And I do mean everywhere.
Andy and I ran the MS Mud Run on Saturday and it was the muddiest, craziest, second hardest thing I've ever done.
First, I want to thank everyone who donated to support the MS society. Andy and I raised over $800 which will go to support research and support for people with MS. Add that in with the donations earned by the other 4000 mudders, and they raised more than half a million dollars. That's a lot of money for such a great cause. So, once again, thank you.
As for the run? It was crazy. The only thing I have to compare it to was Warrior Dash last year. Now, I don't want to belittle Warrior Dash. It wasn't a walk in the park. It was hard and it was muddy. And, it was nothing like the MS Mud Run.
It starts with a straight run for over the first mile. It's hard to pace yourself when people are flying by you, but I knew I would never make it if I didn't hold back. Andy, who is much faster than I am, finally fell in behind me and let me control the pace. Even doing that, I probably gave it more than I should have, so I was hot and tired by the time we got to the first mud pit. I dove right in. It felt nice and cool and I appreciated it. I didn't appreciate it as much that night when I was picking dried clumps of mud out of my nose, but at the time it felt nice.
I'm not going to go into detail on all of the obstacles or this post will be way too long. There were about 30 of them total, and most of them ended in either a mud pit, or a water pit. We ran, slid, scooted, and dragged ourselves through warm mud, cold mud, stinky mud, shoe sucking mud. You name it, and we did it.
Getting through mud is gross, but not that scary or hard. Some of the obstacles were scary and hard! One of the most challenging was crossing thin logs over a ravine. The logs were split in half and had a diameter of about 7-8 inches. The problem is, the wide part was facing the bottom of the ravine. The tops were just curved, muddy edges that I had to edge my way over. The guy in front of me went down in a split and cracked himself hard in the...um...you know. A girl had fallen off and I saw them strapping her to a gurney when I got to the other side. I think the main reason I made it across was because I didn't want to have to jump down 7 feet to the ground.
That was followed by another one of the scary obstacles. It was a steep 15 foot dirt slope that you had to scoot/slide down. There were rocks in the way, which could be used to hold you up, or if you lost control, to give you bruises on your butt. I was very happy to get to the muddy pool at the bottom.
There were several high obstacles, which gave me a new appreciation for just how high 20 feet feels. The first they called a ladder, but it wasn't really a ladder. It was boards strapped together with the "rungs" about 3.5 feet apart. It was very rickety looking and feeling, and when I got to the top I realized I had no idea how to get myself over it and onto the other side. It took a lot of positioning and trial and error, but I did it. I admit, as I was going over I was realizing that I could get seriously hurt running this thing.
The scariest obstacle of the day was one that I had no problem with. It was an eight foot high platform over a muddy pool of water that we had to jump into. They called it the "leap of faith" because you have no idea how deep the water is. Andy and I grabbed hands at the top, counted to three, and then both balked. After a quick pause, Andy went for it and I watched him land into the water. The top of his head bobbed up, but his face didn't make it above the water. Then he went down again. This might be a good time to mention that Andy doesn't know how to swim. As I was watching, the top of his head appear again, and he was moving sideways in the pit, not forward to the slope up. Again, his face did not break the surface. That's when everyone on the platform started calling to the life guard. The guy did his job and dove in and gave Andy the shove he needed to get his feet out of the mud. I know it was Andy's scariest moment, but watching him struggle under the water also made it the scariest obstacle for me. I'll never forget that moment.
To his credit, Andy took a moment to calm down, and we were off again. We still had about three miles left at that point, and we were both determined to make it. And while there were no more water pits that were that deep, there were still tons of mud bogs, water holes, cargo nets, rope swings, and other crazy stuff to go through.
After over two hours, we finally came to the last two obstacles. You climb up a big dirt mound and then slide down a wet tarp into a muddy pit. Once you make it out, you have to drag yourself through mud on your belly under 12 inch high ropes. I had nothing left in my arms, so I had to push myself through with my legs. It took longer than I expected since I thought I'd just slide across the mud. The very last volunteer who was sitting in the middle seemed really nice. As I was going by, she rubbed my shoulder and encouraged me on. I was really touched until I realized she was actually smearing mud all over me. She finished off with a nice wad of mud on the top of my head!
At 2 hours and 17 minutes, Andy and I finished the race. Together. We were filthy, tired, and starving. After getting hosed down by the fire hose, we changed and had pulled pork sandwiches while talking over the crazy race we had just run.
Later, when we got home and showered, I discovered that I had mud everywhere. The mud on the bottom of my feet was so ground it that it took several showers to finally get it out, and my toenails still aren't grit free.
I cannot wait to do it next year.