It’s 6am on a cold Saturday morning as I climbed out from under the covers wondering what the Hell I was thinking by wanting to head out into the cold to get muddy. Then I remembered how much I love OCRs and my “mud therapy” as I call it.
Cranking up the music and putting the top down on the car even though it was still quite chilled out I headed out to Marseilles, IL to the Dirt Runner track for the Clash Of The Shields (police vs firefighters…being in Corrections I figure I fit in a little). Knowing that some of my fellow Corn Feds were going to be there made the 1 1/2 hour drive well worth it.
I arrived to see a few cars and some familiar faces lined up at registration. It didn’t take long to get situated and head in to see what we were facing. The Dirt Runner was part of the track for the Super Spartan a bit back so I knew there would be some awesome hills to tackle but I had never experienced the actually Dirt Runner itself.
We missed the heat we had planned to start with due to Don and Bret trying to decide how much weight in their weight vest truly equaled badass. Decisions were made at 50lbs for the vests and then Bret added on another 60lbs with his firefighter gear (well, the weight was around that After it was wet, but still…insane!).
Finally suited and weighted up we headed to the start line. Looking over to my left I also realized that Bret and our lovely Princess Badass Heather were tethered as well. Crazy people, I love it! Looking to my right I smiled at Shannon and Christina who were doing their first OCR and Don aka Trouble who was in his weight vest and energized. I love this crew!
Being the Corn Feds we are the 6 of us decided to create our own starting time instead of waiting on the next heat so we headed out at a jog and away we went! As most of you know from previous posts, I SO do not like to jog or run or anything of that sort but I had 5 others with me and I wasn’t going to be a wuss and slack behind!
The terrain was, as predicted, awesome all the way through. The hills and the muck at this location absolutely rock!
Some of the best moments and highlights:
Monkey Bars! Every single race I have done so far I have not made it past the first bar without slipping off. The last couple of weeks I have busted my butt working on my upper body strength and with the cheers and encouragement of my team I made it almost to the end. I would have made it all the way but I got so excited I lost my grip!
Team of Two teamwork: Watching Bret and Heather tackle the obstacles while tethered was truly cool. This is the second time I seen team members do this (Jon & Candie at previous races) and it proves to me how well two people can work together when they have faith in one another. Never once did either get mad or pissy as they struggled over and under and up and down some intense obstacles and it was just awesome to watch. Way to go you two! And an extra kudo to Bret for the weight vest AND the gear added to this.
Team of Six teamwork: We paused halfway through the race to go back to the festival area and enter the Tug Of War contest. Myself, Trouble, Bret, Heather, and Christina formed a team with Shannon being our awesome cheerleader/photographer. There were only 4 teams total but the first team was challenging and gave us tug for tug before we finally pulled them over (We didn’t know at the time that we were also on the side that had an upward incline so we had that challenge as well). A quick break in between as some of our fellow Corn Feds took on another team that we defeated soon after. We were beaming as we took a few moments to enjoy our victory before heading back out.
Heights and Fear of Falling: I don’t have a fear of heights, really. I don’t mind being up high…until I realize that I can fall! There were a couple of super high (to me) obstacles that we faced along the way and both Christina and myself were in the nervous zone while doing them. As always is the Corn Fed way our team talked us up and over cheering us along the way and we both successfully crossed heights we hadn’t.
Rolling Logs: It was not a huge obstacle but it was one that I liked the challenge of. Think balance beams made from logs and then add in that they rolled back and forth. It was crazy and I loved it!
Mud, mud, mud: We don’t do this expecting to come out pretty and clean and this was no exception. Dirt Runner had some great mud hills and pits as well as some creek bed like trails that were filled with “suck your shoes off and pull you down” muck. Loved it! Add to that the trees that were over the beds that you had to climb over and it was a hell of a challenge at times. Just what we needed! Nothing like trying to unstick your foot from 10 inches of mud only to have to try and hike it over something 5 feet high.
Run, Jump, Ground: Then there were the log over and under challenges at which I may have bruised places I didn’t know I could. Climb over a log placed 4 feet high, ok I can do that. Now under a log with barely enough room to get my arse under (watching the guys try and navigate these with the weight vests was a treat). Now wait, ok this log is up 6 feet high. “I got this, I can do this without help or using the side for a grip”….run….spring up like Tigger on a good day….realized that Tigger really could bounce as I hit the log chest first and become grateful for my rear padding. Twice. Sometimes…sometimes you just take the help and let it go!
The finale: We made it! It’s been a while since we were in water and as we come up to the final obstacle, a long mud pit barbed wire crawl (usually my favorite obstacle) I have to convince myself to get in the cold water one more time, but I do it. This crawl was LONG and the pebbles in the mud were a little skin shattering but we’d made it to this so onward I went. Finally make it to the end to see these huge ass logs sticking out, a few ropes and a ladder with a broken rung and have to navigate up to the top. After a bit of struggle I’m standing at the top looking down at the finish line and remembering once again why I love this addiction!
There were more obstacles and hills and other things along the way but these were just some of my favorites! Wanna know more about the course then you need to come and do one with us!
Best part of the day: The feeling of accomplishment when you get the medal placed around your neck and the cold beer in hand. Seeing friends and teammates celebrate with you. Knowing you’ve challenged yourself and made it again!
Another reason I love doing these is everything in life just fades away as you’re out there challenging yourself to get through the mud, the obstacles, the challenges with people who understand the therapy of the mud just as you do. I thank Don, Heather, Bret, Shannon, and Christina for an amazing fun day…you all were awesome to work with and the laughs and moments will never be forgotten! WE ARE CORNFED!