Over a cold, rainy spring weekend in April I ran in my first mud race, MuckFest MS. You may have remembered me posting awhile back that I was training for this, and if you are a Coolidge Corner Healthworks member you may have noticed me hitting the treadmill a lot more than normal.
That’s because in addition to being my first obstacle race, this was my first race ever (Not including me beating Ben in an impromptu swim race this past month in Australia… but I’m pretty sure it doesn’t count as a sanctioned event). Running has never been my strong suit, and I was hesitant to sign up. When I hit the gym I tend to find more enjoyment in strength training than cardio. And my training regimen of running had not been great over the winter. But in a bitter sweet twist of fate I (re)dislocated my shoulder a little over a month ago. I realized I was going to have to lay off the strength training a bit while my shoulder recovered. After buying a sling and eating a box of Kraft Macaroni and Cheese as an attempt to stifle my disappointment in having to take it easy, I started running more seriously.
Flash forward to a week before the race where I was now running with relative ease. I was feeling ready for the run, mostly ready for the mud, and unsure about the obstacles. But I was not ready for the cold. The end of April in Massachusetts can run anywhere from about 35 – 80 degrees, so I had been hoping for the higher end of the range for the race. Unfortunately that Saturday’s weather was 40 degrees and rainy. I made a last minute decision to wear leggings, shorts, and long sleeves under our team shirt. This still probably wasn’t enough clothing. Waiting for the race to start was cold and wet, but once we were with our team of about 25 people the energy and excitement made me forget about the gross weather. We started in the first wave at 9 am. Right out of the gate we were climbing dirt hills with great big pools of cold water on the other side. I was dry for approximately 10 seconds of the hour it took me to run the course.
The bonus of a mud race is that the obstacle provide a bunch of resting points while running. I’m guessing in the summer all of these pools of muddy water would be a welcome chance to cool off too!
There were about 18 obstacles, and most were more about agility than strength. I’ve ranked a few based on my favorites below:
Most despised: The Thunder Dome
This obstacle required that you climb into a pit of water with a very low tent above while they blast music. I got in the water, couldn’t see the other side, and decided that an anxiety attack wasn’t going to help me at this point. I got out and walked around. This is the only obstacle I skipped. Talking to my team afterward the consensus seemed to be that this was everyone’s least favorite.
Most despised runner-up: Skid Mark
The name explains a lot. You drag yourself on your back on a rope, through a mud pit. I’m still not sure that I am 100% clean after doing this obstacle.
Favorite Runner up: Swing Set
This was the second to last obstacle, and at this point one last jump into the water was a great way to finish up. Plus you’re already soaking wet so what’s one more swim? This was quickly followed by the last obstacle of crawling through another tunnel on your belly, full of mud. We wouldn’t want to be to clean when we finished!
This event actually slowed everyone down, and was pretty early on in the race. But my friend Caitlin and I got to go on an awesome ride, and neither of us fell into the water! I call that a win. Plus the photographer caught this photo of us having such a good time!
While we all were having a great time, the real silver lining of the whole race was that my team collectively raised over $6000 to help fight MS. Way to go team Flyin’ Mylin!
This race certainly made me feel more confident in my running ability. I think I may even be more open to running a regular 5K now. And I would certainly run Muckfest again, but really only if it were scheduled in a warmer month! I think it is a great way to try a mud race, but without having to be to worried about difficult, strength based obstacles. If this is something you have always wanted to try I would suggest getting a big team of friends together and get ready for a messy, mucky, but great time!