A Muddy Day at Camp Pendleton

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.

our chariot awaits us

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.

Heading into the race (pre-mud)

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.

clean shoes
Our last picture: a tribute to our clean shoes

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.

post-race, pre-shower

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.

Leaving the mud run.  See you next year…

Tips and Lessons Learned:

  1. 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.
  2. If possible, do some training beforehand.  We did not train much this year, and we were hurting afterward.
  3. Sunscreen, sunscreen, sunscreen!  Even on an overcast day, there are still sunburns to be had.
  4. 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.
  5. If you have an action camera, bring it along.  We are awfully sad that we have no pictures of the course.
  6. And most of all, have fun!

19 thoughts on “A Muddy Day at Camp Pendleton

  1. Burritos are the perfect way to wrap up a run, Kristyn. Particularly if it was muddy and messy. Must have let out the kid in you – which makes me think that the boys must have hated at the thought of being left out, non?

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Burritos make everything better, right?! Especially a California burrito, stuffed with French fries. It seems like burrito blasphemy, but I love it 😜 I think it does make Henry a little wistful. Once he builds up some stamina, we might try for the 1k. Either that or a mud pit in the backyard 😉 How goes life in Bayonne?

      Liked by 3 people

      1. Fries-stuffed burritos! That is a new one. Almost akin to discovering burgers served up with fries sandwiched in between them in Sardinia. Burrito Blasphemy or Beauteous Burrito? I think your love for it says which it might be.

        Henry would surely love a muddy run with his parents 🙂 Mud pit in the backyard sounds fun too. Haha. You are cute.

        Life in Bayonne is just taking off and I am loving it. Teaming it up with a whole lot of local burgers and donuts. Adi is apprehensive that I shall become round quite so soon.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I am going to agree that we should stick with the “beauteous burrito” classification. And oh my word, I would surely dive face first into a burger stuffed with fries. ❤

        So glad all is well in Bayonne–no doubt it is a better place with the addition of you and Adi.
        And no worries about the burgers and donuts. I'm sure you are making good use of the park and thereby cancelling out all unwanted calories. Besides, I am 99% sure that no calories count until you have been a resident for at least one month. These are still "welcome to the hood" treats, which of course have zero calories…

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I had signed up for a mud run in my hometown a couple of years back but plans fell through and I’ve totally forgotten about them. I need to look into it again as I was super excited the first time around. Excellent idea to bring an action camera. I don’t have a GoPro but I bought a cheaper waterproof camera that would work well for stuff like this. Ya’ll are looking good, btw!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You should definitely keep an eye out for another mud run. They are ridiculous amounts of fun. I think a waterproof camera would do the trick. I just think action shots of slipping in the mud are too good not to have. Next year we will come prepared. 🙂

      And thank you! I think the mud took a couple of years off of our faces, hehe 😛

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Way to go on the marathon, and how interesting that it is intentionally muddy. This is the first that I have heard about such a mud run before. Did you get your shoes looking clean again, or will they forever be tinted grey now?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you! It is a pretty interesting concept, huh? There is a shoe donation after the run, and normally I donate, but I thought I would try to keep mine this time around. Sadly though I fear my shoes will never be the same. I think I will join in the donation again next year. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. That’s a nice idea too. Then instead of throwing them away just because they are not bright and shiny anymore, someone can still make use of them. I see you already have plans to do the mud run again 😉 Fun

        Liked by 1 person

  4. How have I never heard of this! I’ve often thought to myself, “there should be military bootcamp and obstacle courses for civilians” … Well now. It doesn’t get any more authentic than this!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It is definitely a great experience. There was a short amount of time that I considered enlisting in the military, and that part of me loves the opportunity to be on the base and doing the obstacles. I am not sure the degree of authenticity of all of the obstacles (especially when I cheat on some of them 😉 ) but I do think they all carry the spirit of it. No doubt we were all ready to shout “Ooh Rah” when we finished!


    1. Definitely give it a try one of these years–it is so fun! Prices are cheaper early on, so register early. Kids seem to love it–ours are still too young, but one of these days… 🙂


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