Listen, it was on my bucket list (or my 40 List as I’ve been calling it). It sounded like a really great idea when I signed up for it. I am so glad I did it, but listen. Don’t do what I did, sign up for it and do it 2 weeks later with zero preparedness.
If you’re going to do it, plan better and here’s what you need to do:
1. Cardio, cardio and maybe another day of cardio. The race in KC was at Snow Creek (ya, know, snow creek where people ski and therefore there would be ski hills to climb). I read that part, but didn’t really pay attention. Not only was this race at Snow Creek, it started by climbing a ski hill. Like, that was the start. Like, before all obstacles. Like, right out of the gate. Like, it almost fucking killed me! There were several hills through the whole damn race, so, do your cardio!
2. Buy some trail shoes. In my head, I was never doing this again, so I thought I would be fine wearing my old shoes and donating them at the end of the race(which I did and they do wonderful, charitable things with them). My old tennis shoes did not have nearly enough grip on them and the see-saw obstacle, I couldn’t even climb on without slipping and face planting. So, if you’re going to do it, hop over to Amazon and pick up a pair of trail running shoes, they’re like $20.
3. Do it with a friend or maybe even a group. Some of the obstacles you will likely need a boost, so having a strong friend is helpful. A group would be even better to help pull, push and encourage you too.
4. Sign up for an early time. The earlier, the less tracked through the course is, the weather maybe a little cooler. I went at noon – dumb, don’t do that. It was hot and there were some deeper holes from where other people had already run. Not the end of the world, but ya, know just trying to make it easier (and I am being very loose with the word easy).
5. Where tight fitted clothing and quick dry material if you can. If you’re a girl with curves, a pair of pants with a drawstring to keep them up, also helpful. Because when you’re waist deep in mud and getting your ass caught on barbed wire, you are going to at least want your pants to stay up. I’d say a tank top, so your sleeves don’t get caught on barbed wire or other obstacles, but if you’re afraid of getting scrapped, maybe long sleeves, but also maybe you shouldn’t be doing this race.
6. You need to Pack: bug spray, sun screen, Advil (there will be pain, there will be bruises) and allergy medicine! Not sure what I encountered, but it sent my outdoor allergies into hyper drive! Towels, wipes, change of clothes and shoes. If I had been thinking, a disposable camera would have been fun, but they provide a ton of free photos from the pro-photogs along the course.
All and all it is something I am glad I did at least once. It did not turn me into an addict and leave me with this burning desire to do it again and again, but I would consider doing it again with a group of people or with couples…that would require me to have a boyfriend and friends that have boyfriends/spouses, but I digress.
I did feel strong and capable and accomplished when it was over. I was impressed with myself crawling through the muck, because if you know me in real life, I don’t do dirt and mud for real! The biggest take away for me in this race is it restored my belief in humanity. Odd to say of a mud run, but it really did. Perfect strangers helping others and cheering each other on. When I climbed the tall wooden wall (not sure what it’s called) I freaked. It was way taller than I was prepared for, it was shaky and I climbed to the top and could not talk myself down the other side – enter Captain America. Not really Captain America, but he was wearing the shirt and that’s what I called him. He climbed up and said you can do it, you’ve got it – here, I’ll help you, let me help you! I mean, I could have just cried right there, but that wouldn’t be very maniac like of me! He (and other random strangers) were just so kind and encouraging and we could all use a little kindness that right there is reason enough to do the Rugged Maniac.