|And this is AFTER I rinsed them off…|
What a fun race! My friend Lina and I participated in the Tac Force Obstacle Challenge mud run this morning. It was my second mud run–the first being the Dirty 6 in Chandler, AZ–and it was her first. We both had a blast!
The race consisted of 31 obstacles over 3.1 miles. The obstacles included tasks like scaling a high cargo net, swinging on a rope across a muddy pit, crawling through sludgy pipes, and jumping in a river.
I love this list of Mud Run Tips from Skinny Chick Blog, but here is my list of tips:
- Go with a friend, or a group of friends. These events are all about camaraderie and it would not have been nearly as much fun done alone.
- Have good endurance. You don’t have to be a fast runner, bodybuilder, or Navy SEAL to do these runs, but stamina helps. These races are essentially long circuit workouts where your heart rate is continually up.
- Expect a few scratches and bruises. You’ll be crawling over sharp rocks and rough wood. Knees and elbows will get a few dings.
- Choose costumes with care. Tutus and tiaras may look cute at the starting line, but after the first crawl through waist-deep sludge, you’ll be thinking twice about your choice. That’s not to say you shouldn’t don war-paint or the like, but leave the extraneous out–fairy wings aren’t fun when you’re jumping in a river.
- Less is better in clothing. For my first mud run, I wore flared capris and a loose t-shirt. When they got wet and muddy, it felt like I was running around in a weight vest. It was brutal. For today’s race, I wore spandex shorts and a fitted tank top, which was perfect. I was very comfortable. Men–avoid shorts with pockets, which will fill with mud and water, adding weight. Wear tight clothes, like Under Armor shirts. Some men went shirtless. I don’t think I would do the race in just a sports bra because there were a couple times I really would have scraped my stomach without a shirt.
- Some participants like to duct tape their shoes on. I don’t think that’s necessary as long as your shoes are tightly fastened. Your feet are still going to get stuck in the mud–at one point, I had to reach down and dig a foot free. Just keep your shoes fastened tightly and you’ll be fine.
- Wear tight, longer socks. This was the one “miss” I think I made today. I wore short socks and I had gravel, river silt, and straw sneak their way into the sock and rub on my bare skin. Annoying, and really the only physical discomfort I experienced. If I do another mud run, I’ll wear longer socks and/or duct tape the top of the sock to my skin. My running partner wore long spandex running tights with long socks over top and had no dirt get in and rub her skin. She did, however, look like she wasn’t wearing any pants after her entire bottom half got soaked and mud-covered (good for a giggle).
- I saw tons of different footwear among participants–hiking boots, combat boots, Vibram Five Fingers, trail shoes, running shoes. I wore my Salomon Techamphibian water shoes, and they were perfect. They shed the water, gripped well on all the uneven surfaces, and were comfortable throughout the race. I think they’ll be my go-to shoes for future obstacle races.
- Don’t forget trash bags–for your car seats, for your shoes and clothes, for anything you touch, because it will be covered in mud. I’d also recommend a towel and change of clothes–even if your race doesn’t have a good rinsing station, you can at least strip out of the wet, muddy clothes, towel off, and put on dry clothes.
I don’t think I’ll ever become a die-hard adventure racer–I prefer long-distance runs. But every once in a while, it could be a way to inject pizazz into a running workout while bonding with friends.