5 things I learned at my first Dirty Girl run - OPINION
blog by Kathryn Przybyla • September 07, 2013 @ 10:00pm
I’m no runner, but when I had the chance to participate in my first mud run (and 5K of the summer) I figured this was an opportunity not to miss.
When else would I get the chance to run with my three friends through an incredible obstacle course through mud pits? Never, that’s when.
Despite being very into fitness (playing competitive tennis, yoga, etc.) I’ve never been able to fall in love with running. I get bored and lose interest quick, but give me a 3-hour tennis match with a third set tiebreak and I’m in.
With 12 obstacles to break up the running, I was up for the challenge. Here are five things I learned from my awesome and surprising day on the muddy course.
Photo courtesy of Facebook.
You’re going to get dirty and you’re going to like it.
Besides not being big into running, I’m also not a huge fan of mud pits—but I do like to challenge myself.
The majority of runners were a little squeamish to start things off, but 15 minutes in and you’re diving head first into a soaked rope wall and mud slide. You’ll get over the conditions quick.
You’re having too much of a good time laughing at your teammates mud-streaked faces to even notice your own at this point. Just smile, it’s going to be fun.
Everyone’s a cheerleader.
Regardless of your athletic ability, some of these obstacles still require serious focus and a good grip. No one wants to lose balance off the huge wooden wall you have to climb with a rope.
When girls found themselves in a tough spot (how to climb or hot to get down) other runners from teams were there to cheer you to success. Motivational cries with “You got this, girl!” or “Keep going, you’re almost there!” were not uncommon.
Bringing thousands of strangers together in the same muddy mess, it doesn’t get any better.
Mud really is good for the skin.
They start you off slow with a tire run and some blown-up climbing walls, but once you hit the “Utopian Tubes” it’s time to go face first on your stomach thru a swampy, muddy bath. And you’re going to like it.
By the end of the race, it’s shocking if you’re not soaked to the bone with mud and dirt and water, but that’s part of the fun. Washing off by the heated spigots, it was like an expensive skin treatment and facial included in the race.
Any awareness is great awareness.
There’s been reports that some people aren’t pleased that only 2.5% of all the money collected from Go Dirty Girl goes to charity and research. My take—that’s still a big donation. The Dirty Girl Run makes it very clear on their site that they are a for profit company that is looking to make a contribution and raise awareness.
In an event in northeastern Pennsylvania earlier this year, $14,500 was donated to charity. That’s incredible. Yes, it could have been more, but that’s only the contribution from a single race. Combine that with a year’s worth of races around the country and that’s quite a lot of funds raised.
If you’re raising awareness and people are enjoying themselves, I’d consider that a fantastic event.
Steer clear of cotton.
It’s going to weigh you down. Mud is heavy when wet and you’re going to gain 15 pounds of muck. Spandex, dry-fit, and stretchy/comfortable gear is the way to go.
Breathable sneakers (that you don’t mind getting destroyed) are best too. My shoes for the day had little to no permeable material and were filled with water for most of the race—not unbearable, but it would have been awesome if they had drained!
Photo courtesy of Facebook.
Overall, I’m glad I did it. Helping out my teammates finish the race and getting helped along the way myself was a great bonding experience for Kristin, Natalie, Amelia and myself. We laughed, got mud out of each other’s eyes and finished together. It was fantastic.
While I probably won’t be signing up for a half-marathon anytime soon, it was well worth the 30 minute shower I needed to take to get the gunk out of my hair.
Feels good to be clean.