Tip 4: As it turns out, the guy wearing only a loincloth was probably the best-dressed runner for the mud pit. It's a bold statement and certainly debatable on moral grounds (not to mention requiring a certain level of self-assurance), but most of the mud that he collected in the pit was quickly washed away by the anxious 8-year-old girl with a garden hose standing outside the pit. My athletic, lightweight, wicking, stretchy, breathable shirt was hanging to my knees and the neck was somewhere around my belly button—maybe a jock strap and a Jason mask would have been a better choice.
After the mud pit, the rest of the course is painfully slippery and slow. I was now carrying an extra 10 pounds of mud, running without a sock in a mud-packed shoe and doing my best to hold my shirt above my knees. The crowd was now divided into two teams: those who were in shape and just getting a little dirty before getting back to the party at base camp, and those who were stupid enough to sign up for this torturous event without any significant forethought. While I found myself in the latter group, I knew then that I never wanted to be in that group again. We balanced on beams, climbed walls, bloodyed our knees on cargo nets and eventually burned off all of our ankle hairs on gasoline-soaked logs.
The race was over, but even then, there were still a few more lessons to be learned:
Tip 5: You will have mud in every little crevice of your body. Yep, even there! You'll wonder how little kids can possibly deal with a messy diaper.
Tip 6: It's a long walk back to the car. We had to walk for a good half-mile to get to our car, then walk the distance back again to the showers to clean up.
Tip 7: Be prepared to shower with 50 of your newest friends. I stood between a man dressed as a nun and a young college girl who had a very free spirit. As great as that might sound to some of you, trying to remove the mud from your shorts and very personal nether regions in between a nun and a college girl is a surprisingly awkward situation.
More: The Dirty Dozen
In spite of all of these discoveries, as we walked up from the showers and tossed our shoes in a recycle pile near the porta potties, I felt proud that I'd survived my first ever mud run—hell, my first organized run of any type. It was awesome. Having done it made me want more. We made our way to the free beer line, which is evidently why we were all there in the first place, and I found myself strangely at peace being surround by a bunch of people I don't really know, wearing costumes that teenage girls try to sneak out of the house in. I said to my wife and friends, "This is pretty cool. We should do this every year." And we will. This year, we'll all be at the start line again, jumping in anticipation and tip-toeing our way to a new set of obstacles that we've put between ourselves and an absolutely terrible free beer. I can't wait!
6 Tips for Mud Run Rookies
1. Dress as if you were a teenage girl or wear 100 percent cotton shirts.
2. Don't jump in the mud pit. Ease in and watch out for the girl with the hose—she has bad aim.
3. Choose your shower partners wisely.
4. Have a friend at the event who isn't running to take pictures and hold a change of clothes for you.
5. Bring some real beer with you in the car for after the event.
6. Revel in the glory when you're done. It's even better than you think and you're surrounded by countless others who have just been through the same life-changing experience. Take it all in and enjoy.
More: Wall and Crawl WorkoutFind more mud races.