Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Epic Mud Run Recap

This Sunday I did something I've never done before, but hope to repeat again - I ran the Epic Mud Run near Columbia, MO (at the expo center behind the Midway Truck Stop which you may have seen on the Travel Channel).  Ultramax Sports is known for their quality triathlon and running events, but for the last two years, they've added the mud run.  This year, nearly 3000 people did it (I think they said 700 last year - and they added a Jr Mud Run this year for the kids). 

The kids ran a shortened course earlier in the day.  Our friend's son (almost 12) did the kids race (which he thought was too short for the older kids - I think a mile), but we were the mean parents that left our kids at home.  It was really handy having their son there to hold a bag with cell phones, ID, etc.  After seeing how family friendly the event was (and other families we knew there), we could have brought ours and may let them come next year.  We just weren't sure about leaving them unattended while we ran and both my husband and I wanted to do it.  Oh yes - this was another first - my husband who hasn't done a competitive event in over 20 years, did the race with me (he ran cross country and track in HS, but was never one of the super speedy guys and just walks now for exercise).  I'm a little annoyed that he totally showed me up.

Our friends picked up our packets the night before, but the packet pickup line never seemed long.  We could totally have done it day of without a lot of issue since the waves of 200 people each were spread out by 20 min and a lot of folks came early to bring kids.  But we got there with plenty of time to spare and caught up with our friends right as their son was coming down the last obstacle and running through the finish line.  There was a lot of just standing around.  Visited with a few other people we ran into that we knew.  There was music and the kids were jumping in this big pool of water to clean up.  They didn't load the start corral until about 15 min before the start.  We registered early and were in Wave #1, but our friends were 40 min behind us in Wave #3.

This year I think the race directors were trying to add in stuff from other non-traditional races that people seem to be "into".  Truthfully, I thought it was a bit unnecessary.  In the start corral, they handed out this "color" stuff to make it into a quasi-"color race".  They were little plastic cups of this colored chalk stuff and people were throwing it at each other.  I saw one poor sap breathe some in and look pretty uncomfortable.  I guess I just didn't see the point.  Maybe "color races" are "cool", but it seemed kind of stupid to me.  This was the only part of the race where it appeared.  Some people's color didn't come off in the water hazards, but most of mine did.  Have some minor staining on the shirt I wore.

The other thing that they added was some of the Fearfest Zombies (a local haunted house that runs for a couple months in the fall).  They were in the first set of obstacles (in the stock barns).  We had to run through the barn in the first 0.5 mi or so and the "zombies" were all around you while you crawled over and under and through things (walls, pipes, etc).  This was somewhat physically taxing with the climbing and such, but not the least bit "scary".  In some areas there wasn't enough light to really "see" the zombies (could only make an "outline" out of them) and some areas there was enough light that they just didn't look scary.  And there wasn't any part of it where you were really trying to avoid them other than to get past them.  While I know there are these "survival runs" and stuff out there - just seemed like it was a "reach" to include them here.  The Mud Run is cool enough without them.  Save your pennies next time guys.

Back out into the sunshine and soon it was time to run up a long, steep, muddy hill where they had a fire hose keeping you and the hill WET!  Then across and around, over and under some wood post obstacles and then on to the BIG slide.  WAHOO!!  This was the best part of the whole course.  The big slide was FAST!!!  It was watered and slick and landed you in a giant muddy water pit.  Pure awesomeness!  Then out to go over a muddy hill and up the grassy hill and on to the next obstacles.  I think about in here was a hay maze that you had to duck walk through which wasn't very fun (hot, and there were dead ends!).  After a bit more running, there was a water hazard you had to wade through and then climb out of over a big mud pile (with knotted ropes to hold onto - key here was putting the rope between your legs so you pulled on center - FYI).  Then running over and under a few more things before you entered the woods and ran on muddy trails and through a big muddy ravine (which was relatively single file and you had to climb out of on a slick muddy rope and tires).  Then through more rough trails and mud and up a long hill (which my husband decided he wanted to jog up, but I could just walk). 

After we came out of the woods it was another water hazard and you had to go under these posts that were just above the water - which had bags of ICE thrown in it.  I was sweating from the running even with weather that was pretty overcast and not nearly as hot as it could have been.  The ice water didn't feel that bad, but my legs were pretty numb for a couple minutes after that.  Luckily you entered a "high 5 zone" where the course loops back on itself and runners were coming at you to "high 5".  So I tried to run and keep up with my husband.  Over and under some more walls and posts and then return through the "high 5" area.  I was starting to get pretty tired from slogging through the mud obstacles - hard when you are slipping everwhere.  But we knew we were closing in on the end. 

Over another big muddy hill and down into another water obstacle where you basically had little room to keep your face out of the muddy water (going under poles).  Kind of hard to get out of that one and I slipped the first time, but my husband hauled me out the 2nd.  Then a little longer run across grass to the final slide.  Only waited a minute or so to go down.  As I went down, I tried to turn to take a pic of my husband coming behind me and hit a less slick spot and stalled a bit.  He ran into me (didn't hurt) and took us all the way to the bottom into a big pool of water.  It wasn't that deep and I didn't expect to go under, but I must have not gotten my feet down in time and all of a sudden I had water up my nose - nasty muddy water!  Sputtering, I crawled out and ran across the finish.  The good news is that this washed the worst of the stuff off of me.

Collected my finisher pint glass, a little shop towel to wipe my face, a piece of banana, baggie of pretzels and a gatorade.  I drank/ate while my husband got  his pint glass filled with the free beer.  I'm not a beer drinker so I skipped that.  We found our friends' son and then hung out watching the final slide and visiting with other folks that we knew.  Pretty soon, there were backups at the final slide which affected a lot of the later racers' times.  We finished in about 53 min.  The winners did it in less than half that time.  But there were places where you just couldn't get past people.  I think the only way to "win" this is to be in the first wave, go out fast and get in front of everyone.  I heard of a few people pushing past others, but for the most part everyone seemed to be out there to have fun and not take the "race" part of it so seriously.

Mud Run Power Couple - Post Race
Me, Craig, Anita and my husband, Bill
We took some pictures and talked with our friends and then headed out.  My tri shorts, Nike compression sports bra and dryfit t-shirt were the perfect clothes for this.  I wasn't even that wet after having stood around for a bit.  My shoes actually got muddier trying to leave the finisher area (past the big pool the kids had been splashing in) than they were when I finished.  So I rinsed off my feet with a little bottled water and wiped them with a towel rag my husband had brought and slipped on my flip flops to drive home (since dh had imbibed in more than one finisher beer - though he could have probably driven, why risk it). 

I took a waterproof disposable camera with me and will have a follow up post at some time with some super awesome pictures, but I need to finish the roll - darned thing uses FILM!  It was kind of a pain in the ass to run with and I didn't want to stop and take too many pics.  But I'm looking forward to seeing if I captured any of the good fun that was this race.  I'm a little suprised at how sore I am - pretty much all over, but definitely in my quads and hamstrings.  Bill said he was a little sore, but mostly tired yesterday from getting up early to go dove hunting.  Whatever.  The whole gang is definitely up for it next year and we'll have pictures and stories to recruit others with. 

We went to the Freeburg parish picnic for dinner and so the MMNW wasn't a number I want to write down.  My eating is totally off the rails still and I need to find a way back from that.  My training is still more miss than hit lately and I need to find my way back to that too.  Trying to work up the nerve to do the Prison Break race with Superkate in a couple weeks.  Haven't signed up yet though.  I'm worried how sore I'll be with some of the obstacles that Bob "Goldmember" Jenkins has been talking about - fence climbing? stairs out of the dungeon? hills? mud pits? For FIVE miles!  But it will be hard to resist a chance to do another completely different kind of race and hang out at the end at Prison Brews with Superkate!  Stay tuned...


  1. The race sounds really fun! I totally know what you mean about your husband showing you up, too. I do all this running and biking, and I'm still sweating it to keep up with my total nonrunner husband on some of the orienteering meets. So unfair.

    I'm most definitely going to be at the Prison Break. You should go. You know you'll be sorry if you skip it. :)

  2. Any chance to hang ou with SuperKate is a must-do! :)

  3. I love these sort of races. I did the Warrior Dash this year and I had a blast. Like you said, it is just a race you can do for total fun with no expectations.