My first mud run….
I’ll never forget the first time i approached this mud pit in Windham, NY at the Warrior Dash in 2010. God I was petrified….
I had no idea what I signed up, but some friends convinced to run this 3.26 mile course with 13 obstacles. I had run 5K’s before this and worked out regularly, but was completely clueless what lied ahead on this ski mountain. Even though this race was about 4 years ago, I distinctly remember how muddy everyone was and how steep the “climb” up the mountain was.
Since then, I had completed 3 more Warrior Dashes and 6 Spartan Races.
I tell everyone I know to sign up for these races, as they give you a sense of accomplishment unlike any road race, triathlon, or workout. You’ll experience cramping, pain, defeat, fatigue and fear all for some medal and t shirt at the end. Sounds like a good way to spend about 100 bucks, right? My patients and friends think I’m crazy, but there’s truth to Spartan Race’s motto “you’ll know at the finish line”. I encourage people to race these races, but only in a safe progression to prevent injury, because these races are not easy.
I’ve always run these races with friends, but for the first time I truly challenged myself in NY during the sprint in June 2014. I have a strong endurance background, so I went out fast. The competition is great during these races, since someone with slower speed can catch up very quickly if they’re quick over walls, or strong with a carry obstacle. It’s easy to run 4 miles on flat terrain, but to bust your butt over ski mountains and trails, and then attempt a rope climb and barbed wire crawl, will bring the meaning of fatigue to a whole – nother – level. It will be impossible to explain this feeling until you have thee most excruciating calf cramp during the last .3 of a race up a mountain… but for some reason, it’s all worth it in the end. and the pictures… and bragging rights… I finished in 1:32. Solid 4th place age group and 21 female overall (not including elite racers).
So here I am…”somewhat experienced” and people always ask me – which one should I do first? A safe progression is the best way to go – I don’t care how experienced of an athlete you are. You’re not going to sign up for a marathon if you’ve never run a 5K. It’s simple:
Your First Mud Run (2 miles) –> Warrior Dash –> Spartan Sprint –> Super Spartan –> Spartan Beast. Patience is key, regardless how great you feel, because a long mud run “career” is safer than doing too much right away with an injury that sets you back 4 months. People always seem to be fascinated with the longer distances, but refuse to truly “push” themselves running during the shorter events. Far too often – I see people casually walking the courses… Just an observation.