I always wanted to try a mud bath. Except I'm not really a fan of getting dirty and muddy, so I've never really pursued it.
This past weekend I was given the chance to have, not one, but many, mud baths. Given that mud in all the wrong places isn't really that appealing to me, I nearly said no. But, recognizing that it's been a while since I really challenged myself, and being completely flattered that I would be doing it as a social media influencer for Columbia Sportswear and Mud Hero, I decided to go for it.
In exchange for social media posts about my experience at the Mud Hero run this past weekend, I received a box of Columbia clothing and shoes as well as two admissions to the run. It felt a bit like Christmas the day my box arrived! There were capri tights, shorts, a tank top, a half zip long sleeve top, hiking shoes, flip flops, a hat, a bandana and, best of all, a pink rain jacket (which couldn't have arrived at a better time!). Everything fit really well and I was excited to try out some of my new clothing during the run.
My husband agreed to be my "plus 1" for the run. Both of us were somewhat apprehensive about the whole thing, since neither of us have done anything like this. When we arrived at the run, the organizers were really great and we were lucky that we didn't need to wait around very long before our start time. We were also treated to OUTSTANDING weather - not too hot, not too cool and, best of all, not raining!
The one piece of advice we received beforehand was to get muddy quickly. I didn't need to worry about this, since at my very first opportunity, I slid into a mud pit and ended up splashing mud EVERYWHERE... in my hair, in my ears, up my nose and in my mouth. Very tasty. Of course, the rest of my body was covered with mud as well, so it was a bit of a challenge to get the mud out of my mouth! In the end, a water station wasn't too much further and I was able to successfully rinse the mud from my mouth.
Although there was LOTS of mud, there were also many fun obstacles. Some were harder than others, but I loved that there were different levels at some of them. It meant that I was able to do something I felt capable of and my husband was able to challenge himself a little more. I felt that this was a really important aspect of the run that made it appealing to more than just elite athletes, but to the general population as well. I have a similar philosophy when I teach my FITMOM or FITWOMAN classes - I want my classes to appeal to all women in their child bearing years, as I believe that we can all be fit and strong, no matter when we begin. Similarly, at the Mud Hero run, I loved that I could choose the level that was right for me and feel successful as I went through the obstacles.
Surprisingly, my favourite obstacles were the ones that involved climbing either rope ladders or using ropes to help get up a really steep hill. This is pretty unusual, since I often believe that my upper body strength is not very good, but these challenges really proved me wrong and I found I had no problem with them! I especially loved running over the cars. My least favourite challenge was lying on my back and pulling myself backwards using a "rope ladder". I found it really hard to figure out where the person ahead of me was and for the second half of the challenge there was a sprinkler on us and I needed to keep my eyes closed so that I didn't get mud in them (contact lens wearer!). I found this disorienting and uncomfortable, but managed to still get through it relatively unscathed. I also enjoyed "swimming" in the mud, but the mud became progressively thicker and, near the end, I got stuck in one of the mud pits. Another kind (and very strong) woman pulled me out, thankfully! However, both my husband and I agreed that the BEST obstacle of all was the slide at the end! It was a cross between the large ice slides at Jacques Cartier Park in the winter, where 5 or 6 people can go down holding hands, and a waterslide that you splash into (although, in keeping with the theme, it was muddy water!). So. much. fun.
When we crossed the finish line, we received our muddy medal for a job well done.
All in all, the Mud Hero in Ottawa was an exceptionally fun time for us. It was challenging, yet there was little to prevent you from getting across the finish line. It was something that could be enjoyed by many different ages and fitness levels. We didn't specifically train for the Mud Hero, but felt that our regular workouts were good enough to get us through the course in a reasonable time (we had budgeted about 1:15 hrs to complete it and ended up at about 1:11 hrs). However the best part about this run was that it pushed both of us to do something that was outside our our comfort zone. In fact, we had so much fun this time around that we're considering making it a family event next year:)
I'd like to thank Columbia Sportswear for all of the great clothing/shoes and Mud Hero in Ottawa for inviting us to this event and for pushing us to try something new that we weren't really that sure about. We're so happy to have had this opportunity!