An Ode to Crisp Mornings and Mud Runs
The morning came, bright, clear and cool. I was snug in my sleeping bag and unlike a couple of other camping nights this year, I was in it, not on top of it. The air smelled green and felt like the cool hand of a mother gently touching a warm forehead. Fall has arrived.
I did not want to get out of my bag but it was time. The morning would not wait for my laziness. Months ago, after running the Warrior Dash, my family decided we would do a new race that was planned: Conquer the Gauntlet. It promised to be the same distance with more than twice the number of obstacles. We had such a great time at the Dash, all of us finished it and immediately want to do it again so a new race with even more to “conquer” sounded like a great idea. Coffee in hand we said our farewells to a few folks around camp with promises to return for the all important potluck in the evening.
The Boy met us at the house, ready to run. As we were wandering the staging area we started running in to several friends and acquaintances. It could have easily turned in to a party. If it weren’t for the fact that there was neither party music nor any monuments of note for group photo ops except a two foot tall armored knight around whose feet people had tossed their empty plastic water bottles for want of a trash bin. The atmosphere was lacking spunk. So we took our “before” photo in a nondescript spot along the road and got ready to go.
The first half of the course was great fun, a mile or more of trail running. There were a few piles of limbs and brush thrown across the trail. I’m not sure if these were to count as obstacles or not. To me it was stuff I encounter during any trail run after a bad storm except this time I didn’t stop to clean it up. The first obstacles were fun, the over and under walls with barbed wire thrown in for funsies, a weird labyrinth of cords, tight space and skinny boards to traverse and a hay bale jump. I kind of enjoyed the hay bales. I skipped over the top of them, imagining myself some kind of farm girl running away (just enough to make it look like I was trying) from the farmhand my rancher Daddy doesn’t approve of. Alright so it was my husband behind me, please don’t deny a girl her fantasies while running. Sometimes it’s the only thing that keeps the feet moving.
As we approached the Labyrinth we heard our friend Cliff Li yell “Hey!” then “Your son’s already been through here.” As if we weren’t sure of that. We’d be surprised if he wasn’t already back at the car, showered and drinking a cold beverage by the time we finished.
And then came “the walls”. Several of them. Not walls with ropes or small almost impossible holds. Just walls. First there was the series that was just beyond my vertical jump abilities. Don’t judge. I’m 5’2″ and have short legs on top of it. If there is a comparison, I’m the corgi of body types. Mostly body and short limbs. I guess I could have gotten over them if I’d had someone or sometwo as other people did to PUSH them over the walls. Oh well. Then there was another series of five walls at eight feet in height. No one was getting over these without help. Um yeah. My boy was in front of me and my man was behind. Can a girl get a rope to climb please? I was about to get totally discouraged while cursing my height and my lack of jump when a cargo net appears. For me, this is an oasis in the middle of the desert. I love the nets. THIS I can do. I don’ t need no more freakin cowbell, I need more CARGO NET!
All in all it was an “okay” time. I was bored and frustrated with the wall after wall bit. The trail run section was moderately challenging and some of the obstacles were pretty good but I didn’t finish it wishing I could go again.
What makes this kind of thing fun? Doing it with my family. And being out there with friends. This is my gym buddy Holly. Every day is better when shared with Gym Buddies.