So there is one thing I said I’d never do when it comes to running – a mud/obstacle race. But then along came Julie

“Come, it’ll be fun!” she said.

“We can have a weekend away in Whistler!” she said.

“There will be wine!” she said.

I’m weak and before I knew it, found myself agreeing to go run Mudderella Whistler with her and a few other blogging friends. Sigh. What did I get myself into?

This is what Nikki looks like ready for muddy obstacle race! Gulp.

This is what Nikki looks like ready for a muddy obstacle race! Gulp.

I remained blissfully unaware all summer until the week before the race when I finally took the time to read all the race details. Crawling through mud pits, squeezing through dark culverts, icy cold pools of water? Just some of the reasons why I said I’d never run this kind of race!

Incidentally, this is also when I realized that I hadn’t completed my registration for the race yet but that’s a whole other story. Oops.

Anyhow, we headed up to Whistler on Friday night, checked into our hotel and had a pretty relaxing night. We had a later start time on Saturday so it was nice to get up and have time for breakfast at a fantastic little hole-in-the-wall cafe before our impending muddy day. And believe me, as I sipped my coffee I was pretty much dreading all that mud.

When we got to the Mudderella Village we just about froze our fingers off waiting to register and get our bibs and drink tickets. It had been pouring rain all morning and now a really cold wind had struck up – two things that can only make a mud run even better, right?

Too late to turn back now!

Too late to turn back now!

By the time we had our gear checked, tattoos applied and gathered up the nerve to actually get this race started the sun had started to peek through the clouds. Phew! 

Julie is an expert at many things but facial tattoo application might not be one of them… (sorry Julie!)

Julie is an expert at many things but facial tattoo application might not be one of them… (sorry Julie!)

There is quite a tough climb in the first few km of the course and it got pretty toasty. My legs were still pretty tired from running Golden the weekend before so I was happy to trudge along and chat our way up the mountain.

That is one big muddy hill!

That is one big muddy hill!

I think all of the mud from the weekend washed away my memories of exactly what order we did all the obstacles but let me say this: they were definitely cold and MUDDY! And so totally, completely, 100% out of my element.

As we waded through a pit of cold water, tripping and plunging deeper with each step because the bottom was purposely uneven I thought, ‘Hmm, this is cold but I can take it’

When we carefully inched along balance beams and climbed over the first wooden wall I got some confidence and thought, ‘Okay, maybe this isn’t so bad!’

That confidence quickly waned when we had to climb a rope wall and inch across a pit in downward dog. Yup, my complete lack of yoga skills and any kind of core strength made those ones kinda tough.

But as Julie ‘playfully’ tripped me in the subsequent mud pits and scooped handfuls of mud into my hair, I realizeD how completely ridiculous and odd this kind of event is and just how much I was having. It’s so easy to take running and racing so seriously – tramping through the trails throwing mud balls at each other and plotting ways to get our friends even muddier was just the kind of thing I needed.

These shoes have seen plenty of mud in their day but not quite like what we saw on course!

These shoes have seen plenty of mud in their day but not quite like what we saw on course!

At the next mud pit I threw myself right down into the mud while so many others delicately stepped their way across the pit. We made sure to jump square into every mud puddle on course and splash as many people as possible. We had mud in our hair, dirty handprints all over our clothes and I’m still blowing mud out of my nose even a week later. Nice, eh?

But you know what? It was fantastic.

Until we got to the final obstacle, that is. It was harmlessly named ‘The Hat Trick’ but was seriously the most terrifying, knee-knocking, make-my-heart-beat-faster thing I’ve done in a really long time. And I actually just ran along a totally treacherous mountain ridegline 2700m in the air a couple weekends ago but this was scarier! Way scarier.

Turns out a little bit of mud under your eyes doesn’t actually make you tougher! That slide was scary!

Turns out a little bit of mud under your eyes doesn’t actually make you tougher! That slide was scary!

Back to The Hat Trick, we had to climb a cargo net up the back of a 20-ish foot high wooden structure and then perch at the very top of a huge slide on the other side. As I stared past my shaking legs down what looked like a near-vertical slide and gazed into the pool of icy cold water at the bottom, I was back to asking myself, ‘What have I gotten myself into?’

But then all I could hear was Julie again, ‘Three! Two! One! Go!’ and I could barely scoot my bum off the ledge because I was so nervous. But I did. And I screamed. The. Whole. Way. Down.

I’m pretty sure I was still screaming underwater and probably even STILL screaming as I struggled to stand up and crawl out of the freezing pool. Brr. But I did it. We shivered our way over to the volunteers to collect our Mudderella headbands and finishers shirts with big muddy grins on all of us.

Ta-da! I’m a Mudderella now!

Ta-da! I’m a Mudderella now!

Mudderella was a fun but challenging race for me, not because of the physical requirements or difficulty of the obstacles but just because it was so out of my comfort zone. Sure, I can run for 12 hours up and over mountains, through rain and snow and I like to think that makes me kind of tough but the truth is, jumping into huge pits of mud and sliding down way-too-tall waterslides are the kind of things that really make my heart beat faster. 

I feel like I am continually challenging myself by training harder, running longer, getting faster but learning to be  comfortable outside of my comfort zone has always been the biggest challenge of all. It’s been a huge mental block in my running these past few years and I never would have expected that this 3.5 hrs in the mud would end up helping me get over some of that. 

I also got to spend the weekend with some fellow blogging ladies whom I admire very much and while I tried to play it cool and not be all fan-girl around them, I like to think I absorbed a few bits of inspiration here and there.

Oh and did I mention that they dragged me into this crazy October blogging challenge too? Yeah. They did.

I showed up expecting to get wet, to get muddy and of course to have fun but ended up walking away with a confidence boost. And lots of mud in my shoes and my nose too. Thanks for that Julie! 

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  1. LizzieLau    

    That sounds like so much fun. Except for the cold part. Bravo!
    LizzieLau recently posted…Body, Mind, & Extreme Sports – The Yoga ConnectionMy Profile

    1. slowfastnik    

      Oh yes, the cold was terrible but thankfully it warmed up. Until we jumped into the next puddle that is! I see you did Seawheeze, any other half marathons planned for this year?

  2. Krista @ Read.Bake.Run.Repeat    

    It was so fun. Wish I had run into you there :)

    1. slowfastnik    

      Yeah no kidding! Next time we plan to rendezvous in a mud puddle! Ha ha.

  3. Scarlett Ballantyne    

    It looks soooo fun (I saw lots of friends social posts about it on FB), but I would be scared. I hate getting dirty!

    1. slowfastnik    

      I’m not much for getting dirty either but managed to get over it somehow. Maybe I was just worried my friends would ditch me out there on the trails if I didn’t keep up! Ha ha.

  4. Alison    

    That sounds like an awesome experience!
    Alison recently posted…Things I Took For Granted Pre-KidMy Profile

    1. slowfastnik    

      For something I was so anxious about initially, it turned out to be so much fun. Definitely going back next year!

  5. Erica G    

    Mud races are a crazy experience and it looks like you took full advantage. Julie’s face tattoo made me chuckle and I love your socks. And I swear I could see the goose bumps on your legs. But you survived with no injuries, so yay!
    Erica G recently posted…Blissdom Canada Tip: Stepping Outside the Box or That Time I Got Chatty at the Nail SalonMy Profile

    1. slowfastnik    

      I gave more than a chuckle when I saw her tattoo handiwork!

  6. Maureen    

    Well dome you! Never, in a million years would I ever consider doing something like this! Sounds like you had a lot of fun :)

    1. slowfastnik    

      We definitely did! Which surprised the heck out of me. I actually went into it expecting NOT to enjoy it. Ha ha.

  7. Hannah    

    Wow we woo! That sounds intense. I don’t think I’ll be participating in that kind of a race any time soon. I’m not exactly the thrill-seeking kind of racer. What am I saying? I’m not any kind of racer.
    Good on you!
    Hannah recently posted…Oops, I’m Doing It Again – Daily Blogging ChallengeMy Profile

    1. slowfastnik    

      The cool thing was that there were tons of ‘non-racing’ types there. It was a real ‘girl-power’ kind of event. Super fun and not at all competitive.

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