They say a picture is worth a thousand words…but there are not enough words to describe how wonderful it was to run this race in the company of friends and for the benefit of so many who are facing great adversity.
Well you met the team in “Govies Gettin Dirty for a Cause: Part I“. I’m happy to report that we all finished the Run Amuck 5k race on April 30, 2011. I’m even happier to report that none of the guys had to carry me across the finish line.
The race began around 2:00 P.M. with the informal wave of a hand. I put my game face on and tried to settle into that pace I had been practicing on the treadmill. The boys, all towering about 6 inches taller than I, set off with long strides. Luckily, they must have had a secret coin toss to decide who would stay behind with me and encourage me to keep going.
Sterling took the first shift. My feet pounded on the gravel, over roots, and through the weeds. Just as I started to lose my concentration Sterling shouted, “Focus on my back”.
I kind of laughed to myself, thinking, “yeah, I’m going to be focusing on your back for the entire race…you might need a calendar to time me”.
My thoughts were interrupted by the massive hill in front of me. This was no ordinary hill. This was like an out of place ski slope that had somehow ended up in Eastern Maryland. I dug in with my toes (conveniently housed in my super cool toe shoes). Half-way up the hill was the first obstacle. Made of twine connected by multiple stakes, the obstacle forced runners into an army crawl for about fifty yards.
Out of the obstacle I continued to the top of the hill, where I was relieved to find a bottleneck (the one time in life where bottlenecks are AWESOME). I had a few minutes to catch my breath and show off my totally lady-like skills of spitting in the dirt while we waited to climb the nine foot tall climbing wall.
One, two, three, four….we all made it over the wall and began our decent down the other side of the mountain. As we entered the bottom of the quasi-drained river bed we reached our first MUD PIT! Like the mountain, this was no ordinary mud pit. This was quick sand from a Hollywood set that had freakishly ended up in Eastern Maryland!
The boys…being boys…were mesmerized by the mud and decided to let off a little machismo steam by challenging each other to a race through the mud. On the count of three they all went steaming ahead of me towards the mud. On the count of four they all face planted as they sunk about waist deep in the Hollywood quicksand. Brennan lost a shoe, Sterling lost a sock, and I’m pretty sure we just plain lost Kevin.
Being the brainiac that I am, I realized that to keep from losing my super cool shoes and sinking up to my waist I would have to distribute my weight. You see, even in a race there is time for strategy. So, I entered the pit, dropped to my knees and began to crawl my way across the pit. All was going well until I saw a man up to his chest in mud with two team members trying to pull him out. I might have panicked just a little in that moment, thinking that I too could be swallowed by the mud…and at this point I had no idea where the guys were as we were all disguised by the mud. Eventually, I made it to the other side and the boys were all there trying to take inventory of shoes and socks.
We kicked the extra mud off of our shoes and continued another mile or so before coming to an even bigger mud pit. This one was much longer and we were faced with a slick wall at the exit point. The only way out was over the wall. Luckily, I left Brennan behind me on this one (I mean somebody had to break my fall). I grabbed the rope, decided to pretend that I was scaling the Grand Canyon, and in a few pulls made my way over the top of the wall and down through the maze of tires on the other side.
At this point we were about 2 miles in. The last mile would prove to be the most challenging for me in terms of terrain. The path was narrow and littered with tree roots. To complicate matters we were met by several fences to jump over and mazes of string to climb through. Our shoes were slick on the outside from the mud, and littered with gravel and dirt on the inside. Brennan and Sterling took a pit stop to take their shoes off. Both of them continued the race with either no shoes…or one shoe.
Finally, I could hear music in the distance. The end was near! We all knew that there was a man-made mud pit at the end of the course. You had to make a showful entrance into the pit to avoid being booed by the crowd. The boys, having more energy than I, again conspired for a grand entrance.
We approached the final hill. The boys sprinted off ahead of me and went for a dive into the pool all together. I watched as Sterling’s toe caught the edge of the pool as he jumped in. This resulted in a phenomenal belly flop that was met with a thunderous roar from the crowd.
I splashed in close behind the boys and was pummeled by a rather large man who jumped in behind me. I think he had decided to swim the final 100 feet. I looked up at the clock “51:00”, as I exited the other side of the mud pit. With about 50 feet to the finish line I broke into just enough of a sprint to gain momentum….in one final heroic act I threw myself belly-down, arms out, and slid through the finish line!!! Woooo hooooo! We had all made it!
Following the race, we initially decided to forego the “tanker truck with fire hose” shower and decided to take a celebratory swim in the lake. Needless to say, we were sooo muddy, that the lake was of no use. I gave up and decided to wear my battlefield remnants home. It made for great conversation when I stopped for gas off of I-495….but it definitely did not make for a clean shower later that night.
All and all it was an AWESOME experience that helped out a great cause!