Ever since May 2017, I have wanted to do some kind of mud run. At the time, I was going to physical therapy for my shoulder and was still wearing the immobilizer and had at least another six weeks in a sling when I heard some people talking about Mud on The Mountain at Seven Springs. I decided to add this to my bucket list. Crazy sure, but why not? Something in me wanted that challenge and I was not ready to throw in the towel at age 47, shoulder or not.
May 2018 rolled around and I did not feel like I could manage a lot of the obstacles. I was afraid of re-injuring my shoulder. I was afraid I couldn’t do the climbing, reaching, crawling required. I was afraid that my upper body strength would be the loser on a TV show called, “Can you beat your 5 year old at arm wrestling?” So, I let my dream pass me by for another year and the bucket list was set aside.
May 2019. Would this be the year for that mountain of mud? Well, I was going to a wedding the day of the Seven Springs event, so I had to once again cross it off my agenda. BUT, I had found another muddy event and I signed up for it. This one sounded doable for my beginner self. This one was all about women, princesses if you will, of all ages, sizes and fitness levels. The focus was on fun, not time or what you couldn’t do.
Here we go Muddy Princess Pittsburgh PA!!! With my Muddy Buddies teammates Debby and Heather, and cheerleader Adrienne, we left Salisbury and made our way to Switchback Mountain in Butler PA. The sun was warm, the sky an amazing blue, and with all the rain we have been having, there was sure to be plenty of mud for everyone!
I don’t want to forgot about the other pair of friends that came along: my first pair of official trail running shoes. They arrived at my door two years ago and after all we had been through together, I thought this would be a fitting place to say “goodbye”. They had served me well, never complaining at my whining and mental unloading, and bearing the brunt of my heavy footsteps on the days I carried burdens. This would not be the first encounter with mud, but it would be their last.
|Before the race...I’ve got the pink laces...|
After parking the car, we made our way into the starting place to pick up our packets. There was a mix of excitement, nervousness, and joy. We were totally going to do this!!
|I think we could pass as Charlie’s Angels! What a feeling of empowerment for me to be facing a challenge and knowing I had support and friends to get me through.|
We waited and watched as other groups lined up and headed out and soon we were in the corral. We warmed up and then we were off to the MUD! The first challenge for me was getting past the fact that the water may be cold. I hate cold water. A lot. But I was pleasantly surprised by the tepid muddy water and jumped in feet first! As the mud encased my shoes and hugged my calves, I just hoped I wouldn’t lose a shoe. Debby, Heather and I stuck together as we slogged and slid our way down the rutted path with potholes to surprise you at random steps.
The laughter was mixed with fierce determination and somehow getting mud in your face was totally okay! We had agreed not to run, but to just have fun and finish and that is just what we did! For each of us, we had an obstacle that was our “challenge” and one we celebrated the most. I have TERRIBLE balance and a simple winding, uneven balance beam that I mostly completed felt like a huge victory. The other one was a straight up tire wall. I am not a fan of heights and have a fear of falling and being injured. So, to climb up and over, clinging to tires that weren’t totally stationary, with nothing but my body keeping me from falling, was an accomplishment that left me feeling like I was a Princess Warrior. Debby conquered the teeter totter obstacle without falling and her joy was contagious. Heather climbed a crazy steep hill, using a rope at the top for assistance, got to the top of the tire wall, and was in general, a BEAST! I couldn’t have had better teammates.
WARNING: Lots of pictures ahead! May involve copious amounts of mud, contagious joy, and may inspire you to do your own muddy obstacle course. Proceed at your own risk!
|Heather nearly losing her shoe at feeling quite stuck! I was there if she needed a hand, but she is one determined woman! She got her footing and was able to get onto the platform. Go Girl!|
|When you are splashed in mud and who knows what else, and it’s in your mouth and you don’t care! And it inspires a friend to say, “ You can wipe your mouth on any part of me that is clean!!”|
|“We are capable of doing so much more than we think we can. Our bodies were made for more”~Debby|