So, without further ado, the Camp Pendleton Armed Services YMCA Mud Run race report:
We met at 5:30 to drive down to Camp Pendleton, which is about an hour or so south of here in northern San Diego County. We were meeting Jen there, who was driving up from San Diego. The race didn’t start until 9, but everything we heard said to get there early. Traffic gets bad and we knew we had to switch up a couple of registrations, so we didn’t want to take chances. We were excited. Kelly was visibly distracted and didn’t seem that “into it.” She had a big family event later that day and she still had a lot of things to get done. Luckily, she couldn’t have brought her phone, or else she might have been texting and calling throughout the race! :-) She quickly got her mind off her busy afternoon and onto the fun at hand.
Here is our team, the OC Muddy Runners (Kelly, Jen, Me, Amy and Heidi)The pre-race area was set up well. We had to substitute two of our team members and pick up our bibs. There were Marines posted in front of the tents to make sure that everyone was going where they were supposed to go. Only the team captain and the substitutes could get into the registration area. It kept the chaos to a minimum.
There were plenty of porta potties. In fact, there were more potties than many larger races I have been to. There was never a line, even as the start approached.
I'm not sure who this guy is...he doesn't look like a runner, but you never know at this event. Look at all those porta potties though!
The bag check was quick and painless. They organized it by the last four digits of our social security numbers. The bag area was secure and manned by Marines. It was easy drop off and easy pick up.
One of my only complaints about the race was the lack of water at the start. You could buy a water from one of the vendors, but we looked for a while for any sort of water as we waited for the start of the race. As we got closer to the race, we finally saw them setting up some cups and water.
We made our way to the start area. The individuals started first. They let them in to the starting corral first. You could feel the excitement. The MC really got the crowd going. Finally, after what seemed like forever, the individual competitors started and the teams were able to move into the starting corral.
We were getting excited, and even a little nervous. I had done a mud run before, but never the “World Famous Camp Pendleton Mud Run.” It is the original mud run and I wasn’t sure what to expect. The teams all moved into the starting corral. Man, were there a lot of teams! We quickly realized that we should have worn matching outfits or some sort of costume. We have big plans for next year!
Teams had to wait about 20 minutes after the individuals started. Before we knew it, we were off!
We started out running easily. A couple of our team members haven’t run much lately, so we started out nice and slow. It was so relaxing for me! I was jogging with my friends. I didn’t have a watch or a Garmin or water or an iPod. It was really freeing. I was grinning ear to ear.
Soon we approached some fire hoses (operated by fire fighters on a truck). I was told if you try to avoid the hoses, they would aim at you. The fun had officially started!
After a while, we went into a single track section. There were a ton of people around. We went through the first creek crossing and really got the feeling of sloshy shoes. Fun times!
While our official name was OC Muddy Runners, we soon decided that we had another, more fitting name. TEAM TMI**. My good friend Jen and my good friend Kelly were meeting for the first time. They were getting to know each other and started talking about kids. Then the conversation turned to kids’ births. We were all running together and the conversation needed to be heard by all five of us. That means that the other runners heard it too. A few guys ran by and were visibly shocked to hear phrases like “crowning” and “placenta” on the trail. It was really funny. I told them that we were merely motivation to run faster to get away from us. We told a group of young childless women that we were their birth control. Birth stories weren’t our only topic of conversation… we also talked about pee and other bodily functions. Like I said Team TMI!
We ran up and down some fire roads. It was getting warm and it was definitely dusty. I was joking that it should be called the Dust Run instead of the Mud Run. Where was the mud?? We ran FOUR MILES before we saw any serious mud***. Don’t get me wrong, you know I love a good trail race, but my team wasn’t digging the big hills of running. Luckily, it was a beautiful day and the scenery was really nice.
At one point, we were running up a hill and some Marines were there providing some water to cool us off. I think they were having as much fun squirting us as we were being squirted. This soldier stopped squirting when he saw my camera so I could take a picture.
After coming out of the hills, we finally reached the MUD! It was gloriously messy! Kelly, in the spirit of TMI, yelled that it smelled horrible and smelled like we were running through a poo pit. Nice. I told her to shut her mouth—in more ways than one. :-) She did have a point, however. That first mud pit was super smelly!
After the first major mud pit, we came around the corner and saw the lake/river. I knew that there was a major river/lake crossing during the race. I think I underestimated the depth and length of this crossing. Since there was no zoom on my camera, it is difficult to show the extent of this crossing. If you look carefully at the picture, you will notice a small line crossing the lake. That is the heads of the Mud Run participants.
Here is an attempt to zoom in on the line of runners/swimmers:
I was under the impression that the crossing was chest high. I think it was chest high on a 6’5 tall man. There were parts were I could not touch the bottom and still have my head above water. Swimming was easier, but it definitely wasn’t easy with running shoes on! At one point I grabbed the guide rope and pulled myself along. One girl really struggled, I’m not sure she could swim at all. A big guy grabbed her and basically carried her across. It was neat to see. My friend Jen is a true swimmer, so she was completely in her element and loved every minute of it.
We then ran a bit more and headed into some more mud pits. Out of the five of us on our team, four of us are married. The one single lady was Amy, who happens to be twenty-two and adorable. She said early in the day that she was excited to see cute Marines. We all decided to make the sacrifice and keep our eyes peeled for cute Marines. *wink* Going into one of the last big mud pits, there were cute Marines in the pit to help runners get over the wall. I had no problem getting over the previous walls, but who am I to refuse help from a cute Marine?
We then hit more mud and some tunnels. I followed advice from some other runners and did a duck walk through the tunnel to save my knees. Jen and Heidi are too tall for that, so they scooted on their butts backwards through, which was easier than crawling.
you can tell things were pretty muddy by this point. This is actually a picture of Jen coming out of the tunnel.The last obstacle was “slippery hill.” Some of the best advice I received was from LB, the original Muddy Runner, who told me to go straight up the middle. I had no idea what he was talking about until I got there. There was a little river of water going down the middle. LB was right: going right up through the water was way easier than slipping and sliding along the sides. We passed dozens of people on this hill.
We all finished arm in arm with big muddy smiles on our faces. Kelly and Heidi were a bit muddier than the rest of us because they stopped to have a mud fight. Heidi and Kelly are sisters and Heidi, the typical younger sibling, ambushed Kelly with some mud in the face.
We got retrieved our bags and went to the showers. The lines were insanely long. Not only were they long, but they weren’t moving at all. Kelly, Heidi and Amy decided that they would just drive home muddy. They had brought sheets and towels to sit on in the car and Kelly was anxious to get home and finish preparations for her event later that day. While they went in search for food, Jen and I waited in the line. We determined that it would take an hour to wait and since I rode with the others, I was riding home dirty as well. I noticed people doing a complete wash down, not just a rinse off. They had shampoo, conditioner…. the works! GUYS were taking ten minutes to get completely clean. REALLY? Dude… did you bring your loofa? Do you want a pedicure? Seriously, who goes to a mud run and leaves completely clean? Jen and I decided to use our towels to wipe off as much as we could and just put our clean, dry clothes on over our dirty bodies. It made all the difference in the world. It was kind of fun to have my kids see how dirty I was when I got home. They got a kick out of the mud in my hair and ears!
I was disappointed that there was nowhere to donate my muddy shoes. I wore some of my old running shoes that are perfectly good for someone in need of shoes. The first Mud Run I did in San Diego had an area to donate shoes. They would clean them off and give them to people in need. There were hundreds of pairs of shoes lined up for donation. I asked several people on Saturday where could I donate my shoes. They all told me to throw them in the trash. I decided to bring them home to put in my donation stuff here. What a pain! I think that the Marines are missing an opportunity to give shoes to people who need them. Once they are hosed off, most of them are perfectly good as every day shoes.
It was a fun day. It was a great run with challenging obstacles. We have already planned to do it again next year! We were registered this year as an “open” team, because we originally had Kelly’s husband on our team. We placed somewhere in the 100’s. If we had been a women’s team, we would have placed around 11th. With a little training, we could easily break the top ten. Even though time was never a goal… the competitor in me always looks at that stuff, after the fact.
If you have never done a mud run, DO IT. It is a lot of fun.
*I used a disposable waterproof camera. It is obvious on some of the pictures that the lens is covered in mud. It has been a long time since I have used a camera when I can’t check the pictures that day and actually had to take them in to be developed.
**Team TMI could also be T-eaM-I, Too Mud-ch Information.
***According to the course map, we were supposed to hit a tire obstacle, a steeple jump (with a mud pit) and hay bales early in the race. We never saw any of those. I’m not sure if they were there for the races earlier in the month. LB?