When someone asks you to join her team for a 5K run, it can be a little daunting – especially when you neither run, swim, roll in mud or jump. Also, I am now considered in the senior age group. I do, however, patronize the gym, walk on a treadmill, attend spin class and can Zumba with the best of them. So although I wasn’t sure how far 5K is (about 3 miles), I signed on.
The Dirty Girl Mud Run was one of the most intense physical things I have ever done. Unfortunately, I failed to check the website for instructions and preparations until five days before the race. The course did not look too difficult, though, sort of a long oval with 11 challenges. What I overlooked was that a drawing does not necessarily look like the actual course.
On Sept. 8, the day of the race, my teammates and I could not have been in better spirits and our eagerness reigned supreme. I was enthralled with the number of women – young, beautiful, nubile females, with all types of flowery, colorful garb, crazy wigs and lots of hand-made T-shirts. Did I mention we were all there to raise money to help cure breast cancer? We actually had a few breast cancer survivors in our group.
The groups were lined up at 15-minute intervals. As the coordinator gave his instructions, the music started with its pulsating beat. My eyes traveled up Kissing Bridge Mountain, and continued going upward almost reaching heaven, it seemed. And only then did I realize that the start of the race would entail us actually ascending the mountain. It was no longer the music that was stirring my emotions, but my own heartbeat that was pounding.
Then off we went. About halfway up the first hill, my breath was taken away, not from the beautiful scenery – just from being out of shape. Most of my team pulled up in front, while I lagged behind with my daughter, Melissa. I grasped the reality that I was becoming quite a hindrance to her, and said, “Melissa, I’m not sure I can do this.” She replied, “Mom, I’m tired, too!” I suggested she go on without me, but she said, “Mom, I would never leave you.” That gave me a good dose of inspiration.
We continued on until we reached the first obstacle – a bouncy ladder with a huge slide. By this time I was really fatigued. After sitting for a while we consulted the operator of the challenge. I conveyed my hesitance of continuing on. He asked, “Are you injured or just a little winded?” I said, “Buster, I am very much winded!”
He told me: “You can do this. Many other people have stopped at this juncture and I have encouraged them on. You actually have completed the hardest part of the race and the rest – even though there are a few more hills and challenges – I think you can do it!”
So with my daughter’s support, we slowly continued on through the rest of the course. She completed quite a few of the other obstacles along the way, and even inspired me to crawl through a mud puddle. We took two hours to finish the race, but we finished! The cheering crowd at the end of the race was such an emotional high. At this point I could no longer hold in my emotions; I felt the tears well up in my eyes and there was a huge lump in my throat. What a thrill!
Would I do it again? Yes. But I think I have to start training now for next year’s run up the mountain. At least I get to wear the shirt that says, “I lived through the 5K Dirty Girl Mud Run 2012.”