Tag Archives: trail races

Race Recap: Pretty Muddy

Full Disclosure: As part of the Pretty Muddy Bloggers I was given a free entry to the race in exchange for my promoting and posting about the race.  I did not receive any additional compensation, and as always all experiences and opinions are my own.

This past Saturday I participated in Pretty Muddy.  I heard about this race last year, but not until after I had other committments on race day.  I’d done the Warrior Dash and loved it so the idea of an all-women’s version was awesome.  I decided to shoot for the 2013 race.  Getting to be a Pretty Muddy Blogger and run for free was just icing on the cake I’d already decided to bake.

Pretty Muddy 2013 Medal

On to race day…we’ve already talked about how I don’t do much prepping for race day.  Well, it kind of bit me in the ass this time around.  I forgot which wave I’d signed up for and ended up getting up much earlier than necessary.  (Although, realistically I probably would have woken up just as early regardless.  My ability to sleep-in is pretty much non-existant.)  So since I had a lot of time before I needed to leave, I spent most of the morning screwing around the house rather than getting things together because I had “plenty of time to get there.”  As a direct result, I completely forgot to take extra clothes and shoes.  Because getting covered in mud and getting in my car with cloth seats could only end well, right?!  Of course, I didn’t realize this until turning around was just inconvenient enough that I wasn’t going to bother.  I’d figure something out.  I also didn’t bother to read any of the pre-race emails until I was on my way to the race…oh, there’s a $10 parking fee?!  Well then, it’s a good thing my bank has a branch kind of on the way…

So, minor hiccups of my own doing aside, the race went very smoothly.  Parking was easy peasy.  I had a little bit of concern about my tiny car driving through the field to park, but it was totally little car accessible.  Registration was quick and easy.  Gear check was quicker and easier.  They recommended you get there an hour early for check-in, but that was totally unnecessary.  I was supposed to start in the 10:00 wave.  I got there at 9:30 with plenty of time to check-in, watch the WERQ fitness class that was being demoed and still start in the 9:45 wave.  The wave started with very little fan-fare.

The run itself was not really what I was expecting.  For one, there was very little running.  The event was untimed and billed as a fun-run, but I seriously felt like the odd-man out for running more than the first 50 yards.  There were even a few points were I felt like I was being judged by the other participants for actually running!

I was also expecting the course to be something more akin to the Warrior Dash, lots of mud with obstacles interspersed.  This was more like a trail race with a few kind of muddy pit stops.  The obstacles were your standard climb over walls and up nets, duck under things, crawl through the mud pits, but none of them were really very muddy.  I was trying not to get terribly muddy since I had no clean clothes to change into and staying mud-free from the waist up was pretty easy.  There was a lot of participants who seemed to be actively trying to avoid getting muddy at all.  This was a little aggrivating at points because it caused back-ups at obstacles and well, you signed up for a mud run, what did you expect?!?


I finished the race, got my medal, and went in search of the (very well hidden) rinse off station.  I hosed off as much mud as I could from my pants and headed back to my car.  Luckily, I never took my Zooma swag bag out of my car so the race shirt and yoga mat where still in my back seat.  I changed my shirt in the parking lot, and unrolled the yoga matt to cover my seat.  Victory was mine!  Moral of the story?  Don’t listen to your boyfriend when he tells you your car is a disaster and you need to clean it out.n  You never know when you’re going to need a clean shirt and a yoga mat to sit on.

All in all, I had a good time, but I’m not sure I’d do it again.  Well, I definitely would not do it again by myself.  The event was definitely designed to be done with a group of friends.  If I could manage to round up a group of girlfriends to do this with me next year, I would probably do it again.

Adventures of a Trail Runner: Wholly Hell 15K

I don’t remember if I’ve mentioned it here or not, but I’ve never really been a nervous racer.  I’m not one of those people that needs to get to the race 40 minutes in advance to organize myself.  Typically I show up, like, 10 minutes before the race starts, do what I need to do, and get my run on.  So on those occasions that I’m feeling unsettled or nervous about a race, it’s usually with good reason.  The Wholly Hell 15K was one of those races.  We’ll call it “not my best race ever.”

Wholly Hell 15K

To be honest, it really started Thursday night when, half way through my spin class, it occurred to me that I should probably be taking it a little easy.

Race morning didn’t go that great either.  Along with my lack of nervousness comes a lack of preparation.  I don’t lay out my gear the night before.  I’m lucky if I know where all my gear is on any given day.  (My house is not what you might call “organized.”)  I knew parking was going to be tight so I wanted to leave the house a little early.  This plan was totally derailed by 10 minutes of running around like a chicken with its head cut off looking for my SPIbelt, and two footwear changes because I couldn’t decide which pair of trail shoes to wear.

When I got to the race, the main parking lot was already full.  I headed to the over-flow lot which was also totally full.  (I’m not even sure why I thought there would be parking in the over-flow lot since that particular lot is for the “stairs” which is a set of trecherous stairs that used to lead up an old tobbogan hill and a really, really popular workout place in the area.)  I headed back to the first lot thinking I could park on the side of the road.  As I was parking, the forest preserve police were going to be ticketing so I needed to move to the lot across the street.  I grabbed my bib, checked my packet since I didn’t think I had time to run it back to the car, and started milling around the starting area.

The race started a couple minutes late (I assume to accommodate the people that had to go move their cars so they wouldn’t get ticketed.) which gave me plenty of extra time start panicking about the race.  “Wow, it’s hotter than I thought it would be.”  “Ugh, I should have worn my other shoes.”  “Crap, I should have worn a tank top.”  “Huh, maybe I should have brought my CamelBak.”  “I really think I should have worn my other shoes.”  “Maybe I should just go home.”

Wholly Hell 15K trail

The race started and it was definitely a rough one.  First of all, the race could have just as easily been called Wholly Hills.  I’m really familiar with Swallow Cliff because Nik and I do a lot of hiking so I was prepared for some hills, but the course wove through the woods which was even hillier than I was expecting.  The hills definitely took a toll on me.  There was one water station on the course, but you passed it four times.  Unfortunately, they ran out of cups on my third pass so I ended up pretty thirsty.  Apparently I was right to second guess not bring my CamelBak.  I was also right to second guess my footwear choice because I ended up with a gigantic blister about halfway through the race.  On top of it being a physically uncomfortable race, I was struggling mentally for most of the race too.

Wholly Hell 15K Finish

Despite this not being my best race ever, it actually wasn’t that bad, especially in retrospect.  My official finish time was 1:50.42 which is an average pace just shy of a 12 minute mile (though I do think the course was a little short.)


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