Having recently completed my much anticipated Spartan Races, I found myself approaching race weekend last week with less than the usual excited anticipation. Now don’t get me wrong, I was looking forward to getting out and competing, but I did not do my usual pre-race rituals of getting pumped up and ready to run. I had barely researched the race, had no idea where it was located, forgot to print waivers, and pretty much went into the day rather nonchalantly. Thankfully, I left the race with quite the opposite of emotions.
I could not be happier to have run Mud Endeavor! Having run my last few races solo, I had decided to forgo competition and run with a group for this event. Not only that, but I decided it would be fun to spice things up a bit and bring along my new running sidekick, my tire! Knowing there would be a couple other racers present that would be donning their tires, I decked mine out in hot pink duct tape, and crossed my fingers as I tried to anticipate how in the world I was going to complete obstacles with a tire in tow.
After getting turned around by incorrect GPS directions, and a tedious wait in line to park (we were made to sign waivers prior to being allowed to park, and then waivers again to race), we found ourselves arriving to the event just minutes prior to our wave time. There was no time to chit chat, no time to warm up, it was attach your bib, grab your tire, and go!
Set at a park created for dirt bikes and 4-wheelers, the great aspect of this race was that spectators could stand at the edge of the field and see a majority of the course and obstacles. A DJ tent was situated in the middle of the winding course, and spectators and racers alike were treated to a mix of great tunes throughout the day. What’s better, the course setup allowed us to be able to HEAR the music the entire time too. It was actually quite a bit of fun as we’d break into song or dance at random when a good song came on.
The course was fun! Obstacles were not impossible, but just challenging enough, and the elevation changes were killer.
I quickly learned that running an obstacle race with a tire slung over your shoulder is no joke! It took creativity to figure out how to successfully complete each obstacle with my sidekick (which I have decided is a great representation of the weight I have lost) and at times it required pure stubborn tenacity to keep going. It was great to run with some wonderful friends who also embrace this insane yet fantastic love of mud running, and to have the encouragement of several new friends as well!
It was also awesome to feel like a beacon to the other women on the course that day. Ladies running encouraged me, cheered me on as I did my best to pace with my tire running counterparts. It was kind of fun to be the lone female rocking the tire, and I do hope that it helped give inspiration to other women as proof that we can be strong, feminine, AND keep up with the boys!
My favorite part of the course? The huge slides! Having three total, they offered a lighthearted break from the hard work of hills and obstacles.
There’s nothing quite like the teamwork and camaraderie that is experienced at an obstacle race, and I was reminded of this many times that day. Even the elite athletes of our group hung back to encourage and help others that were struggling, and we all completed the first lap together, as a team.
Now you may have noticed that I said first lap. Yup, you got it, we ran twice! So upon finishing our first lap, I grabbed some water, half a protein bar, dropped off my tire, and got back in line to do it all over again! Although I opted not to take my tire through the 3.5 mile course the second time, one member of our team, the aptly nicknamed “Ultrabeast”, had his in tow both times!
Lap two was a lot of fun! Without the weight of the tire, this lap felt like a good old romp in the mud with some awesome obstacles and slides mixed in.
The very best part of the day was when Mason jumped in with us for the final half mile or so of the day. He had been asking all day if he could run, and since there was no kids race, we let him join us for a run through the woods as we approached the finish line.
We arrived at the final obstacle, a cargo net climb followed by a slide down a fireman pole, and Mason insisted on making the climb. I was certain he would become fearful of the height and back out halfway through, but he courageously climbed up and even extended his hand to assist me over the edge as well. I lifted him down into the arms of my teammates and he sprinted across the finish line to earn his very own medal for the day!
We really had a great time at Mud Endeavor! It was great to meet new friends, to experience a new challenge by adding in the tire, and to just have a blast playing in the mud with a great group of people! Competition is fun, but sometimes it’s just as enjoyable to forego competition and to do it just for the fun of it.