Like most of us, one of my New Year’s resolutions involves taking better care of my health. So far, the first month has been pretty good in terms of working out and focusing on my goals. Still, when the weather is too cold to enjoy a workout outside, the inside of a gym can get pretty drab and boring. It helps to have a reminder of what I’m capable of and some outdoors fun that’s happened in the past.
This past September (on my birthday, in fact!) I participated in my first mud run. I’ve done one 5k before, and was a spectator at a Tough Mudder my boyfriend did a while back. My goal is ultimately to run a Tough Mudder with him, but I thought it might be better to start smaller and work my way up.
The Dirty Girl Mud Run is a women’s only run that benefits breast cancer research. They are big on all fitness levels participating. I was actually signed up to do the Dirty Girl Mud Run in Denver in fall of 2013, but that weekend turned out to be the flood of the year, and the run was cancelled. I didn’t anticipate still being around a year later to use my free registration they granted us, but lo and behold, I was. Most of our original team members were able to do the 2014 run. The team included myself, my aunt Tricia, aunt Ami, and (honorary aunt) Caysie.
Since we weren’t planning on coming down to Denver the night before, we chose the latest run time available in the afternoon. It turned that in our start time group, there were only about 5 other participants total. Since no one was really left, and the course was in a field with open space between obstacles, the organizers didn’t mind that our official photographer Kevin trailed along with us (although he did get take shortcuts between obstacles, I’m willing to bet he walked just as far if not more than we did. He just didn’t get the joy of the mud).
The others in our group passed us over time, mostly thanks to our insistence on rolling around repeatedly in any mud obstacles we came across. Though some of the mud was a bit dried up, it was an interesting experience being the last group to go through the course for the day. We didn’t have to wait in line for obstacles, and got to joke around a lot with the volunteers on the course. All of the obstacles were definitely doable, and some were super fun! By far my favorite was the giant inflatable slide that end in a mud pool. I never felt like there were any I couldn’t do, and was pretty proud that I didn’t feel absolutely dead at the end of the 5k.
Having mud dry on your skin is both hysterical and uncomfortable, and it was strange to learn that a giant pool of mud can be very cool and refreshing. I also quickly learned that the pony tail I had my hair in originally wasn’t going to cut it; it ended up in a knot on top of my head instead. While it was kind of strange to be the only people out on the course, and extra weird to be the last ones to cross the finish line and find basically only the DJ still there, it was also kind of fun. We weren’t holding anyone up if we decided to randomly starting throwing mud, and didn’t have to wait on anyone in front of us.
If you’ve been thinking about a mud run, here’s a few tips based on my experience:
- Know the fitness level required for the run you’re interested in. Dirty Girl is appropriate for even newbies to fitness, but others are not.
- Consider wearing Capri-length bottoms that will protect your knees, but avoid cotton as it retains most of the moisture and mud.
- Pick a start time at the end of the day if you’d prefer less people; go earlier if you’d prefer a crowd and more energetic atmosphere.
- Don’t eat a huge meal right before the run.
- Try to get as much mud off as possible at the provided showers afterwards, but know you’ll still need a major shower when you get home. And make sure your change of clothes includes items that you don’t mind getting a little muddy!
I definitely felt accomplished afterward, and running/walking with the added weight of the mud definitely adds an extra element. I think I definitely still have plenty of training to do before I consider a Tough Mudder (maybe this summer??), but I have finally hit a groove where I like going to the gym. The getting ready and going over there is always the hardest part, but even that seems a lot easier. I’m looking forward to meeting more of my fitness goals and trying out more mud runs in the near future!
What mud runs or 5ks have you done that you recommend?