Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Dirty Dash

My friend Megan sent out an email about a unique 10K team race through the mud. I thought, "Cool. I like running. I like mud. Let's do it." I didn't really have the slightest inkling of what it would be like in reality. I knew I'd get muddy, but NOTHING prepared me for the spectacle that I witnessed, and indeed helped create, at the Dirty Dash.

This was more of an obstacle course up and down a mountain than a race, with mud pits to swim through, hay bails to hurdle, tubes to crawl through, 8-foot tall walls to climb, tires to jog over, fire hoses to resist, swamps to slop through, and a giant slip-and-slide. It was really more of a 6.2 mile mud-slinging party with several thousand participants.

I can normally finish a 10K in about 45-50 minutes, but this one took me over two hours. Granted, a lot of that ended up being rolling around in the mud and hurling slop at people.

I think we were the only team without costumes or at least team shirts. There were some really creative (and scary) costumes though. I never want to see a shirtless man in short spandex shorts again!

Jess, me, Brenden, Brandon, Megan

The hardest part for me was the swamp that had to be at least half a mile long. I nearly lost my good running shoes in it's depths on several occasions. Jess and I finally decided to just crawl for the last quarter mile or so. She promptly gashed her leg open on a rock and began bleeding profusely, although we couldn't tell until we stopped crawling and started running again. I was also bleeding from my forearm, but only a little. Some random guys provoked us to another mud-slinging war and we obliged. It was about at this point I started to (a) doubt my sanity, (b) wonder what strange disease I would end up with after immersing myself in this swamp with open wounds, and (c) regret wearing a shirt with sleeves. I felt about 30 pounds heavier with all the mud that was glopped all over my clothing and on my shoes.

Near the end of the race was the World's Largest Slip N' Slide. Down we went in the freezing water until it spit us out at the bottom into - you guessed it - another mud pit.

That is Jess in the foreground, Brenden behind her, and me in the back

At least 6,000 sweaty and probably bloody runners had already been in the final pit during the first wave of the race that day. I tried not to think about it.

For some reason unfathomable to my currently reasonable mind, Jess and I decided to emerge from the final pit and slide down the last little hill. It looked slimy and soft. Nope. It was full of sharp little rocks and gravel. I gashed my right side open during the last few seconds of the race. But of course, our wounds didn't deter us from taking some team pictures.

Jess, me, Brenden, Brandon, Megan

I think then is about when the misery started setting in. I tried to suppress and clean out the gash in my side without subjecting myself too much to the freezing showers. For fear of hypothermia, I decided against better judgment that the shower would have to wait for an hour or so until I got back to Provo... the water was far too cold for me to attempt to wash my hair or any other part of me, and I was already literally visibly convulsing with shivers, and according to Jess, my lips were blue. Jess hurriedly escorted me back to our vehicle and I wrapped my wet and muddy self up in a towel.

By the time I got home I was freezing, famished, still black with mud, incredibly smelly, and looked a lot like Bob Marley. Especially because by that point, my hair looked and felt like dreadlocks. Seriously, it was more a coagulated mass than individual hairs. Immediately after getting home I showered for a good half hour, washed my hair five times, discarded my clothing in an old recycling bin and washed it five times by hand before putting it in the washer, and swore I would never never NEVER EVER touch mud of any form again!!!

Feeling clean and happy, I proceeded to girl's night.

Where, ironically, I was greeted by roommates wearing mud masks. Who really wanted to give me a proper mud mask. With cucumbers to boot. I submitted.

Now I am trying to organize my team for the April Dirty Dash.

Megan, Brenden, Brandon, Jess, me

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