And the last race of four medals in five weeks has finally arrived – my second year of the Dirty Girl Mud Run. I started off the morning in less than six hours of sleep thanks to my favorite band, Sister Hazel, playing in town the night before. And I couldn’t change my wave due to a book signing I was attending in the afternoon. I don’t function well on less than six hours, but adrenaline will get me through when I’m sleepy. I arrived at Atlanta Motor Speedway and the differences in each year were night and day. Last year, it was thunderstorming and dark when I arrived and checked in. This year, it was bright and sunny with no rain threat. I highly recommend the early wave because there are no lines and it’s before the day gets too hot. I checked in, did some shopping (the waterproof phone case did work wonderfully, but my iPhone 6 did fit with my outer Otterbox case, so I stripped it down to just the hard case), got in a ten minute power nap and headed for the start.
New this year was bubbles at the start! It definitely made the start line even more fun. After a short warm up, we were finally let loose on the course. I started off at a slow run, determined to run the sections that were not muddy and slick, but also knowing I was testing a sore knee that had been bothering me in the past week post-Disney. Like last year, the first obstacles up were the same. The mattress run, a big inflatable with holes that you have to run through, seemed easier and then the next obstacle was the one I had been dreading. I believe the official name is bumpin’ bumpin’, but don’t quote me. It is essentially a giant inflatable with large bumps you climb up and bounce down. Last year, I had the worst time getting started as I couldn’t get a grip on the second bump up and finally someone took pity on me and boosted me year was way better, not because I got stronger, but because they added a bottom step that helped out this short girl. My only issue was a person behind me that bounced into me on the way down. It’s fun trying to bounce your way down while the entire thing is shaking from everyone else on it, and it’s definitely a laugh fest. I jumped off at the end and kept laughing.
I was now wondering where the mud was, especially with last year’s rain making the grass feel like mud. After a short bit of running, the wall was next. In a way, I was glad for this as this was at the end last year and I felt like I was too slippery to handle it. New this year were rock climbing holds on the higher section while the lower walls had the traditional rungs. I get a bit freaked out by heights, and I was not sure about the rock climbing handles, so I went for the lower walls. It also didn’t hurt there was no line like the higher walls. More running and it was through a web of ropes that I had fun crawling under and climbing over. Apparently others thought it was easier to crawl under the entire thing and I slowed them down. Sorry! And finally, I turned a corner and there it was, the sweet, glorious mud pit! The first pit was one that had three partitions that required climbing under to get through. Some people chose to crawl the entire thing, but I’ve learned the rocks tear up my knees, so I got up between the partitions. I was finally good and muddy.
Now it was to the woods section of the course and it looks like we were getting sent in what was the final exit last year, so Dirty Girl was changing things up. This was the section of the course with slippery mud, so more walking was done because I’m not about slipping and falling. Last year’s heavy rains definitely made things muddier, but there was still a lot of mud to be found. I also wasn’t the only one who noticed the ditch we had to cross wasn’t a rushing river this year. After part one in the woods, a second mud pit awaited, one you had to crawl all the way through as a cargo net covered the top. After crawling through that, the next obstacle was “get a grip” rope climb. Last year, I was iffy on the climb over the top, so up I went and got a bit of a shock as there was a rope net to get across that I’m convinced was new, but others said it was there last year. After sitting there wondering how to do it, I chickened out and climbed back down the way I went up. I wouldn’t call it a complete failure, but the net looked like it had big gaps. The woods part two was less muddy and I was able to get a bit of running in.
Coming out of the was was the obstacle that feared the most. It was the rope climb up, a lot of netting over and a pole to slide down. Or you could take a ladder or new this year, a slide. The main reason I feared this was the fact I watched someone break her ankle last year on a failed attempt at the pole slide. I have to hand this one to Dirty Girl as each ole was staffed with a volunteer to help catch everyone going down the pole, making it much safer, not to mentioning hey we’re very encouraging. Still, I wasn’t doing it. It was enough to inch my way across the rope net. I then slid down the slide! After this, I did an obstacle better than I did last year. This one was an inflatable with elevated holes to get through and then things to go under. Last year I was convinced the only way to go was to dive head first through the holes, which resulted in a bib loss. I did that on the first one and since no one was behind me, I decided to see if I could get myself into the hole seated and get my legs in and over. Sure enough that worked amazing and I was on my way to the next mud pit. This one was two tubes to crawl through and it didn’t feel claustrophic at all.
The big slide was soon ahead and I was excited that there was no wait. It’s a giant inflatable slide with a pit of mud at the end. Volunteers were keeping the slide slick and I hit the mud pool hard. It wasn’t that bad, but it must have looked bad for this uncoordinated girl as I was asked if I was okay. I said I was having fun. The last mud pit of the day was one with a rounded cover, so you didn’t have to crawl as low if you went the middle. Right before the end was H2OMG, which wasn’t there last year and basically a rinse. I will probably skip it going forward as I was not a fan of the ladders going up and over and then back out again. I probably frustrated everyone behind me getting my footing with soaked shoes on. The big ball obstacle was last and I managed to take a hit and fall down, but there was no mud. I got back up and finished the obstacle and And then I then I finished the race, getting my pretty bling.
After taking my muddy after picture, it was off to bag check for my bag and then a rinse and change. Apparently we weren’t allowed to take advantage of the showers this year, as I blame the volunteers last year who didn’t let us pre-rinse. I bet we mucked up the AMS showers. The rinse station at least allowed me to get my shirt off and a good chunk of mud out of my pants, before I moved into the tent to change. I was fine with the rinse station and tent all other locations get, but my biggest complaint about Dirty Girl is no snack or a full bottle of water upon completion. We get a cup like out on the course. The obstacles were great and I had water and a snack in my car, but others might not have been prepared. Still, I’ll be signing up for next year and hoping I can finally recruit some people to do this with me.