Merrell Down and Dirty Mud Run Race Recap

Hello friends!  I’m sitting here on this lovely Monday morning feeling the sting (literally) of yesterday’s mud run.  It was really fun but definitely not a race one could expect a PR from.  Not that I was shooting for one anyway!  The weekend began on Friday night when I drove to Wilkes-Barre to visit one of my best friends, Kristin.  We had wine and watched Forgetting Sarah Marshall, one of our favorite movies.  That movie is seriously a gem and so quote-worthy, if you have our wacky sense of humor that is.  Kristin wanted to try hot yoga at a studio in her town that she hadn’t been to before, so I told her we should definitely go.  After going to bed around one in the morning I didn’t think we would be up in time for the 8 AM start, but we made it!

This was my first true “Bikram” class and it was awesome.  I’ve done all of the poses before at my studio back home but never in a true Bikram class where you go through the series of 36 poses twice.  It was great and we both felt so amazing afterwards.  The most clutch part was at the end, when the instructor handed out cold lavender infused towels for us to use.  They were amazing!  Kristin is now addicted to hot yoga and went to another class on her own yesterday.  That makes me so excited!  🙂

On to the race recap- after some pool lounging on Saturday, I drove to my mother-in-law’s house outside of Philly to have dinner and get ready for the race.  My mother-in-law signed up to do the race but hadn’t been feeling well lately so had opted out earlier in the week.  However, on Saturday she said she was back in.  She hadn’t been training so was feeling a bit nervous but I told her I’d run with her and pace her.  She wanted to leave the house at 4:50 in the morning to pick up her co-worker who was also running it and get our race packets.  Mind you, the race started at 8:45 and she lives about 25 minutes from Philly.  LOL.  Accordingly, I wanted to get to sleep early and headed to bed around ten.

4:30 A.M. came quickly.  We grabbed towels and a change of clothes (we weren’t sure how muddy we were going to get) and headed into Philly.  After meeting up with her co-worker we got to the race around 5:30 A.M., scoring a primo parking spot.  We picked up our packets and then had around an hour and a half to kill before the mandatory pre-race briefing at 7:15.  I was really excited to be running the race, not only because it was something different but also because some of the proceeds went to support Operation Gratitude, a wonderful organization the sends over 100,000 care packages per year to our troops in conflict zones.  Needless to say it is close to my heart. 

Going through the race swag bag I was pretty impressed.  We received a sweet mud colored tech tee, a merrell headband (which I immediately put on since I forgot to bring one) and other food related products.  I then convinced my mother-in-law that we needed to nap in the car before the pre-race briefing so we did just that until about seven.  After the briefing the 10k runners started at 7:30.  We watched them go through the first obstacle (a rope net climb) which was humorous until the contraption started breaking.  Yeah, not so good.  They directed the runners around the obstacle while frantically trying to nail the net back in place.  Hmm, don’tcha think they would have tested this beforehand?

After that we went to the photo booth to take a goofy pic. 

Ohh, good times.  Definitely rocking the superstar pose.  I forgot to mention that I committed a mayjah race faux pas and wore the race shirt during the race.  I wasn’t planning on doing so (I personally think you should run the race before you wear the shirt) but one look at the mud pit had me reevaluating my race gear of choice.  Mud colored shirt it was! 

After meandering about we set over to watch the 10k-ers finish the last of the race. I clapped for every runner going by, so much so that my hands started to hurt.  It made me appreciate the spectators at the Boilermaker that much more!  We we so engrossed in spectating that we didn’t realize that the people running the 5k had already started to line up in the (self-seeded) race waves!  The cannon going off signaling the first wave alerted us.  Oops.  We walked over to the start and saw that it was packed.  We slipped into the seventh wave but didn’t end up running until the ninth.  We waited about twenty minutes to start and man, it was hot.  Once our cannon signaled we were off!

The race started up a grassy uphill, which is a cruel way to start a race in my opinion, haha.  I paced my mother-in-law through the grassy hills and we then encountered our first obstacle, the rope net climb.  Fortunately the race directors had figured out a better system and were only letting three on a time up the net.  I whipped my way up and down in a flash.  It was fun!  After that we grabbed some water and continued the run.  It was really hot and we had to take a few walk breaks for my mother-in-law, although technically we could have just walked to the next obstacle course and not have lost any time, since there was a TWENTY minute wait to climb over a four-foot wall.  Quite frankly, it was ridiculous.  There were hundreds of us at a standstill waiting to go through the obstacle.  Granted it was the first running of this race in Philly so issues are to be expected, but this was a bit extreme. 

After waiting our turn we climbed over the wall and continued on.  The race was mostly on grass or a dirt path and was quite fun and challenging.  I remember thinking that it would have been an awesome 5k to just run all out without any clogging or backup, but today was not to be that day.  The next obstacle was climbing over haystacks, which was entertaining.  We then encountered a gigantic hill that mostly everyone was walking.  I was surprised by the amount of walking in the race.  I’m thinking that people were discouraged by all of the waiting they had to do for the obstacles so they didn’t really care about their time, but who knows. 

Finally, we approached the last two obstacles.  The first one was a rope pull up a slanted board that was covered in shampoo to make it slippery and challenging.  Watching the 10k I saw so many people biff trying to go up it.  Luckily for us they were JUST about to “re-shampoo” it so we made it up no problem.  Then came the mud pit.  All of the racers had to crawl through it military style on their bellies.  Seriously, the announcer kept yelling “on your belly” over and over to the racers.  I took the plunge and was overwhelmed by a disgusting smell.  EW it smelled so nasty.  Mud was EVERYWHERE.  Yick.  I felt it pulling down my shorts, which would have been a disaster.  I went through as fast as I could and waited for my mother-in-law at the end, wondering why on earth my legs were stinging so much.  I guess there were rocks in the mud pit because my legs are scratched up and bruised.  Yikes.  Some big dude did a somersault out of the mud pit and splashed me, which was hilarious.  My mother-in-law crawled out and we crossed the finish line.  Everything but my face was covered in mud and man, the stench.  Awful.  We didn’t even want to wait in line for a pic it was so gross.  Thankfully, there were hoses to hose off so we waited in line and hosed a lot of the mud off.

After that we headed back to the car to change.  I changed my shorts and just took my shirt off and walked around in my sports bra.  I still felt gross but at least the mud stench wasn’t really emanating off of me any longer.  We went back to the race for the free barbecue and had a burger and chips.  The burger wasn’t really good but I was STARVING so it tasted amazing.  After that we got into the car and I realized I still had mud on me in a lot of places:

Too funny.  They also handed out a cute dogtag race medal, which I thought was a great touch.

Overall, I think the race was really great.  It was a ton of fun and something different.  However, the wait times at the obstacles were waaaaay too long.  On the other hand, though, it was the first running of the race in Philly so I’ll give them a bye for that.  I would absolutely run this race again.  How could you not love a race that supports such a great cause?  I would not, however, recommend that you go into this race seeking to PR.  It is something you should do for a great time.  Next year I’m going to do the 10k, hopefully with Brian beside me.  Overall, it was so much fun and a great way to bond with my mother-in-law.  If there is a down and dirty mud run near you, run it!  You will not regret it.  😀

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23 Comments

Filed under hot yoga, Race Recap, Running

23 responses to “Merrell Down and Dirty Mud Run Race Recap

  1. Jen

    that sounds like so much fun!! Is it similar to the warrior dash? i’ve always wanted to so something like that!

  2. Lee

    That sounds awesome even with the waits. We have the Muddy Buddy here which I’ve always wanted to do.

  3. That sounds like so much fun! Love the idea of playing in the mud while working out!

  4. I LOVE the pictures! You are incredibly inspiring!

  5. Wow, the race sounds like a blast! If you ever catch wind of one up our way you need to post about it because I’d love to do it. Congrats on a fun race, spending time with your friend, and bonding with your MIL.

    • Thanks Suzy! There is a warrior dash in mid September in New York (not sure of the exact location, I think somewhere upstate) that is kind of the same premise. We should look into it!

  6. That sounds like SUCH a fun race (I want to run in mud pits)! I bet it felt hardcore too haha

    Awesome job 😀

  7. Love it! Sounds like you had a great time. And I am super excited to report that I found a mud run in Boise! You have inspired me to do it!!! YAY!

  8. J

    Great job on the muddy race! Sounds like fun!! I think there is a mud run around here but I am too chicken to sign up. I like my shoes all nice and white!

  9. Ha ha ha this sounds hilarious!! What fun! I wish there was something like that near me!

    Julia
    http://www.britbride.com

  10. Nicki

    This sounds like a blast. I would definitely do one if it fit in my schedule.

  11. That sounds SO COOL! But come ON — where is the photo of you totally covered in mud? That’s what I kept waiting for. 🙂

    I totally agree on the not-wearing-the-race-T-shirt before you run the race — I understand why you did it, but in general, why do people DO that? Ugh!

  12. Julie

    Hi Katie,
    I love the picture of you with the mud on your face and you with your sunglasses! You look so happy! It sounds like you had a blast and that this race was a positive experience! I enjoyed your race report and awesome pics! Great job Katie!

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