Singing In The Rain (and Running and Jumping and Sloshing) Mostly in The Mud

FoamFest 5k mud runYou’ve probably heard about the mud run/obstacle course craze. There’s the Warrior Dash and the Hero Run, the Muddy Buddy and Mud Runs of all sorts, from full on boot camp style to just plain silliness. Then there’s the FoamFest5k which was held today in Nashville.

All the pictures on their web page were of foamy, soapy water slides and bouncy houses filled with bubbles. They even advertise one of their obstacles as the HUMAN CAR WASH, where they have you run through a gauntlet of rubber bouncy balls hanging from above and covered in, you guessed it, foam.

So I thought “Hey, that looks like fun. It’ll kind of be like all the mud run things, except, you know, cleaner. Like a day at the waterpark with a little running tossed in.

I was wrong.

I also thought that jogging around the neighborhood for a few miles once or twice a week would have me plenty ready to go jog around in the foam.

Again, I was wrong.

You know how I know God has a sense of humor?

Because the day I decide I’m going to step outside my comfort zone and run in foam, He decides it’s going to rain. That’s not too bad, I mean, I was going to get wet anyway.

What I wasn’t mentally prepared for was the cold. 44 degrees when I woke up this morning and not a smidge warmer when I got to the parking “lot,” actually a field, which by then had turned into a full on mud pit. Cars were stuck in every direction and multiple tow trucks and tractors were there pulling earlier victims out.

Not only did we have to get parked in the mud, then we had to get ourselves through the field. I was cold, wet and covered in mud before I ever even made it to the starting line.

But once we got there, it was definitely a party atmosphere…. loud dance music, attractive young women in brightly colored costumes, tutus, wigs, facepaint, body tattoos… Ok here we go… Let’s get this party started.

The whole clean, foamy, waterpark idea got shot to hell as soon as we started running. This was a mud run, pure and simple. Calling it anything else is just marketing.

Our race wave started at noon and was the 12th wave of the day. By that time, the trails that we were running along through the woods were just bogs. The objective quickly became not so much to run fast, but to keep your shoes from sticking in the 6 inches of mud and to keep your balance when every step you took slid in a different direction.

I’m not sore in my quads or buttimus maximus like I might normally be after a run, but my lower abdomen is howling. I assume because every step was a surprise and when I started sliding, I would tighten up every muscle in my core trying to catch my balance.

The event was held at A Cowboy Town, off Brick Church Pike in Whites Creek. They typically have old timey cowboy and western shows there and horseback riding. It wasn’t til about half way through the race that I realized that the trails we were running on were horse trails and by extension, a lot of the mud we were running through, wasn’t mud.

I did a much better job of keeping my balance after that epiphany.

Yes, there was foam too. The Human Car Wash was one of the very first, then the Giant Bouncy House of Foam, and Another Giant Bouncy House of Foam, a Couple of Foamy Slip and Slides thrown in to boot.

There were a couple of boot camp type obstacles too, walls to climb, ropes to crawl through and under, a 15 foot cargo net that I was particularly pleased to make it op and over until I looked back and my friend Laura, who just had her second child 10 months ago, was coming over the net and down the other side hands first, doing a vertical hand stand climbing down 15 feet of cargo net. She’s a better man than me.

There were a couple of water obstacles too, through a pond filled with innertubes and then running across about 40 feet of floating pads. If you kept your speed and balance you could make it across. Any wobbling or slowing down and you were in the drink.

My daughter says the whole thing looked like an episode of Wipe Out. That’s about what it felt like.

The craziest part was the DEATH DROP, a ginormous inflatable water slide with at least a 20 foot nearly vertical drop before it leveled out. I’m not a big fan of heights anyway and this took my breath away.

So that’s how I spent my Saturday. The first time in my life I’ve ever pinned a number on my shirt and started running when the horn blew.

My brother asked me last week why on earth I would do such a thing, were there prizes? And yes, I actually got a medal for finishing… Yay me. But I didn’t run for prizes or the medal. It was just something to do. Something to push me out of my comfort zone. Something to do, just to see if I could do it.

And I could.

Meanwhile, SuperMom got so excited, she’s looking for more Mud Runs to do next week. I’m thinking more along the lines that it might make a good annual event, unless I find one that’s really, really clean.

Terry LancasterTerry Lancaster is the VP of Making S#!% Happen at Instant Events Automotive Advertising, father of 3 teenage daughters and a Beer League Hockey All Star, as if there could ever be such a thing.

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