In the weeks leading up to the race, Terrapin was very proactive in preparing their participants for race day. Parking at Lee Farms is limited, and the solution to that was to encourage carpooling. Cars with two or more people would be able to park for free, cars with just a driver would have to pay a $5 parking fee. Secondly, Terrapin had runners choose a start time to stretch out the field and minimize congestion on the course.
I chose an early start time (right after the “competitive” waves) and arrived at the Lee Farms with plenty of parking still available. I had taken advantage of the early packet pickup option at the downtown FootTraffic store, so was all set to go. The mud started in the parking lot, and it never stopped! I still had lots of time before my start time and went to scope out the start/finish area. Packet pickup was dry inside the barn, gear check also dry in the hay loft. Plenty of Porta Potties were set up, and I never saw a line longer than 5-6 people. Several vendors had tents set up with give-aways and information. I really appreciated the offer of free hot tea! I joined the group of runners huddled around the big bonfire and warmed up while waiting for my start.
The first wave of runners started shortly after 10am, and I made my way towards the start line. I got a little bit confused about which wave I was supposed to start in, since I signed up for a start time, but the announcer called us by wave numbers. I joined the wave that was pretty close to my chosen start time, and off we were.
The first mile of the course did not have any man-made obstacles, but last week’s snow and this week’s rain had thoroughly saturated the ground, and we had to conquer an unscheduled mud hill into the forest. The low temperature and high rain levels had the course designers deviate slightly from the course map that had been published before. For example, instead of making us crawl under barbed wire at obstacle one, it was a thigh-deep pool of water with ropes strung above that we could “limbo” under. Obstacle #2 had a little bit of a wait as people tried to figure out how to best get over a wall when your feet were stuck in mud. Obstacle #3 was omitted entirely, since aside from a short stretch of gravel driveway after the hay wall, all running/walking/slugging was done in ankle deep mud along the perimeter of fields, which slowed me down significantly.
The beer station at the half way point was a welcome resting point. Runners could choose to have water, gatorade, or beer, and many stopped and mingled while enjoying their drink. The second half of the course, however, was more challenging to me. We had to go through several low-lying slushy/muddy parts, where it helped to keep up the speed a little. Stop for too long, and your foot sank deeper and deeper! Obstacle #12 was changed from “Heart Hop” to “Shoe Snatcher”, and it almost lived up to its name! The creek crossing over a beam was a perfect photo op (with a fun, talkative, interactive photographer), and many runners took the chance to strike a good pose. Several more ups and downs on slippery hills took us to the finishing stretch and the “car wash” ice cold pool to rinse off a bit. Another couple of yards through the mud, and I crossed the finish line! I survived my first mud run!
After crossing the finish line, volunteers gave me my food and drink tickets, and I enjoyed the fried potatoes and eggs from Madison’s Grill and the cold beer from Lagunitas. My family had come out to the farm with me to cheer me on, so I didn’t linger for too long after the race. Semi-private changing rooms were offered (separate rooms for men and women), and hot showers were available for purchase. Had it not been rainy, I may have stuck around a bit more, but as it was, I was ready to go home and get clean.
For my first mud run, this was a tough one, but smooth operations and a great setup by the organizers made it easy on me. I can highly recommend My Muddy Valentine for the future, and the location really lends itself for very nice off-road races.
My Muddy Valentine top finishers (read complete results here):
Zev Gabai – 24:30:00
Charles Stevens – 25:11:00
Terry Massey* – 25:59:00
Laree Wolfe – 29:35:00
Emma Stevens – 30:32:00
Beth Armstrong* – 30:34:00
Brad Carrell – 31:56:00
Woody Wheeler – 33:50:00
William White – 34:36:00
Michele Stevens – 37:24:00
Jayne Wolfe – 38:11:00
Marykay West – 39:22:00