The Mud Run is advertised as Canada's Dirtiest 10K, and they weren't kidding. That was the most insane thing I have ever done. Ever.
We woke up on Sunday morning to 30-degree temps - at 7:00AM! We knew it was going to be a hot one, but could not possibly have prepared ourselves sufficiently for this heat.
Here's the "Before"
We arrived at the Claireville Conservation Area at 9:00 AM. Unfortunately, there was no advance kit pick-up. Registration was due to close at 9:15 on race day, but people were still arriving well after that. As a result, the race times were all pushed back by about 30 minutes. So we had arrived at 9:00 expecting our race to start at 10:15, and it didn't start until 10:45. This wouldn't be such a big deal, but the sun was getting hotter by the minute and there was no shade to be found. By the time we were called to the start line, we were hot, sweaty and worn out from waiting around in the heat. Not the best way to start a race! Nonetheless, we were enthusiastic and excited to see what the course had in store for us.
The next 10 KM took us along dirt roads and narrow trails, across unkempt fields, over and under fallen trees, up several steep climbs and through (yes, through!) three rivers. There was one steep climb after a river-crossing that brought everyone to a stand-still. It had turned to a slippery mess from all the sopping wet runners and took several minutes to get moving again. About half of the route was in the woods offering much-needed relief from the pounding sun and making it easier to tear through the trails than trudge along open sections of the route.
There were two things that I had a lot of trouble with. First, not enough water. I had not brought my own and while there were four water stations on the course, they seemed few and far between. Second, not knowing our distance. We hadn't worn our Garmins and there were no kilometre markers on the route. We asked volunteers at various points and received contradictory answers, so we were on our own. Not knowing how much further we had to go made it feel like an eternity. I believe I could have had a much stronger finish had we known how close we were to the end.
The second half of the run was extremely difficult. I could barely breathe in the thick, humid air and I had chills and waves of nausea from dehydration. I had to will myself to take each step, concentrating all of my strength on NOT collapsing in a heap on the ground. I have never pushed myself as hard as I did during those last 20 to 30 minutes of the race.
I ran on a team with my hubby and a friend of ours. We managed to stick together the entire time and really kept each other moving when the going got tough. I don't believe I could have done that on my own. We finally reached the finish area and dove into the infamous mud pit. We crawled through the refreshingly disgusting mud and across the finish mat together. As it turns out, we finished in 6th place out of 21 teams for the "Buddy" (coed) category with a chip time of 1:21:28. (Chip Time Results - "The Nuckin Futs")
There were only three showers so we trekked back to the woods and bathed in the river, then back to the finish area for some grub. A smoothie has never tasted so good!
Things we will do differently next year:
-eat breakfast later and bring fruit for before the race (oatmeal 4 hours earlier didn't cut it!)
-bring a disposable waterproof camera
-wear costumes, or at least team t-shirts