Howdy y'all. I'm a few days late posting this, but I've been tired and not wanting to be on the computer much. Also, there was a very important episode of my favorite show on television and I had to mentally prepare for it. If you know the show, you know what I'm talking about.
No spoilers in the comments please.
This is cross posted on Runner's World and Sparkpeople. There may be references to both. Just roll with it. If anyone else ran in this and wants to correct anything I say, go ahead. I may have gotten obstacles out of order or forgotten some.
Here's my before shot:
See my awesome bright green Bondi headband? Yeah, that's gone.
Okay, I entered my first ever mud run, the Run For Your Lives in Dallas (actually Forney). It was a 5K. I signed up for the 9 AM heat, since I had to sign up months ago and it is June 1st in Dallas. I probably could have gotten away with signing up for a later heat in hindsight, but as you'll see below, that may not have been a good idea.
The race was kind of hard to find. If you do sign up for one of their races, I'd suggest taking a GPS. The Google maps directions on their website wouldn't have gotten us anywhere near the course.
The race day information suggested showing up at least two hours early. My mom and I had stayed the night down in Dallas (we're from southern Oklahoma) and did as was suggested. That was probably a bit too early, but I've read other reports that said they barely got parked in time, so do what makes you feel comfortable. Anyway, I got there, checked in, got my race number and flag football flags, and checked out the vendor booth. I got a koozie and a comic book from the vendor.
Okay, you're probably interested in my actual run. I can't really call it a race - it's not timed. Instead, your objective was to get through the course with at least one flag football flag still attached to your belt. On the course were zombies (who also paid to be in the event), and they tried to grab your flags. There were also supposedly medic packs that you can get more flags from, but I'm guessing the 8 AM and 8:30 AM runners got them all, because I never saw them.
I lined up in the middle of the pack and met a team of runners from Texas who said I could stick with them, since I came by myself. I probably would have, but I ended up losing every single one of them less than a mile in, even with their bright yellow shirts. Sorry guys!
The 9 AM heat was the most crowded of the day according to the pre-race emails. I think it was too crowded. You could start off at a run, but as the path narrowed and there was only room for two abreast, it ended up being a walk and darting around the walkers when you could. Narrow paths are awesome for playing paintball, not so good for a run with hundreds of other runners.
It may have been a quarter to a half mile in before we met our first group of zombies. This was also roughly the time I lost my first two flags. I knew there was a reason I never was very good at tag as a kid.
The paths were wider here, but still fairly narrow, so that came into play. I had to really watch my step in order to not trip over a fallen runner or run into one who froze when a zombie leapt at them.
Also, as silly as it sounds, your adrenaline really does get pumping when you see them. RFYL did an awesome job on the makeup.
Anyway, you soon came up to the first few obstacles, which were tires and a shallow mud pit. Neither of these was difficult, but I would suggest making sure your shoes are tied tight, or you'll lose them in one of the mud pits. There was also a traffic jam at each of the obstacles, which is probably another reason the run was not timed.
First moderately difficult obstacle was the four foot tall walls that you had to get over. I should have done a little more strength training, since it turns out I have no upper body strength at all. A nice girl named Stephanie ended up boosting me over the walls, so we ended up sticking together until the end of the race, since she also ran it by herself.
Somewhere between this and the next obstacle, I lost my last flag. I have to say, it was kind of a relief when I did. Think of a 5K run where you randomly run sprints the entire time. That's what dodging the zombies was like. However, since Stephanie had helped me on one of the obstacles, we made a pact that I would try to block the zombies from her or distract them as she got past. It was the least I could do before the infection set in.
The next obstacle was the deep mud pit. By deep, I mean chest deep dirty water. This is where your shoes need to be tied tight. You don't want to have to go under to get them! It wasn't difficult, just messy. There were more four foot high walls, but this time with a step, so they were easy too.
We went through the maze and never saw zombies, but I'm sure they were probably there . We must have just picked the right path.
Next up was the wall. I'd say it was about 15 to 20 feet tall, but you could climb the boards like a ladder. By this time, though, it was really muddy from the other runners climbing it. If you're afraid of heights, I'd really suggest going in the earliest heat so the tall obstacles are less muddy.
Right after the wall, we were informed by a course official that we were about one mile from the finish, and that mile contained about 45 zombies. Well, darn.
Immediately after the wall was the smoke house. It says there are electric shocks inside of it. It wasn't kidding. You literally cannot seat anything inside and the shocks HURT. I attempted to go through and got right back out. I could see where that was going.
The obstacles seemed to be stacked towards the end of the course. The next one was not far off of the smoke house and it was just a short box you had to crawl through the mud. There was netting at the end that was covered in mud that I tried to hold up for the next person in line. I guess they got caught on it and pulled it down, because I landed flat on my back. Kind of hurt, but I'll live.
After that was the zombies. So many zombies where you were out in the open with nowhere to dodge to. Stephanie and I tried our best to get her through with her last remaining flag, but it just didn't happen. So, then we were both in the same boat.
The next obstacle was just some regular monkey bars. Again, I figured out I need to get some weight training in...
Finally, there were the three final obstacles, all bunched together at the finish. The first one was climbing through mud under some wooden obstacles again. This time, though, it seemed like they didn't wet the dirt down at the top enough, so it was dry and hurt. I just crab crawled it.
And here's the after picture before the final obstacle!
The final course obstacle was the blood bath, although by the time I got there it was more a mud bath. You climb up to the top and slide down into water. That's it!
There were a few more zombies at the very end after the slide, but we didn't have flags anymore so they left us alone. They will take your flags if you have them, though! I saw it happen.
Finally, you have to get under the electric fence, and it is really charged. Go towards the edges where it's higher and army crawl and you'll be fine.
You also get a medal reflecting your survivor or transformation status. First finishers medal I've ever gotten, yay!
So, there you have it. That's the zombie run. I'd estimate that about 10% or less of the runners "survived" the race. My only complaint would be that there were way too many runners on the course at any given time. It might work at the other venues they have the race in, but it didn't really work on this one. Plus, the heats were not very spread out (30 minutes apart), so there were multiple heats on the course at a time.
If you do run it and are of age, make sure you redeem your beer ticket (tear it off before the race or you'll lose it).
And, that's about it! It was great fun. Now to get ready for a regular timed road 5K on June 15th.