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Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Try It: MuckFest MS Pittsburgh

I got mucky. I yelled. I panicked. I said weird things to strangers. But I did it.

When I received the email from Katie at the MS Society inviting me to come and run MuckFest MS - my first thought was "no way." I am not a mucker.

But I also think it's important to try new things. And I don't want my kids growing up scared to try things. And I have a friend with MS.

Race day: 36 degrees and I was mad - not only was I going to get dirty, I would be freezing cold and dirty. At least the sun was shining.

I actually put up my hood as we ran under the starting line water spray. What a joke. We ran through two knee-high mud pits at the start and thought we'd make it through the first obstacle.

We didn't. I got knocked in & Ed turned around to check on me...and got knocked in.

We passed a ton of people on the very cool trail run.  I thought, 'I've got this.' Then came the real obstacles. The scariest one for me was jumping off a platform into mucky water. I'm not good at all with heights. I watched as several people climbed the platform and jumped in - going under completely. UGH. Ed waited for me on the other side of the muck. I contemplated climbing down from the platform. I sat down on the platform, dangled my legs over...and jumped. MUCK.

Then came the rope swing. Ropes dangled from beams moving in a circle over a mud pit. I grabbed one for a second & realized I couldn't hold it with gloves. I dropped on the grass and removed my gloves. I tried to warn Ed but he jumped on and soared over the muck for about five seconds...until he splashed in. I grabbed a rope and hung on - all the way to the other side! Sweet!

We climbed up and over two rope nets, ran up and down teeter-totters, scooted on our butts over pipes, under nets and through tunnels. There was an obstacle called "Thunderstorm" that involved mud (surprise) a low tent, darkness, and crashing thunder noises played on a speaker. I did not like that one at all and Ed heard my yelling over the thunder.

The Steeplechase was not too tough for my long legs. (The mud pit in the foreground is the one we splashed into at the start.) Did you know a lot of the people doing this race have MS?

This is the Dragon Crawl. Over a log, under a log. Over a log, under a log. This was the most difficult obstacle to exit - we slipped back several times into the water.

We ran up a very, very, very, very, long hill. I passed a lot of guys who were walking. Ed beat me to the top and he and another guy stood there watching me struggle up. The guy said "You did it!" and in a moment of crazy pride I yelled "And I can give birth, too!"

At the bottom of the huge hill we ran up the middle of a creek and then into a MINE. When we entered we were blind...slowly our eyes adjusted - it was pretty mucking cool. Never been in a mine before.

The last obstacle involved jumping off a swing into chest deep water - I did it with no hesitation. I actually SWAM to grab the rope and pulled myself out to crawl through the final tunnels to the Finish. When I emerged from the tunnel, my loving husband threw mud at me (video proof here). What a wonderful man.

We cleaned ourselves up (a little) and drove home, pumped from what was a great morning. As you can see in the race photos, I was running and smiling! I'm pretty susceptible to endorphins, but it's been a few days and I still think it was worth it. It wasn't exactly fun, not in the traditional sense, but it definitely tested my courage and I feel so proud that I did this. I'm also incredibly grateful to the friends and family who donated to the MS Society. I didn't skip any obstacles.

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