The things I will do for friendship.
The things! I did! For friendship!
I scaled walls, climbed ropes, crawled through the mud, trudged in fields laced with the familiar odor of cow manure, slid into a pool of cold water.
And I laughed. Oh, how I laughed!
On Saturday, Kim and I participated in the Dirty Girl Mud Run Indianapolis as race ambassadors (in exchange for a March post and a race review). The event was actually at a paint ball venue in Anderson, about 20-odd miles north of Indianapolis - good for us northern Indiana gals, not so good for people who thought they were going to, well, Indy.
We arrived at the venue in the prescribed 60- to 90-minute pre-wave window and proceeded to make the rounds of the tents, showing off signed waivers, picking up bibs, picking up swag, locating and securing pins for bibs and checking gear. There were plenty of volunteers around to guide runners through the process but none were especially forthcoming about information. Example: Pins were not with the bibs but rather at gear check. We did not find this out until several tents later and only after asking a volunteer.
Also not forthcoming: the start line. It took some guidance (and seriously confused faces) to be put in the right direction. We had signed up for the 9:15 wave but with no one checking tickets or even announcing what wave was leaving, we decided to go rogue and head out with the 9 a.m. group.
The first part of the course was on a single-track trail through the woods. It was dry, relatively, and made to run.
But. Yeah. Running. No one was doing it. Kim and I walked behind the mass for a tenth of a mile or so before I had had enough. I came to run. We dodged and weaved, splashing through the occasional puddle - which, to my dismay, drew the ire of fellow runners. If only they knew what lie ahead ...
When we exited the woods, we approached our first obstacle - the Barn Burner. It's an inflatable pyramid with rolls (for lack of a better word). You climb up and bounce down. It was a bit challenging as I'm on the shorter side but manageable and fun.
There was a cluster of obstacles in this first section - a second pyramid to climb with a slide on the other side and a vat of muddy water to wade through. Upon exiting this fun, we headed out into the fields.
Oh, the fields. The mother effing fields. The majority of the course was on roped off sections of open land that was nothing but mud. I am not sure whether this was due to course design, the venue or the extreme amount of rain that Indiana received last week. I am not sure it matters, either. All that matters is a) that most of these parts were not runnable; b) a lot of the mud was at least ankle deep; and c) I nearly lost my shoe at least 4,392,390,192 times. One time, I was almost certain that I would have to continue the race barefoot.
There were a few obstacles dispersed throughout this back section but, for the most part, it was fairly tedious and miserable. I am not sure I would have continued had I not been with Kim, with whom I found any reason to laugh. Of course, laughing while you are trudging through mud can be a bit precarious. Might have been why I fell and (almost) couldn't get up. That or my shoe was stuck. Again.
But there was light at the end of the, err, field. A few more obstacles - a rope wall, another vat of water and a weird Spider-Man elastic thingy that reminded me of that playground game - Chinese jump rope. It was fine. Good. Fun? Eh. I was done. D-O-N-E.
It took us just about an hour to finish the course, which we were pleased with given the shoe-sucking, non-running atmosphere. We tried to quickly clean up in the designated "shower" area (aka cold hoses) and get dressed in the tent, which had an already soaked tarp floor.
There were food trucks there and beer, as well as merchandise to buy, but the two of us were far more interested in getting out of the mud and into somewhere warm. Like Panera. Where there's coffee. And soup. And more coffee.
Final thoughts ...
Pros: Dirty Girl provides a positive, all woman atmosphere and donates a portion of proceeds to Bright Pink. I saw a lot of women in T-shirts supporting breast and ovarian cancer, and it was nice to see an environment that celebrated and encouraged these women - not only in life to be active. The obstacles were fun and though they offered an element of difficulty, I found them to be easy enough to get through.
Cons: The race, to me, is expensive and I'm not sure I would pay $65 (early bird) to $95 (late entry) for registration. There's also a $10 fee to park. For me and this course, I also thought the obstacles were too far apart. It would have served Dirty Girl well to space things out and break up the monotony of the field. I also felt a couple of the obstacles were too similar or downright the same. I also thought the shower/changing area left more to be desired, specifically dry ground.
Do it again?: It was fun to do something so outside my element and share the experience with such a good friend. I think it's something that most everyone should try - at least once - if only for the stories to tell and tell again. If a group of girlfriends wanted me to try it with them, I would say yes - enthusiastically. And then make them pay for part of my entry. Otherwise, I would much rather run through the woods and mud as part of a trail race than through a strategically designed course.