During my road racing career I have done many 5K races, too many to count. Most of them were on the road or a cross country course. Very few races I have ran were on trails. I did the OEC Eco Trail run 4K and 8K this past April and in the snow. Last week I participated in the Cowboy Trail Run at the Cheff Center in Augusta and the trail was very muddy which got me a little prepared for the Kalamazoo Mud Run, but not completely.
Earlier this week I looked at the Kalamazoo Mud Run website to see what obstacles I would expect and checked out the photos and video from last year to see how muddy I would get during the race. I then got the course map on Thursday this week and read their were 17 obstacles I would have to navigate throughout the 5K course not to mention all the uphills and downhills.
Today before the race I talked to my friend Lars and he told me about last year's race and how it was a two loop course and this year it was only one loop. Race time rolled around and I made sure I was in the first heat as Lars told me the obstacles would become very slippery after the competitors ran through them, plus I am a faster runner so I wanted to be up front.
After a prayer before the race the air horn sounded and we were off and the first obstacle came up quickly, the Little Dipper a mud pit that went up to my knees. That was the beginning of a fun run. I climbed out of the Little Dipper and I ran through the woods navigating many uphills, downhills and jumping over logs (made me think I should have done hurdles in high school) with a few obstacles, like the vertical plunge, a steep uphill climb, Jericho's wall which involves climbing over two fences, and running through tires plus a few others.
Once I cleared the woods and I came to the slide obstacle, the longest on the course. I went down the slide and then ran through the pool of mud up a small hill and then down into another long pool of mud. I ran slowly through the mud pit because I did not want to fall flat on my face. I headed back into the woods through the final few obstacles, which one of them involved running though ropes.
After I cleared the second portion of woods I was not too muddy and was wondering 'where I am going to get dirty?' Then I saw the pole pit and had a big grin on my face. I had to get on my hands and knees and crawl through a muddy pit with a barrier of logs above my head. After I quickly made it through the pole pit I got back on my feet quickly and ran hard to the finish with my muddy soaked shirt, shorts, and shoes.
It was a successful Mud Run. I had so much FUN! I smiled most of the race and took it easy running the obstacles not knowing what to expect. I finished 12th overall and 2nd in my age group with a time of 22:35. I also donated my shoes after the race and I look forward to coming back next year.