Mud Hero Red Deer Recap
Mud Hero Red Deer – August 10, 2013
Despite a lot of difficulty in finding/keeping anyone to help with my kiddos – I did end up racing Mud Hero Red Deer yesterday. It was awesome. And it was hard and hot and super hilly. The venue was the Canyon Ski Hill so that probably shouldn’t have been quite the surprise to me that it was. I think I allowed the childcare woes to distract me from truly focusing and planning for this event properly. I kept thinking maybe I wouldn’t actually even get to go and I didn’t want to be more disappointed so I just pretended I wasn’t going. And so I was not really ready and I forgot my camera! But I am going to get down my memories now while I can 🙂
So I chose an afternoon wave start because Red Deer is about 1.5 hours drive from where I live. I didn’t want the cost of a hotel stay or to have to get up super early, so I thought that would work best. For future reference – it was NOT a great choice. The later it gets the muddier the trail gets making it hard to do much running in places. Mud in mud pits = fun but muddy, narrow trails not so much. Also, afternoon is much hotter if you get sunny weather and it added some difficulty. I had a lot of trouble rehydrating yesterday, finally giving in and going to bed with the resultant headache. And my 17 yo niece who started the race with me didn’t even properly finish because it was more than she expected. She was way overheated and nauseous (but okay overall by the time she got home thankfully!)
Also, parking at these events is a problem – more than I expected (again – should have realized, poor prep on my part). We were running behind, arriving at the event only 40 minutes before our wave start. But arriving at the event is not all of the battle. First we had to wait in line to pay for parking, then we had to walk a full kilometre to the main area. One kilometre is not much for me, but I was dragging three kiddos along for the ride and it was hot. So by the time we actually got there, picked up our race packages, put on the timing chips and made a quick bathroom stop, we ended up missing our wave altogether. Fortunately they weren’t being picky about who started when and we were easily able to just jump into the next wave. I’m so picking an early wave in future though!
Mud Hero puts on a really good event. There were DJ’s keeping up the mood, lots of fun music and people were there to have fun for the most part, this is a not an event where it is about “winning” – at least not in a way that was noticeable to me. Lots of teams, lots of costumes and lots of helping hands when needed. We were near the back of the pack at first which meant slow going, but eventually we were able to get a normal pace going and there aren’t many obstacles at first, so we put some mileage on. First obstacle was I think the car park (for the record, the obstacles were not exactly the same and definitely not in the order listed on the website, but I didn’t mind that!) and then the fireman pole – both fairly easy and fun. By the first water stop we hadn’t gotten muddy even yet, mostly just run downhill. Which is easy, as long as you don’t think about going back up later 😉 This was when my niece took a break to cool down and drink extra water, I went on without her so she wouldn’t feel she had to stay at my pace (not that I was fast, lol). Then the first mud obstacle came and I was quite surprised to find that the hole put me in water up to my chin. I’m short I admit (5’2″) but I truly didn’t expect it to be so deep! The mud was cooling and refreshing at least.
The middle part of the race was pretty much a blur. Fun obstacles like the tunnels, over and unders, and the hero wall were in there somewhere. The obstacles were definitely my favorite part – partially because I could take a breather for a minute (but lineups weren’t very long at all thankfully) and partially just because they made it more interesting. I didn’t find any of the obstacles too hard, but this wasn’t a Tough Mudder after all. The climb up Hamburger Hill was extremely challenging though and I struggled to breathe a bit. And everytime you thought you’d conquered the climbing part, you rounded a corner and saw another hill. Ouch.
Finally I started to get near the end, I knew my boys were positioned near the Hero Slide and I was so excited to wave at them as I ran off that one. One more hill down, one more hill up, the Superhero Cargo Climb and the final mud crawl and I was done and in possession of my medal. My niece had caught up with me just after the cargo climb, so we crossed the line together which was fun. I finished the 6.5 km run in 1:20:07, almost exactly the average “race” time of 1:20:25. Considering my lack of training, my achilles and the hills I’m okay with that.
Next I tried to hug my boys who weren’t so sure about all that mud, even though they were really glad I was done. I so wish I had a picture of me really muddy – maybe when I check out the race photos later. For now I’ll leave you with this photo that was snapped once we got back to the car – after waiting in line and rinsing off a lot of mud with icy water from the low pressure showers-it took a long time at home to shower even this amount of mud off, especially out of my poor matted hair. Thank goodness I wore a braid though – it definitely kept my hair manageable. I had a change of clothes, but instead just sat on a towel and shook mud out of my clothes at my own house.
About the time I finally finished Hamburger Hill I decided that this had been a fun and crazy adventure I was never going to repeat. By the end though I knew I would be back – hopefully with a bigger group – because Mud Hero is awesome!