I went through one of the most grueling physical experiences I’ve ever attempted yesterday. Two of my coworkers, their spouses and a friend joined together to form a team to complete the Muddy Fanatic race in Sellersburg, Indiana. It’s a 5K (3.1 mile) muddy obstacle course on a farm that took us about two hours and twenty minutes to complete.
The course requires you to handle mud pits, ponds, creek beds, crawling through mud & water under barbed wire, mud walls, rope walls, walls with no rope, rope swings, a ginormous hill that seemed like it would never end, hay bales to jump across, deep muddy paths everywhere and occasional blissful stretches of dry path with only the smell of cow manure to taint the momentary relief. This is not your typical 5K race. In fact, nobody officially kept time for this – you either finish it or you don’t. Organizers had to modify one part of the course before our wave of participants took off because of someone breaking an arm on a dangerous mud hill slide that dropped off at the end into a pit.
Before we were even home from the experience, my body was yelling at me “What were you thinking?” None of us had done any training. We just up and ran a 20+ obstacle two-hour race on a sunny day with the temp in the high 80s.
By today my body was as sore and spent as I ever remember being, even after running half-marathons of nearly the same length of time. It took over 24 hours before my mind kicked back into normal (for good or bad) following several hours of napping this afternoon.
So what did I learn from the experience? I learned that I have some amazing coworkers and friends who are a blast to try something extreme with. I probably did not learn to not do it again, because I probably will. And even though the body is spent, the satisfaction of completing it (and being the oldest person I recall seeing on the course) leads me to leap year lesson #133: Exhaustion can hurt so good.