Thursday, 26 July 2012

Mud Hero!

And now for something completely different. It's times like this when I really enjoy being fit and healthy, doing a fun event and not even having to think about being worn-out. Then again, no-one was thinking about that anyway, regardless of the shape they were in. Still, all who turned up truly know what fun is, and really it isn't about stuffing your face or drinking loads. All events are fun to me, though I also take them seriously and get the best time I possibly can on the day. Today wasn't about time at all. To my delight, I managed to talk my wife A-Chang into doing this (blue top). We were joined by Joy (crimson top) and Matthew (white t-shirt, glasses), as deliciously bonkers as us, and the 5,000 or so others.
If we do this again, we should get a mad uniform to wear, an idea we got from the "dirty bitches" at the start line. "A Touch of the Muddy Runs" perhaps. Either that or "Muddy, Not Touching Cloth". "Brown Moments" is maybe the best I can think of.
The course was said to be roughly 6km long with 15 obstacles. It turned out that quite a few obstacles were grouped quite closely together, so there was a fair bit of trail running, especially at the very start. The bottle of G2 I`d brought with me was done pretty fast.
First obstacle was an over, under set-up.
Then came a climbing wall. I tried the "hard" part with a rope, reached too early for the ledge, then let go when I got a mild bit of rope burn. So I went up the easy part after A-Chang.
A quick crawl under a cargo net on soft grass, then a sprint to the river. A-Chang seemingly tried to wash off all mudsplashes, which would later prove futile.
A crawl over a cargo net.
Then a splash right through some deep watery mud. I just walked right through it, and my feet stayed perfectly dry. I was wearing my Salomons which I'd bought for winter, but only needed to use twice before this day, snow barely got deep enough and I usually stick to roads. This might even have been my first off-road run since school cross-country runs which were usually forced marches.
A climb over a really big cargo net. I paused at the top, trying to work out how to get my feet facing inwards for the journey down. A-Chang was really quick over this, climbing being a childhood skill learned from climbing out of her bedroom window to go exploring so she said. Never caught.
A fireman's pole, nice and slow to avoid friction burn. After this there was the uphill tyre run, "spiderweb" and then "deep woods" - up and down hill logs to jump over. Quite a long section of trail and a touch underwhelming. This is more running than A-Chang had ever done, so she said, so we walked for a bit. A couple of times she sped up, though I said I was fine with conserving energy.
On the home strech, I charged up the car ramp, and jumped down cautiously.
Next was a slide, which was rather hot on landing. Following A-Chang up, I went a little fast and ending up giving her, ahem, a helping hand.
Finally, the mud crawl. I thought we all looked a bit too clean. I'll confess to being a bit of a sissy and trying not to get too far in. I was also trying to not get mud near the camera and not be able to get all these screen-grabs you now see.
A brief roar, then finished. Matthew and Joy had been close behind a few others, so got comprehensively splashed. I've seen photos of others trying to do the backstroke.
The "Hero Shower" was actually a water truck. I laid the headcam down on one of its steps, whereupon it captured the most priceless footage of the day.
A-Chang, who enjoys hot-springs and high temperatures, knew she had to get the mud off. She also knew she would have to counter-intuitively get sprayed by ice-cold water from a fire hose. She is a very tough minded lady, though at this point she was squeeling and bouncing around. All were laughing, or trying not to make it look like they were. At one point I gave out a pantomime "quiet!" I heard that they ran out later, and were sending people to the river. We were in the first wave, without a doubt the way to go, as we missed the traffic too.
Adjusting the camera, below, are the only shots of me between finish and hose-down.
An unforgetable day, above all I was glad to have A-Chang right there with me. It makes a change from her merely being my race-day support.

Overall then, what is one to make of this event, and others like it? I find road racing a thrill, but it might seem too "serious" for many. This has some running, but also tests agility and thinking on one's feet. In a sense too, it permits grown-adults to challenge themselves to have fun and get muddy with almost child-like abandon. There is a time and a place for doing that, and this was it - a life-affirming experience that appeals to the best in one's nature. At least, that's what it meant to me.

So,  for more of the above, check out the video :)