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Race Recap: My Muddy Valentine 2015

(c) Terrapin Events

(c) Terrapin Events

The 2015 My Muddy Valentine was my 4th obstacle course/mud run event I have ever attended. These are a recent addition to my race calendar, and generally are a lot of fun. Since most I have attended are in the summer, heat and dust are the normal negative factors that are associated with them. So an oddly warm Saturday in February made for a very good time at Lee Farms in Tigard. Terrapin Events put on a very good race for a great cause. It also led me to make a discovery about my running persona that is a tad…embarrassing.

As with most mud runs, there was definitely a more casual air than the average road race. Beer was being consumed before heats, there was no clock at the finish line, and everyone seemed like they were having loads of fun. Due to scheduling conflicts, not only was I at the event alone, but the only people I knew had a heat time far earlier than mine and we didn’t see each other. I contented myself before the start time by checking out the booths and watching some very muddy people finish. I wasn’t sure what to expect, other than at least some mud, and hills, as the event was in a very hilly area.

There was only one way to find out, after lacing up my Skoras and getting in a two-mile warm up on the neighboring roads. My heat consisted of about 15 people, from high school age to a couple in their 50s. After some quick instructions and a blast from the air horn, we were down the hill and on our way. Initially starting on gravel road, we traversed grass and muddy dual track road to the first obstacle. I can’t even remember what it was, but the second stuck in my head. Angled platforms about 6 feet high that required a running start to clamber up and jump off the far end. We then climbed over a hay pyramid, not our last encounter with hay on the course.

The man on the left, Helgi won by about 3 minutes in an earlier heat

The next part has to do with my confession. I am by preference a morning runner, even though my work schedule requires I run at 4:30 a couple of times a week. So a 1 pm heat was not exactly my cup of tea, especially being out of sorts on my third day back from a forced vacation due to a bout of bronchitis. So I was ambling along on these muddy trails thinking I was having fun, but not really doing so.

That all changed when we hit the stop that had two options. One was beer, and the other root beer. I’m not a beer drinker and love root beer, so that was easy. Attempting to drink it was not quite so easy. I got about 80% down and called it good. At that point, I knew this was a whole new ball game. As a ‘serious’ runner, I have things I do and don’t do in regards to my hobby. Downing a can of soda is definitely not on the “do” list. This truly set me free to just unwind and have fun. From the massive teeter totter to the numerous mud pits, crawling under barriers and climbing a hill with a partially deflated medicine ball, fun was the name of the game. There was no pressure to run hard, just do what felt comfortable and not worry about anything.

The one obstacle that really stuck in my mind was one of the bogs. In this area, they have ‘shoe-sucking’ mud. The equivalent of anything that may be described as soul-sucking, this goo has an evil mission to rid those that enter it of their footwear. Thanks to the well made Skoras and a light step, I bounded over and through most of the mud pits and puddles, not really sliding or getting stuck. Using quick feet and high knees, traversing these hazards was a breeze. Until it wasn’t. With a mission to traverse the next bog, I stepped cleanly off a ledge and ended up knee-deep in mud. If you didn’t know, mud has a whole new character at that depth. Brought to a standstill, I took a couple of steps back in human development and used all four limbs to not only continue moving, but in such a way that allowed me to keep my footwear. After a few minutes of struggle, I escaped, never to underestimate a mud pit again.

In total, this ended up being approximately a 24 minute adventure. I got in front of my heat pretty fast, and started catching those from previous ones. We usually exchanged greetings and tips, and the volunteers were cheering us on event though they likely got more entertainment out of the deal than we did. Every turn was well-marked and the obstacles were of average difficulty, hard enough to be fun, but not so hard that most people couldn’t attempt them. The mud was top-notch, and seemed to contain no mysterious substances or odd smells, which was a bonus. This was truly a great event.

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