I began last Saturday with eagerness and excitement. At 6:30am, we dropped our boys off at the grandparents’ house and then headed out to Camp Pendleton, a Marine Corps base in Oceanside, California. That’s right, I enlisted. Hmmm, maybe that is a little misleading. Let me try again: I enlisted… in the annual USMC Hard Corps Mud Run! There, much better. So with our running shoes laced up, towels and clean clothes in hand, we made our way to the base.
This is our third year of joining in the muddy fun. My husband’s sister and her hubby suckered us in for the 2015 run, and there has been no turning back–it’s just too much fun! There are different courses to choose from, the 10k, 5k, or kids’ 1k, and being the gluttons for punishment that we are, we of course choose the 10k each year.
Once we arrived at the base, we followed the signs to the parking areas for the mud run. It is interesting driving through the base because it is huge, basically a town in and of itself. Once we reached the parking area, we were given clear plastic bags for our belongings, and then headed to the buses that would take us to the start.
After we were dropped off by the bus, we still had quite a way to walk before reaching our destination. At this point, one would begin to wonder if they had already walked the 10k circuit! But hey, it’s a lovely walk, and you’re in good company with all of the fellow runners.
Our next stop was getting our race bibs and tee-shirts. I love this part, not only for the free shirt (yeah, I’m the person who is all about getting free stuff 😛 ) but because getting your number means you are that much closer to starting the race.
Tee-shirts and bibs in hand, we then headed toward the race site. Through the welcome arch, over the bridge, past the military trucks, tanks, and proud display of the American flag, and then into the fun zone.
And then… the waiting game. There is a huge grassy field where there is music, a beer garden, and a variety of vendors set up. I think this is primarily for post-race enjoyment, but it is also a great place to sit down and get ready while you wait for your wave to begin. Sunscreen, stretching, and a few final pictures before turning in our clear plastic bags into the bag check.
Our wave was supposed to start at 10:40, but we were getting restless, so we decided to sneak in with the 10:20 crowd. Unfortunately, the race coordinators were one step ahead of us and had the race waves displayed by color on our bibs. We were informed by several eager enforcers that reds could not go with yellows. Exhausting all of our excuses–for some reason, no one was willing to believe that all four of us were colorblind–we waited another 20 minutes for our official wave start.
Soon enough it was 10:40 and then we were off! Sadly I have no pictures of the race, but I did snap a pic of the course map. You can see in the photo that there are several obstacles along the way. At each stop, there are marines there to encourage, assist, and make you feel silly. Gotta love it!
We finished the course in about an hour and 35 minutes–not too terribly bad for a 10k filled with crazy obstacles. At the very end, you are treated to a shower of sorts, kind of like a car wash for people. Then, if you are feeling the need to get even cleaner, you can have a go in the Dr. Bronner’s All-One Foam Experience. The foam is a pretty novel experience, but we opted out this time, in favor of getting our bags and changing out of our muddy gear sooner than later.
There are some changing tents available when you are ready to peel off the muddy clothes that have adhered themselves to your skin. When you emerge, you may not be all that clean–gotta love finding mud and dirt in your ears later in the evening–but you feel good as new. Well, other than the screaming knees and muscles that are already starting to tighten up.
We made our way to the field to sit down, relax, and refuel. We got burritos from the nearest food vendor, and proceeded to devour them. I’m not sure if it was just because we were starving, but the burritos were ridiculously good. I would give you the name of the vendor, but I had burning sunscreen-eyes and was half dead at this point. I don’t know if I could have read the sign if I tried. 😛
Eventually we were feeling recharged enough to face the reality of driving home. So with oh so much effort, we pulled ourselves up off the ground, and forced our legs to start walking again. It took us about an hour to get back to our car (round the bend, past the lake, onto the bus, down the street, into the lot, and finally to our car–phew) and then we were homeward bound.
Tips and Lessons Learned:
- If you are ever in Southern California in June, you should look into this race. It is so much fun and a great way to show support for the marines.
- If possible, do some training beforehand. We did not train much this year, and we were hurting afterward.
- Sunscreen, sunscreen, sunscreen! Even on an overcast day, there are still sunburns to be had.
- If you do happen to take the sunscreen advice above, be sure to get something that won’t run into your eyes. It is awfully hard to navigate mud pits and tunnels when your eyes are burning.
- If you have an action camera, bring it along. We are awfully sad that we have no pictures of the course.
- And most of all, have fun!