The BestThings About the Day:
I had a lot of fun. You can’t go into a mud run without the attitude that it is all about the fun. I crawled around. I got muddy. That’s all good.
I really liked the fact that it was at the Rose Bowl. As a Pac-10 girl, the Rose Bowl holds a special place in my heart. Before the days of the BCS (and even during some years now), the Rose Bowl is the ultimate goal for Pac-10 teams. Many great football games have been played there. The race was held on the grounds around the Rose Bowl. Someday, I’d like to run a race that ends inside.*
I met, yet another, awesome running mom. I had sent an e-mail out to the local Team Jamba members who were running the race to see if they wanted to meet up. I couldn’t talk any of my friends into driving up to Pasadena with me, so I thought I could connect with fellow Team Jamba runners. Nadine responded and it seemed like we would be running around the same pace, so we planned on meeting before the race.
She is GREAT. We hit it off right away and have so much in common. We hung out before the race and then ran the entire thing together. We laughed and talked the entire race. If it wasn’t for her, I know I wouldn’t have had nearly as much fun. In fact, as you’ll read some of the negatives of the race below, I am not sure if I would have enjoyed the race at all if it weren’t for her.
Nadine is showing off her guns (as well as her Jamba Juice temporary tattoo) :-)
We also met another Team Jamba member. Felipe was a super nice guy and really down-to-earth. It turns out he took third overall! I love a guy who is humble, yet FAST.
Mud Runs are known for the fun, party-like atmosphere. Runners are encouraged to dress up in costumes. They even have prizes. Someday, I am going to put together a team with costumes. We chuckled at a few of the goofy costumes. I was able to snap a photo of one of my favorite team costumes.
“Business in the front, party in the rear.” LOL. These guys had beer cans in their back pockets.
And you’ve gotta love a guy in a Justin Bieber t-shirt!
The Not-So-Great Things About the Day:
Hmmm…where do I start? I don’t want to be super negative, since I was able to run this race as a guest of Team Jamba. However, I wouldn’t run this race again. I am relieved that my friends didn’t shell out $50 and drive an hour. The race didn’t even compare to the Camp Pendleton Mud Run we ran a couple of months ago. While it is unfair to compare it to that race, the San Diego Mud Run I ran a couple of years ago was also a much better race.
Signage for the start line wasn’t very clear. We had a little time to kill before the race and wanted to hang out near the start. We headed toward flags that read, “the party starts here!” After a while, we realized that there wasn’t much of a crowd and figured out that the start was across the field. It had the same exact flags.
There was a mass of humanity at the start (when we finally found it). When the race started, the announcer told the teams to hold back and let the individuals go. Ummm….this would have been good information before the race started.** We looked around and realized we were among the teams and they weren’t letting individuals go. In fact, nobody was doing much going at all.
The race started with walking. The crowd just started slowly moving forward. It reminded me of a sporting event or concert. We walked for the first part of the race—through the first several obstacles. People were leisurely climbing over the first obstacle, which was a three-foot traffic barrier.**
We finally made it to the first mud pit***. Suddenly, I was hit in the neck by a big clump of mud. It was raining clumps of mud that were being tossed by fellow runners. What?? Don’t get me wrong, I don’t mind getting muddy. Heck, I run in Mud Runs, don’t I? But big clumps of barely wet mud don’t feel good falling from a high toss. Nadine, who has four teenage boys, is no stranger to flung dirt and she was annoyed by fellow competitors throwing mud on us as well. Come on, people!
As we walked to the next obstacle, we decided to laugh at the whole thing. We shrugged our shoulders and started having fun. There were a few more barriers, some hoola hoops to maneuver through, beach balls, a slippery piece of plastic to slide/crawl on and a bit more mud. Then we hit the running portion of the race.
We ran for probably close to three miles.**** The good thing about the long stretch of running was that Nadine and I passed people right and left. Where we started in the pack was apparently among a bunch of non-runners and we were both eager to get in a decent run. It was nice to push it a little and pick people off one by one (or group by group).
We circled the golf course adjacent to the Rose Bowl grounds and came back into the parking lot. The course had us do all the obstacles again. This time, we could go at a good pace as everything had spread out. It was much better the second time through. There was room to breath and the mud had been mixed up with more water.
We ran the last bit and finished strong. Despite starting way back in the crowd and walking for something like a half mile, Nadine and I finished 11th in our age group (we had the same time). Not bad!
We found another member of Team Jamba to pose with us after the race.Despite some of the negative things about the race, I had a really great time. The best thing about the race was meeting a new friend. I feel very lucky to have so many great friends to run with, compare notes etc. Nadine, who qualified for Boston this year, has already given me tips and run with me in Long Beach, where I hope to do the same.
Life is good when even a not-so-good race can be a great run!
*I think the Pasadena Marathon might end in the Rose Bowl.
**There was a second race that day at 10:30 and we clearly heard the announcement before the race began that individuals would start first and then the teams. At least they figured it out for one of the races. At the other two Mud Runs I have run, they had completely separate starts for the different groups. I think that allows the individuals a chance to run and the teams a chance to goof around.
**The other two Mud Runs had five-foot walls. A three-foot barrier isn’t even an obstacle, more of an annoyance.
***The pit was constructed of flood control bales and plastic liners filled with dirt and water. One of them was built over concrete. OUCH. The mud itself was full of gravel. I still have some marks on my knees from the gravel in the mud.
****It was a four-mile race.