A few weeks ago, Mike and I innocently said yes to an invite to team up with some friends and compete in the 2.0 Swamp Romp 5k/3k Mud Run. A few of our dear friends from our 2 favorite watering holes were starting teams and running in the race. Mike and I figured, what the hell right? I will be the first to say it wasn't exactly Warrior Dash status, although to me it might as well have been. Did I mention I have never, in my life, ran a single mile? Not even since elementary school. I always walked the mile in gym class. I did win a blue ribbon for a dash, (I forget how long) in Elementary school during our annual field day. I was like lightening that day, I also broke a school record but to be fair I think I was among one of the first of three classes to "graduate" from that school. It was fairly new so it wasn't like I broke a friend's grandmother's record or anything.
That being said, I'm not really athletic. I took dance classes growing up and was on the dance team in high school (brag: captain my senior year), and the only sport I was even close to successful at in school was volleyball, but it was a total popularity club, and well, it wore me out (again, not athletic).
I loved to dance so weezing during a kick line or dance routine never bothered me. I was probably in the BEST shape of my life my senior year. I ate like a horse, increased my ability to dance, run, kick and smile without dying, success! Running? OH HELL NO. Like I said, I walked the track 4 times around in high school with the cool girls, they smoked on the furthest area of the track and then snuffed out their cigs as they came around the bend near the teachers. I just followed along and laughed and chatted, and didn't push myself in the least during that time in my life.
Anytime I tried to be athletic, I got hurt. Gym class was my least favorite. 3rd Grade, basketball, straight to my face. I sneezed for 45 minutes straight. On the plus side, my nose didn't break. Middle school, field hockey, no pads, destroyed my shins left and right. Even dance team, practice on the hard ass concrete floor in the cafeteria, resulted in shin splints from the wrong type of shoes. To say the least, I was a hot mess.
Why on earth did I think I could tackle a 3k mud run? Well, for starters there was beer at the finish line, and secondly I have friends back home that do it all the time [read: very in shape friends that can at least run a mile and for some reason I thought I was like them - yeah no]. I also thought I'd be among a few other people such as myself that weren't exactly stellar athletes but, just wanted to have fun. I was half right. I forgot how many of the servers at The Pie Factory and On the Rocks actually work out when they have off time, and others that don't smoke, and others that well, frankly just kick ass.
Mike and myself - aren't as buff. Yeah, I've done P90x-P90x3, I've done TurboFire and Chalean Extreme, I've dabbled in Insanity and even a few other workouts... but never stuck 100%. After the wedding I just got lazy... I'm still lazy... and it shows. I can lift weights all day long, I love it, but cardio, NO! Just... no. Mike likes video games, and relaxing and once said, and I quote "I am only going to run if a bear is casing me". We were the two most unlikely people to do this race, but again, figured you only live once, right?
SOOO we entered. And this past Saturday was the day it all changed.
SWAMP ROMP 2.0 / SEPTEMBER 27, 2014
We arrived early, really early, too early. Miscommunication. The day started at 8 AM we didn't know our team's race time, again, miscommunication. We didn't run until 11 am. Last heat of the races. Plenty of time for my nerves to build and to become VERY anxious before we started. I won't lie, I enjoyed a beer before. Not the WISEST of choices but I was thirsty. Note: Event people please have lots of water for sale next year... if it was out there I didn't see it, and I quickly slurped through my 32 oz I brought with me (because I thought I was running at 8 am, not 11). My bad.
|Early Check In, Early Numbers. His and Hers.|
We took a group shot before... we are quite a crew are we not? (Mike and I are on the far left).
|HEROES IN A HALF SHELL • TURTLE POWER!!!! • OTR / PF 2014 Swamp Romp 2.0 Crew|
We all stretched together - and made jokes about how we thought we'd do. I was happy to have such a HUGE group to run with, and a group of folks I knew. It made me feel better to know Mike and I since we were so inexperienced would have friends around us to lend a hand if needed.
11:00 AM - TIME TO RUN!
We lined up and the DJ gave us a big introduction, well gave THEM, all the hard workers at the Pie Factory and On the Rocks [they were also big sponsors of the day]. Sent us off with a good luck and we were wide open.
I will try to remember all of the events we had to complete along the way of the 3k. I tried to take mental notes but to be honest I think my brain said only one thing over and over "Holy shit, holy shit, what did I get myself into? Why do people do this for fun? What was I thinking? How is Mike running so well? He plays video games... maybe I should play video games... how did he just clear that hurdle? Holy shit, I can't breathe, focus... you can do this... stop being a slacker... I wanna go home... No, gotta push, I can do this... OH shit, I did it! I'm a beast!" etc. etc.
#1 ICE BATH
Right off the bat we dove into an ice bath - thankfully it was later in the day (racing started at 8 am), so most of the ice was melted and they ran out of ice to dump on us, but it was still cold, and deep. I was worried I'd slip and fall getting out but I did ok.
RUN/WALK - still feeling OK.
#2 HAY BAILS
There were about 8 bails of hay, huge round bails we had to climb up and then jump down. I tried to take a running leap and my foot sunk... lovely. Note to self: Nike Tempo Shorts suck ass for Mud Runs, next time wear some biker shorts under them. I made it.
RUN/WALK for longer... huffing, and puffing the whole, damn way... I finally walked. Mike kept trucking but he kept me in his sights, thankfully.
#3 TIRE PILE
Looks pretty innocent, but then you start stepping on the old ass tires and some of them are dry rotted and brittle... joy to the world. I have scratches from that event, or maybe it was the rocks later... not sure.
RUN/WALK/WALK/WALK - at this point I was a little frustrated with myself. I should have prepared more.
#4 HURDLE / MUD HILL
As I'm walk running, panting and seriously thinking about giving up, yes this early, I see Mike just leap over the hurdle wall like it was NOTHING. Seriously, two hands on the top, and jump, cleared it... I thought to myself MAYBE I could do that, but then got closer and figured I better not try. I climbed over it, tried to joke with the college girls there to help out with the event and then went on.
RUN/WALK/BACK EFFING TRACK
The lovely college girls that had plenty of time to encourage Mike, and talk to him and tell him where to go didn't tell me jack shit. I saw the CAUTION TAPE but thought it was to avoid a huge hole (there was spray paint lining the track where we had to run to avoid holes). He made a hard left, and I missed it, I finally turned around and the 3 girls behind me, looked just as confused. Finally the three of us found the opening, and then I was dead last... And pissed.
#5 HANGING TIRES
This seemed really tame, I guess if you are running full force with other people it would be intimidating. I just shoved through last of the group... and then I finally said OK I need to get up again, and get ahead of these girls and over to Mike.
#6 BEAMS BETWEEN TREES
I jogged to Mike who had already cleared the tall beams we had to climb between two trees. I quickly learned as I climbed and then went to swing my leg over the top that my legs aren't as long as I thought, I had a bit of trouble getting footing to swing the other leg over but recovered ok.
Here is where we made a mistake, again I think that we weren't looking for our directional signs as well as we should have, I was following Mike's lead. At this point I saw the water station and thought... OK I'll run to the water station, it's close. So I took off jogging, then I saw that the jogging track was REALLY LONG, twice the distance I thought it was and for a minute I wanted to cry, and then I wanted to cheat and just run half the course to get to the water, but then I remembered that cheaters never truly win and started walking faster to catch up with Mike.
Note: I clearly don't know how to A) Pace myself and B) Breathe properly while running. I am going to work on that from here on out.
At this point my calve muscles were really starting to kill me. I stretched before hand but I think that because I wore "cross training" shoes for this run (they were older and I didn't care if they got destroyed) + my lack of experience was really starting to wear me down.
Oh the sweet refreshing nectar of the gods.
We realized after taking the long way around that we went the wrong way and missed out on probably 1 event in the woods for this run. Mike was like do you want to go through the woods and I probably said in a greatly bitchy, winded voice... "Hell no! Keep going!" Sorry babe if I was bitchy to you at all.
RUN/WALK for what felt like the longest distance yet.
#7 UP THE HILL
The course was made on an old golf course so we were running on a lot of greens up and down hills at this point. Once you crest the top of the hill, Mike had already gone further than me, so I was hanging with a woman who's husband left her in the dust. When we got to the top of the hill we were greeted by about 10 different directional arrows... I stopped and said, do they expect us to go in circles? Are we supposed to weave around the trees? Her words were as colorful as my own and we decided to bump that and just run straight through.
RUN/WALK - Kill me now!
#8 MINI MUD PIT HURDLES
Well, I guess we were supposed to jump over the flags? Maybe it was a crawl event but honestly no one was there, and the low laying flags had almost all fallen in the mud, and most of the prints in the mud pit resembled feet, not knee marks. So I pretended to jump hurdles just did a high knee movement until the end of the mud. At this point the three ladies behind me seemed to be cheating and just not competing anymore. Lame!
WALK/RUN around the small pond, on an incline. I picked a bad time to feel like I had a 2nd wind, my calves didn't like me running on a slant at all.
#9 MUD PIT #1
I saw Mike climbing out of the pit as I rounded the corner. He was covered at a slant in mud. He yelled back to me to be careful, it's really deep. I grabbed the guide rope and tried to walk gingerly down the small muddy hill... Since I'm so graceful I landed in the mud like a total lady... soaking myself from almost shoulder to toe in mud. After that all that was left to do was tromp to the other side, and try to climb out. Done. Finished it, did OK.
WALK/RUN down a bit and to the next MUD PIT.
#10 MUD PIT 1.5
Same pit, further down the way, and more water, I thought this might be easier, Mike warned me not to JUMP in, so I held on to some thick weeds (averted my mind away from all the ticks hiding in there) and slid into the mud and then it happened... OH EFF, my shoe was stuck... I tried not to panic but tried to remember what I learned about being stuck in quicksand... seriously, this is where my mind went. Instead of trying to pull my foot straight out, I wiggled it a little, and then pointed my toe and the shoe slid out... You know the saying "Sounds like a boot in mud." yup, just like that. Sick I know sorry...
Huffing and puffing I made it across the mud, and followed Mike on. He was still way ahead of me and I'm thankful he waited for me. I didn't want to go it alone.
At this point I was pretty exhausted, and my feet weighed a TON. We had a HUGE and long run ahead of us, and finally I believe made it to the next event. (Please note this is all a bit hazy at this point I might have left some out).
#11 UP HILL TIRE RUN
You know the tires that football players use for conditioning? The run through them back and forth with great speed, that is what this event was, but UP HILL. I tried to show that hill my moves and almost fell, I was tired yo! So I walked up them as I should but it's OK... I admit it, I'm out of shape.
If you don't know what slacklining is, you're not alone - I just googled that shit because I didn't know how to explain it to you. We have a group of kids here - I think it's college funded that do "Outdoor Adventure" stuff and slacklining is one of the events they do. I wish I wasn't so shaky at this point in my run. Mike seemed to do well, I watched him as I came down the hill toward the trees. Basically it's like a high wire act, but close to the ground. I climbed up and was shaking and fearful I might fall but finally I righted myself, and did well. I almost wanted to try again - I wish this was at the finish line so I could play all day... but I had to move on.
WALK / RUN
End of the line, I see a beautiful water stop again. SO happy... and even more fun once I got close I realized my little-brother-in-law was there with his puppy Suzy. I was so happy, I yelled "HEY PADEN!" and then in a higher voice said "SUZY Q!!!!" And commented had I known she was here I would have ran the whole race (not!)... I chugged water and we were instructed if we went right it would be the last events of the 3k, or if we went Left it would be the 5k. We opted for 3. I was done.. toast... but I had Suzy to run with me so it made it fun, most adorable puppy ever (next to our June).
#13 CLIMB THE WALL
Let's just say that my shoes were wide so trying to cling to these 2x4 type chopped bits of wood was difficult for me, my upper body strength is great for lifting weights other than my OWN body weight. Grunting and all I cleared the wall, splinter free I might add.
#14 SLIP N' SLIDE TO FREEDOM!
I missed Mike going down the slide, I got to the top and it seemed rather dry, not nearly enough water and I laid down and tried to go... I looked like a beached whale I'm sure... but... I rolled a bit got up and ran to the beer tent. I gave Mike crap for not waiting for me, he said THIS is the finish line Kelly, THE BEER TENT! Touche, he was right.
WE WEREN'T FIRST, BUT WE WEREN'T LAST and WE SURVIVED!
That's all we wanted!!!
|SWEET DELICIOUS BEER... YOU ARE MY FAVORITE!|
That afternoon... we drank beers, hung out with our team, watched some beer pong, listened to some great old school rap music and then decided to stuff our faces at On The Rocks, our FAVORITE bar in town (Pie Factory is our favorite bar/pizza joint). Yes, we went into the bar, with mud still on us, but we did hose of a bit and we brought beach towels, we aren't total cave people. We headed home and took showers and then I crashed in bed, and Mike crashed on the couch. I woke up that afternoon around 4 PM with a massive headache - I took some meds and drank some water and laid back down. By the next morning I think I was mildly dehydrated, my eyes were dry, my throat was sore, I just felt awful. I'm finally feeling better and will remember next year to bring myself more water, some possible gatorade and to drink less beer (I drank that Mich Ultra like it was water when we finished). LUSH.
All in all even with my disappointment in myself I had a great time and can't wait to try again next year! Maybe I should have started with a level 3k, or basic 5k - but I guess I wanted to GO BIG or GO HOME!
PS I'm also glad I didn't do the 5K apparently at the end when you crawl under the chicken wire obstacle there were rocks where your knees were, I would have HATED that.