April 28, 2013
Two friends and I decided to partake in this challenge, the Survivor Mud Run. There were mud pits of unknown depths, tires to run through and jump over, monkey bars, cargo nets to climb up and to climb over, a pipe tunnel, slip and slid into more unknown water/mud, more mud, wall hurdles, did I mention mud?
Here’s how it went down. We signed up late so we got the last heat at 11:15. In case you don’t know… we were up in northern California about 15-20 minutes away from Sacramento in some barren allergy inducing hills. It was such an awesome day, there wasn’t a cloud in the sky. (UGH) So we start our preparations, grabbing our bibs, securing the car keys, sunblock, and stretching to prevent over injuring ourselves. Unfortunate for me, I decided to go sock-less and in minimalistic shoes. <– BAD IDEA!
We head over to the starting line, the announcer hamming it up pre-race. Eyerolling we waited patiently to get this over with. At least in my head. The first few obstacles we actually had to run up a few hills. I have to admit that I was quite entertaining through-out the whole thing. If it wasn’t for my snarky whining and complaining, then my antics impersonating a gazelle caught on tape were equally awesome.
Flat ground was fine, I started to feel the pains in my feet. But the tough gets going… right? It was ridiculously hot that I was actually looking forward to the mud to act as a layer of protection from the sun. Another unfortunate thing was that we did not know how large the presence of COW would be in the race. Every mud “pond” was brown and smelled like cow-pies. Being the last heat also had its bad moments because all the mud leading out of the pud pits were conformed to
shoe dips that solidified and then were coated with more mud so twisting an ankle was a huge safety point.
I was really gearing up to use my new-found skills in parkour to get me through this race. There were no actual obstacles needing that skill. I was smart in every encounter taking the least hazardous method to get from point A to B. I actually fell behind my friends, mostly due to my shoes because I lacked a sock to absorb the liquid, they became a bowl of gravel and mud. At times my shoe would twist and I would be running on the side with the heel perpendicular to the ground.
Trying to get over uneven ground was a huge obstacle because of this, which is why I started skipping and frolicking to make the least amount of ground contact because my soles would conform to the uneven ground and cause pain to my feet.
Another fun obstacle was the monkey bars. I brought workout gloves but I was unsure on how I would feel with them on. In hindsight, I should have used them. The monkey bars were only about 12 bars in 12 inches distance apart. I was watching people fail at them so I mentally prepared myself. We do monkey bars in parkour so I was ready for the challenge. The bars in themselves were no challenge at all. I grabbed the first bar and using my hips as momentum I went every other bar to finish in less than a minute. What I did not expect was the amount of mud that was encased on each bar causing my hands (my hands are recovering from burns I acquired from Starbucks back in 2005) to immediately turn red and swell. “Lucky” again there was a mud pit coming up so I used that to cool my hands.
There was a camaraderie in this heat. A lot of guys came with their significant other or friends and paved the road for them being very gentlemanly. We had a bungee maze to maneuver and we basically all stood on the bungees in sections so everyone in that pack can make it through. We would offer advice and ideas on how to get through something. In the end the race was not thoroughly exhausting but nor was it challenging. It was a good experience and a learning one too. I did not injure myself as much as the race I did last year. I did not come unscathed, I have numerous scratches on my legs and arms and a nice cargo net imprint on the right side of my face. My pride is still intact and I’m still here to write about it.