The Merrell Down & Dirty Mud Run and Obstacle Course
Castaic Lake, CA April 15, 2012 5K 10:00 AM
I am not a runner. Anyone who takes a CFI class with me knows I often times sub rowing for running. Due to a condition called Elhers Danlos, my knees dislocate internally and have been known to tear and stretch ligaments along the way. So naturally, when one of my best friends from high school called me to ask if I would run a 5K with her, I jumped in and brought Patrice with me.
There were over 2,300 competitors for the 5 K from all walks of life. In fact, we stood between a group of high school girls, likely freshman, and 2 beautiful 60+-year-old women who have never done anything like this in their lives.The first portion of the race, approx. 1/4 mile was fairly smooth (with the exception of divots in the grass and dirt road). All those bear crawls finally paid off at our first obstacle, the low crawl. We had to crawl under a net raised two feet above ground. The second obstacle was a ladder wall. Posted at each obstacle is a group of Service men and women routing you on and also yelling at you as though you’re in boot camp.
The next portion of the race kicks off with a hill called Heartbreak Hill. This is just less than a mile climb from lower Castaic Lake to mid Castaic Lake (making your way up to the upper lake). On Heartbreak Hill, we encountered our third obstacle, which was a marine hurdle. I loved lifting myself over that guy. As we kept climbing Heartbreak Hill’s switchbacks, we realized the final 1/4-mile of the hill was a 14% grade called The Widow Maker. Going up this portion of the hill was a beast! My gluts turned on immediately and although I had to walk it up at a steady pace, we didn’t rest until we got stopped to do 10 pushups.
At the top of The Widow Maker, we got our only water stop of the course and the first sign of shade! We kept climbing to the upper lake portion of the course and ran into the fourth obstacle, a cargo net climb with a happy ending! Remember those blow-up slides you rode when you were kids? Yeah, we did that! SO fun.
As we began to descend, we had to army crawl through the first, small mud pit and head back down to the lower lake portion of the course. I’d like to mention here that Patrice is a great team player and support system. She cheered others on as they were running and even ran with others to encourage them on their way.
The final portion of the course presented our final 5 obstacles. We crawled through blue tunnel tubes, we climbed a rock-climbing wall, and we trudged through 3 feet of water about the distance of a football field (100 yards or so). We pulled ourselves up on the “slippery mountain” which is covered in soapy water so you had to rely on your upper body strength to carry you over the wall, and then army crawled through the final mud pit and ended safely at the finish line.
I had so much fun and sustained minimal bruises, swelling, and scratches (that mud is not a smooth and rock-free as I had hoped). Our goal was to complete and we did, with huge smiles on our faces.
Patrice and I are talking about entering the Tough Mudder in Vegas on October 6th if anyone is interested (see the site here: http://toughmudder.com/events/las-vegas-2012/). Until then, you can catch us training at CFI because I am not a runner and now I love running! Thank you Kristin and Patrice for being a great team!
Clean & Jerk 2-2-2
8 Kettlebell Swings
16 Double Unders
Rest 2 mins
12 Ball Slams