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  • Quick Glance:
  • Host: Jailbreak Race
  • Shoes:Fila Voltage
  • Venue:Awesome
  • Would I Run It Again:ABSOLUTELY
  • Muddy Sneakers Rating: 5 out of 5

It has been a week since the Alamo 13.1 Fight to the Finish Half-Marathon, when I get a text from Mrs. MuddyJ “have you heard about the jailbreak race in Austin?”

me:  I just did, hang on….

I “google” Jailbreak on my phone and get….a whole crap load of information on how to hack an iOS device…

Then I add “austin” to “jailbreak” and the results are ALOT BETTER…. but the display on my phone just isn’t doing it justice….off to the Mud-Cave (ok, its really just an office) to do some research.

The moment I bring up their site on my home pc, I freeze, thinking, OMG, the cops finally found me….. (ok, another terrible joke.they aren’t even looking anymore) But be warned, as their website comes up, turn your speaker volume down…there’s a siren that plays really loud as soon as the page loads, followed by some rockin’ guitar riffs.

I look at the site for a few moments, saliva dripping from the corners of my mouth and untested muscles twitching… I send Mrs MuddyJ the following:


her: how much is it?


her: OK, go ahead, as long as it doesn’t cost too much

(yeah right…as if a chance to run through mud and obstacles could ever COST TOO MUCH, WILL SHE EVER UNDERSTAND???)

me:ok, I’ll sign up.

I sign up through the website, registering for the 0900 chip-timed “competitive” wave

Should be fun. It was.

The alarm goes off @ 0530hrs, and this time I get to slap Mrs MuddyJ on the shoulder to get her out of bed, cause this time, she’s going with me. We had picked out our clothes the night before, and packed my race bag.( I’ll have to remember to post my packing list in another posting soon) She groans and gets out of bed, muttering unflattering terrors and raining curses upon me ’cause “I NEVER GET TO SLEEP IN”

We get on the road towards Austin around 0600, and way we go. Our navigation gets us to the general area of the venue, and then there’s a wee bit of confusion until Mrs. MuddyJ spots a sign that says “Jailbreak Race” with an arrow pointing up.

After the first sign, there are plenty more telling us which way to go. Kudos for this.

There’s a slight wait to get into the parking area, and a 10$ fee. Parking is plentiful and there are frequently running shuttles (READ: SCHOOL BUS)to Decker Park, where the race is actually being held. We sign in on a little sheet, presumably to get a “bus pass” I “front load” my pack and we get on the bus….the excitement is MOUNTING.

A short while later the shuttle pulls up in front of the park and disgorges us at a gate. We walk up a path towards some tents set-up in a common “fair-way” arrangement.

Check-in and Packet pick-up is simple, and moves quickly, as well as the baggage check.

We have about 45 minutes at this point until my wave kicks off, so Mrs. MuddyJ and I walk around, getting ideas of how/where she might be able to get good photos of me as I come by. This is the moment my trademark “traffic cone orange” headgear becomes my trademark. I don it and she can instantly pick me out in a crowd. I also start another ritual with this race, I wear the shirt I got from the Alamo 13.1 to this run, take it off, and THEN I don the shirt from the current race after completing it.

I decide to run in shorts, a compression shirt, full-finger leather gloves, my wiley-x goggles, and my day-glo orange recon wrap headband.

All dressed up and ready to go….

I start to make my way to the corral when my stomach does it usual pre-race flip. I cramp and nervously look around, only to find….

…plenty of toilets… yes! I get to run this race not-so-full-of-crap (see Alamo 13.1 review if this part is confusing to you)

I gain some much needed relief and make my way up to the corral. Looking around, I realize that I may be slightly out-classed for this race….every one around me is B-U-F-F …At least Mrs. MuddyJ gets some eye-candy for getting out of bed so early…..

Waiting inside the corral to start…. trying to look like an escaping convict….

I do some push-ups to warm up, and a photographer on the other side of the corral fence asks politely if they can take a picture of me doing them, so I get down and do some more. Then I realize that I can’t see more then 15 feet, my Wiley-x’s are fogging… I flag down the Mrs, and she comes over to get them from me… The MC cracks jokes, and I make small talk with some of the other runners…there are many inexperienced runners in this pack.

The siren goes off and the runners are set loose, it’s time to start my first obstacle course race….

I looked at the course map posted online, so I knew it was quite a distance to the first obstacle, so after an initial sprint, I settle into a challenging pace that I am pretty sure I can maintain indefinitely. The reason for this long run quickly becomes apparent as the pack stretches out along the run and the trails become thinner. By the time we get to the very first obstacle, some hanging tires, we are almost all running single file.

I am graced by lady luck, the guy in front of me for the first obstacle is a MONSTER, and when he goes through the tires he knocks them so far away that i just follow right through on his heels, untouched.

Right now I would like you to observe a slight moment of silence for the person who was on my heels, after all, those tires did have to come back together at some point…

Next was more running, and a water point… which I pass, after all, I feel fine, and it’s ONLY A 5K, (READ:BIG FREAKING MISTAKE) followed by some hurdles. I go over them, barely breaking momentum and I remember a fleeting thought that I should look into training in parkour as it could probably help on races like this (edit: IT HAS) then some downhill running through the “showers”  A PVC setup dumping frigid water all over me…I slow to maintain footing, and then it’s the first sign of MUD… an uphill battle for about 30 feet is slick from the other runners foot steps. I set my shoulders and charge up the hill, and after about 3-4 steps I realize… articulated toes are the way to go for shoes in an obstacle race. Though my Fila Voltage shoes are shaped like a running shoe, they have articulated toes and the traction that modification allows for in mud amazes me.


The next obstacle is an A-frame, and someone next to me remarks about how stupid it is that we got wet before trying to run up this… whatever…there’s a rope dude, and its only about 8 feet tall… I run up it, and grip the rope near the top to steady myself, then clamber down the other side…. ahead of me I see smoke, lots of smoke, so thinking quickly (or so I think) I pull my recon wrap down over my nose and mouth…. then I find out its just dry ice vapor….masking the inside of a plywood maze and reducing visibility to…oh….SIX INCHES….the runner behind me grabs my shoulder, and I take the cue to grab the shoulder of the runner in front of me, truthfully it felt a little awkward to grab a strange woman’s shoulder, but she didn’t punch me so all was ok.

After we all got out of there, it was an uphill sprint to thin the pack out..to a wall of fast twitch tire set-up… then a tire wall…. the obstacles are really getting closer to each other now…. and really slowing people up ALOT… I silently swear to myself at this point that I will NEVER EVER run a late wave because it would be ALOT of waiting or just running around obstacles…

Up and over a wall made of tires… a few three foot tall log rails (part of the park, but the course is laid out to go over/under them, not around them) and we get to an obstacle I am really pumped about… the lilly pad run…. into the lake go the runners, and then….out of the water and onto an unstable platform to run, and then jump off of…. I should mention now, that lake WAS COLD. From there, the course was laid out so that you were “running” through thigh high water…this turned my legs to Jell-o…

Up and over another A-frame, though this had a slide down the other side and then up to the INFLATABLE WATER SLIDE… and we were back out onto a portion of the course that the spectators could see… and there was Mrs Muddy J, snapping away…


Have I mentioned how much fun this race was yet?

Really, it was!! the next “obstacle” was a FOAM-SLIDE!!!

I really am in there… see the orange head gear?!

The next several obstacles go by easily, a hill of loose dirt, some more muck-running followed by a tunnel crawl, carrying some weights over a hay bales…. then a climb over a stacked rolls of hay.

The end is in sight, and somewhere around 5-6 obstacles ago I started to regret passing up the water point…. with three more obstacles to go I have gone from “mild” regret to borderline dehydration…. LESSON LEARNED:NEVER PASS A WATER POINT ON AN OBSTACLE COURSE.

I clamber over the cargo net climb, pausing a few seconds at the top to give a photographer laying on the ground a  “thumbs up” from the apex…. down the other side and it’s on to the finish line…

but first, the mud crawl…

this is where I gained my Indian name, “MuddyJ”

…then a roll under some barrier fencing on a bed of loose sand, which turned me into a completely-blind sand encrusted mud monster…

I stood up, wiped enough sand from my left eye to run to the finish…00:32:26!

the sand encrusted mud monster finish….

On the other side of the finish line, I was handed my finsher’s medal and…wait for it… an EMPTY CUP…there’s water over there someone points….in hindsight, this is the worst complaint I have from the race… I was actually suffering from “exertion stupidity” and blind from the sand…thank God that Mrs. MuddyJ was around to lead me to the water point.

ohhhh… the glories of a water point…. the sweet nectar of hydration…

Still stupid from exertion and mildly blind (instead of completely blind) I started looking for the showers… at the bottom of the hill, next to the lake, were a bank of hoses connected to a pump from the lake spraying water into the air on an arc…

I tried in vain to use this to clean myself and made the (ultimately correct) decision to jump in the lake to clean the bulk of the mud and sand from me. Only after that frigid dip did the hoses make a dent in my dirt armor…. then back up the hill to change…

Mrs MuddyJ and myself after a dip in the lake and a change of clothing (for me)

I got my free beer after I changed, a surprisingly tasty IPA (I LOATHE BEER, yet I enjoyed this one)  and Mrs. MuddyJ and I got a pair of cheeseburgers  and an order of fries from the BBQ vendor….. The burgers were awesome! I would have eaten burger flavored poop at that point, but Mrs. MuddyJ agreed that they were surprisingly delicious.

We walked the course for about 30 minutes or so, enjoying the spectator friendly portions immensely, before getting back onto the parking shuttle and wearily headed home… where I took a much needed and well deserved nap….