Monday, March 28, 2011

Big Sur Mud Run - 2011

We got up bright and early Saturday, March 26th, and headed down to Seaside, CA. It was raining pretty good the whole way there and the temp was in the low 40's. As usual, while I try to stay modest, I don't' like running in a lot of clothes, and I was a little worried about the temp. The rain did not worry me as I knew we would be soaked anyway.
I was also concerned about Kona and the kids being out in the rain and cold for hours. We got there at 8:30 and our wave didn't' start until 10 (it would actually start later than that) and I was guessing we would take 1:10ish to figure the family would be out in the elements for 3.5 to 4 hours. The kids were as bundled up as possible and changes of clothes were packed in the car.
Kona found a warm spot inside of Randy K's jacket, so no worries about him, and the kids were immune to the crazy weather conditions. When we would later run by them, the kids were busy playing in the mud piles from the mud that was dug out to make the pits : )
The fam and Randy (Brian's wife) set up camp at the last wall and mud pit. We packed chairs and snacks and toys for the kids, so they had their spot all set.
The 5 members of Rage Against the Mud Sheen headed over to the starting area. It took us a minute to figure out that the teams weren't all going at 10, they were in waves. First was military and public service people, then men teams and woman teams, then us..the mixed teams. Before each wave we were led through some warm ups of squat variations, sit ups, and push ups. The announcer read off his fav names in each wave and we were first to be announced for favorite mixed team name!
So eventually we were off and running. It is hard to know what happened at what mile as the miles were not marked, but the first section of running seemed the longest to me. The first obstacle was the orange traffic dividers. Think freeway dividers, but orange and a little taller, sitting in a mud pit. I think there were 4 rows to get over?? Then we were off and running on some nice, sandy trails for quite a while. There was not much flat to this course, lots of rolling up and downs, nothing super steep, but not much flat either. There was a push up station where you had to do 15, and a scissor kick station where you had to do 20, there was navigating down a steep bank, and running through what they called a sand pit...but it was really not so much of a pit. The sand was a little deeper than what we had been running in, but it was wet, so it was pretty easy to run through. There were mud pits, as expected, and 3 walls. The walls I was not worried about going into this thing, but they were honestly the hardest part. One side had a board missing so you could get a foot hold, and that was the side I always aimed for.
Somewhere along the way there was a beer station. Only beer. I was really hoping for a water station, and if I was going to complain about anything, it would be that there was only 1 water station, and it was after the beer station.
Seeing as this was a "Mud Run" I suppose I should give some details on the actual mud. Last weekends Diablo run had more actual mud if you are thinking thick, slippery, gooey mud. Because this run takes place near the coast, the soil is very sandy. The pits were dug on Thursday, and there was no actual mud brought into the pits, just water. Since the soil was so sandy, the bottom of the pits felt like crawling on sandpaper rather than mud. I have the scraped up knees to prove it! And again, since the soil was more like sand w/mud and water mixed in, the banks into and out of the pits weren't very slippery, more like dirty concrete.
As for entry and exit strategy, I didn't really have one, other than not being prissy about it. Once I saw Brian K's belly flop and huge splash method, I opted to let him enter the pits first. If you look at this picture you will see him setting up for his belly flop/slide, he's on the far right in the red shirt.
We went through the last pit, which was covered in a net and deeper than the other pits. I will admit this is the only time I had a slight panicky feeling because I was looking ahead and saw the netting drooping in the middle where I was heading. I was afraid I would have to go all the way under the water to avoid getting my hair or visor stuck in the net. I did end up getting stuck a little, but I think I played it off as trying to hold up the net for Sabrina to get out : ) From there it was up and around and down into the stadium, through what we thought was the finish, but was actually a spot where automatic cameras were set up to take your picture...then around the track and across the real finish. My heart sunk a bit when I saw the clock reading 3:46 minutes. I thought real quick if it was possible that we took that long but realized it started at 8 and we were supposed to have started at 10, so maybe 1:46 for a time?? That still seemed quite long, but possible. It wasn't until we got home and I checked the results that I finally realized the first team waves started at 10, we started much later, and our actual finish time was 1:17. Much better!!
They had foil blankets for us at the finish, which was great considering we were really cold! This is the only non-full marathon where I have gotten one. We were given nice rustic looking medals, walked into a tent and got our shirts and food, and that was it.
Overall, it was fun! I would love to do it in better weather. It was pretty darn cold. I also think that now that I know exactly the degree of difficulty we are talking about, I would love to run it as an individual w/Brian and go all out. The running part of the course was great, loved the trail and the type of soil. The obstacles are extremely doable for anyone. The yelling soldiers didn't' bug me at all. And, while there were pits, there wasn't really much mud. We ended up dirty, but not muddy. I did bring a lot of the course back to the hotel w/me in my top and was a little surprised by just how much stuff I packed home with me!
So that was it as far at the run goes. Afterwards we headed to our hotel and took a very long, hot shower! We got lunch at our favorite Mexican place and it did not disappoint. The kids got some pool time, beach time, and friend time. It was a nice, relaxing weekend!!
A few thank you's -
Matt - Thank you for asking me to do this run! I have always wanted too, and would not have been brave enough to do it solo the first go round, so thank you for the opportunity!
Angela and Brian K - Thank you for being so willing to do this last minute. We had a few cancellations on the team and these two more than carried their weight. Props to Brian K, a non-runner who ran 5.8 miles and dove into the pits w/gusto!
Brian - (my Brian) - thank you for being on Dad duty in the cold, and rain, and mud for hours. You have a crazy wife who appreciates you supporting her crazy whims and adventurous side!
Derrick - Again, thank you for the pictures! Yours came out way way better then the ones taken out on the course!
Randy - thank you for being a "Kona Warmer"
Ok, there are just way too many pictures to post here on the blog, but they will be up on the photo site later today!


  1. Wow Beth, you may be just a little crazy. Glad you had fun!

  2. Diane, I agree! Most events we get to and I look around and think "these are just normal healthy people who have trained hard and we all enjoy the same sport"....this time I saw that last section w/the wall and pit and thought " we are crazy, who does this??"
    It was fun, though!