For the past 5 years Marini Farm in Ipswich has hosted the “Muddy Leprechaun”, a 5k obstacle run through their muddy fields. Every year I’ve wanted to do it, but since I don’t run, I never pursued it. Until last year when I decided “who cares if I don’t run, I’m doing it!” Hubby runs, so last Fall I asked him about doing this year’s mud run with me, but he wasn’t interested. So I asked Abbie [who doesn’t run either] and she said “YES!!!” But only if we started training every week. So for the past 9 months we met almost every Sunday morning and walked either on the treadmill at the Y or outside. It was a great way for me to enjoy time with Abbie & her twins. Here’s a pic of me and the twins last month after a training walk:
Abbie is in much better shape than me; she even started running here and there during our weekly training sessions. In addition to our training walks I was also riding the recumbent bike at the gym as part of my virtual mission across the country [as of the mud run I’ve walked & biked 1,001 miles!]. I think the 10 mile bike rides helped improve my cardiovascular endurance and leg muscles.
The race took place September 9th. We had no idea what to expect for obstacles until September 8th when the race officials emailed us this obstacle map [the map shows 12 obstacles but there were actually 15!]:
We were both thinking “we’re screwed”. Our only goal was to finish. I had major anxiety about what to wear. I did a lot of internet research and I kept reading the same things over and over: “you are GOING to get wet and muddy”; “don’t wear anything with pockets because they’ll fill with mud and slow you down”; “wear form fitting, fast-drying clothes that won’t chafe”; “no cotton!”; “you’re going to want to toss your sneakers after the race”. I had a panic attack the morning of the race and tried on about 15 outfits:
And that was just my t-shirt chest – the closet was just as bad. I finally decided on a pair of poly/spandex running pants, a long-sleeved 100% poly running t-shirt [which I got from walking a 5k a few years ago], with a regular cotton t-shirt over it because I felt too exposed in just the form-fitting clothes. I’m not comfortable wearing running pants outside of the house/gym, but the denim shorts I was planning to wear were shot down by everything I’d read online.
There were 6 waves of runners, each wave starting 15 minutes apart. Abbie and I signed up for the 5th wave. We didn’t want to be running alongside elite runners, but we didn’t want to be last either! Hubby was our photo journalist. Here we are before the race:
The weather was absolutely perfect. A bit chilly at 8:00 in the morning but a beautiful 68° and breezy by the time we started running at 9:45. When it was our group’s time to line up, Abbie and I hung back and made sure we were the last ones across the start line [we didn’t want to hold any “real” runners up]:
Thankfully the family of 5 wearing raspberry colored shirts were almost as slow as us!
The obstacle I was MOST looking forward to was the giant water slide – here’s a pic of it I took before the race – it was right near the finish line. It’s the giant white rectangle on the hill in the distance:
But I had to manage 9 other obstacles first! OBSTACLE 1 was a back and forth run through a zucchini field [LOL] where we had to climb over 4 giant, round hay bales. I was absolutely awful, but I made it over all four by hauling myself onto them and then doing a full body roll to get off the other side:
I think this poor woman had an even worse time of it than I did – I feel her pain! [pic grabbed from Facebook]:
OBSTACLE 2 was a hay bale pyramid [pic grabbed from Facebook, we’re not in it]:
Followed closely by OBSTACLE 3 which was a run through a giant tube and more back and forth through the zucchini field:
OBSTACLE 4 was a wall climb. Abbie excelled and I failed miserably. But at least I tried! After 2 attempts of landing on my butt I gave up. Hubby took video of me – you can see the whole video on my YouTube channel, which includes Abbie’s successful wall walk] but here’s a 3 second clip of my 2nd fail:
At this point we moved further into the farm’s back fields and hubby wouldn’t see us again until the end of the race. So all remaining pics were grabbed from the race’s Facebook page unless otherwise noted, and are of people I don’t know. I just wanted you to see all the obstacles!
OBSTACLE 5 was ANOTHER climb over giant, round hay bales followed by a drop into a thigh-deep mud puddle. The first pic is from the race’s Facebook page but it’s US!:
Then it was more running. I ran as much as I could – which ended up being way more than I thought I could do! Thankfully we came across our first water station between that obstacle and the next, because I was soooooooo thirsty! The poor kid manning the station had all these little paper “bathroom cups” lined up on a table. Abbie drank one and asked the kid to refill it. Meanwhile I shotgunned 8 of them while the kid stared wide eyed. Abbie kept saying “don’t drink too much or you’ll puke!” but I know my limits 🙂
A bit more running brought us to OBSTACLES 6, 7 & 8 which involved heavy lifting. First we had to fill a bucket half full of dirt and carry it in a big loop:
Abbie carried mine most of the way because she said it’s much easier carrying 2 heavy things versus just one – she’s had a lot of experience with the twins! Then we had to carry a car tire down the length of a field and back. And finally flip a heavy truck tire over twice:
OBSTACLE 9 involved climbing under an electric fence [which was thankfully turned off] then running through a cow field, a muddy field, then up the road back to the main entrance of the farm:
Then a 2nd water station where I also drank an obscene amount of water, followed by OBSTACLE 10 which was my nemesis. It was an A-frame with ropes. You’re supposed to climb the rope, swing your legs over the top, and climb down the backside:
It’s much steeper than it looks!
I was able to climb the rope to the top – TWICE! But then gravity took over and I slid back to the ground. It was so much work… I did get my foreleg over the top on attempt 1, but just couldn’t hold myself up to get any further over the top. I was so upset that I ALMOST burst into tears while Abbie went up and over. I had to talk myself down and tell myself I gave it the best try possible. And the woman manning the obstacle told me I got an A+ for effort, which helped. But still, I hated that obstacle and that I couldn’t do it. I think being overweight had everything to do with my failure. Good motivation for next year nods.
THEN it was time for OBSTACLE 11 – the one I’d been looking forward to all day – the water slide!!! The pic is from the race’s Facebook page but it’s ME!:
Here is a short overview of what occurred at the top of the slide:
Me to Race Staff: can I go down on my stomach?
Race Staff: m’am, we’re not allowed to suggest that. We suggest you go down the slide in a sitting position.
Me to Race Staff: stomach it is – woohoo!!!!!! dives onto slide
Hubby took a video of me which you can see on my YouTube channel but here’s a 3 second clip of my impressive belly flop:
SO. MUCH. FUN!!! Hubby was worried I wouldn’t want to go down it and would go as slow as possible before forcing myself to drop into the muddy water like this poor woman:
Not me! I dove straight down and would have gone 10 more times if I could have! He was very proud 🙂
After the slide we could see the finish line! But had a few more obstacles to get through. OBSTACLE 12 was a net crawl which was much easier than I thought it would be:
OBSTACLE 13 was a stump walk [you can see me & Ab in the background getting ready for our turn!]:
OBSTACLE 14 was a belly-crawl under a net through a giant mud puddle:
And OBSTACLE 15 was a couple of hurdles right before the finish line [that’s us in the 2nd picture – you can see Abbie’s adorable twins on the right wearing very colorful tutus – 2nd pic by hubby]:
I didn’t realize until I saw this picture that the twins ran with us to the finish line:
How adorable is that? They’re so cute the race’s photographers couldn’t get enough of them:
This is my favorite picture from the race – Claire trying to revive me with her Jedi mind powers [it cracks me up that this is one of the pics the race posted on their Facebook]:
But we did it!!! We finished 181st and 182nd out of 188 runners [LOL] but we finished. Our official finish time was 59 minutes, 11 seconds. Abbie could have done it much faster without me, but she went at my pace because that’s what friends do 🙂 I will do much better next year, Ab, I promise! Being sick for 5 weeks prior to the race didn’t help my performance either. I have walked 2 5k’s in the past and finished in 46:18 & 51:30, so I know I can do better! Victory image by hubby:
I hate that picture because my huge cotton t-shirt is all stretched out and bunched up making me look like I have a pillow strapped to my stomach, but otherwise it’s a cute victory image 🙂