On Saturday I jumped in with some of my favorite women, the Appleton North Drama Mamas, to participate in the third annual Warrior Princess Mud Run and, while I’d be happy to share some of the grass seed and mud I acquired en route, I thought it might be cleaner to share a few things I learned.
1) Any day is a good day to participate in a well-organized mud run. Saturday, the air temperature hovered just above freezing and a light but persistent, gloomy rain pelted us throughout the course. Still, we had fun because weather affects neither the team nor the cause and, besides, it’s supposed to be a challenge, right?
2) Don’t mess with the Drama Mamas. These women can Scarlett O’Hara an ugly drape into a series of stunning masquerade gowns faster than you can say, “Fiddle dee dee.” Give them a couple of glue guns and a sewing machine or two and they’ll outfit an entire double cast of dancing silverware without breaking a sweat. They costumed us wig to toe for our mud run, bullet deflecting wrist bands included.
3) Wicking wear is best. My beloved cotton yoga pants weighed a good four pounds more at the end of the race than they did at the start, requiring intermittent and undignified upward yanking.
4) Teamwork rules. The only thing better than standing knee-deep in gross muddy water and hauling your teammate over a slippery roller is finishing the task as a team, seeing a struggling stranger, and dashing backward on the course to help her over the barrel too.
5) Go easy on the duct tape. My super cool Wonder Woman Socks, with the sweet, shiny little capes on the back, ordered from Ebay with a promised Friday delivery, showed up at my house two hours after I’d left for the race. So we improvised (see No. 2) and used red duct tape on my legs, which not only kept my calves nice and toasty, it also paired nicely with the rest of my water-logged togs. What goes on a Wonder Woman costume, must eventually come off, though, and my frozen fingers had a heck of a time unwinding that duct tape at the end of the race. I had a brief panicked thought of waddling home like a Festus Chia Pet, with grass seed stuck to my soaked and dragging pants. Many thanks to my teammate Mary for helping me yank that duct tape off my legs.
6) Thank a volunteer. Mud races in an icy rain might be fun for the participants, who get to scurry through the course, but not for the volunteers, who have to stand there throughout. We were among the last wave of participants to start, but we still enjoyed the same enthusiastic encouragement that other mud runners heard all the morning as we made our way through 15 obstacles.
7) Check the charity. The Warrior Princess Mud Run benefits Harbor House domestic abuse programs and, according to race literature, all the proceeds, 100%, go toward that cause. In the past two years, the run has raised more than $180,000 for Harbor House.
8) Mosquito Hill is beautiful. Three miles of groomed trails loop around beautiful scenic vistas. Molly and I plan to return this winter to check out the snow shoe trails.
9) You should take a bigger running start before you launch yourself down a temporary water slide, especially if you find yourself in one of the last waves of the day. I jogged to the start, belly-flopped down and skidded to an embarrassing halt halfway down the slide, leaving me with no option but to awkwardly combat crawl down to the bottom.
10) There are all sorts of ways to win a race. The Drama Mamas set a high standard for costume design (I don’t want to jinx anything, but they win the best team costume award every year. Those awards will be announced later today). Beyond that, they set an admirable standard for accepting personal and team challenges and having a great time doing it. Sometimes, it’s not how fast you reach the finish line, but how much you learn along the way.