten me excited to complete many more OCR's.

I feel like I keep saying this, but it's still true.  I never thought I'd be a person who enjoys obstacle run courses.  I'm already looking forward to the next one!! (which might be on Saturday if my pulled muscle lets me do it).  I'm already signed up for the Spartan Sprint and Insane Inflatable 5K.

If you think that obstacle course racing sounds like something you'd like to do, hit me up!  I found a wonderful group on Facebook (the New England Spahtans) that is full of folks who do these all the time.  I can't wait to meet more people from the group.