*** UPDATE ***
The guy fractured his lower back not his neck. Thankfully he will not need surgery and apparently was already asking about running next year.
“Vary your training, your running partners, and your environment. Only your imagination limits the ways you can spice up your running routine.”
Bob Glover, The Runner’s Handbook
Ain’t dat da troof, Bob Glover. I thought I was in pretty good shape but this past weekend showed me that assumption was incorrect. Let me tell you, the Mud Run is very different from a normal run.
Melanie and I ran Jacksonville’s 2nd Annual Mud Run this past weekend. Let me answer your main question first. Yes, it was extremely fun. We loved it. We laughed, fell down in mud and laughed more. The other runners on the course couldn’t have been nicer. They joked around with us and some even stopped to help other groups through obstacles. There were TONS of people out there. Many more than last year. Too many runners if you asked me (They either need to limit registration or make it a two day event). There was a DJ and many vendors selling food, drinks, etc. It is quickly becoming a big deal of a race. No where near the Gate or Donna Breast Cancer yet, but I think they said there were close to 3000 runners.
Now let me answer your next big question. Yes, it was hard. I didn’t get sore like I would after intense weight lifting, but I was wiped out the next day as if I had just extended my long run by several miles. I was tired enough that, coupled with all of the time in the sun and pollen or exposure to wet little kid sneezes, I managed to get semi-sick Sunday afternoon. I’m still recovering this morning but am feeling much better.
Let me finish off your FAQ’s by saying, yes we will do it again next year. Best of all, when I asked my teammates if they wanted to run again I got an enthusiastic yes from all of them.
Now let me answer some of the questions you didn’t ask.
No one on our team was seriously injured. My back is sore from when I hit the ground falling off the rope bridge and Melanie got a few stickers in her hand when she fell off the course going up one of the hills. Let me be the first to say it. I was the only one on our team that failed to complete an obstacle. I’ll get you next year, rope bridge!
Unlike last year, there were a few serious injuries on the course this year. A friend on another team sprained his ankle so badly that he thought he broke it. A guy did break his neck on the same sliding obstacle. I’m not sure if it was a freak accident or if he ignored the rules when he went down head first. Another guy hurt his back when he fell off something and another guy landed on top of him.
Having good equipment really helped. Melanie and I made certain to wear clothing that would not absorb water easily. One of our teammates had on cotton BDU pants that had to have weighed 20 lbs more after our first water obstacle. Also, all of her pockets held water. You could hear it sloshing around as she ran. It was like being in a race next to an inflatable kids’ pool. Another teammate wore old boots. One of them literally fell apart on the run. His sock was hanging out the front of the boot’s upper like a tired dog’s tongue. I had to stop looking at it because it kept making me laugh. Eventually the insole pushed out and he had to Fred Flintstone it the last half mile.
Florida actually has real and true mud. I thought everything would be wet sand but we hit an approximate one mile stretch of peanut butter mud. Every step was like dragging a playful kid attached to your ankle. It was slippery as ice in some spots and very uneven. Melanie went down in it – much to my enjoyment and the delight of all within eyeshot of her.
Three of the obstacles were filled with very cold water. Of course they were the ones that required you be at least up to your neck in them.
The weather was great that day. It started out in the mid 60’s and got into the mid 70’s by the time we had finished. There was almost no wind. It is a difficult thing for the MS Society to balance. If it gets too hot, you’ll have people passing out on the course. If it is too cold, everyone will be miserable since you are 100% saturated for almost the entire race.
Next year we are going to train harder for this event. Our goal this year was to be in good enough shape to complete the course smiling not panting. We did this by making sure we could run six miles before the race. Next year we are going to have to do some circuit training and more steep hill running. There was a section of the course where we ran over a series of very steep hills (grab-the-dirt-in-front of you steep). If we could do those fairly easily, we would drop our time significantly.
As a side note, it was really neat that they incorporated some of the existing landscape into the course. These “hills” that we were running over were actually old munitions bunkers from when the course used to be part of a military base.
My SPF 55 sunscreen worked like a champ! We were out in the sun for over five hours and I didn’t get any burns.
Next year we are going to duct tape the tops of our boots closed. Little rocks worked their way in this year. Quite unpleasant. Some were large enough that we had to stop a couple of times for folks to empty their boots on the side of the course.
We were filthy at the end of the race. They had tank truck with a fire-hose-like attachment on it to blast most of the grime and grit off. When we got home, Melanie laid our clothes out in the driveway and sprayed them with the hose. I soaked them in a bucket of hot water after that and they still turned the water black. They are in the washing machine now with hopes that they don’t look destroyed when they come out.
It took two days to get the dirt completely out of our ears, nose and eyes.
Disposable contacts with glasses waiting for me at the end of the race was the way to go. If you are vision impaired, I highly recommend this plan.
The gallery below contains pictures that our super friend Lunetta took for us. She and Adrianne were real troopers. They hung out for several hours just so we’d have a record of our exploits. A big Superstain thanks to both of you!
Nathan and I want to have two teams next year. I know we can do it. There are several of you that we know that would love to do this. Talk to us about joining our teams!