Since 2011, I have completed 19 races, logging 118 race miles, plus more with training, tested my boundaries by pushing forward from a 5K to a 10k. From a 10k to a 15k. A 15k to a half and a half to the Glass Slipper Challenge. And, now, here I was about to push past my comfort level once more to participate in my first ever OCR mud run!
My BRF Montana over at Pretty Lil Mudder had been trying to convince me for almost a year to do one of these events. It’s not that I didn’t want to do the event I just hadn’t worked up to the mind set of tackling such a thing. With a pretty packed race season I decided once the season was over I would do one of these events. I decided to wait partially because after hearing how Montana suffered a hip injury at one of these events, that put her out of running for over a month, I knew I couldn’t afford to forgo the Disney Princess weekend and Iron Girl.
When I first started researching into OCRs Montana had told me about Rugged Maniac and I had also stumbled upon Mudderella. I was 100% all for Mudderella…until about a month later they decided to cancel the Florida event due to low demand. Really Mudderella? How do you expect there to be enough demand when the event was still 7-8 months out?!
With Mudderella out of the picture I was back to square 1. I still had Rugged Maniac in my mind so it was definitely still an option. One day Sam had messaged me telling me about a mud run that you can volunteer at and then run it for free – sold!
When I registered to volunteer they took a $50 deposit, that would be refunded upon completion of your shift, from each registrant to ensure people actually showed up for their shift – which was a smart idea.
Having run this event last year Montana had suggested we bring out own water bottles, as there was only one water stop halfway and it was going to reach the 90s. She explained that when we come to an obstacle we can set out waters off to the side complete the obstacle and come back for the water.
The day of I checked in a volunteer tent to get my bib, race shirt, and my wrist band for a free Harpoon Beer after the race. Then I went over to the bag check to drop my bag off. I’ve never needed to do a bag check before but I knew I’d probably be pushing it after the run to try and run back to my car and change before checking again once more for my shift.
I had to be back, cleaned and checked in for my shift by 11:30 otherwise I forfeit my deposit, which left my to run either the 10:00, 10:15 or 10:30 wave. Montana has informed me the 10:00 wave was more for the elite runners and thought it would be best to run the 10:15 wave, this gave me more than an hour to run and get cleaned up before checking back in – that should be more than enough time right?
Before lining up in the start chute you had to climb over a wall, the organizers must have been trying to warm us up. Montana and I lined up in about the middle and got one last picture before we took off. Soon after Montana saw some people she new from this MudFunRun group she is a part of. Slowly but surely we were creeping up toward the very start and that made me nervous. I don’t like starting right at the very front – never have for some reason. I think it’s because I am afraid I am going to get tramped but all the serious runners going for a specific time. I tried to turn that thought around and think of it as a positive, I need to be as far up as possible to get a head start on the obstacles before they got crowded as I had my volunteer shift to show up for.
Next thing I knew the announcer was getting the runners pumped with less than 10 seconds left by shouting “RUGGED” and the crowed screamed “MANIAC” and then we were on our way. It was only 10:15 but boy was it HOT and being in the center of the state we did not have the coastal breeze I am used to do the air was very dry, not to mention all the added dirt and dust. I knew off the bat once we started running my asthma would be giving me some problems. I didn’t bother to bring my inhaler because a) I haven’t needed to use and b) I didn’t really have any place to put it, and it not get covered in mud!
We came to our first obstacle, Barricades. Let’s just say I didn’t hop over the walls with a whole lot of grace or as easy as the guys make it look but I did it – my first OCR obstacle! Next came the Shoe Catchers, as we approach the obstacle, Montana screams “Aw, yay, your first mud obstacle.” My shoes did get a little muddy but I didn’t lose one – success! By this point I was struggling with my breathing a bit. Knowing I’m asthmatic Montana asked how I was doing and offered to walk it out with me if needed. We had just hit a shaded patch, so I told her yes let’s walk. From there on we did run walk intervals and it definitely made it much easier on me.
The third obstacle was Jacob’s Ladder, heights are not my best friend but I climbed up with ease and right back down with no problems. From then we face The Trenches and Quad Burners this obstacle was quite fun and my long legs came in use jumping over the trenches. Next we can across Tipping Point but not before running through another patch of mud. It’s kind of funny Montana actually lost her shoe and she has the specialty shoes that are suppose to withstand that, meanwhile I was running in an old pair of Saucony shoes meant solely for running. I was trying not to laugh (love ya BRF 😊)
After tipping point was the Commando Crawler Montana was super excited for me to do this event as it was my true test of how muddy I was about to get. We had to crawl under barbed wire, crawling through mud! I let Montana go I front of me so I could see how it was done. It was now or never and I just dove into the mud…it actually quite refreshing! Upon completing the obstacle I was covered from my chest down in mud, arms, hands, stomach, legs, shoes, everything but the face!
The next obstacle was called Claustrophobia and you can pretty much guess what that obstacle consisted of. It actually wasn’t too bad!
Beam Me Up was up next – this was the true test of my fear of heights! I was bound and determine to at least analyze and attempt every obstacle possible. I knew the obstacle was safe, I mean they wouldn’t have it if it wasn’t! I began to ascend the beam and kept telling myself “don’t look down, just don’t look down” as I reached the top I focused on climbing over. Again this is where my long legs benefited me. As I climbed over to the other side I couldn’t help but noticed how the next person up was already on my butt ready to climb over and of course it was a guy! Like seriously dude, slow the freak down! Most of the guys on this obstacle were so impatient and the volunteers manning the event didn’t say anything to them! This kind of upset me. Then, not only did I have to over one beam but another one, the next one was taller than the first. I don’t know how tall either beam was and I don’t want to know!
After Beam Me Up, we came to the only water stop for the run. Montana and I quickly refilled our bottles and continued on to the next obstacle – Pack Mule. This one was actually pretty easy, you are essentially carrying a sandbag through a maze. They had a 25lb and a 50lb sandbag option. I went with the 25lb, 50lb may have been a little too much but then again maybe not since 25lb seemed pretty easy.
Let’s Cargo was next, the point of the obstacle was to climb up, over and down cargo nets. Montana advised to climb over to the far side next to the post for stability. After Let’s Cargo we ran into Montana’s boyfriend where he was able to follow us for the next several events and capture some photos of us.
The next hurdle was Napoleon’s Complex, which was to climb over two 8-9 feet walls. Some great shots below of me tackling this obstacle.
I love this action shot of Montana and I tackling each side of the wall.
The next obstacle was by far my favorite of the whole run – The Gauntlet. The Gauntlet consisted of five frog pad floating pieces that you had to test your level of balance to cross, meanwhile you have swinging bags to avoid. I almost fell into the water, but the perks of having long dainty limbs saved me.
Balance or Bust was next, this was a fairly easy obstacle – as long as you had good balance ;P After that was Pipe Dreams, pipe dreams consisted of drain pipes that you had to go down, crawl in muddy water, under barbed wire and then back up a set of drain pipes. By this point I had checked with Montana’s boyfriend on the time. I had to be finished, cleaned and checked in for my volunteer shift by 11:30am, it was already 11am and we still about five obstacles to go.
I tried not to stress too much over the time and just continued on with the course. We quickly approached Waterworks and Leap of Faith, both of these obstacles were very refreshing as they involved jumping into water. After Leap of Faith came the dread The Ringer, I only say dreaded because I knew this was solely an upper body obstacle. The concept behind the Ringer was to swing like a monkey from each “ring.” I was never good at the monkey bars in elementary school, so I already knew I would come crashing into the water pit within five seconds…what I had not anticipated was to come crashing into the water and land with ALL my body weight on my left foot. I could immediately feel pain shoot out in my ankle, to the point I thought I had sprained, fracture, maybe even broken my ankle. I was able to wade my way out of the water pit and out of it. Thankfully, I was able to walk on it, but it was definitely sore and sore for several days after that I had to keep it wrapped and apply minimal pressure on it. It didn’t help that I continued on to the next obstacle which was Pyromaniac, a.k.a jumping over three fire pits…at least I got some good action shots…
Upon completing Pyromaniac I decided it would be best to sit out the next obstacle which was The Warped Wall and The Particle Accelerator. The last hurdle to the finish was the Antigravity, this obstacle probably didn’t help my ankle either as I had to bounce on a trampoline to bounce your way onto a padded cargo net…Though in my defense I didn’t know the extent of the obstacle until I had actually started it.
The finish line was in sight, forgetting about my ankle we sprinted down the chute coming in right at an hour and 15 mins. Not bad for my first OCR 🙂
Unfortunately, the time just so happened to be 11:30:15, I was still in the finish area, had to collect my medal and water. The event organizers where strict in the pre-race directions that you had to be checked in before 11:30 otherwise you forfeit your deposit, NO EXCEPTIONS. It was disappointing to know I was out fifty I hadn’t planned on “spending” but I had to look at it at another angle that I was able to run for $50 when the registration fee was $85, plus park for free when parking was $10 per car – still a great deal! Now I had the option to volunteer in the morning and run in the afternoon, but I would not have changed that; it was hot enough as is during the 10:15am wave that I could imagine running it after 12:00pm.
I had a great time at this event and would definitely consider running it again, and who knows maybe a different obstacle course race. What I would like to see change next time around is to see more water stops along the course. While I had a sports bottle filled with Nuun with me on course, I had to pace myself to have enough to get me through to the water stop and then again to the finish. I would also like to see the afternoon volunteers who opt to run in the morning have their own earlier start time, or have more morning waves prior to 10am for all runners.
Have you ever participated in an OCR? If not, have you thought about running one?
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