The Stages of Competing in a Mud Run

I've started competing in "mud runs" or obstacle course runs this summer and was immediately hooked!  I feel like there are so few opportunities to experience the thrill of competition as an adult.  You forget how competing can push your body harder and give you drive that just doesn't happen in every day life.  Dude, I'm SUCH a competitive person. I. Must. Win.  It makes me feel alive!

So far, both my runs have played out in much the same way. So, I thought I'd lay out the stages for you while sprinkling in photos of my latest race, The Gladiator Rock N' Run

We're all so clean and matchy - they have no idea I'm evil and plan to CRUSH THEM

Stage 1: Suggestion

Someone approaches you with an idea and you immediately begin laughing and saying stuff like "Ha, ha, yeah right!  Could you imagine?? Phhttt!!"  (a little niggling voice begins to pipe up deep in your head...)

I'm still part of the team, still encouraging and waiting for team members at this point

Stage 2: Consideration

Call the person back and say "Hey, um, do you remember that crazy race we were talking about the other day?  Ha, yeah right!  Right?  This is crazy but, wanna do it?"

 At this point, I'm planning my break away from the group while trying to fight the urge at the same time

Stage 3: Maniacal Laughter and Spreading the News

Right after your friend agrees, commence with maniacal laughter.  I'll wait...

Now, tell everyone you know so you can't back out! (also to kind of still talk yourself into it because you're feeling a little doubt-y)

The two guys behind me are in my group and we were of one mind - RUN!  WIN! Every man for themselves!

Stage 4: WORK OUT!

At this point I'm pretty committed to slaughter the person I've agreed to race alongside (I'm sorry, Gladiator team).  With a race looming in the future I usually work out twice a day (it gives me something to do during long 2 hour football practices)  to increase my speed, endurance, and strength.  Again...I. Must. Win.

 At this point, I have no idea where anyone from my team is.

Stage 5: Planning

This is when you begin to toss around all sorts of crazy ideas for costumes and team names.  It's rare to find someone as "into" this sort of thing as I am, so we end up buying matching Wonder Woman t-shirts.

 I'm now targeting the people in front of me who are moving way to slowly - I might have hit that shoe in front of me to urge them to MOVE!

Stage 6: Nausea and butterflies

Usually the night before a race I don't sleep a wink. I plan and scheme and worry I won't wake up in time.  As we drive to the venue I feel like I'm going to puke while simultaneously fighting an overwhelming urge to go pee (or poop).  I often pat myself on the back for skipping on caffeine on this day.

I can't hear anything at this point but The Big Guy and my kids yelling for me.  Team? What team?

Stage 7:   Blood lust

All chumminess ends once the starting horn blows and I am overcome with the urge to beat you while also trying to chat you up and pretend I'm all cool with us being a team and working together and all the other stuff I agreed to way back in stage 2.  I can usually keep this up for about half the race or less, then I disappear to beat you while pretending I got lost and just beat you by accident.

 Jump that fire and get my medal!

Stage 7: Thrill Mixed with Exhaustion and Beer (and a little bit of guilt)

Finishing the race is so amazing and really the best part of the day.  You feel strong, accomplished, and the adrenaline is still pumping.  You now feel the guilt of ditching your team and walk back to the last obstacles to scream and yell words of encouragement.  

Somehow at the end, all is forgiven while rehashing the race over a beer.

Stage 8: Turn to your teammates and...See Stage 1

**Notes about the Gladiator Rock N' Run, Pittsburgh**

The venue was perfect for this race - challenging dirt bike course with dirt road, woods, and open field running.

The obstacles were plentiful and challenging - totally doable with some hard work and persistence. Really cool that the shoe clips timed your race times!

Parking was a dream, easy in and easy out. Plenty of close by parking for everyone.

Spectators could get close to most of the obstacles to cheer and photograph.  My boys ran alongside me outside the ropes at one point.

Lots of high pressure hose heads for showering off, nice roomy tents for changing, lots of porta-potties.

Good music, good food, good beer.

Reasonable race fees and super convenient race pack pick ups prior to race.

**Thanks to The Big Guy for taking all these great pictures of me and my friends. 
 Thanks for supporting my stuff even if you don't understand it.  
Thanks for driving my tired ass home.**


  1. Love it Jennifer! Congratulations.

  2. I've been wanting to try one! I began CrossFit in May and LOVE IT! -Marci @ Stone Cottage Adventures

  3. My 15 year old granddaughter did her first "Mud Run" this past weekend. She lost a shoe and cut her foot but she finished!

  4. Good for her! I count my bruises as badges of honor!

  5. Oh my gosh, you seriously crack me up!!!!! :)

  6. So hilarious! I have always wanted to do one of these with my sisters! Too cool!


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