This race has always showed up in the race calendars I follow, but always conflicted with the Dirty Girl Mud Run. Dirty Girl was moved to May and then eventually cancelled, so suddenly I needed to sign up for a mud/obstacle run to keep my muddy streak alive. April was a month of feeling like crap and on race day, I was still easily exhausted and my ear still held fluid, so my balance felt off. Nonetheless, I was still excited to try something new.
I was up bright and early for an 8am start wave and I was rewarded with beautiful views of the sunrise crossing Lake Lanier. When I arrived at The University of North Georgia Gainesville campus, I found parking plentiful at the early hour and easily checked in. One of the fun parts of this race is you get a rubber duck that you have to carry with you on the course. Other folks were pros and had lanyards holding their duck, but not knowing what to expect, I stuffed my duck in the strap of my sports bra and he peeked out from his pretty secure home. Spoiler alert – he made it through the race with no issues.
We started right on time and I did a light jog with the other runners until I realized that running a lot between obstacles wasn’t going to happen with my low energy levels. The first obstacle was a wood A-frame to climb up and over. I was one of the last over in the wave, which was good as I got to the top and had issues getting my leg swung over to climb down. My tight hip muscles failed me and my fear of heights didn’t help matters. Doing this race is about conquering fears. After this, we were spread out and and next up was a ramp with a rope to help climb the ramp. I tried a couple of times, but wet grass left wet feet and finally wet wood, so I couldn’t get enough traction to climb over. I tried a couple of times before skipping out and moving on the crawl under some stuff (or was that before the failed obstacle? Timely updates are important!) and starting my trek up the large hill to what would be the most fun obstacle of the day.
That obstacle? The foamy bubble slip and slide back down the hill. I was trying to strategize as some were getting a moving start and some went headfirst. I wasn’t quite that brave, balance issues and all, and I got myself seated with my feet first before sliding down. It was rather speedy, but my advice would be to keep your eyes and mouth shut. I ended up tasting bubbles and getting bubbles in my eyes. How many senses could be out of whack for this race? My contact lenses were angry. This obstacle carried on for a long way as I followed the trail covered in bubbles. After making my way around athletic fields, I was into the wooded section of the course. After awhile, the next obstacle was a steep hill climb, which reminded me of the hill in my backyard. I don’t climb that hill, but I wasn’t giving up on this one. Because I had zero faith in my balance, the return trip was done by scooting on my bottom all the way down. But, I did it!
Next up was a board walk where you walked across small wood pieces between trees. This one was easy to maintain three points of contact, so I was successful. Failed obstacle number two was next as there were some unders (yay) and a straight wall (boo) to get over. I have zero upper body strength and after trying it, I walked around and continued to go under the walls. There was a pond to walk through and then the mud pit. The volunteer there had a hose with powerful pressure, so I stayed on the far side, which was more mud and less water. The crawl under was high enough, I didn’t have to get all the way down so only my legs and hands got muddy. The volunteer was nice enough to let me rinse my hands as the water stop was up next and I didn’t need mud in my water.
After this, we headed down to a creek to walk through it which doubled as cooling off and a shoe wash for the mud. The deeper segment that had a soil bottom was easy, but my balance was tested when we got to sections with rocks. I got some advice from other people on which areas were less slippery and I was very grateful for that. We eventually came out on a trail that seemed never ending, but finally there was an obstacle. This one was a wood wall to climb over, but the wall was more like pieces of wood, so you had places to get footholds. Eventually after crossing that one there was a second one with the wood placed at angles, so I had to figure out where to get good footholds for my short legs. I’m just glad that when I did have people behind me that they were patient with me. I know I apologized at one point and they told me not to worry. I love supportive people!
Finally, there was a clearing and another straight wall, but this one had a tiny foothold ledge built in on one side so I was able to scale at least one solid wall! After crossing the road, it was back down to the creek (on a much steeper path) and then it was time to follow the creek through the tunnel under the road and eventually, it was time to climb straight up. I might have used a name in vain as my initial thought was there is no effing way I was going to be able to climb up. Thank goodness the volunteers gave tips and said it wasn’t as bad as it looked. It really wasn’t as the biggest challenge was just keeping an eye out for solid footholds and I was up and through what I thought was the biggest challenge of the race. My forearms would hate me after this race, but I conquered what seemed impossible.
The trek back down the path took me back past the two walls I had already conquered, so I took my knowledge to do better on round two. After another hill climb, the last obstacles and finish line were in sight. The mini ramps (a la Ninja warrior) were much easier than I expected, but there was one last angled wall to attempt and after a couple of tries, I gave up and walked to the finish line.
At the finish line, I got a super cute ducky medal. I found a cup of water at one of the vendors tents, but didn’t really find much else in post race fuel. I don’t know if I just missed something, but I decided to focus on getting out of as much wet clothing as I could prior to driving an hour home. There was a rinse area that I took advantage of to rinse my shoes and pants of as much mud as possible. I do wish there had been some sort of changing tent available, as I ended up doing a quick change in the backseat of my car. Tinted windows (and a towel between the front seats) for the win. At least until people parked next to me which caused a temporary stop in the quick change process.
I did have fun at this race and if it works out for my race schedule in 2018, I’d love to do it again. I hope I can work on upper body strength between now and then as I’d love to at least take down a couple of the angled wall obstacles rather than skipping them. I do wish there had been more mud, but I enjoyed many of the obstacles as they definitely challenged me.
Have you ever done a mud or obstacle run?