I love my family, even though they are often crazy. I was on Facebook last spring, and read a post from one of my nieces about a race event she was participating in with her sister, called the Dirty Girl. My interest was piqued immediately. I clicked on the link to the website, finding out it was a 5k mud and obstacle run, specifically for women, to raise money for breast cancer research. Oh thank you to my crazy nieces! I was in.
I think what I liked best about it was that the race was (and is) promoted for women of all physical fitness levels. It is not timed, you can go around the obstacles if you can’t do them, and if you don’t feel like getting muddy, you don’t even have to do that. However, I can’t imagine wanting to participate in a mud obstacle run if you didn’t want to get dirty. I wanted to get dirty. And I wanted to drag my closest friends with me.
I immediately emailed my workout buddies, Amanda and Dawn. I sent them a link to the website and a cap shout of “WE ARE SO DOING THIS”. The entry fee was a bit steep, but hey, it was for an excellent cause. Plus, we were going to run in the mud without getting zapped by live wires or having to dive thru tunnels of ice water a la Tough Mudder. We chose a team name, picked a starting wave, and registered.
Another friend of ours, Katie, signed on at the last minute, so the day of the race in August, we were a foursome. The first thing we noticed upon getting there was that many of the teams had matching shirts or socks. Some even had tutus and one team had Sumo wrestler costumes! We felt shabby and sad in our plain socks and t-shirts, without even a Sharpie to scratch our team name across our poor mismatched backs. We pinky swore then and there that next year we would be prepared with super, major cute socks and tops.
My sister (my nieces’ mom) rode down with us, so we met up with my nieces and their friends, and then people watched and took pictures while we waited for our wave to start. We couldn’t help but notice the incredible muddiness of the finishers. What, pray tell, had we gotten ourselves into? My nieces’ wave was earlier than ours, so we saw them off with cheers and clapping, and waited nervously for our turn.
Finally, we were in the starting pen. Large washable markers were being passed around so we could write our numbers on our arms or foreheads because our tags would likely be unreadable at the end. We sang the songs the promoter was playing, we jumped up and down in excitement, we learned how to make a cross with our arms to signify an injury (Wait..what? Did he say injury?) and we were off!
There were plenty of obstacles, but true to their word, you did not have to do them if you didn’t want to. We did most of them, except the ones we just did not have the upper body strength for, like the muddy slick log that was so much easier to go under than over. We crawled thru water and mud filled tunnels, under ropes and over walls. We slogged thru pools mixed with mud, water and grass, scraped our hands and knees on rocks and did group body slides thru massive sections of slick, slimy mud. In short, we had a blast gettin’ dirty! I can’t say we ran much though!
In the end, we crossed the finish line caked in mud, but laughing and holding hands. Little did we know the real challenge lay ahead…getting clean! We followed the crowd of grimy, spattered women to the ‘rinsing station’, which was ankle level pvc pipe layed out in a grid, with water fountains every few feet. They also had some hoses, but getting clean proved to be almost futile. We finally left the station and went to the changing barn (literally a barn, with a dirt floor) where we finished cleaning up, finding mud in odd places if you know what I mean. If you do this race, be sure to bring extra towels, paper toweling and wet wipes.
I have participated in a lot of events over the years, and some I have done as personal milestones (like my first half marathon or finishing the Bellin 10K under an hour). Some, however, are done just for the pure fun of it – to build friendships and memories and give you something to look back on and laugh about. The Dirty Girl is that kind of an event. With the exception of the clean up, I give this two thumbs up, and you can bet we will be participating next year. With really fun socks!