Ran + crawled + slid + walked + hang + joked + finished + posed + bathed + ate!
All these actions took place in my very first Vaseline Xterra Mud Run early this morning at Filinvest City.
Arriving at Promenade Avenue 45 minutes before the gun start of the 5k runners, I heard the announcement for the 10K wave C runners’ release from the start area. It was also that time when I saw a friend/kababayan Val “Greeneyes” Caro, Jr.. I was a bit surprise to find out that he, a known ultra runner, would be doing the 5k distance just like mine. Exchanging a quick talk, he also expressed his lack in training though I would never doubt his ability to finish the mud run.
Finding a spot after Val had left, I readied my bib number and wore my Strider ankle tag. Then, I silently whispered to my shoes “welcome and good luck” as this would be their very first registered event where they would be mud running and trail running with me. Moment of truth for my Merrell minimalist shoes.
Appearing all geared up, I found time to go near the booths and then do some warm-up exercises while waiting for wave A to be called for some important reminders. These two activities made me more relax.
So when the announcer called for the first set of 5k runners, I knew I would be having fun to the max.
And enjoyed I did from the first obstacle which was the “mud crawl.” The contact of my skin with the mud was a flashback of my childhood days in Bicol. Living near rice fields in Bagumbayan, Daraga, Albay, I experienced playing in it while catching “palakang bukid” (farm’s frog) which was a palatable exotic food. On my barefoot, I would patiently run after the hopping creature until I would be unrecognizable with all the brown slime on me. This was the reason why I had no qualms in crawling like a baby again in the number one hurdle. Unluckily though when I went down on the guck, I felt hitting hard objects which were either small rocks or rough stones underneath. Leaving the shallow mud pool and before resuming my run, I checked the painful areas where a prickly feeling started. Two reddish lines near my right knee and a single line at my left told me that I had wounds there. Well, nothing to be alarmed about, so I continued running until I reached the second obstacle.
The “log jam” leveled up the challenge. With four logs placed above the mire, one had to go under and over it alternately. This could have been easier if not for the going up part from the pit. Shoes (not mine, thanks to Merrell!) got stuck. To free yourself from the quicksand-looking earth, you needed the proper technique and backed it up with a lot of human power. Yup, I used both and succeeded. Then, I caught my breath before striding again.
The sight of the first water station made me rejoice having felt that my throat had become parched already. Since I did not bring any hydration, I knew I had to rely on what the event organizers would be providing to the participants. Two thumbs up for this as I did not only get to drink H2O but also Gatorade. Both were overflowing.
Now lubricated, I was ready to do the “tightrope obstacle” which I think was a piece of cake to most runners.
Walking on the tightrope (which was no longer tight), you just had to hold on to another rope with your left hand and another with your right hand. Positioning your feet sideways would make your reaching the other end faster especially if you were walking with two or three persons. Now failure to do this would let you fall into the waiting muddiest mud and roll like a cute pink hog. Lucky us because the organizers did not think of putting crocs (not the footwear) and alligators there. Hmmm…it could have been more challenging and thrilling. Hahahahaha! It was in this area that I got to joke with one of the marshals when he repeatedly said, “Oh, pose, pose!” I requested to have my photo taken while doing a jump shot from the rope. He failed to respond at once.
A few meters away from the fourth obstacle, I immediately saw the self-explanatory title of the task. It says “grease crawl.” Now, why this change? What happened to the mud? I was not able to ask these out loud because I knew I would have a little difficulty with it having the minor injury. Crawling on the grease which was spread on a rectangular galvanized iron, I was already expecting that there would be a struggle on my part as I had to bear the pain on my legs. I got what I expected to experience. I looked like a hurt slithering reptile. If not for the photographer who aimed his camera on me, I wouldn’t be projecting my well-rehearsed herbal Colgate smile. Call it motivation. I passed this one and recovered from it as I became excited to do the last challenge and finish that mad…er… mud run.
Yipeeeee! The fifth one was something I had been doing when I was a kid. I forgot the exact name of it, so for now allow me to call it “canal crawl.” Three unused hollow concrete big canals were waiting for us. I could have passed through it like a wisp of air (naks!) if not again for my wound. As I entered one canal, I looked for the best position so as not to scrape my skin more. Good that the canal wasn’t rolling or being rolled. It might be a sweet torture for me while fighting the tiny bites of pain.
With the last booby trap over, it took me around two minutes to cross the finish line with my running shirt’s color and bib number (I had to run and go near the announcer so he could decipher the figures under the mud) being announced.
Muddied, I quickly looked for the public shower. The sight of runners huddled under the slow dripping water left me no choice but to blend with them though I could always opt to ride a PUV and allow the cake mud to dry on my skin. Nah. I decided to join the fun of bathing with fellow wet, dirty, muddy but sexy runners. Yebah! I was in this mode when I saw one fireman open the fire hydrant hose. I went in front of him immediately, and sweetly (about to be seductively if he didn’t grant it…harharhar!) requested him to spray on me. And for the first time in my whole life, I was bathed in public by a stranger. To the others, they were having another experience – that of demonstrators being dispersed in a rally. In filipino “Kanya kanyang trip lang yan. Walang basagan.”
Feeling fresh now, I availed of the free post-run Pinoy breakfast – turon (I chose this over banana cue), squid balls and kikiam, and cold sago drink. Burp! It was a commendable treat. So with the other freebies and the loot bag.
And the coooooooooool dri-fit finisher shirt.
With these given as publicized, the scars which my wounds would be leaving me when they heal would likewise be treated as beautiful souvenirs from this run. And yes, a zero ranting from me even without a finisher medal.
As I started walking away from the activity area, a bonus from this run was handed to me when I reunited with my husband’s first cousin, Len Mojica-De Luna. She was the person who had inspired me to take up running and fall in love with it immensely.
But today, let me shout to the whole world that I am MUDLY in love with you, Vaseline Xterra Run 2013!