- When at an event with more than 1,000 people, no one really “takes off” from the starting line like you see in movies.
Everyone just kind of tiptoes forward until they find enough space to take a full step. It’s really anticlimactic, and a bit of a buzzkill.
- Once the race starts, any nerves you had about the event melt away in the first quarter mile.
The reason your nerves regain their composure after a quarter mile is because you realize that the first obstacle is almost a half-mile from the start line. Nobody mentioned that part, and by the time we finished the initial run, we were looking up a large hill with a tire obstacle staring right back at us.
This was immediately followed by a few other overcrowded obstacles and one last decline before we hit “the pit.” The reason we were all here was then right in front of me: When I got to it, I jumped in with all I had, landing feet-first in two feet of filthy glory. It’s awesome and it was absolutely worth the effort to get there. At that point, a couple more things became very clear:
- Don’t jump feet-first into the mud pit. As it turns out, the top is a manageable liquid, but the bottom is a bit more like the pile of industrial glue that Wile E. Coyote would find himself in after almost catching the Road Runner. I was ankle-deep in mud so thick that the only way I was getting my foot back was to loose my shoe. I spent the next 60 seconds chest-deep, fumbling in the muck, searching for a shoe that would never be the same again. I did manage to dig it out finally and slosh through the remainder of the pit with one bare foot, but found I was now missing my sock and couldn’t even fit my foot back in the shoe because it was so full of mud.
- As it turns out, the guy wearing only a loincloth was probably the best-dressed runner for the mud pit. It’s a bold statement and certainly debatable on moral grounds (not to mention requiring a certain level of self-assurance), but most of the mud that he collected in the pit was quickly washed away by the anxious 8-year-old girl with a garden hose standing outside the pit. My athletic, lightweight, wicking, stretchy, breathable shirt was hanging to my knees and the neck was somewhere around my belly button—maybe a jock strap and a Jason mask would have been a better choice.
After the mud pit, the rest of the course is painfully slippery and slow. I was now carrying an extra 10 pounds of mud, running without a sock in a mud-packed shoe and doing my best to hold my shirt above my knees. The crowd was now divided into two teams: those who were in shape and just getting a little dirty before getting back to the party at base camp, and those who were stupid enough to sign up for this torturous event without any significant forethought. While I found myself in the latter group, I knew then that I never wanted to be in that group again. We balanced on beams, climbed walls, bloodyed our knees on cargo nets and eventually burned off all of our ankle hairs on gasoline-soaked logs.
The race was over, but even then, there were still a few more lessons to be learned:
- You will have mud in every little crevice of your body. Yep, even there! You’ll wonder how little kids can possibly deal with a messy diaper.
- Wear Gloves and knee pads: to low crawl
- It’s a long walk back to the car. We had to walk for a good half-mile to get to our car, then walk the distance back again to the showers to clean up.
- Be prepared to shower with 50 of your newest friends. I stood between a man dressed as a nun and a young college girl who had a very free spirit. As great as that might sound to some of you, trying to remove the mud from your shorts and very personal nether regions in between a nun and a college girl is a surprisingly awkward situation.
- DONT Dress as if you were a teenage girl, DONT wear 100 percent cotton shirts. use dry wear if you can! or not shirt.
- Don’t jump in the mud pit. Ease in and watch out for the girl with the hose—she has bad aim.
- Choose your shower partners wisely.
- Have a friend at the event who isn’t running to take pictures and hold a change of clothes for you.
- Bring some real beer with you in the car for after the event.
- Revel in the glory when you’re done. It’s even better than you think and you’re surrounded by countless others who have just been through the same life-changing experience. Take it all in and enjoy.