Camp Pendleton Mud Run – A Filthy Freak’s Experience

A Little Intro

Since I first heard of the Camp Pendleton Mud Run about 10 years ago I’ve wanted to do it. I always thought if I could run a 10k through mud, up hills, over walls, I could do anything.  I would feel as though I’d really accomplished something. To get an idea, look at this 2015 video:

We’ve lived here for nearly 3 years and this year was my first opportunity to run it.  This extremely popular race usually sells out on the first day of registration, which is January 1 every year.  In years past I’d hesitated to sign up, made excuses for not signing up, and ended up missing out and not doing it.  Even after signing up, because I hadn’t trained and prepared like I would’ve liked, I almost chickened out.  But, I’ve learned we aren’t guaranteed anything in life and to take the opportunities and experiences in front of me; who knows what next year would bring but this year I had no reason not to run.

I was thrilled it worked out that my oldest daughter and I would get to run on the same day and that I was going to get to run with some great friends, who luckily are experienced mud runners.  I needed their advice and encouragement! What a great experience to share with my first born too.

Nervous Preparation and The Best Race That Almost Wasn’t

Friday night – got together with 2 friends and my daughter to decorate our shirts and hats.  We weren’t officially a team, but we wanted to be alike.

Headed home, and gathered our supplies for the morning – including our race numbers – and at 9:45 the night before the race all 5 members of the Tuck family went into a panic attack as we couldn’t find R’s race number.  OMFG.  I was going to give her mine and she said no because I’d been looking forward to this for a very long time and it really meant a lot to me.  Luckily my brilliant 16-year-old daughter figured out where we must have put it and found it!

The Wake-Up

Crisis averted, bag packed, shower taken, and ready to settle into bed by 10:30, I didn’t go to sleep until about 1, with the alarm set for 0600.  Not surprisingly, the nervousness and excitement motivated me to get out of bed at 5:55 before the alarm could even ring.

I began pounding water, smoking nervously (did I mention I’m an overweight smoker?), cracked open a Rip It, shoved a handful of Honey Nut Cheerios in my mouth and headed out the door.  Carpooling with friends we chatted nervously all the way there, as I looked onto the others chowing down on Clif bars (which I love), banana chips, and other assorted carb-protein loaded snacks.  I’m cursing at myself now for not thinking to bring a banana, Clif Bar and Gatorade for the 1-1/2-hour wait from when we left the house and to line up.  Alas, we parked (thanks Angela for the VIP pass!), and immediately I was overwhelmed with nerves, excitement, and the ass-shaking tunage of ChaCha Slide.

What an amazing atmosphere – fit people, fat people, young people, old people, couples, singles, co-workers, soccer moms and every range of demographic group in between was everywhere.  Buzzing with excitement I peed 3 times in 45 minutes before lining up for the start – which we thought we missed.

The Best Race that Almost Wasn’t

As we’re stretching, warming up and chatting nervously, we see and hear a very large mob of people moving together down the start line.  We sprint over, bitching how it’s 15 minutes too early to start, only learn they were just moving everyone up to the starting line.  Phew, panic attack averted.

Next thing I know, 10 more minutes go by and BOOM, the race is on.  Here we go, I’m doing this, no chickening out now.

Through the fire hose being sprayed on us, across a small creek crossing, and up the hill, and up the hill some more, and yessss…more hill to go up.  At the top of it I found out we’d gone 3 miles already – which I couldn’t believe, it had flown by and I felt good about my time, happy to have survived this far and knowing the best and worst was yet to come.  By now, my 16-year-old daughter has taken off, she’s far ahead and I have no idea where she is.  This is good because she had planned to stick with me and I insisted she just run her race to do her personal best.  It’s not fair for her old mom to hold her back!

Why I’m So Proud of Myself for Doing It

It’s amazing what the human body can do when it must.  I didn’t train for this race at all.  I planned on training but life got in the way.  In the preceding 2 months, I’d run exactly twice and felt horrible doing it both times.  That was part of the fear and anticipation – I didn’t feel ready.  If you know me at all, you know I like to be prepared.  I must be prepared.  I’d rather not go through with something if I’m not prepared.   But, I knew beyond the shadow of a doubt that this was my year to run the race.  I had money invested.  I needed to do it for my own sense of accomplishment and to be able to cross it off that achievable bucket list.

I learned that if untrained and unprepared I can run this race and actually come out with a time that’s pretty respectable compared to others who are younger than me, thinner than me, don’t smoke, and actually do exercise and run more often than 5 times in 3 months, then there is no limit to what I can do if I STAY WITH SOMETHING long enough to get the results, embrace them, and not be afraid of the changes.

I want to do a 5k race, and I know if I just put in a modicum of effort into running and Crossfit for the few weeks, I’ll be able to run an entire 5k within 2 months from now.  I also know, if I wanted to and if I tried hard, there is virtually no limit to what I can achieve.

I’d been thinking about courage a lot lately, because I’ve had to display my own courage over the last few months – not courage like the kind that earns Purple Hearts because I know I don’t have what it takes for that, but personal courage to go after what I want, knowing and trusting that if it’s meant to be part of my plan, it will come to me.  I’ve been invoking many of the tenets of The Secret and Law of Attraction into my daily life but also into my professional life.

What I Learned

Self-confidence.  Completing the Mud Run has defined what self-confidence means to me.  Without putting much thought into how I was going to do it, what kind of time I wanted to get, and so on, I just put one foot in front of the other for 6.2 miles and finished it – never doubting that I would finish – never doubting that I could do it.

How important support is.  When I was in the middle part of the race, the part that really sucked, thinking about the finish and how thrilled I was going to be to get there, the pride and smiles and from my husband and kids is what got me through.  Knowing they were there waiting for me, thinking about me and rooting me on in their hearts, and waiting for me to finish, and knowing they were proud of me motivated me to get through it.  I think it might have a small idea of how our family’s pride, love and gets my mister through tough times, especially during long, difficult deployments  – I think knowing that his kids and I are there waiting with smiles on our faces and pride in our hearts motivates him.

The Results

My 16-year-old daughter finished in 1:29:10, coming 47th in her age group and I finished in 1:49:04 coming in 169 out of 205 in my age group.  These results really aren’t that important to me.  I’m thrilled I did it in under 2 hours – but I’m just thrilled I finished.