So last weekend, some friends and I got together to do the Western Mudd Rush - a 9km run with 23 mud-themed obstacles.
What was I thinking?!? I hate being dirty! I hate mud! I hate being cold! And for this event you get to be all three – dirty, muddy and cold… while running!
The truth was, I did it because of my boys.
The event had a separate section for kids to participate and my two big boys (aged 11 and 9) were falling over themselves to get signed up. So I, and a couple of my friends, got our kids together and decided to ALL give it a go. The kids did their event on the Saturday, and the adults did it on the Sunday. We actually had 6 adults sign up for our team, but at the last minute, 2 of them couldn’t make it.
It did occur to me to ring in sick as well. But my husband and kids would have hassled me about it… for years.
Yes a few minutes in and I was splattered with mud already! The organisers made everyone have their participant number tattooed (temporarily) onto their forehead, because you were bound to get every other part of your body covered with mud. I liked it because it made me feel bad-assed.
I took my Nikon AW100 waterproof camera along for the ride. I carried it in a bum bag which I secured tightly around my belly, under my singlet, so I looked like I was 6 months pregnant! But after a while I found that it got in the way, so I slid the bum bag around so it sat against my back. That would have been a handy trick for when I was pregnant.
The weather turned out to be amazing. It was cloudy and slightly cool – perfect for running and getting muddy!
The obstacles ranged from climbing up ropes, balancing on a beam, climbing across ropes, jumping over fences, crawling through tubes…
There was even an ICE BATH. Forget the ice bucket challenge. We had to jump into a TANK full of ice and freezing cold water, then we had to COMPLETELY SUBMERGE ourselves to get under a wooden bridge and then climb up a ladder to get out of the ice tank. It was insane! I was so so unbelievably cold and numb. But I did it. And I survived! Woot!
There was a lot of climbing too, which I found to be quite challenging.
I have been working on my upper body strength, but I couldn’t get past the fact that I AM SHORT! My legs were too short, my arms were too short and the length of my body meant I was *just* out of reach for a lot of things.
But I still managed OK. I’m small, I’m light, I can jump high. And whenever I needed some help, my awesome team mates gave me a helping hand, or gave my butt a little push upwards.
For example, take this rather large obstacle.
I needed a step (my team mate’s hand) to help me get over the wall. After that I was all good with getting over and down the wall by myself. Yay me!
Then there were these tricky, spinning, slicked-with-mud barrels that we had to get over. Easier said than done. You couldn’t just climb over it. It was more of a leap, grab, swing legs over, use the momentum of your body to swing the rest of yourself over and then land on your feet. Go too fast and you’ll spin off the other side and injure yourself. Go too slow and you spin backwards and probably injure yourself.
As we progressed through the course, the mud became more obvious.
There was a lot of mud to walk through and run through. There were muddy puddles and lakes to wade through. There was lots of mud smeared on things. But by this point were were DYING FOR SOME MUD TO ROLL IN!!
COME ON ALREADY, WHEN DO WE GET TO COVER OUR BODIES WITH MUD!?!?!
Yes, these were the words that came forth from my mouth.
The Slippery Slide! Now this was fun.
We got to slide down a wet, bumpy hill on our ass, at high speed, straight into a pool of muddy water that smelt distinctly like… farm animals? Yes. Cows. Horses. Pigs. Wet farm animals.
Here we pulled ourselves along a pool of cold, muddy, farm-animal-smelling water inside a cage thing. It was pretty easy for me, because once again, I was small and light.
Look at the silly smile on my face! I was having a great time! Even though I had mud in my hair and I smelt like a pig!
Then there were two long tunnels, filled with muddy, agriculturally aromatic water, which we had to crawl through. Because I was small, I could easily crawl on my hands and knees. But a lot of other people had to do more of a commando crawl on their forearms and drag their whole bodies through the sludge.
I scurried along quickly and easily like a rat in a sewer. I crawled through the first tunnel, and my thoughts were… OMG this would be such a cool photo! I KNEW I wanted to take a photo from inside the tunnel, looking out.
I also knew that while inside the small confined space of the tunnel, I wouldn’t be able to get my camera out of my bumbag. So before I entered the second tunnel, I took out my camera and CARRIED IT IN MY MOUTH. My camera is the size of a smart phone, so I actually chomped down on it and carried it with my teeth. Like a rodent with a piece of bread, bigger than it can chew. Oh the things I do for the perfect photo.
Anyway, I now have a lovely photo of the inside of the tunnel AND the inside of my mouth. Ah the memories I’ll be able to treasure forever.
Then came the grand finale. We had to crawl across a huge pool of thick, gluggy, brown mud, with barbed wires overhead. Argh the mud was so oozy and sticky, like clay. The ground was uneven, so some people fell into pot holes full of mud and got completely covered with the stuff.
It was -honestly – soooo much FUN.
We laughed and squealed with delight. We rolled around, hugged each other… and I took a selfie of course.
Happy. Like unashamed pigs.
Oh there was one more obstacle after this… a stack of sea containers with a rope ladder thingy, before we hit the finish line.
Look at us – WINNERZ!!!
(OK we didn’t actual win. We just finished the whole thing).
We took about 2 hours to do the whole 9km course. We ran most of the track and walked some parts when we got too tired. Some obstacles had long queues, so we had to wait a while. There was no pressure to complete each obstacle. There was just a general attitude to “Have fun and give it a go!”. It wasn’t a race. We went at our own pace. We overtook some groups, and other groups overtook us.
There was so much laughter, chat, banter and just enjoying the moment. It was definitely one of the most fun I’ve ever had at an “Organised Sporting Event”.
We had a quick, cold outdoor shower (it was more of a hose down next to the horse stables), we changed into dry clothes, and sat down on the grass for some hotdog and chips. My god, it was the best tasting hotdog ever.
I had a proper shower when I got home, because I still had mud in all my nooks and crannies. I also had to wash my hair twice to get rid of the farm animal smell.
Big thanks to my team mates! Next year we plan to get a bigger group together and dress up in a theme.
Hope you enjoyed my photos. Looking back through them, I can’t wipe my smile off my face!!