This weekend I ran in the Mudderella Boston Event. There were a couple of hiccups. The run was supposed to be in Mass and ended up in Maine. This meant I had a 4 hour drive to run in the mud. A lot of people were upset and decided not to go.
They made a mistake. They missed out on something I have never experienced in a race before. I’ve done quite a few of the obstacle races and more than a few 5k races. Mudderella wasn’t a race though…it is an experience.
If you let it, it can be life changing.
It is something so hard to describe. It’s not a race, it is two hours of women you do not know working together to finish. Before you start they tell you to look at the woman next to you and say I’ve Got You. That you can go around any obstacle you feel you have to, but you shouldn’t go by without trying. That we are here for one another.
First it is a run designed by women for women. We are running to raise moneyto prevent and end domestic abuse. Because this run is for women a man can only run if he is part of a team of women (probably so they don’t get sued for being exclusive). I refused to let David or my nephew run with us. This was going to be me and my friend proving we could do it without them. This is also why there are no photos of our run!
Unlike other coed races/runs this one has women in mind:
- Cute temp tattoos and ribbons for you pre-race
- At least 10 port-a-potties at every water station
- At least 60 hoses post-run that were hooked up high over pallets with bars of soap and shampoo around so you could try to get clean
- Free Hard Cider at the end (for the over 21YO)
- T-shirts that fit women
- Free massage at the end
It stinks, do not get me wrong. The smell of the mud was more manure than dirt. The obstacles are both easy and hard. Most are more mentally difficult (do you really want to put your face that close to the ground?) but man I still have chills thinking about it.
The obstacle that I will never forget is two 6 foot high walls.
Normally I just scale and drop. It’s not pretty, I always get intimidated because a lot of people either hurdle or charge up and over. I take my time. But I was waiting for the team in front of me to get over the first wall. Two women (around my age) were on top and this younger girl (maybe 18? But extremely overweight) started up the wall and fell. She was in tears, shaking and was going to walk away. I grabbed and hugged her. I told her she was doing this. That we were going to make sure she didn’t fall. If it took all day we were getting her over that freaking wall. So she started up, her mom (I think) grabbed her hands. I grabbed her ass and pushed. Then took her foot and placed it on the beam so she could maneuver up. I kept my hand on her poor butt until she was straddling the wall. Of course, it was immediately followed by another 6ft wall. Her mom said she could to it, so they got behind her. But didn’t realize she needed help up top. So I scaled the wall and grabbed her hand. She is crying saying she is too fat and can’t do it. I screamed (poor girl) LOOK AT ME I’VE GOT YOU. Together we get her up the wall. Another team comes around to the other side and as we are straddling the wall together they call up to her: We are here. You will not fall. We’ve got you. This girl looks at me and on top of this wall she is straddling says to me (with tears down her face), I get made fun of every day. I can’t believe I am trying to do this. I have tears in my eyes and say Look at that wall. You DID it. You are doing it. You are more than anything you think you can do. You are proving it right now.
We get down, the other team (none of us know one another) give her this big hug and we all say how proud we are of her. That she has THIS she is going to finish.
I swear I sound like a zealot but it was just freaking amazing. I seriously hope that girl goes to school today and holds her head up high. Knowing she did something few other classmates would have dared. That she should be proud of herself. Not because she scaled a wall, but because she did not give up.
At the finish line they stop everyone. You go through one team at a time. This man comes up to his wife and says he is so proud of her. Another man makes a joke that he was with the kids all day but it was worth the torture of 90 degrees and four kids having to be entertained for two hours to see the expression on his wife’s face at this moment. As I looked around the queue I realized that unlike other races, I have finished with just about every person that was with me at the starting line.
Usually women cut one another down. We give a compliment but follow with a qualifier (Jane got a promotion, isn’t that wonderful. Yes but her kids will never see her)…..this was a few hours of woman encouraging one another. Of being there for perfect strangers of not letting one woman fail. It was that village I talk about in full force. I have goosebumps when I talk about it.
We didn’t just find and “own our strong” we found ourselves. We also got cramps from laughing so hard. You just cannot keep a straight face when your partner walking through a mud pool falls over and every time she tries to get up does more prat falls. Or when in a tunnel she says she never expected to be this close to my butt.
It wasn’t all an enlightened experience. It was comical, it was fun, it was beyond dirty (many shoes were donated to charity) yet it was more than I ever imagined it could be.
As we left my partner looked at me and said, we are so doing this next year.
I am encouraging everyone I know to join our team in 2015. I promise you it will change how you think about yourself and what you can and cannot do.
I was not paid or sponsored in anyway for this post. I wrote an e-mail to Tia telling her of my experience and she said you have to write a post about this! (I am coercing her to run it with me in 2015). Mudderella has not endorsed this post and it was written based on my own experience.