Saturday, May 22, 2010

Muddy Madness

I had no idea what to expect on Saturday. I knew I'd be running a Mud Run, I knew it was a 5K and I knew my girls would do the Youth 1K afterward, but that's about it. I did not know the course, did not know the obstacles, did not know much at all.

Mrs. LB and the girls probably knew even less of what to expect, but we all piled into our truck and drove up to the SBSD Mud Run nice and early.

It didn't take too long to get in and get parked, but by the time we got out, grabbed our stuff and started walking towards the start line, I had to go to the bathroom something awful. I bit the bullet and waited in line for quite a while. Since I didn't have my watch and I'd turned my phone off, I didn't know exactly how much time I was in line, but 20 minutes would be a fair estimate.

Once I finished, I said fare thee well to Mrs. LB and the girls and hoped the girls would be excited for their race, which was set to start in less than two hours from then. I met up with blog/Loper buddy Angie and we walked towards the start line. It was an overcast day, no sign of the sun, but that didn't affect the race. Fire trucks still hosed down the crowd with water.

Luckily, Angie and I were just out of the water's reach.
Neither Angie nor I wanted to get wet quite yet, and while we didn't that would only have postponed the inevitable.

We were herded like cattle as we were well off the start line. Once the race started, we were off and running - briefly. I tried not to compare this Mud Run to the Camp Pendleton Mud Run but it was inevitable. I'm going to save those thoughts for an upcoming post so you'll have to wait for that. Anyway, we took off as fast as we could without expending too much energy. It was all dirt at this point, not much mud and no obstacles. It was still fairly crowded but thinned out after we'd run maybe about a mile, possibly less.

That's when the obstacles started. We had to get over a large dirt mound, then run down and into a large mud puddle, then back up another dirt mound, down and into more muddy water, up and over like that for quite a while. My shoes were instantly loaded with mud, and once we got out of that series of obstacles they felt like they weighed about 10 pounds each.

We came up on a giant hill, and someone at the bottom said it was a quarter-mile uphill. They weren't joking. I tried running up but quickly realized that I would probably burn myself out so I walked. Nobody else was running. We trudged up that hill and I kept thinking "This is what San Francisco will be like." Maybe not that extreme of course but I have it in my head that San Fran will be one gigantic hill.

Now, all the while we were running and going through the water, there loud explosions around us - fireworks, bombs, grenades... it sounded like we were in a war zone. And the race web site had even said to expect that, since it was supposed to simulate running through such conditions. Remember, the SD in the SBSD stands for Sheriff's Department. Just like the Camp Pendleton Mud Run, which is on a military base, this wasn't just a stroll in the park.

We got through more of the muddy water obstacles, with mounds of dirt on either side, and I was weary. I just wanted different kinds of obstacles, but had no choice but to slog through. My shorts were caked with mud, my shoes had long been covered in mud and there were rumors of socks somewhere on my feet. Unfortunately, there was also a sensation of cuts, which I confirmed when I wiped my knee clean and saw spots of blood on my knee.

Finally, we came near the end... or so I thought. We were near the end, sure, but we had to navigate up, down, back up and then briefly down before we got to the finish. And throughout all of this was more muddy water. This time, though, there was a bonus. Some of this required crawling on your hands and knees. I got on my stomach, with my legs fully extended behind me, and used my elbows to drag me forward. I felt my elbows stinging and knew that I'd probably cut myself.

No matter. I trudged forward. The rocks in my shoes were more than just rocks. It felt like dirt was caked down in there. Finally, we came up the final obstacle, down the other side and saw the finish line. Angie was right behind me and we finished sometime around the 46-minute mark. I'd predicted finishing in the 30-something minute range but, as I said, there were more obstacles than I'd anticipated.

Normally, I would have peeled my clothes off and gotten hosed off but I did have another Mud Run to tend to. So I just got wet enough to get the really heavy mud off of me, took my shoes off to get the surprisingly large amounts of mud inside out of there and strapped everything back on to help the girls with their Youth 1K.

The calm before the girls' storm

I wasn't sure of the course but realized that it was no small task. This was an actual kilometer of running. We would start and finish at the same spot as the 5K but the course cut off four of the kilometers. That meant all of the final obstacles, where I thought we were close to the finish line but weren't, we'd have to do again. I didn't enjoy them that much the first time around, but now had to go through them all over again. And with the girls no less.

Kennedy was not exactly enjoying the notion of having to run the race. Unlike Yvie, who seemed excited and focused (in karate class, they've been working on focusing) Kennedy was a ball of nerves. As we walked towards the start line, she started to cry. She cried off and on for about 10 minutes until the race started. Once we took off, she stopped crying. And started wailing.

I decided to let Yvie run alone if she wanted to, and she did. She took off as soon as the race began. I looked up at her, looked back to make sure Kennedy was with me, and looked back towards Yvie but she was gone. I did not see her. I scanned and scanned and scanned for her but I could not find her. There were quite a few children and quite a few parents/adults doing the race, so it was easy for me to have lost her. It was an odd feeling. I knew those obstacles were no joke, no watered down version of the real deal. They were the real deal, and I wondered what Yvie would do once she encountered them.

Kennedy was a mess. I tried holding her hand but it didn't matter. I tried telling her that she was brave, that there were some 4- and 5-year-old boyos who would be too scared to run, that this was something only big kids do, that she was tough... but none of that mattered. She cried and cried. I told her "When we finish we can get to mommy" and she said "I want to go with mommy NOW!" so I stopped saying that. Instead, I ran a little ahead of her and told her that she better not fall behind. That seemed to work as she ran and kept up.

I'd had one eye looking out for Yvie but still nothing. We came up to the first muddy part, which by this point was a quagmire to end all quagmires. It was wide, deep and ridiculously muddy. My feet were swallowed up the by the mud and my knees were nearly touching it. I tried to get Kennedy in but she wailed louder. Finally I just picked her up and put her down in part of the mud. She seemed okay with it though, not freaking out like I'd thought she might. She wasn't exactly liking the upcoming mud obstacles - she was still crying - but she was going through them. At first, I held her hand but it was easier for her to do them on her own, so I went first and she followed.

I felt like I'd pushed her too hard, too fast, that perhaps she wasn't quite ready for this. Yvie was either going through the obstacles fine or struggling mightily, and I wasn't there to help her, so I wasn't feeling that great about myself.

We came up to a difficult part of the race. There were really steep dirt/mud hills and on top was a cement barrier, the kind you'd see on the shoulder of a freeway. I wasn't sure if Kennedy would be able to go over them with help but I helped her up and she was able to go over just fine. I still had not found Yvie and I worried how she was doing. On the side, though, there was enough space to walk around them but still I wasn't sure if Yvie had seen that.

On the next incline, though, I spotted Yvie. She was lifting herself over one of those barriers and I smiled excitedly. She was composed and deteremined, and judging by her muddy stains I could tell she'd been going right through all the muddy obstacles. This seemed to lift Kennedy's spirits too. We were together again and I was happy. Then we saw Mrs. LB and we were all happy to see her.

This next stretch was where I had to crawl during the first go-round, but I realized that the girls and most of the other children didn't have to, since they had more room.

Once we got to this part, Kennedy was fine. She even cracked a smile or two. At this part she got ahead of me and I joked with her "Don't beat me!" She apparently remembered this, because on the other side of our last dirt/mud mound was the finish line. She went down before Yvie and I did, and I told her that was the finish line. She smiled at me and took off running. She was quite happy with her "victory" afterward.

We were all drenched with mud at this point, and if their shoes were anything like mine, they were not having a comfortable walk. In fact, I took my shoes off and walked barefoot to the hosing-off station.

While it was a long walk for the exhausted runners, there were no tears at this point, only feelings of a job well done.


Lisa said...

I love that your girls did this. I think next year Mrs. L.B. should join you guys :)

5thsister said...

Hooray Yvie! Hooray Kennedy! Hooray LB! And of course, hooray Mrs. LB for her unwavering support!

tahoegirl said...

great job LB and girls!

Lisa said...

Wow... it sounds like an intense mud run. My kids are like yours-- one is gun ho and the other one not so much. My son would have simply refused to go while my daughter would have run ahead. I am so glad that they both finished the race with you!

I am interested to hear the differences between this race and Camp Pendleton. I am running Pendleton this year and I am not sure what to expect. I ran another mud run in San Diego and loved it.

Did this race have a place to donate your old muddy shoes? The one I did had a spot to donate your shoes and I thought it was pretty cool.

great report!

Kerrie T. said...

Awesome recap! I probably would've been crying along with Kennedy thinking about getting all muddy. Yuck. You shouldn't feel like a bad parent. My dad pushed me when I was young. Sometimes I would cry (especially at the top of a mountain on a pair of skis). But I always did it and I think it's helped me later in life.

Mark said...

I'm sorry to hear it Kennedy cried so much, but I'm glad she enjoyed it by the end.

Sounds like a tough, muddy course. I just might have to sign up next year.

Angie Eats Peace said...

That was a lot of fun!
I am glad Kennedy liked it in the end.

Whitney said...

What a crazy race! Love that you did it with your girls - even if Kennedy didn't enjoy the beginning. Sometimes I want to cry during a race, but the feeling at the end, of actually completing it make it all worth it! :)

Jacqi said...

Wow! I can't believe your girls did it too- congrats to you and them!