Mud on the Tires /// Ruckus Edition

Thought I’d take a second and share my recent experience in the Ruckus.  While I’ve done 5 & 10-K’s, half and full marathon’s, this was my very first obstacle race.

photo courtesy of


If I had to use one one word to describe the Ruckus it would be muddy! The days leading up to the race we had extreme rain storms which didn’t help AT ALL because everything between the obstacles, mud-related or not, was muddy too. It made the running portions in the grass very treacherous. I had expected there to be some sort of mud-pit obstacle, but what I didn’t expect was there to be 5+ mud-pit obstacles. In a row. Getting a “little” dirty was simply not an option.

Anyway I thought I’d share some tips for anyone who might want to participate in an obstacle course race:
1. Make sure your shoes are tied tight! Once they’re water logged with mud they weigh about 7lbs a piece and you don’t want your shoe to fall off mid race.
2. Gloves are a good idea but certainly not mandatory. I didn’t have them, I saw others who did. There wasn’t any obstacle in which I thought “gee this is killing my hands I wish I had gloves,” but had there been a different set of obstacles then perhaps I would’ve. It’s a crap shoot.
3. Don’t choose the last race heat of the day. My thinking was it’d be better on my husband and kids if I went later in the day. However the champions heat started before my heat finished (basically making it an impossibility for anyone in my heat to participate in it if we qualified) and by the last heat the queues before some obstacles were CRAZY long. I mean I stood at certain obstacles over 10 minutes waiting my turn behind people from previous heats who showed up and walked through the course. It negatively impacted my time and it killed my momentum. That was disappointing.
4. Bring a towel to sit on in your car. They had garden hoses you could use to knock some of the bigger mud chunks off yourself with,  which felt very Woodstock-y to me, but even that doesn’t clean you enough to go anywhere until you can get to a real shower.
5. Pants past the knees is a must. All that crawling in mud and sand would be tough on an exposed knee!
6. Wear old shoes. They get trashed in all the mud and there’s no avoiding it! There were donation spots set up all over the place so once you change into your post-race flip flops you can then give your old shoes away. Good stuff.


Aside from the multiple mud pits and slides, there were also 20′ high nets (shaped like giant tee-pees) to climb over, there were wooden walls with ropes to climb up one side and jump down the other, there were ropes with loops hanging over a giant mud pit and  you had to “swing” from rope to rope to get across, giant hay bales (5′ tall) to climb over, and various other walls and things to army crawl over, under and through – making it a total of 4 miles of obstacle challenges.

Overall I’d definitely do another obstacle course race. I was nervous as most participants appeared to be in teams and were helping one another through the obstacles and all I had was me, but it turned out ok. Nothing was so difficult that I couldn’t handle it on my own.  “I can do all this through him who gives me strength.” [Phil 4:13]

Let me know of you ever try or have done an obstacle race!  Would you do one again?  Is there a particular type besides the Ruckus you would recommend?

Run by faith,

Going the Distance

I’m uber competitive about a lot of things.  Running actually isn’t one of them.  Since becoming a mom, running has become my “me” time.  I’ve been a runner over ten years now but running and being fit took on a whole new meaning after having our first child.  I soon realized that as long as I was out running I didn’t have to change anyone’s diapers, clean up throw up, or remind anyone for the ten thousandth time that brushing their teeth isn’t an optional daily task.   And, after just moving to a new neighborhood going to the gym gave me an opportunity to meet some other mommy’s and make some friends.  Double inspiration for getting fit!

I wouldn’t say I don’t care about my finishing time when I run races, I would just say I don’t care about your time.  Sorry.  I wasn’t born to run.  I’m not thin and wiry.  It takes me a zillion years to build endurance – I’m built for strength and breeding, not running.  When I sign up for a race I consider the course and my level of fitness and I make a mental goal for myself.  If I meet or surpass my personal goal, I’m happy.  If I don’t, that’s OK.  And if I have a PR or get a medal that’s just a bonus.  Honestly I don’t even know what my 5 or 10-K time would have to be in order for me to get a PR, that’s how much I don’t care about it.  I don’t walk around like I’m some great runner, mostly because I’m not.  I’m just a regular thirty-year old mom of three who enjoys the freedom, sanity and fitness running provides.  My goal is never to beat anyone specifically.  That takes the fun out of it for me.  My goal is first just to finish, and second to finish with a self-measured level of dignity.

Trust me friends I realize that signing up for races is hardly a private matter.  Anyone can look up any race and see the results.  One bad day means anyone with internet access can look you up and judge you, which stinks because so much outside of the actual race itself can go in to whether a race is a successful one – diet, sleep, or emotional state, how long it’s been since you last had a baby, how many weeks pregnant you currently are (OK those last two definitely apply to me! LOL)… just to name a few.  I’ve run so many races these past five years pregnant or with interrupted sleep it’s not even funny.  I feel for runners who put their everything into training and then have an outside source disrupt their preparation and it’s out of their control.  I’ve been there.  It’s my life.  And, once again, outside factors I have no control over are impacting my marathon training.  But I am pressing on.

It’s OK (and I think normal) to compare our results, but one thing I can promise is that when I’m toeing the starting line I’m not there thinking “I really want to beat her (or him)…” I’m thinking, “I really want to beat me.”  And (surprise) at the starting line I’m praying.  I’m praying that it’s in God’s plan for me to finish the race and for it to be with a time I can feel good about considering whatever amount of effort I’ve spent preparing and whatever obstacles have been placed in my way leading up to race day.  Because I know that simply showing up at the starting line doesn’t mean I’m going to make it to the finish line.  And I know that each step, each breath, each mile is on borrowed time and I owe nothing but praise to God for giving me the ability and opportunity to have that moment.  And that is something worth bragging about.

“Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.”  -James 4:14

Run by faith,


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