For the last several years I've seen so many different types of adventure races popping up everywhere, but alas my fear of getting hurt and not really knowing what to expect prevented me from ever signing up for one.
This year I had the opportunity to have Nuun sponsor me and my 'buddy' Ashley to do the Nashville Muddy buddy, so I was excited for a new experience. As an added bonus, my parents were in town visiting for the weekend, so they helped to capture the new race we both participated in.
For those who have raced with me, I'm not always the most prepared person. I don't pay attention to logistics, where the race location is at, how to get there, and elevation etc. When it came to the muddy buddy, I was even less prepared- after I committed and registered Ashley and I as "How I met your Runner", I realized the race isn't in Nashville at all- its in Ashland City, a full 1 hour drive from where I live to the middle of no where.
Now i'm no expert on if ALL the Muddy Buddy series do this- but the few that I've read about aren't actually located in the city it's touting- i.e "nashville" but really in Ashland City. My advice if you are thinking about doing one is to investigate on the website to see the actual location.
Onto the race
I could sum this up real quick in 3 bullet points
It was hot
It was MUCH harder than we anticipated
Despite all that we got 3rd place because thats how we roll
But alas, you know I have to go into some detail, so here we go...
Because this is a team event, you HAVE to check in together. I wasn't sure what the plans were with my parents afterward, so Ashley and I drove separate (stupid mistake). She had a little difficulty finding the place, got turned around a few times, but finally made it in time. (website said to arrive 1 hour before race start, so I was getting a little nervous)
Mudpit to the finish line (before race start)
All checked in and ready to go
The finish line and start line are in 2 different areas, so we had to make the LONG walk to start line and get the show on the road. Normally when I think of Muddy Buddy I think of the bike / run combo- neither Ashley or myself bikes, so we lucked out with the run / run option. We had no idea how this would work and just asked people around us at the start line if we stayed together the whole time (we were awesomely prepared obviously)
Mohawk guys won it all
Ashley and I are both competitive and have a hard time grasping the term "run for fun", so we signed up in the advanced category and for the earliest start time, 9am (which, by the way, is too late to start a race in TN, but the bike / run corrals started at 7:30 and every 1/2 hour till 9)
After reading Elizabeth's recap HERE from the Atlanta Muddy Buddy, we did something right by joining the first wave since we didn't have to wait to do any of the obstacles...i have a tendency to be impatient, so this worked out marvelously.
Right before the gun went off the race announcer decided to throw in there that we would be welcomed by a giant hill midway through race. He proceeded to tell us it was the biggest hill out of all the Muddy Buddies, thus making Nashville the hardest course of them all. Considering we live here, Ashley and I weren't really phased by that build up ( we should have been)
After the gun went off we just kind of jogged / ran off with some serious speedstars- maybe it was the fact that it was all on gravel / trail, or that it was extremely hot, but I felt like we were going SUPER fast-- too fast to hold our pace. Neither of us wore garmins as to not ruin them in the mudpit, so I have NO IDEA how spread out the obstacles were or how long the exact course was, but I was told it was 4.6 miles.
The map is as follows
The first obstacle required us to crawl under 2 barriers of netting- apparently I didn't get low enough and I lost my headband and had my hair get pull out of a bun into just a regular pony tail--- hopefully not a premonition to how all obstacles were going to be.
Starting off we chatted and laughed commenting on how we both aren't the greatest at trail running. We happened to pass this guy who cheered us on and then TORE INTO his teammate. I believe it went a little like "Way to kick some ass ladies. Hey, (to his partner) how is that walking going for you?!? I should have got grandma as my partner!!" I think the two were brothers judging by the age difference and the way the older one tore into him--- definitely made me appreciative of how supportive Ashley and I were of each other.
For being an 'obstacle' run, there was actually quite a bit of running in between each strength/ agility test. After our 2nd obstacle, we entered the woods- it was awesome that there was shade, but hard on the knees as we had to take it really easy going down the gradual hills, watching for roots, rocks, divets--- trail running definitely keeps you fully engaged and I was not wearing the appropriate shoes for it.
Sometime during our descent we finally reached the infamous hill--- i cannot accurately depict how intensely steep / long / difficult it was, but what I can say is that I've ran a LOT of hills both in training runs and races- this was the granddaddy of all those hills. I guess a more accurate depiction would be to say it was like climbing up a dirt mountain- no running was even possible, so we slowly made the climb up and up. Afterward our legs were toast and all energy was zapped.
Our next obstacle was the one we spent the most time at considering it involved balance, apparently we both suck at it. There was about a 5 foot wall and on either side of the wall were beams attached. You and partner lined up on either side of wall and had to walk across the beams on your side, while only holding onto each- catch was you couldn't touch wall and the beams went up, down, and got thinner the closer you got to the bell. We fell off the first time and 2nd time once we got near the end I just told her I was going to make a large jump to touch bell--- a solid few minutes was wasted here.
There was another balance obstacle quite a bit down the way that we had to do over again, but nothing nearly as long. In the instructions they said if you couldn't complete an obstacle, you could pass it. When we came to the traditional hanging knot rope you have to climb up, we both made 3 attempts, got no where, and said screw it and kept on. ( we were spent)
A lot of our time was spent laughing about how tired and hot we were. We had to take turns walking - either out of aches and pains, or just plan old exhaustion. They did have water stations throughout the course, so that did help a bit. Toward the end I was cursing at the fact that I had NO IDEA how in the world I was going to run a marathon in September if I was this tired after 4.6 miles. After awhile it just became humorous how we thought this race would be 'no big deal', but infact it whipped us pretty good.
I always wanted a jumping photo up--- amazed at the height we got on tired legs (only photographer we saw on the course)
During our last walk break we could hear the announcer and knew we must be close to the finish line so we 'picked it up' in time to see my parents and the last of our obstacles --- I'll let the pictures tell the story
Lightning Speed I tell ya
Check out those deltoids...
Climbing up the first wall with the rope...
over the wall
and down the other side (this took a min to actually figure out, sad I know)
Running over the next wall
This one was all about momentum so you could overcome the fact that its steep and there are guys at the top pouring soap to make is slippery
both of us figuring out our footing on how to get down
woo now off to the mud pit!!
Entering the mudpit
in the shallower parts it was all hands and knees
we were trying to beat the only other people in the mud pit, team of all guys (which we did)
apparently laughing it up
Grabbing hands to cross finish line together
Get this timing chip off me so I can wash off
how am I that much dirtier than Ashley??
waiting in line for the initial wash off- not much luck
I was INCREDIBLY thirsty. Unfortunately unlike the Atlanta Muddy buddy, we didn't have a Nuun tent, so I'm glad I brought my own. not sure about my drinking form there--- i guess like running form, it could use some work
We did it!
This is a forced smile. I forgot my ID (duh I forget something every race) so i'm waiting on Ashley as she gets her FREE 2 beers :(
Trying to get mom dirty and wet
I have great photographers / supporters (dad was there but no photos of him)
Walking to the showers--- I love this photo
Despite the soap and hose water, it didn't do much for the socks and shirt
After going through the numbers we realized that Ashley and I might have a chance to place. Majority of the teams in front of us were all males, or coed teams. So we waited around longer than I would have liked to see the verdict...
whoops- 3rd overall. As luck would have it, awards go to top 3 teams :)
Official time was 54:35, winning time 52:18.
We figured it made a better picture to be on the 1st place box vs. 3rd.
close up of the hardware
best photo I could get of award (brown container you were able to fill up with mud)
All in all it was a fun time. I'm so appreciative Nuun gave us the opportunity to run this race, and although I probably won't do this particular one again, I'm open to other adventure races as they come around.
For those that are interested in Muddy Buddy's, Nuun is one of the sponsors, and they are sponsoring 2 teams in each event (bike and run, run & run) for every muddy buddy. Obviously sponsorships go fast, so I'd contact them if you'd be interested in checking out the race and their products. It took me awhile to get used to Nuun (fizziness), but it is the PERFECT go to for me after my run. I ALWAYS crave coca cola after long runs to satisfy my sweet-- now Nuun does the trick. I've only tried 5 of the flavors thus far, Pink Lemonade and tropical punch being my favorite. To be honest, except the iced tea and banana, they all sound great. I'm told I need to try the kona kola, but I've yet to actually find that anywhere in the store.. my mouth salivates just thinking about it.
I'd also recommend finding someone that is your speed- you have to start and finish the race with your teammate, so it doesn't benefit you to pick someone out or under your league.