A Non-Runner’s First Mudderella

Friday night, I went to bed so nervous I thought I was going to be sick. Saturday morning, I got in my car and drove to Englishtown Mudderella 2016 praying to baby Jesus the entire drive. I was finally going to participate in my first Mudderella and I was petrified!

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My name is Ana and here is my story.

Last October, I signed up for my first Mudderella with my best friend and big sister. Two weeks later we had a team of 22 women! O.M.G. It just got real. I was no longer participating in an event with my two besties, now there were other people! I felt pressured!

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So I did what every logical human being would do. I trained for the event. I started going to the gym to run. Except there’s one problem… I HATE RUNNING! I mean, I seriously hate running. I have always hated running. Let me put this in perspective for you. In the twelve years that I played softball, my goal was to either walk or hit a home run because neither of these would require me to run hard. I quit the basketball team because there was too much running. It was that drastic…. and it still is.

But, I signed up for a Mudderella and now I had to train.

I spent many days in the gym running and trying to do pull-ups, push-ups, core strengthening exercises, and anything else my former Marine of a husband suggested. This lasted 3 weeks.

Then a kidney stone decided to take it’s sweet time and kept me out of the gym for about 6 weeks. But determined, I went back to the gym.

Then I sprained a rib from a nasty cough…a few more weeks out of the gym.

All of a sudden it’s April and being an entrepreneur, bouncing two kids to track (they don’t take after me) and band is kicking my butt!

Then May… at this point why even bother training.

Look! It’s June! This is when I renew my faith and start praying. No wonder I felt sick to my stomach last night. I am totally unprepared for my first Mudderella.

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Muddy sisters!

My sister and I decide to walk it. Our goal for the day was to complete the entire event without having to use our medical insurance benefits. And we succeeded! Yes, we walked the ENTIRE event! We also completed EVERY obstacle! I even got over the difficult wall without any help. But that was not a shocker to me. You see, I can do the obstacles. It’s the running that I cannot do.

So, as we walked through the entire event, I felt a little “pang” in my gut. I felt as if I was cutting myself short by not running the event. I watched women and men of all ages and sizes run past me, covered in mud and feeling empowered.

As we completed one obstacle at a time, I realized something. I realized that I still hate running and the only reason I wanted to run is because everyone else was running. In reality, who cares? So what if I can’t run, some of the runners couldn’t pull their own weight. That doesn’t make them any less competitive. That doesn’t make them less worthy of feeling empowered.

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Once again, my big sister taught me a lesson by smiling and being herself. One’s empowerment does not come from Mudderella. One’s empowerment comes from inside! It comes from being able to handle a wacky 11 year old, curious 15 year old, stepchildren, former Marine husband, being an entrepreneur, and let’s not forget the trying relationship between the dogs and cat.

Honestly, we should already feel empowered with our daily accomplishments. I doubt anyone could handle my life without crying, and I doubt that I could handle yours. We all have different emotional, psychological, and physical strengths.

Retired in style!

Retired in style!

Mudderella was a BLAST and I would totally do it again! I will try to train and probably fail again, but I will be OK with that. I love working out and being outdoors but running isn’t that important to me. Simply put, I don’t like how it makes me my body feel. One twelve minute treadmill mile is my personal best, and that’s OK. So, for all you runners: GO GET IT GIRLS! YOU ROCK! For all of you who like to read about running in hopes that you’ll be inspired enough to complete your first 5K or Mudderella: I’LL TOTALLY WALK IT WITH YOU WITHOUT SHAME!

Who cares how you finish the race? Whether you walk or run, the distance and obstacles are all the same. Besides, you still get the Mudderella Finisher t-shirt at the end.

I deem my first Mudderella a success! Next will be the Inflatable 5K… now that looks like a fun time!

Ana Soley is an entrepreneur who opened her own business with her husband, Fast Response Plumbing, LLC She’s having a great time raising 2 kids and 2 stepkids while trying to keep her humble abode from imploding. Loves the outdoors, kayaking, archery, walking the dogs, and hiking. She’s a big fan of a good sweat but hates running, as can be determined by this blog post.

Mud-Covered Sheriffs? Don’t mind if I do!

Here it is, the real reason I like to run: Eye Candy!  As the only single chick here, I’ll be the one to admit it, I’m an oogler.  There’s no shame in my game, I’m just not intrinsically motivated! Sometimes I need a little push to get me going.  And sometimes that push comes in the form of hotties in uniform. The San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department held the 9th annual 5k Mud Run at their training center in Devore, CA on May 18.  The race benefits many charities in the Inland Empire and you bet your cute little dooter I was there to partake in the shenanigans.

Unfortunately, I didn’t get any pictures of my own as I didn’t have a picture taking device that would withstand the harsh conditions of the race.  So I kindly borrowed all these pictures from the race site or local news coverage.   There’s also this YouTube video I found!  See the race through the eyes of a badass (who’s not me).

If you’re at all familiar with Southern California weather, we have this thing called “June Gloom”. Basically, it’s cold and overcast in the morning but it burns off by the end of the day. Even after living here all my life, I can’t dress properly during these days. It’s annoying, especially when it comes to racing as I tend to run hot.  Race day started out pretty chilly.  This race has been held early in previous years but due to weather, they moved it to later in the morning to allow for warmer conditions.  I think this worked out perfectly.  By the second half of the race, the mud pits were a cool relief to the heat.

And the mud pits, they were a plenty!  I ran with my Ragnar buddies, Mike and Evalia.  Mike had participated in this race in years past and while he warned me it was a challenge, I scoffed at his warning.  Bah!  I’ve done mud runs before!  I can handle anything!  I am strong woman, hear me roar!  I grew up in the heart of San Bernardino County.   I’m familiar with the weather and the terrain and the elevation. And it was only $30 bucks.  Obviously race price indicates toughness, right?  I can laugh at my ignorance now, but this Mud Run, ladies and gents, was a beast!

Chaos right from the start.

Chaos right from the start.

I should have taken a hint at the start line.  Competitive runners were lined up in the front.  Teams lined up behind them.  And then there were us, the fun runners.   Bulldozers and tractors crushed cars.  Dump trucks poured loose, fresh mud onto the course and a helicopter swooped down to start the race.  Colored smoke filled the air and for a minute, the course really did look like what I imagine a war zone would be.  And then there was the explosion.  Yep, an EXPLOSION started the race.  Take that, starting pistols.

They lets us go in waves so when us fun runners got to the loose mud, there were little paths already carved out for us.   The first mile of the race was heavy on the running and light on the mud pits.  Oh, and then there was this hill.

Hill from Hell - It's only just begun.

Hill from Hell – It’s only just begun.

Mile 2 started to get pretty rough.  There was a stretch of constant shallow mud pits, each preceded by mounds of dirt.  The mud was loose and thick.  Many times, I’d hit a soft spot and I’d sink.  This was where Mike lost his shoes.  HE LOST HIS SHOES and had to run the rest of the race barefoot.

The second monumental hill  had ropes to help us scale.  And a downpour of rushing mud under our feet.  They had a hose at the top spraying down the dirt and what was left was a slide of muck puddling around our shoes.  I’ve had bad experiences with scaling hills in previous mud runs and I’m not going to lie, I was a little bit freaking out.  All I could think of was puking or falling and causing the line of people behind me to tumble down the hill.  But I made it, slow and steadily climbing out of harms way.

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There were harder pools with mud so thick, we had to crawl across vertically so as to distribute body weight evenly across the pit.  Otherwise, you’d sink right down like quicksand, and it was energy zapping to try to get out of that.  There were super long pits that stretched dozens of yards and I found myself swimming those instead of trying to wade through them.  A few pits had tractors and cranes manned by evil volunteers who crashed the front arm into the pools of mud, splashing everyone in the pit.  I was carefully navigating the terrain at this point, the obstacles backed up against each other made running damn near impossible.  At one point, there was gunfire going off over our heads, a helicopter swooping over the course, and people hosing us down as we ran by.  It was utter chaos and I was loving every minute of it!pits3

I thought maybe the obstacles would ease up a bit in the last mile, like they couldn’t possibly go all the way until the end.  That would be crazy, right?  Nope.  Still to come…another huge hill, a field of tires, a tunnel, and a pool filled with pipes we had to climb over and crawl under.  When I crossed the finish, I was bruised, cut up, and weighed down by mud in my bra, shorts, and shoes.  I rinsed off in the community shower and it was only then that I realized I hadn’t brought any extra clothes or even a towel. Face palm!

Nothing like a community shower.

Nothing like a community shower.

This was one of the most challenging races I’ve done this year.  It was a constant struggle from the start to finish and epitomized a Mud Run in every way possible.  It was local and all for the low price of $30 bucks!  I’ll definitely be adding this to my repertoire of repeater races. It might be time to invest in a water and mud proof camera!