Saturday, 4 July 2015

Mud Hero Obstacle Course Review

Today kicked off my 2nd obstacle course race of the season...Mud Hero...Halifax location!  A beautiful day with sun and temps of about 25 degress celcius (about 80 Fahrenheit for my US readers).  Our heat was set to run at 3:00pm and we made out way up early to enjoy the festivities.
This is Tracey...she is an avid marathoner, 1/2 marathoner,
and Ironman competitor!
 We are laughing so hard as our chauffeur Dave was insulted he wasn't in the picture.  LOL

We talked running, marathons, triathlons, etc for the full 40 minute drive.  I have to admit that I was a bit worried about parking having remembered my Run or Dye experience....but it was no problem!  We quickly registered, wrote our numbers on our arms, and headed back to the truck to change.

All ready to go! We both decided to run without socks...
don't do it...but more on that later.
Tracey and Dave...all set to race!
We met up with the rest of the 360 Fit Fam, chatted for a while....and then decided to jump into the 2:30 heat.  Is that jump into an earlier heat?  After doing Spartan, many of us wondered how Mud Hero would compare...the rumors were that it was much easier....but we already know that listening to rumors gets me in trouble!  We all lined up...did the necessary pre-race chanting, clapping, etc....and then we were off! 

My 360 Fit Fam
The first 500m was up the ski hill where we quickly met our first obstacle...the cargo net.  I would say it was 20ft up and over.  The biggest problem was that there were too many people in the wave, thus leaving line ups at the first obstacle.  Next up came obstacle #2 - the teeter boards.  There was an easy and a hard level to choose from.  The harder level were higher off the ground.  I do admit I chose the easier level to try and make up some time. 

Making our way down the hill, we came across obstacle #3 - the 'Light at the end of the Tunnel'.  The picture below is a stock photo I took off line...and we actually went down the tunnel into the mud...not the way the pic shows.
Shortly after this obstacle, came #4 - the giant slide.  Now from afar, this slide looked like lots of fun...and no way we were getting out of it without being muddy.  When we actually climbed the grid to slide down, we noticed the slide was almost vertical!  The instructions were 'do not lean back, lean forward and engage your core'.  The lady I was with wasn't sure she could do it.  I grabbed her hand, and down we went!!  Right under the muddy water!  It was actually refreshing given how warm it was under the sun!
that's the slide in the background
 This is the first place that I regretted not wearing socks.  I instantly had rocks in my sneakers that were digging into my feet.  I tried shaking my shoes to move them forward...but they wouldn't budget.  Moving on, we ran up a slight hill, and onto the next obstacle...Swamp Run.  Basically a big pit of mud...up to our waist as we walked don't even want to know what I felt against my legs.  Shortly after this obstacle, I had to make a quick stop and remove my shoe and the rocks!  Quickly around a corner to obstacle #6 - Over and Unders.  Over one wall, under another, over and under 2 more walls.  Onto obstacle #7 - the spider web...basically a bunch of elastics spread between trees.  Lots more mud...and some of it smelt manure awful!  You just ran through trying to keep your mind off the fact of what the mud was mixed with!

This is where it gets a little foggy as I can't remember the order of the next few obstacles....we had:
  • a hose that just sprayed water everywhere...not much of an obstacle...but the ground was REALLY slippery.
  • We had a couple deep bogs to go one was chest deep.
  • There was the trench (again....awful smell).  Over one mud lump, down in pure mud (chest deep), up another mud lump, then down in pure mud about hip deep.  As I walked out of this one, there was no denying that there was MUD in my the point that my shoes felt a size too small.  And the mud didn`t drain from that point on.
  • There was the 'Punch Drunk Love'.  A bunch of big objects that you push through.  The obstacles were light, so not a big deal.

  • There was the car demolition - basically just running over a bunch of beat up cars and the first place I saw a photographer.
  • Backwards bull frog - I know this one was close to the finish as the water that was cascading over the obstacle felt great. We also used the water to clean up our hands and face.
  • Up next Kong....this was another cargo type obstacle...up a wall, across a cargo net, and down the other side.   Sherry (the person I stayed with) was terrified of heights, and this one had her frozen on the cargo net.  I talked her through and she beat the obstacle.  She said it was the scariest thing she had done...but she didn't let the fear win....proud of her!
  • Hero Walls - these were more walls you traverse over but they are a bit higher, with one being inverted.  This obstacle had easy, hard, and harder levels. 
  • With one obstacle left...the mud crawl...we were finished!
Again...not my internet one...but you get the idea.
Tracey did fantastic and met us at the finish line.  My official time was 1:00:36 as Sherry and I walked a bit and took our time getting through the course.  We collected our medals, a group shot under the mud hero emblem, and then to the hose to wash up.  This is where Tracey and I laughed the hardest.  As I put the hose to me and lifted my shorts...mud came out in clumps.  You don`t even want to know what I found when I looked in my sports bra.  I tell you there was mud in places I can`t even describe!!! did I find Mud Hero?  It was well organized, plenty of time to register and get ready for the race, there was entertainment, plenty of porta potties, and first aid.  My only complaint was that it took at least 2-3 obstacles to spread out the folks.  A fix might be to do less people and increase wave times to every 15 minutes.  Be prepared to get VERY dirty...not just a little...but a LOT!!  The mud stunk in places as I`m pretty sure it`s mixed with unless you are okay with that...a mud run might not be for you.  There were at least 2 water stops and volunteers at each obstacle to ensure you knew what to do.  Mud Hero did not have any punishment for not completing an obstacle which opens the race up to many more people...a good thing I think!  There were a lot more happy faces as I ran through and such diversity in ability and ages then compared to Spartan.  There were photographers at a couple of stations and I`m excited to see those shots.  The race was less than an hour from my home which made getting up and going to the race a relaxing adventure!

Will I do it again?  Yes I year I`ll run the course and see what I can do!  If you are looking to get into the obstacle course racing scene...I would recommend a mud run as your first!!  Great job to all the organizers and volunteers....see you next year!

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