Running Dirty

Elizabeth, Nicole and James drag themselves through an obstacle course/mud run . Hilarity Ensues.

Nicole and I often talk about how we wish we would do more fun outdoor activities when the weather is nice, and for the longest time we’ve been wanting to do a mud run. So, last week on the spur of the moment Nicole found a mud run for us to do on her birthday, and I hesitantly agreed.

Fast forward a few days later to Saturday the 9th, the day of the race and Nicole’s birthday. The night prior, I’d had a couple of margaritas with friends so I wasn’t like 100%. I wasn’t hungover either, but just trust me and don’t drink margaritas before a mud run (I’m SO smart guys). I had knots in my stomach for the entire hour long drive up to Frederick. To make matters worse, one of the obstacles was visible from the road as I was driving by, and I saw a few women struggling to climb up this massive nearly vertical wall with only a rope to help them. I instantly had flashbacks to elementary school gym class and the dreaded rope climb.

Going A-Wall


As soon as I parked my car, an ambulance entered the parking lot. GOOD OMENS ALL AROUND.

The organization of this mud run left a lot to be desired, and so after we checked in, we wandered around the farm looking for the starting line for a good 15 minutes. The waves were scattered 1 hour apart starting at 9am, and as we were wandering, we saw the first batch of runners walking from the finish line in various degrees of mud coverage.

We finally found the finish line and realized we still had 25 minutes till our wave was set to start. Not a single other person, racer nor organizer were around, so we all decided to just go, figuring that at least we wouldn’t be bunched up with a whole mess of people at each obstacle. I turned to Nicole, “So, are we gonna run this, or…?” to which she replied with a vehement “Oh HELL no. We’re baby seals, not Navy Seals.”

Running Dirty 1

And so we began. After we crossed the starting line, James jogged for a solid 20 feet or so and twisted his ankle. We started the course at a leisurely pace and watched with disdain as a group of Buff Bros charged across the starting line at a sprint while yelling BRO at each other and high fiving and basically taking everything way too seriously. Vom.

The first obstacle was a 6′ tall wooden wall that you had to scale, followed by another wall with a space near the ground that you had to crawl under, with the sequence repeated twice. After the first round, we looked at the next “get up and over” wall and kinda just shrugged and walked around the rest.

As we neared the second obstacle the Bros were right behind us. The second obstacle was the giant wall/rope contraption I saw on the drive in, and I had already decided to just skip that one. James scurried up first, and Nicole went up second as I cheered her on. The race volunteer asked me if I was up next, to which I replied that no thanks, I’m not in the mood to fall to my death today. He prodded me with an, “Oh come on, you can do it!” so I just gave him my best petulant teenager glare with a, “yeah, no” and walked away. NOBODY PEER PRESSURES ME.

Anyways, I snapped a couple pics of Nicole being amazing and off we went.

Running Dirty 2Around the next bend, we approached the cutest little farmhouse and barn, and a little fenced off area with a couple of tiny little brown ponies. So, seeing as how this was a Serious Business race and all, we skipped off the course like a couple of ninnies and went up to the fence to call the ponies over. #ofcourse the owners of the farmhouse arrived home at just that moment, and scared us off before I could snap a pic of the cute little ponies. Boo. The Bros caught up with us again at our pony detour.

Obstacle number 3 involved carrying a big log down a hill and then back up. We all simultaneously said, “why is this even a thing?! Ooh look, a water station!” SKIP.

Needless to say we probably skipped a solid third of the obstacles that day. We actually did complete most of the more difficult ones though, reasoning that we just had zero desire to do any of the stunts that we already knew we’d be able to complete with no problem. “You want me to jump over a jersey barrier? I mean, I can do it and all but…meh.” MEH.

Our favorite obstacle was called the spider wall. It vaguely resembled something from Ninja Warrior and was situated over a pit of dysentery water.

Spider Wall

We all scurried across the spider wall without falling in. HIGH FIVE BRO. We then skipped a rope net climbing thing that had a huge line and a lady at the top who was just yelling “I CAN’T DO IT” over and over again, and made our way to the first obstacle that would finally get the best of us, the drunk monkey bars.

Drunk Monkey

James made it halfway, I made it to the second bar, and Nicole just jumped in from the getgo because she was too short to reach the first bar :) The tricky part of this obstacle was that the bars actually spin, so as you grab on, you have to have a super solid grip to be able to hang on. I have the smallest hands ever so that just wasn’t gonna happen. Seriously, I have to buy children’s gloves. A lady next to us put James to shame and made it all the way across. Showoff.

About 3/4 of the way through the race, we finally encountered our first mud obstacle entitled Slippery When Wet, but should’ve really been called Escape to Poop Mountain. 

Slippery When Wet

It. Was. NASTY. Those little ridges were slick and basically impossible to scale over without getting mud in your undercarriage ifyouknowwhatimean, and between each of them was a 10 foot long pit with mud the texture of poop to wade through. The entire time, Nicole and I just yelled “WHY ARE WE DOING THIS?!” back and forth. We all fell at least once, and our shoes weighed exactly 37 lbs each afterward. We cursed the fact that the Drunk Monkey (and an opportunity to rinse off) had come and gone already.

As we were walking to the next obstacle, the Buff Bros confidently ran past us, shirtless, covered from head to toe in mud. Stop. You’re trying too hard. We all fell and only got mud up to our waists. *eyeroll*

My LEAST favorite of all the obstacles was something called the Snake Pits.

Snake Pits

This picture LIES. There was no mud to be found in the snake pits. Only scorpions and broken glass and used needles.

It looked simple enough, you just have to crawl through this 10-15′ long underground pit. Seems easy, right? Wrong. As soon as I got underneath, I realized that the ground wasn’t mud or even dirt like I expected, but GRAVEL. Straight up big ass shards of gravel, and I was shimmying through on what felt like bloody stumps but were actually my elbows and knees. As I was crawling through, I heard the guy behind me  yell, “Oh, COME ON.” as he made the same realization. Ouch.

Parallel Bars

Bruised, battered, and covered in mud, we attempted to do an obstacle called the parallel bars. A woman in front of us slowly made her way across, and then her boyfriend zipped through in like 2.5 seconds. She rolled her eyes at us as he did, and I fell in love with her. She gets me. It was my turn next, so I proceeded to move 6 inches on the bars before my noodle arms crumpled under the weight. le sigh.

Next up was a balance beam over a water pit. We all made it safely across and then stopped to clean out our shoes. Nicole and James hopped in the water and splashed around for a good 15 minutes or so. Nicole was nearly crushed by a woman who almost fell on her, and then was accused of peeing in the water pit. Getting OUT of the pit involved inappropriate butt touches and the strength of two volunteers.

After we all cleaned up, we rounded the corner to the next obstacle – an army crawl through mud the consistency of peanut butter under barbed wire. Fail. There were literally three of these in a row. THREE IN A ROW. Actually, come to think of it, there was another log haul throw in there somewhere that we obviously skipped because no. We did the first two crawls and skipped the third because come on, we get it. You guys like barbed wire pits.

One giant pile of hay bales (scaled) and a bonfire (leapt over) later, we made it to the finish line. The event photographer promptly ignored our sorry looking group for the gaggle of muscle-y dudes and dudettes in front of us, so we don’t have an official finish line photo.

We finally found someone to take our picture in front of the photo wall thingy. Running-Dirty-3

James looked like a leper.


We got free beers for finishing the race! Yay!

20 year old teal Umbros ftw!

20 year old teal Umbros FTW!

After the race we ate lunch at Family Meal in Frederick, MD. We were all expecting it to be the equivalent of a Shoney’s, but were pleasantly surprised when we realized that it’s a Brian Voltaggio (of Top Chef fame) restaurant. Win!

So, though it may not sound like it, we had a total blast and can’t wait to meander through another obstacle course run soon.


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Blogger at Merit + Fork
The Merit of Merit + Fork, Elizabeth's posts are driven by her innate need to just make stuff.


  • Asep

    18.02.2016 at 16:36 Reply

    Thank you for catching this monemt! Although Jude was being almost overly affectionate- if that’s even possible!- your shot shows all the love we have doe each other. Love it!

  • Nicole

    12.08.2014 at 10:52 Reply

    I laughed out loud through this entire post, remembering each moment verrrry clearly. Escape to Poop Mountain, hahaha. No one signing up for these things truly knows what mud smells like…

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