Saturday I was able to cross one thing off of my bucket list.
The starting times were staggered every 15 minutes all day long. My starting time wasn’t until 5:30 pm. We spent the morning and afternoon running errands and were able to show up at the race site around 4pm. Unfortunately Matt wasn’t able to run with me because we weren’t sure if he would have the day off until it was too late to sign up :(. But we were able to make it a family affair anyway.
It had rained all day until about an hour before we got there, so the entire site was covered with mud. Lucy wasn’t thrilled how loud the music was. It was LOUD!
Jack was surprisingly happy to stay in the backpack the whole time.
I held Henry while we killed time before start time.
I even nursed him while I stood at the starting line (someone called me superwoman… I’ll take it ;))
For me, the beginning of a race is always the hardest. I want to take it a little bit easier in the beginning so that I don’t kill myself but every time I push myself harder than is comfortable in the first mile (comfortable for a race) I end up loosening up and doing far better overall than I would have otherwise. I remember when I ran my first half-marathon I had a really hard time keeping up with my running group at the beginning. My legs screamed and I had a hard time breathing. A mile or two in to it though I ended up breaking away in the front and smoked them all. I think I ran a 1:52ish. I almost threw up once I crossed the finish line but at least I knew I didn’t have anything left. For my second half marathon I stayed back to run with a friend for a while before I broke away. My legs never screamed at me but I was so mad at myself by the end because I felt like I didn’t give it my all.
Matt gave a good little pep talk before I started saying, “Okay Courtney, you are running by yourself. No one is holding you back. Not the kids, no one. Put it all out there. And start FAST!”
So I did. I started fast and right up until about half way up the first hill. I say “hill” but in reality it was a mudslide. By the time I stopped running NO one was running. We were all trying to figure out HOW to get up this slippery hill! I started running again as soon as it leveled out. THEN my legs started screaming at me. If the fact that it was a Warrior Dash with crazy obstacles wasn’t enough, it was on a course that puts all other cross country courses to shame AND it had rained all day. Hills, slippery roots, downhills so deep they needed stairs… that were slippery (I almost fell), ankle deep mud, and knee deep streams… and that is all before I got to the first obstacle! Then I had to crawl on my hands and knees under barbed wire and netting. Not so bad. I knew I wasn’t going to be able to stay clean. As expected, my muscles loosened up enough that I was glad I started fast.
Then came the walls.
And higher walls.
And even higher walls.
Each time I climbed over a wall I had to jump down to the ground. I was ok with it since it was landing on a soft surface. Then I came to one that was about twice as high as everything else. Gulp! I knew I could have just walked around it and not be penalized (it’s not like I was going to win or anything) but I didn’t want to. I climbed up and looked over the other side and saw that there was barely any slope to the other side… and no ropes to help us down. I had to slide on my belly down the wall. Gulp again!
I noticed that there were people talking and helping people down. Ok. I could do this with help. Then I noticed that it was just friends helping their fellow runners down and I was on my own. At that point I was really missing my honey. I took a breath and just did it, not caring if I hurt myself in the process. Boom! Once I was down and running away from that insane wall I turned around to look at it and started to laugh.
After that the obstacles were easy. Well, not EASY but not terrifying. More mud, ropes, crawling on hands and knees, more roots (very slippery roots), more hills… SERIOUS hills, and a lake. Yup… a lake. I was neck deep and swimming to get to this thing.
At least I wasn’t muddy anymore :) After the hill at after the lake was a water station where the people manning it said we had one mile left. I had already been running for nearly 45 minutes and I had only gone two miles! After that it was more of the same. In between the obstacles I passed several people and kept going back and forth with one woman who was smart enough to wear biking gloves so her hands didn’t get torn up on the ropes. I didn’t run the whole time. I did have to walk up some of those hills, sometimes the roots were far too plentiful and slippery to run safely, and there were times that I had to walk because the trail was too narrow for me to pass the walker in front of me (that annoyed me). I can honestly say though that I never walked if anyone else was running. Often times I was the only one running. I wasn’t fast but I was still running. Then I saw the light at the end of the tunnel. I had come full circle to the same mudslide that I had to go up at the beginning. This time I went down. I could see the finish line! Only three more obstacles left.
First, the rope wall. Yes that is me, waving like a maniac. I wanted to make sure Matt knew I was there and he needed to start taking pictures (oddly enough I was waving at someone that I thought was Matt but he was way over on the other side of field.
As you can imagine, getting my ample behind up those walls is no small feat! And the dirt mark on my bum testifies to the steepness of the hill I had to go down.
Then I jumped over two fire pits. Emma was so nervous about me doing this one. I assured her that I would be fine and it was, in fact, the least worrisome of all of the obstacles for me.
And the final obstacle was the mud pit. Three feet of mud. Nothing like the muddy water I had been through already. This was thick, gross, cold MUD.
And under the barbed wire I go…
Out of the pit… not my most flattering picture, but whatever.
I even passed one more person as I ran across the finish line. I finished in 58 minutes and 29 seconds. 102 out of 1330 in my age group for females, 1339 out of 8296 runners overall. Not too shabby if I do say so myself :)
I seriously don’t know why the kids didn’t want a hug when I finished. NONE of them wanted to give me the embrace I so deserved! Matt tells me they did well during the hour I was gone.
As Lucy so aptly put it, “I hope this is an annual thing”. I really want to do it again. Hopefully next year Matt will be able to do it as well. Maybe next year I will wear a costume :)
Even my Magellan got in on the action :) She held up very well and cleaned up nice. Though it did take a toothbrush to get all of the grit out of the nooks and crannies… but it took a toothbrush to get my toenails clean too… TMI?