Date: September 29, 2012
Location: Zanesfield, OH
Distance: 3.1 miles + obstacles
Time: 57 minutes
Gimmick: A mud run only for women. As my husband says, the guys that came up with this must be high-fiving themselves nonstop.
Another week, another free bib. I won an entry and a t-shirt from Holly at Rust Belt Runner. At the time I was excited, but within a week I started worrying that I’m not really mud-run people. The night before I was starting to have some serious anxiety, especially since my husband and daughter were coming with me on what was one of her longest car rides to date.
The race was at a ski place called “Mad River Mountain”. Let’s all remember that Ohio is incredibly flat and I’ve done barely any hill training in the 5 months I’ve been back to running. It never occurred to me that we would be running up the slopes and the lack of an elevation map on the website bothers me. At mile 1, the volunteers swore we were done going uphill and they turned out to be rotten liars. I was ticked because I ran more and faster than I would have had I known there was that much more steep uphill climbing to do. This was definitely more of a hike than a run. Also, something about this (the cold, the pollen count, and the hay bales are all options) made my asthma flare to the point that it was extra hard. Me and my inhaler are gonna be bffs for a few days.
The uphill may have been quad burning suckage, but the downhill was actually scary. It was very badly pitted and very slick. I was beyond proud of my very clumsy self for not falling. My bigger concern was that I didn’t see medics or volunteers anywhere near some of the most treacherous parts of the course because they weren’t near obstacles. Actually, the only medics I ever saw were at the start/finish line, but the MC said there were medics all over the course.
I think the most important thing to know going in to Pretty Muddy is this is not a race. The photographer will tell you were to stop on certain obstacles so he can get the best shot. Even the fittest people didn’t seem capable of running most of this. There were occasional traffic jams at obstacles. I was a little bit horrified by how young a few of the kids were (especially the one that was constantly about to cry). I liked the lack of competitiveness, but I think some people would not enjoy that.
I also think I would have liked this race way more had I done it with friends. 57 minutes with no headphones is kind of a long time for me, especially when it’s that hard. I’m suddenly kind of wanting to do another mud run, but I definitely would not do one again solo.
My goal for this race once I saw the course was to actually do all the obstacles. I will confess to running through the mud pit instead of crawling, but between the aching knees from the tunnels and the fact that my c-section scar felt like it was ripping apart, I’m still counting it as done. There was also a sheet of plastic that I think was supposed to be a slip n’slide type thing, but the volunteer was too busy fixing it to actually tell me what to do. I did all the climbing (1 rope wall, 2 wooden walls, and up the water/mud slide) and I am so glad I’ve been lifting because it made a huge difference. I would kind of hesitate at the top of walls because I felt off balance and I am the most uncoordinated person I know. Luckily, I made it over without the impending death I was certain was about to occur (ok, I never thought I’d die, but I figured falling would hurt like hell). I did manage to trip over some of the rope obstacles because I have moose feet and didn’t pick them up high enough. Seriously, elves could use my shoes as canoes.
Anyways, I ended up loving the slide. I was surprised that my butt didn’t hurt after slamming in to the mud pit, but I was cracking up. I was also really proud of myself once I got over the walls. I hated the tunnels we had to crawl through because they felt really lumpy and I have delicate knees. The first obstacles was a walk-though filled with soap suds, which was really fun, but I can see why people say the obstacles on this course are kind of whimpy. We also had to run with a light log, climb a dirt pile, and wade through a pit of beach balls. I thought all the obstacles were relatively doable for anyone in reasonable shape. The mountain, however, was not. I am in agony today every time I stand up because the uphill pissed off my already grumpy IT band and my calves. My shoulders feel like the would after a decent lifting workout.
The $70 entry fee (that I didn’t pay) includes a t-shirt and a free Coors Light or glass of sangria. I told my husband before the race I didn’t want the drink, but then I changed because I was covered in mud and hadn’t brought an extra bra so I was going to have to ride home feeling very damp (I took it off in the car, but it was too late). I managed to hose off enough to change clothes, but I showered once I got home. I drank my sangria, but realized that perhaps I need to stop letting Charlotte grab at my water glasses and “sip” out of them. She went straight for the wine and really wanted it (I think she liked that it was shiny and colorful). I did not share, but she really tried to grab it. She also giggled at the cup and all of the people around. My child loves finish lines.
I think my overall feelings about this race are actually more positive than they come across. That being said, I’d never do it again at this venue (and I’d rather do it about a month earlier because it was cold) and frankly, I wouldn’t pay $70 for it. Warrior Dash is cheaper and includes a sweet hat and medal. We enjoyed the drive to and from and the kid was so happy to be there.