This past weekend I ran in the Wild Warrior Challenge held in Morgantown’s Mylan Park to help benefit Operation Welcome Home and Military Family Readiness Group. This is an annual 5k mud obstacle course filled with tons of fun and made to test your limits of adventure. The course is also designed by WVU Army ROTC and inspired by the National Guard training course.
Last year I did the Dirty Girl mud run and had so much fun that I couldn’t turn this one down. Since it was the day before Easter, I even planned a bunny costume to wear for the occasion. So after my fee was paid, I was on the hunt for a bunny costume to wear. From my previous mud run, I knew not to wear anything cotton or heavy. For the Dirty Girl I wore camo pink pants and by the end of the run, I was like carrying 50 extra pounds on my legs and the water kept the cold against my skin. So for this costume I wanted to wear my everyday workout clothes that dries fast but also wanted to be in costume. My thoughts went to a cover-up and since it's spring, they stores were filled with them.
Next was to come up with an idea for a cotton tail without using cotton. If you didn’t know, cotton soaks up water and can become really heavy so my goal was to find something else that would allow water to pass freely. I came up with the idea to use a mesh loofah shower sponge and attached to the back of the cover up with safety pins.
The only thing left was the bunny ears. I knew I would be crawling under things so I didn’t want to wear the plastic head bands with these long ears on them. I also didn’t want to worry about them falling off so I used pin curl clips and pipe cleaners to make my own. These worked out great. They never got stuck on any of the obstacles nor did they moved from the moment I put them on.
Obstacle 1 - We started off with a small run to the Log Roll. There are three huge logs about face high that you have to jump over. Waiting for everyone to cross ate up a lot of time. I felt rude to just jump in front of someone but after waiting for what seemed like forever, I just jumped in and used the side of the pole to step up and over the log and was on my way why the group I passed was still trying to get over.Obstacle 2 - Next was the 100 foot low mud crawl. I had to crawl through the mud using my feet to push and hands to pull under a netting. I was doing great until a guy took a dive under the net beside me and mud went everywhere. But we all had a great laugh because really that’s what we are all there for, right?
Obstacle 3 & 4 - The third obstacle was the tire climb. These were easy and I was up and over and on my way up the long uphill climb. At the top of the hill was the fourth challenge, a 100 foot water slide. If I could go back and tell myself NOT to do something then this would be it. It looks like all fun but believe me, was not. A saw a few people before me complaining at the end but I didn’t think anything of it and took my turn. The ride down was fun but the ending…not so much. Seems under the mud (hidden from view) were these huge rocks. I landed rather hard on the right side of my butt and there was a ton of pain. I couldn’t run after getting up because it hurt so bad. There was a girl walking in front of me in tears. It was a hard landing.
Obstacle 5 - I sucked it up, pulled my big girl panties higher and continued the steep climb back up the mountain and to the fifth challenge, which was the tire run and then another steep climb up another mountain. I ran/walked this to give me time to figure out if I really hurt myself or just a slight discomfort. I decided the pain was something I could deal with for a while and kicked it up a notch.
Obstacle 6 - The sixth challenge was to short…use the paintball gun to hit one target. I would have liked to hit them all because I love paintball. One shot and then I was running downhill on a wooden trail, jumping over large trees laying across the path and back up the mountain doing the same thing. Breaking through the trees, there was a huge field which gave you a nice view of all the obstacles to come.
Obstacle 7 - The seventh challenge was to climb a wooden ladder up one side and down the other. Here is where I met up with another runner and we stuck together for the rest of the race. I do have to say it was nice to run with someone to push you to keep going rather than listening to your mind and body telling you to rest.
Obstacle 8 - The eighth challenge was a blast. There was another tarp set up going downhill which made me nervous at first but this one was just rolling your body down. Easy right….try standing up at the end and climbing back uphill afterwards. I was a really drunk bunny and from all the laughter it must have been a site to see.
Obstacle 9 & 10 - At the top of the hill was another wooden latter climb and a long run down the mountain to the orange mud pit. Walking through tons of mud and trying to keep your shoes from getting sucked in was a challenge. I did manage to make it through with my shoes and without having face planted into the mess.
Obstacle 11 - My all time favorite was this challenge which was the roped pond crossing. The water was a mix of swamp and pond and filled with black mud. Although the bad part was waiting in line for my turn and it ate up a lot of my time. There was four lines, two for the people that wanted to tight rope walk across the pond and two for the ones that wanted to pull themselves across. After my TimberTrek Adventure, I knew tight rope walking wasn’t for me so I picked to pull myself across. There were several people just jumping into the water and swimming across, and I was tempted to do just that, but after seeing (and smelling) them on the other side, I'm glad I politely waited my turn. The guys tie you up and then it’s up to you to pull yourself across. I was cruising most of the way but about 3 quarters, my arms started turning to jelly. I refused to stop and just kept pulling, hand over hand all the while one of the guys was telling me he “might” help if I get a little closer to reach his hand. We went back and forth about how not nice that would be and before I knew it, I was done. They unhooked me and I took a water break as I waited for my new friend to cross.
Obstacle 12, 13, 14, 15 - Then another climb uphill to another tire climb. I liked these and jumped up and over in recorded time. Right after that was a wooden wall climb. There is only a small ledge to use to reach the top of the wall and then you must pull yourself over. This was the only obstacle I couldn’t do. I need to work on my pull-ups. I moved on to the Log Walk. This was a little tricky because the middle one moved every time you took a step which caused you to always be shifting. After this was another wooden ladder but the steps on this was spread wide which made you had to jump and pull to reach the next one.
Obstacle 16 - Back uphill we went and a winding trail to the Tire Carry. We grabbed a tire and climbed uphill and then took another trail making our way back to the starting point. This was about a quarter mile before the next obstacle.
Obstacle 17, 18, 19, 20 - The next four were back to back but before we got there we ran across a guy that looked like he was done. He kept sticking his hand out trying to catch a ride with the cars we past. As we got closer, I encouraged him to join us and finish strong. He did and we were off again. We did a repeat of the tire run, wall climb and then a tire push. This was picking a large tire and flipping it from one side of the field to the other. The military guys were having a blast with my bunny costume and telling the guy we had picked up that he REALLY needed to step it up and beat the bunny. I finished my last flip and ran to a repeat of the tire climb while telling them they needed to be nice because I had connection to Santa’s and the naughty list.
Obstacle 23 - Yuck, Yuck and more Yuck was what I would describe as the 500 foot Mud Bog. We get into water up to our thighs and walk/run the bog all the while the military guy was standing dry on shore with a huge grin on his face as he watched us struggle not to leave a shoe behind or step in a hole...which I did. Did I mention this was gross because you couldn’t see what was in the water but it was like a bath and cleaned all the mud and dirt off.
Obstacle 24 - This was a repeat of the tire climb and then we were racing to the finish line!
The race was timed by TriState Racers with these neat little ankle trackers. As soon as we crossed the finish line our names were announced over the loud speaker. I have to say that was pretty cool and I loved it. It was like a huge pat on the back for completing the challenge.
We cleaned ourselves off with the water hoses the challenge provided and hung out until time to say our goodbye’s. I had a LONG drive home to make my kiddo's baseball game. It wasn’t until I went to the restroom to change that I got a good look at the damage the water slide did. It is now over a week after and I’m still having major pain and issues. I’ve been unable to run and only do light workouts.
Even after this, I still look forward to doing it again next year, although I may skip the slide.
***I found the pictures posted online and deleted the faces because I just wanted to show what the challenges looked like. None of these are me and I will add a picture of the "Bunny" costume as soon as I can.