Ah-MUD Runs-you’ve just got to love them! Do you know how to run through mud effectively without becoming a muddy mess? When you run through mud, does the music to the song “Wipeout!” rapidly fly through your brain, causing you to slip and slide, falling lengthwise or belly-flopping into the mud?
Sometimes the most surprising part of running is not the amount of effort involved, nor resultant endorphin buzz, nor the post-run aches and pains that linger, but rather the near-calamitous slippery-slope of running through mud, especially when unexpected, in the dark.
Ponder this: When running in and through deep mud towards a “pack” of 8 runners or more predawn, is it better to a) gently lean against the runners coming towards you so as to not fall, slip, slide, and careen through the mud or b) take the road less traveled, plowing through the mud, risking a fall and injury (MUD RUN!)? Today I was faced with this MUDRUNNING dialectical dilemma. Not knowing who the 8 runners were and wanting to spare them from injury…of course, I chose to run through the mud and not (intentionally) knock down the 8 runners. However, this choice was very challenging for several reasons: 1) it was zero-dark-thirty; 2) even with my headlamp, it certainly appeared I was running on the paved trail and not mysterious mud; 3) suddenly I was unexpectedly running through mud several inches thick (at least 3-4″) that I could not see and slipping and sliding every possible direction; 4) about 8 runners (some with headlamps in front) coming towards me on the other side of the narrow trail, bunched tightly in a diamond (or was it a figure 8?) formation; 5) uncontrollable sliding got worse and I almost wiped out the whole pack o’ runners like a bowling ball careening towards bowling pins for a strike. Somehow, I regained my balance. Meanwhile, the “Diamond 8” were laughing at how they got the non-muddy side of the trail and I got the “funny muddy” side (strange how I didn’t notice that on the way out before turning around in my running loop but it was just too dark and no one passed by me when I passed by there earlier).
Although usually I LOVE MUD RUNS-the unexpected nature of this one, coupled with the traffic congestion in the MUD zone, prevented me from exultantly yelling: YIPPEE! I think I muttered something about mud and clumsily flapped my wings until my balance was restored, realizing that this mud was not to be messed with today. This mud had a quicksand-like magnetic attraction for runners like me.
I’ve never run a competitive mud run, though. Have you? Are they fun?
So should running trails have signs that say: “Hey, remember how it rained yesterday?” , “Predawn Running can be Perilous”, “Slippery when Wet” or “Mud Runs can occur at any time-continue at your own risk!”
As Simon & Garfunkel eloquently and ironically put it, “Slip Slidin’ Away, Slip Slidin’ Away, The nearer your destination, the more you slip slidin’ away”.