This weekend I finally bit the bullet and did my first mud / obstacle race. And let me just… believe they hype because they are SO MUCH FUN. This Saturday, my friend Haley (from Bring it Om) and I participated in the Mud Dog Run at Ceresville Mansion in Frederick, Maryland. This was a 5K race with 21 obstacles throughout. Despite being pretty bruised and scraped up today, I would do it again in a heart beat.
We were running in wave 2, which started at 10:45 am. This made for a VERY leisurely race morning. We left around 9 am and arrived right around 10 am. After signing a pretty extensive waiver, we got our numbers and took the obligatory “pre-race” photo. Mike was, once again, amazing and served as our photographer / bag holder during the race. I wore a super old pair of sneakers that I retired from my running rotation about a year ago. I didn’t mind if they got totally ruined. I decided that the less clothing the better, since I didn’t want to get weighed down in heavy wet clothes. Since Saturday was the one year anniversary of my marathon, I decided to wear my geeky 26.2 tech shirt and spandex shorts. People were wearing all KINDS of awesome costumes. Haley and I always forget to coordinate our outfits or plan costumes … rats.
Registration was a breeze and well set up. Since the race went off in waves, there were never big lines for anything (bathrooms, food, beer, NOTHING). I loved this.
We watched the winner from wave 1 come across in like 25 minutes, which was pretty impressive. Haley ad I decided that our goal should be to not double his time. Then it was time for us to line up for our wave. This guy led everyone in a little warm up but it was kind of too crowded for everything he wanted us to do. I completely skipped the burpees because I saw like 5 people get kicked in the face. I love burpees but I’ll do them on my own time. The horn sounded and off we went!
Very naively, I thought this wouldn’t be that hard. It was only a 5k and you never ran very far without stopping at an obstacle. Built in running break, right? WRONG. It was so much harder than I thought it would be! The obstacles were awesome and SUPER fun, but they were challenging. We ran between every obstacle but at times we were feeling pretty tired! I obviously didn’t bring a camera out on the course with me so I borrowed the following photos from the race’s Facebook page. Photo credits.
All the obstacles were stupid fun. Some were definitely harder and scarier than others, but we went through every single one! The balance beam was great because almost everyone around us fell in except us! Hooray for yogis who have sweet balance. Before the second mile marker, we ended up kind of adopting this little girl who was out on the course by herself. She ran ahead of her sisters so we kept her with us and helped her through the obstacles. She was so cute. At one point I found myself thinking, “Hmmm I dunno I mean I’m more wet than muddy…” but then in the final 4 obstacles there were two giant MUD PITS. It was like wading through sludge but the hardest part is getting OUT of them. The hills getting out were super steed and completely slick with mud. It was really hard for me to do it and the little girl was totally stuck. We ended up pulling her out of the pit with Haley at the top of the hill holding my ankles, me on my stomach reaching in, and a third person giving the little girl a boost. It was a serious team effort, I loved it!
We got out of the last mud pit, jumped over the fire logs, and headed to the finish line!
Mike had a great spot for pictures and got this gem of us crossing the finish line together! 44:29 not too shabby for us! And we met our goal to not double that guy’s time 🙂
Post race we were looking pretty fantastic with our Mud Dog Run pint glasses (awesome finisher item in my opinion).
You can’t really see from the picture but my right knee is actually bleeding. BAD ASS.
First order of business was to CHANGE. We went over to the car to peel off our muddy clothes, towel off, and change. Mike was pretty impressed by our ability to change modestly in public with just one towel each. Girls are so multi-talented.
After we changed the first order of business was BEER. The race was sponsored by Flying Dog which is one of my FAVORITE beers ever. I had the Woody Creek Belgian Whit and it was… amazeballs. My favorite is the In Heat Wheat Hefeweizen but they didn’t have that at the race.
We found a couple chairs to plop down and drink our beers. I wasn’t super hungry but Haley and Mike both got the pulled pork sandwich, which was apparently delicious.
All around… an amazing way to spend a Saturday. We had SO much fun at this race and I can’t wait to do another one. Cleaning up was of course a very different story. I washed my clothes and towel separately TWICE with sport detergent. After a took a shower, I had to then clean the tub with bleach to get all the dirt and mud out. My shoes are outside on the balcony right now and I still haven’t decided what I am going to do with them. I’m thinking let them dry, bang them off, then wash them in the washing machine?
Questions for you guys:
- Have you ever done a mud / obstacle race before? Which one?
- What is your favorite beer?
- How do you get sneakers clean after a mud run?
In honor of the Spring of Speed… I ACTUALLY raced my very first 5K this weekend. I’ve done it a number of times in training (a 5K “time trial” of sorts), but I’ve never raced an actual 5K race. To be honest, last week kinda stunk just for a number of silly little reasons. It wasn’t “my” week and I was VERY grateful when it was after 5 on Friday. I didn’t have high hopes for this 5K even though I really wanted to do well. I was having a crappy week, I accidentally brought long pants thinking they were capris (it was kind of warm) and my hair tie broke as I was putting my hair in a race ponytail. I also neglected to charge or pack my Garmin. I didn’t really feel ready.
But luckily, Mike agreed to run with me since he isn’t really in racing shape right now (Mike’s 5K PR is like 19 minutes and change, so we’re not really in the same league usually). I showed up, picked up my number, ditched my bag, and I even went for a warm up jog (which I don’t normally do… but now I’m thinking perhaps I should?). We saw / chatted with a couple people, including my brother’s roommate (who is like super hardcore / in the military so we definitely weren’t running with him).
I decided to shoot for a pace of 8:45 min / mile, but had to rely on Mike b/c he was wearing the Garmin. I took off at what I thought / hoped was a hard but maintainable pace. I had to work hard to think about this race differently than I normally do my longer distance races. Even if I went out “too fast”, I wasn’t going to totally bonk / not finish a 5K. I ended up clocking 8:25 for the first mile and I felt good. My legs felt great and could definitely hold that pace. I figured I’d try and hold it for as long as I could and just see how things went!
Around mile 1.8 I started getting this weird burning sensation in my stomach. Normally, I would back off if I felt something like that, but I tried to remember that this was a 5K. According to Mike… the “hurt” of a 5K is different than the “hurt” of a half marathon. I pushed on despite the feeling in my stomach. We clocked mile 2 at 8:25 as well. The final mile was definitely the most challenging, but I did everything I could to dig deep and pull this out. I almost bulldozed a little kid on the course by accident… sorry kid!
Mile 3 clocked in slightly slower at about 8:30, but overall I was really pleased with my ability to hold a steady pace over the course of the race. Mike was, as always, an amazing racing partner because he pushed me when I needed it but also backed off and let me run my race (I can be kind of mean when I’m really focused but he knows it comes from a place of love haha). My legs felt perfect but I was definitely feeling that burning sensation in my stomach / chest. My breathing was hard but not strained or shallow, which was good! (Apparently, these are all feelings you should have while racing a 5K? I dunno I just repeat what people say to me). I was able to muster up a little surge to the finish line, which is always nice.
As you can see, I raced with my hair down (thank god I had a headband at least!) and I rolled my ankle length tights up to my knees to create makeshift capris. These things were like a vice on my legs though. I’m shocked I didn’t have to amputate both of my legs below the knees to get them off.
My official finish time was 26:45! Considering before this race the other 5Ks I’ve run were all over 30 minutes, I feel pretty good about that 🙂 New PR to start the weekend!! As always, thank you Pacers for putting on an AWESOME event.
After the race, I enjoyed some Corner Bakery cookies, Vita Coco water, and caught up with a few friends before heading home. It was a lovely night of homemade pizza, beer, and falling asleep by 10:15 pm 🙂
Questions for you guys:
– Do you prefer shorter or longer races? I think I still prefer longer races, but I’m enjoying the new challenge of short.
– Have you ever done a night / evening race before? Thoughts?
– What is your favorite cookie?? I have a weakness for black and white cookies, but other than that I think my favorite is the snicker doodle!