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It’s been two weeks since the Austin Jailbreak…. my appetite for mud and mayhem lusts for satisfaction….so what do I need? MUD & MAYHEM… this race has my deepest desires in the title….

In truth, this race has a lot of potential, it is in it’s infancy, and could have been better.

With that said: I STILL HAD FUN!!!

I registered for this race in person, shortly after I did the Natural Bridge Caverns 10k. Now I had one obstacle race and one trail run under my belt, and a little experience in these things can go a long way….

I was about to learn that not all races are created equal…

This race is still in it’s infancy, this being the second year it’s been held, so there are some issues that are easy to overlook…and some that aren’t. I seem to be getting ahead of myself…

I went to the packet pick-up  at “the Athlete’s Foot” (off 1604 Traffic was a mess due to a MASSIVE construction project there, not their fault! just worth mentioning) before the race, and it was simple and straightforward: what’s your name, please let me see ID, and what size t-shirt? It’s also worth mentioning that the frozen margarita company that was handing out samples was kind enough to give Thing #2 and Thing #3 (my twins) frozen virgin margaritas.

Mrs. MuddyJ and I got ready the night before, as I learned to do with the Austin Jailbreak and I decided to continue my tradition of wearing the last race’s shirt to the event, and donning my new shirt after completing the latest challenge.

Getting ready the night before….looking awesome in my Jailbreak tee…

I had learned from the Jailbreak that it might be helpful to pin my bib off to the side of my leg to aid in avoiding tearing of both the bib and the clothing it is attached to.

I decided to run this one in Fila Waves, which are basically Skeletoes with drainage holes in the bottom…while I thought this would be good to allow water out, I neglected to realize it would allow mud in…hello squishy toes! Goodbye Fila Waves…. they are now my post race shoe of choice….

We made our way to the race location, with ease, no hidden turns, no problems and the parking area was well attended and gave us no confusion. There was also no parking fee! NO PARKING FEE!!!!!

There was a line, a large line at the race site, and I thought that it had to be the packet pickup. I asked though, and I am glad I did, because the line was to get your shoe mounted timing chip. So Mrs. MuddyJ and I waited in line for my chip timer, and she helped me attach it to my lace-less shoe with wire ties…kudos to the timing company for having the ties available and ready.

My stomach did it’s usual pre-race flip, and I meandered off to stand in line @ the port-o-potties…. there were many, so it was not a long wait…kudos again.

taking part in a group warm-up exercise session…

Walking around, trying to get a feel for the course, we visited the stage and walked up to the mud pit to check over the layout….then we realized this…the Muddy Mayhem IS NOT a spectator friendly event. Spectators can see the start line, and the Mud Pit, and that’s about it, because everything else was “far enough away to be far away”

Some announcements were made, and a group warm-up was led from the main stage…following that warm-up session, people started lining up at the starting corral.

Somewhere around this time, David,  and his muddy buddy,  Nayeli, my two friends from the Natural Bridge Caverns 10k showed up. He looked odd to me without his Tough-Mudder Head Band ( he forgot it at home) and his newly grown beard.

We got to talking on the walk over to the starting corral, and the first wave was released… the serious wave…oh crap reality…. that’s my wave…. in fact, that’s everyone’s wave….. my biggest problem with this event… everyone left pretty much at the same time.

Fifty-yards from the starting line was the Mud-Pit, with no option to go around…. so it kinda had the effect of putting a stop sign on a drag strip…..vroooommmmm…screeeeeeeaaaaachhhing brakes…..  it was muddy…it was mayhem… it was a traffic jam….

right after the start….what a cluster….

It also meant that you were running from the inception of the race with muddy shoes….(this is when I realized that drainage holes in shoes work in both directions)

The course went left onto a paved road, for what seemed to be about a mile…it rolled up and down with some easy hills, and then turned right onto a very narrow dirt path, next to which a “volunteer” was spraying us all down with a garden hose as we passed. OH NO!!!! NOT (gasp) WATER!!!! Seriously, after the pavement run, cold water felt good…

We (the pack) started down the narrow path and i noticed people jumping a little just ahead of me…. then the runners directly in front of me jumped as well… I felt an inordinate amount of heat on my legs and realized that the path a few steps in front of me was ON FIRE… don’t think, JUMP… it was not very far, just surprising, as it seemed to magically appear in front of me….

Then we got to the next traffic jam… the first set of hay bale rolls… most people were waiting patiently for their turn and helping each other up and over them, while some (jerks) just went around the people waiting their turn and simply ran over the slower runners having trouble ahead of them, i saw one dude, packed with muscle, step on some poor woman’s hand as he went up and over… no apology given… dick.

In truth I should have been further ahead then I was, but I started too far back in the pack… so I took my lumps and waited my turn, conversing with the runners around me and trying to keep moving in the vain hopes I wouldn’t cool down too much… Finally it was my turn, and up and over I went, relatively easily… the path was rough on the opposite side, but I paced accordingly and avoided injuring my ankles…

The order of the rest of the obstacles is a little lost on me, so please forgive me if I am out of order on any, but since there was little to no wait (unlike the 10 minute wait at the hay bales) at any I just plowed through them…losing as little momentum as possible…

They were:

  1. The Tunnel (of terror?) : this one was a little cheesy, it was a wire-bound fabric tunnel that was laid out on the ground.
  2. The Ground Kisser: A large tarp spread out and weighted to keep you low to the ground
  3. The Military Mud-Crawl: Low-crawling under a wire obstacle (god I hope it was mud)
  4. Hay Bales, re-visited: another back up here, but not as bad as the first time, as i had gotten closer to the front of the pack.
  5. The Mud Crawl, re-visted: Though this time it was more of a mud crouch…
  6. The Downhill of Doom: this was tough to stay upright…picture a dirt road, with a slight grade, rutted and wet and slippery… remember the Musclebound Dick I mentioned in the first hay bale obstacle… turns out he wasn’t a very fast runner, as I caught up to him here… I also am slightly ashamed to admit my squealing child-like joy in watching him eat the mud as he fell face first right in front of me… (I almost clapped)
  7. Tires on Rope: I gained a healthier respect for this obstacle this time (since I didn;t have a line-backer going through in front of me)
  8. The Log Jog: Ducking under and vaulting over some fallen and leaning trees ( I probably could have gone around, but I was feelin’ frisky

We left the fields we were running through and it was back onto a hard top again (paved road) and I kicked on my after-burners… sensing the end coming soon…

I pushed myself up the last hills and turned onto the final field with bystanders hooting and hollering and clapping for all of us running the race, I will never tire of that feeling!

A final left and there was the Mud Pit and Finish line… I sprinted into the mud pit and almost fell ass over tea-kettle as my feet tried to slip out from under me, I did actually land on my butt, then I recovered and sprinted on in to the finish line …… 00:54:02

The finish line, Special thanks to Mrs. MuddyJ for her composition including the clock… the official time posted above is my chip time, not the gun time shown in the picture.

After I crossed the finish, a volunteer handed me my finisher’s medal (a Muddy Mayhem 2012 Dog Tag) and another volunteer cut the timing chip from my shoe.

Mrs. MuddyJ congratulated me on a job well done, remarking that not too many people had finished ahead of me… then she remarked that I smelled pretty bad…. kind of like-manure.

My post race revelation and experiences are why I rate this race so low. Though it was fun and challenging overall, the race took place across ACTIVE cow pastures… so was it really mud????

I am not really certain all this was actually MUD….

Upon that startling, and really disgusting revelation, I just wanted to get clean… so I headed to the shower area… Strike 2: The shower area was a board on the ground and a pair of garden hoses. I waited in line, feeling like I was covered in manure, for what seemed like forever…. Finally it was the guy in front of me’s turn to go and we took turns hosing each other off, in the most masculine “dude we are covered in cow sh!t” way we could….

when life hands you lemons, you make lemonade….when an obstacle race covers you in sh!t….you smile a sh!tty grin!!!!

After that Mrs MuddyJ and I made our way back over to our truck, thankfully I hadn’t driven my Z, (it would not have made it into the parking area due to ruts and divets in the field we were directed to park in) I sat in the back and poured bottled water onto my feet in an effort to get them somewhat clean… changed my clothes in the back (thankfully the windows are tinted, dark) We looked around the finish/festival area and decided to call it a day and go home for some much needed showering.

I gave this race a less then stellar rating because there was a lot of room for improvement… But it also stands that there were several good things too, so here’s a list:

Pro’s

  1. Inexpensive ($40)
  2. No Parking Fees
  3. Good crowd overall
  4. Locally grown
  5. Actually happened in San Antonio

Con’s

  1. Obstacles could have been tougher and more varied
  2. No assigned starting waves
  3. long wait for obstacles
  4. Wound up covered in cow feces (yes there were piles of it here and there)
  5. Inadequate showering/cleaning/changing area

I would consider running this again next year, hopefully they have learned from two years of experience… I guess it would depend solely on what other races were going on that weekend.

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