Headed for the finishing chute. Photo by Leigh Meyer

” I don’t enter events during Hunting Season”

These were my words in June when the organizers of Vineman (the best 70.3 and 140.6 mile triathlons on the West Coast) announced they were going to put on a Mud run, aptly named “Mudman” just a mere 2 miles from my front door.



The words on the Website that sealed the deal were:

“Remember when you were a kid and running was all about having fun? Think back to before running became about intervals, split times, and PR’s. Back then you ran to increase your fun, rather than your vo2 max. It’s interesting how, as kids, we ran for the sheer joy of it – not fitness—but we were probably in the best shape of our lives. A mud puddle was something we ran through, not around. The amount of mud on your shoes when you hit the sack that night reflected how much fun you’d had that day.”

Yeah, it was on…

It had been a rough Spring and summer with training for a 50k. After having a rough race in June, I didn’t see much romance in paying to come in the middle of the pack. Running with a friend in her first 5k on the 4th of July showed me I could have FUN without trying to PR.

I signed up for the Long Course, a double loop of obstacles that promised five trips through Mud pits and 20 total obstacles over 6.2 miles. The weekend before the race, at my 20th high school reunion I met four of my classmates who would also be entering the fray. My bluff had been called, so-to-speak.

On the morning of the race I was not in my snug bed 2 miles from the finish line. I was 45 miles away trying to fill my deer tag on the last day of the local season. (See previous post about 2012 Azone season ends.)

After a frantic 2 hour drive back, I made it to the parking lot 29 minutes before the gun went off. I had time to pin on my number and meetup with 2 of my trailrunning buddies, Brian and Pete. Pete had brought his wife and 3 year old son as his cheering section and Marti was kind enough to include Brian and I in her photo documentation of the race…eerrrr RUN.

Also in the long course were my high school classmates, Brian Torliatt and Keith Michelucci. Keith is a Mud Run fanatic and even maintains a Facebook page dedicated to Mud Runs.

I could tell you what each stretch was like, how the hills were tough and I was gasping for breath. I could describe each obstacle in detail, and my mindset for each one. I could list when and where I passed other runners along the course. I WILL DO NONE OF THAT.

Mudman is a run to be done in the moment. Enjoying the camaraderie of your fellow competitors. Halfway through the second loop, I got my second wind. I will remember that feeling of peace as I ran to the next obstacle. At that moment I was enjoying myself.
Photos by Marti Laskey

I will fondly remember crawling through the mud pit and thinking to myself that the volunteer along the side shouting encouragement was way too clean. A side arm handful of wet sandy loam elicited a whoop of joy from his companions and I ran out the other sides to the shouts of “YOU MADE MY DAY DUDE!” Yep…That is what this run was about……

Photos by Marti Laskey

Photos by Marti Laskey

Some Photos from the Press Democrat Newspaper Online Edition

Matt is a real fast runner I get to train with from time to time. He is not afraid to get dirty…

The Photographer Beth was a real good sport as we joked with her. I’d thought she had just gotten a picture of Brian and was shocked to find myself in it as well…