Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Getting Muddy - Sort of...

Everyone's always looking for the biggest thrill, biggest challenge, or biggest obstacle to try and overcome and conquer. This drive has led to the creation of various races designed around this mentality. One of these races was held in Miami a couple of weeks ago and attended by my roommate Kevin and I. Unfortunately, the experience did not live up to the pre-race hype.

The race that we attended was the Mud Challenge 2013. It was described as a shorter version of the super popular Tough Mudder races that are held all over the country. Obstacles along the race course were supposed to include a quick sand pit, hatchet throwing, zip lining over a lake, and one final, physically demanding obstacle, all accumulating in a free beer, t-shirt, and medal at the finish line. Nothing really went according to plan...

Kevin and I had signed up to run the race in the 9:00 time slot and planned to get to the course around 8:00, allowing us plenty of time to get registered. Or so we thought. We ended up getting stuck in stand still traffic for a good 30-45 minutes and were not able to park until 9:00! Needless to say, we missed our assigned race time, which ended up being the least of our problems.

Following the parking debacle, we were then subjected to another two hour wait just to register! The line snaked around the park and ended up doubling back on itself! It was very apparent that something in the planning stage had gone incredibly wrong. After withstanding all of the rumblings and grumblings of everyone around us, we managed to get registered. Unfortunately, they had run out of bib numbers (still something that blows my mind to this day), so we ended up just writing our numbers on our arm with a sharpie. Felt a little like I was entering into a triathlon, not a mud run.

We got our bags checked and headed to the starting line - at 11:00. Only two hours behind schedule, no big deal. The music was pumping, the adrenaline was flowing, and as the start horn blew, we were off. Here are the obstacles that we encountered along the course:

- Tires and high knees
- Scaling walls
- Bounding over planks of wood strewn across a pond (aka waiting in line for 20 minutes, then deciding to just swim instead of wait any longer)
- Swimming through the same lake a little further down and entering into a sewer drain (yeah, that was a joy!)
- Running under a tarp covering a dried out mud pit while avoiding random 2x4 planks of wood (was hoping to have to army crawl through a pit of wet, gooey mud)
- Completing a brainteaser or 10 push-ups if you answered wrong (Kev and I knocked that one out of the park!)
- Running through various bike trails with no real obstacles outside of the slight inclines of the natural course
- Wading through another lake while an air boat (one of those vessels that they use on Everglade tours) fan blew on us
- Making our way through a pit of ice cold water that was constantly being filled with ice cubes
- Taking in the sight of the last, monster obstacle that included rope climbing, balance beam action, rope swings, and climbing nets, but deciding to bypass all of that due to the hoards of people waiting for their chance as well
- Trekking through a final pit of mud (the only one on the course, which was definitely disappointing)
- Received our medals, t-shirt, and beer (the only thing that really went according to plan)

As you can see from the list of things that we actually did encounter, none of the obstacles that I listed above were included in the actual course itself. This was a bit disheartening as we had expected something a little bit better run and organized. However, last week, all of the participants received an email from the race organizer, apologizing for the dismal conditions and experiences that everyone had. He took full responsibility for the downfalls of the day and offered anyone that was interested free admission to the next race that they will be holding in the fall. This was a very admiral thing to do and I'm going to give them a second chance.
Hopefully the second time around will be more fulfilling than the first...

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