I did it! I finished the Camp Pendleton Mud Run. And I had a blast doing it.
Josh and I got a later start then we had intended on Friday night. I was helping a mutual friend move, and Josh came by to pick me up once he got back in to town from work. He showed up just in time for pizza, too. Then we ran some errands. It was after 7 before we headed south. But that turned out to be a good thing because we pretty much missed the traffic.
We had a room at a Motel 6 for the night. From the outside, it looked great, but our non-smoking room reeked of smoke. Fortunately, I got used to it fairly quickly and wasn't bothered by it all night. I don't think either of us got very much sleep, but we got some.
We got there in time to get a bit of the lay of the land, pick up our shirts, and check our bags. Then we got in the large group to wait for the start.
I've got to say, that half hour is the longest. You're just standing there, waiting for them to release you. Mentally, I was so ready to be running already. Just let me go! Fortunately, the guy they had talking to us while we waited was pretty entertaining, so that helped take my mind off the wait.
It was overcast the entire time of the run. In fact, it sprinkled just a tad as we were getting going. Both of us had to admit we thought that running in the rain would be fun, but it didn't happen.
Finally, we were off. We were somewhere in the middle of the pack, which meant we walked the first little bit. There just wasn't room to run yet. Things began to spread out just about the time we reached the tanker trucks. They were spraying us with hoses, with the Marines hosing people down as they went by. There were a total of three of them. We got plenty wet.
We all bunched up by the first water crossing since the trail narrowed. But soon we were splashing through the water. There were three or four of those pretty much back to back. My shirt was still pretty wet, and now my shoes were completely soaked.
I knew there was a big hill in the first half, but it tricked me. I thought that once you hit mile 3, you started going back down hill and it was pretty much level from there on out. So when we started climbing, I wasn't too worried. We reached what I thought was the top around mile 3, got some water at the water station and proceeded through the mock city where three Marines were waiting to squirt us with super soakers.
And then we started to climb again. Turns out that the top of the hill is around mile 4. I could have run the whole thing I think if I had been mentally prepared, but I wasn't. I stopped to watch once, partially to let Josh catch up to me. At least that's how I justified it. Was I ever glad when we really did reach the top.
Running downhill is not my strong suit since I have such a poor sense of balance. This is the part where Josh really pulled away from me. He did wait at the bottom for me to catch back up, however.
And now we hit the first mud pit with the 5 foot wall in the middle. Now these walls were the thing that had worried me the most. I didn't know if I'd have the ability to get over them. But I was going to try before I game in and had a Marine assist me up and over. Well, I doubt I looked pretty doing it, but I did make it over no problem.
Next up was the water crossing. The water here was deep enough I had trouble touching in spots. But I pretty much had to stay upright since anything I tried to truly swim it, I wound up kicking someone. Josh and I talked about going around and doing it again, but ultimately pressed on.
We hit another mud pit with a wall in it, and I sailed over it just fine. Then we got to the tunnels. I actually got on my knees, but found I kept slipping if I tried to use my hands for much. Next year, I am going to follow Josh's example and try just bending over.
Just about the time we hit Slippery Hill, I got a pebble in the back of my shoe that was killing me with every step I took. I stopped going up a couple of times to try to get it out. I dislodged it enough to finish the uphill and downhill parts, but had to make one last stop on level ground to finally eliminate the problem.
Finally, we were at the final mud pit, the 30 yard one you have to crawl through. Josh and I had tried to stay together, but he pulled ahead of me here (and I thought I'd be beating him). This was also the only spot where the Marines were yelling anything other than "Great job. You can do it" types of encouragement. Fortunately, the Marine focused on the guy in the Laker's shirt and pretty much left me alone. I made a final push for the finish line, and it was all over.
My official time was 1:34:17, about a minute behind Josh. I finished 156th in my age group and 1547th over all. Hey, I'll take it. I was out there to finish and have fun. I did both those things. So the day was a success as far as I'm concerned.
And, as you can see, I got much muddier than I did at the Irvine Lake Mud Run.