Tuesday, October 1, 2013

My Mud Running Journey, pt. 1

I've been mud running since 2011, though 2012 saw a long break from training and a complete lack of running partners. Here are the mud runs I've done so far:

June 2010 Boryeoung Mud Flats 5k (no obstacles, no solid ground, all mud)
4-16-11 Warrior Dash
6-5-11 Merrell Down & Dirty
6-25-11 Patriot Games
6-6-12 Gladiator Rock & Run
4-6-13 Hero Rush
6-1-13 Miles of Mud
9-7-13 Mud Factor

The Warrior Dash and Merrell Down & Dirty are my favorite two mud runs so far. The Warrior Dash was my first and was such a blast, was very well-organized, had unique obstacles, and had some of the best swag of any race. The Merrell Down & Dirty had a lot of Texas National Guard service members among its volunteers, including one shouting at us in his drill sergeant tone, "I want to see you smiling! You signed up for fun, so you'd better be having it!" It gave me a good chuckle on a long, hard slog between obstacles.

The Patriot Games, Miles of Mud, and Mud Factor were poorly organized at varying levels, frequently unsafe, and disappointing overall. Though I've heard that Patriot has since improved. These races inspire me to look more critically at upcoming events, to avoid inaugural races as much as possible, to stick to events with a proven record of epic awesomeness, and encourage my friends to do the same.

To that end, and to challenge myself, I'm looking at running the Savage and Spartan races before the year is out. And I'm moderately fearful and anxious about them, too.

11-23-13 Savage Race (6-7 mi)
12-15-13 Spartan Beast (10-12 mi)

I signed up for Miles of Mud to give myself a baseline. It was rough. Really rough. Four miles wouldn't have been so bad, except that I hadn't trained on hilly terrain, and that course had a LOT. The water stations were alright, but we were dehydrated by the end and there was no water provided at the finish line. We were very fortunate that I packed several bottles in my race bag and the car.

I'm now up to running 6 miles well enough on flat terrain, so I signed up for the Rugged and Raw 10k trail run next weekend to provide another training benchmark. I got to run the course a little over a week ago, and it kicked my butt. It was glorious, though. It's at the Cedar Ridge Preserve, which has some serious elevation (by this flatland Texan's standards) and gorgeous views.

I'm ready to add some hilly terrain to my training runs but am not necessarily feeling up to hill repeats. And I've been trying for weeks to get myself to the gym to start lifting but am lacking motivation. The obstacles will most likely be my downfall, specifically the rope climbs and incline monkey bars. I had better get on that.

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