Mud and Sparta races have caught on about as fast as Crossfit. I've been reluctant to dive in because it's scaaarrrrryyyyyyyyyy. But on Sunday I sucked it up, put my game face on, and traveled down to Bum Fuck Nowhereville, Maryland with 25,000 other white trash zombies (and attorneys and other easily duped youngings) to climb obstacles, brave fire pits, and climb under mud pits with barb wire hovering inches above our heads.
Sanitary? As Sarah Palin would say, "You betcha!" (In fact I think I saw here there...her type of folk..)
First thing I noticed as we arrived at the 'race site' was holy shit...THIS many people signed up for THIS! Lines of cars jammed the highway creating a frustrating traffic jam that took about 20 minutes to maneuver. We meandered through some uncut grassy fields where they charged us $10 to park. I thought this was rather amusing and compounded the irony of WE REGISTERED FOR THIS?!?! As novices to the mud-infused theme park, we didn't know what to wear/bring so we erred on the side of the ascetic and were planning on leaving everything at race site.
Don't worry...we brought a change of clothes.
I elected to wear my 'Obama '08 campaign shirt. You know, the one I wore back in 2007 when I believed in democracy, change, and liberal policies. Ahhhh, to be young again. Funny enough, as we meet up with folks who'd be joining us in the torture the first thing they say is, "You're gonna wear THAT shirt?? It's gonna get ruined!"
YAY I replied. That's the point I added.
The liberal folk were nonplussed to say the least (probably making the typical assumption that I was some whacky Romney supporter), but I didn't bother to lecture them on the merits of anarchy. For another venue perhaps.
One of the initial things I noticed was burly men holding hoses carrying large amounts of water blasting half naked folks. It was somewhat frightening as it elicited an eery reminder of Civil Rights era America (the black people one) or a decade or two before, WWII. Astoundingly, this thought didn't dissipate as the very next thing I saw was a GIGANTIC pile of shoes.
Holy mother of Holocaust. As someone with a Jewish last name and background, I practically made a U-turn right then and there. This was like a volunteer concentration camp. But I was coaxed into staying because The National Guard was recruiting the bottom of the barrel blokes, overweight white rednecks were beaming with joy and booze, and a fire pit in the distance with booming smoke, while some rabid man screamed into a microphone quelled my fears. Yes, that's what greeted me on race site.
Undeterred by the frightening show, I plodded on, something about 'well, i already paid for it so might as well do it' repeating in my mind. #jewishproblems
Enough of the pre-race pizzaz, onto the course itself.
We meandered through rural Maryland, hilly terrain with various obstacles, mudpits, logs, and barbed wire impeding our progress. The first half mile was relatively easy, just a few minor hurdles of giant tree trunks or pools of mud to run through. Near the one mile marker, the obstacles began. As a hunky half-diety of a man (self-proclaimed), I had no trouble with the puny constructs. The fairer sex would find the events more challenging as their lack of height inhibited their ability to make the large gaps in ladder steps or their lack of upper-body strength made it far more difficult to conquer some of the obstacles. But that's enough misogyny for one paragraph. P.S. Women suck. jk :).
Moving on...the course wrapped around some winding hills and probably the highlight was a long hill covered in a tarp that was used as a waterslide. My fat ass nearly got stuck going down but I managed to make it down into the sitting warm pool of unsafe water below.
Sidenote: Running in nasty old tennis shoes is one thing...in completely drenched running shoes uphill covered in mud...well that's a bit of a challenge.
After successfully passing a group of guys in shirts and ties (awesome attire selection dudes) we plunged into the endless final mudpit abyss. Well first, we hopped over three piles of fire and unfortunately, no one ate it. Bummer.
The final mudpit was one of the nastiest things I've ever encountered. Worse than that time I sharted in my shorts and had to walk home from Dupont Circle.
Barb wire hung above our heads and 3 feet deep of mud was between us and the finish line (about 100 feet away). Ugh. Reid (from previous posts) busted out a freestyle technique that woulda made Michael Phelps blush. He OWNED that mud pit. I swear, it was one of the most impressive feats I've witnessed at a white-trash, holocaust replica, beer drinkin' military totin venue I e'er seen. You betcha.
I took exceedingly longer as my swimming for some reason sucks right now (no triathlon venting though...I promised myself). Swimming through mud with no leverage underneath was not easy. I moved about 1/2 foot per second.
Finally I managed to squirm through (hurray for finishing!) and stood in line to get 'hosed down'.
Brrrrrrr. Water=cold. However, I must say, it felt pretty damn good to get the 8+ pounds of mud off of me. Afterward we rewarded with a free beer and went to a local diner for a late breakfast.
I had a vegetarian omelete, home fries, and an english muffin. And whatever anyone else didn't finish. I was starved.
Then, we passed by Rita's (custard and frozen ice). So obviously I stopped for lissert (lunch dessert). All in all, we had a blast.
Would I do it again....probably - maybe if it included more arduous obstacles and a higher likelihood of potential death. It's one thing to fear for your life due to the anti-semites, and quite another to do so based on clinging to a rope 50 feet above fire....maybe Spartan races is where I'm headed next???