This post was written by Corky Shaw. Feel free to Submit a Guest Post in the “Contact Us” tab if you are wanting to write a preview or recap your running experiences as well! The views in this post do not necessarily reflect those of Run Oregon.
As I’m driving out to Lee farms on highway 217, I look through my windshield and see nothing but torrents of rain and the occasional brake light. I know that I’m in for a great time with this race. Like most mornings when you have a 2-year-old, I’m running late. I pull into the parking lot just in time for the bus and arrive at Lee farms within 10 minutes of getting to the Legacy parking lot. I quickly run through the packet pick-up, but turn down the complimentary beverage ticket. I’m driving and have a sick child at home, so I’ll be needing my faculties afterward. All of the lines are quick, I check my bag and meet with the rest of my 10 a.m. pack with 30 seconds to spare.
The 10 second start countdown begins and before I know it we’re off and running. The race begins with a long down hill run. My advice for this is dial your downhill pace back by 10% for the start. If you’re anything like me you find a pace, your groove, and intend to stay at that pace for the duration. If you think you’re keeping the initial down hill pace for the whole race then you don’t know what’s ahead. Do yourself a favor and start slow, you’ll need those legs to climb out of waist deep mud later.
As the course progresses the mud seems to get deeper and deeper. Before all of that comes you’ll have a series of walls to jump over and deep water to wade through. We’re all at this race to have fun so don’t be afraid to ask for a hand or a boost from a fellow racer if you need to. I know I offered a helping hand a few times during the race. Once you make your way through a number of small obstacles, you come to the first of 3 significant climbs. I hope you had a hearty breakfast because they’re not just climbs, they’re muddy uphills that lack any decent footholds.
Now you reach the deep mud. Well, kind of. The truly deep mud comes in a minute. This mud is to your knees and makes for a slow one-foot-after-another stride similar to wading through deep snow, except the mud wants to claim a prize – your shoes! Tie those puppies on tight. Now that you’re free from the knee-high stuff, it’s time to go waist deep. Don’t just jump off the ledge into the pit, though. You will get stuck. Some people are successful in crawling across the top of the mud. I’m a big guy and in my case I sink to the bottom of the pit. Therefore, I decide to do the awkward walk/crawl/flop-around-and-kick kind of thing until I get out. This is where I lend the helping hand I talked about earlier. Mostly for the people that jumped feet-first off the edge. When they landed they went straight to the bottom with so much force it kind of vacuumed them into place and they couldn’t get out without help. I spent 5 minutes freeing people from their mud shackles before moving on.
Now for your next uphill climb. It’s shorter, but your legs are toast from the mud, so it’s much more difficult than it seems it should be. It has a pay-out though. Once you reach the top, you’re greeted with a 100 foot slip and slide. You hit the occasional root and rock, but the fun out weighs the discomfort. If you can, try to pop up at the end so that you don’t crash into the hard bottom awkwardly. Get up, fling off some of the mud and prepare to get dirty. I know you’re already as dirty as you can be, but more mud awaits! Next, you have to rope climb up a mud wall. Thankfully you haven’t had to use your arms very much so far, because your feet slip and slide and don’t help you much here.
Now you’re to the final climb. You run up a gravel road to be greeted by a quad-step and an octo-step (similar to the first obstacle in Ninja Warrior.) Get through these to find the Tunnels of Love. This needs some explaining: in February Lee Farms hosted the My Muddy Valentine run, which is similar to the Dirty Leprechaun, and all of the obstacle signs were still the love theme. Anyway, you slide under a tarp and army crawl through 2 feet of water. If you weren’t already cold, you will be after this. The water is frigid and you have to crawl through 40 feet of it. As you come out the other end, you wonder how you’re going to drive home without painting the interior of your car a lovely brown color. Not to worry, you’re about to get a bath before crossing the finish line. The next obstacle is your cleaning station. You leap into waist deep freezing cold water. Since you’re already cold, splash around for a minute and clean up a little because you’re about to get your pot of gold. That’s right, the next step is the finish line where you’re greeted by friendly volunteers who will award you with your well deserved medal.
This race offers a hot shower for $5.00 and changing rooms if you’d like to clean up. After you’re all cleaned up, put on your medal (you’ve earned it), and go enjoy the festivities. There is a lot going on. Beer, food, music, and like-minded racers swapping muddy stories. Enjoy the after party, memories are made here along with on the the course.
After I spent a shorter time than I would have liked partaking in the party, I found a warm bus waiting for me to take me back to my car. Then it was back home to Beaverton feeling accomplished in my morning activities.