I did all three of these things a few weekends ago, with a strong emphasis on HAD FUN!!!
Several months ago Marti called me and somehow convinced me that we needed to Run the Jailbreak together. I seem to recall something about what a bonding experience this would be and that we would be helping third world countries obtain clean drinking water. It didn’t take too much arm twisting because the bottom line is I would get to see my bestie. And so the training began. I started out so strong, diligently following the Couch to 5K training program. Listening to Suze’s squeaky little voice motivate me as I desperately tried to prepare this old body for the race. Unfortunately, as the temperatures increased, my training decreased. I was running at 9 pm and the temps were still in the 90’s. So somewhere along the way, I would say about week 4 or 5, I got stuck. I still managed to get in runs here or there, but I would have to admit I was ill prepared the Run the Jailbreak.
We are off, for 3.8 miles of adventure! I guess the beauty of adventure racing is that at least there are obstacles that offer a break in the actual running part. (Thank goodness) The first obstacle was a series of hills with a mudpit at the end. Thankfully we watched the wave before us take off and we saw that there was a serious mudpit beyond the last hill. With a little planning we managed to miss that one, however there were about 13 obstacles after that. So we run a little and on to obstacle two, what appeared to be a long ditch full of water and what seriously smelled of poo. Oh well, what is one to do but dive right in, then on to a long stretch of running and then onto another pit full of mud. It was then we approached the lake with the water cannons from which we emerged pretty much soaked from head to toe. It was after this adventure that Marti’s right side met the hard, cold ground. I have to say she is a real trooper because it was a hard hit and I don’t know that I would have wanted to go on. We did however and managed to make it through the Mustang Maze, climb a mountain of hay bales, run through more mud pits and water holes and even climb up the side of the river bank covered in tires. I am sure the last obstacle is Marti’s favorite. She was so graceful as she dove into what we both learned the hard way was a mud pit with a bunch of gravel on the bottom. And then, we were done, crossing the finish line together.
I can honestly say it was one of the most fun things I have done in a long time. Although it was a bit tiring and physically challenging I was thoroughly enjoying myself. I mean when was the last time you threw yourself into a mudpit? Seriously, I spend a good part of my day trying to keep my three year old clean and here I am covered from head to toe in mud!
I learned several things from preparing for and running this race.
1) Set a goal for yourself, even if it is something that you think you can’t do. I never imagined I would ever participate in a race like this or anything that involved running. And although my time wasn’t record setting, I finished and I figure I can only get better.
2) Have a partner to motivate you when you are training and to run the race with. The race would not have been nearly as exciting if I hadn’t had Marti there. I have to admit when we weren’t saying, “Are you serious, we are going to run through that?” or dropping a few choice words, we were laughing.
3) If something like this isn’t on your bucket list, it should be. I think it will be an annual event for the Prison Pirates Running Club, at least I hope it will.
4) If you do a race like this and you have to drive three plus hours home, go ahead and spend the money to get a hotel so you can shower afterwards. Although I changed clothes, I did get a few odd looks when I made my pit stops.
5) I am still working my way up to be a real runner, but if you have a chance, hang out with real runners. We had a few in our group, one of whom won our wave! (Shout out to Joey!) It really is motivating and makes you want to do better.
6) Real runners probably don’t carb load at the Fort Worth Stockyards with Miller Lite, but man I sure had a good time!
7) Have fun! Find something that you enjoy. Although I would probably enjoy relaxing on the beach with a beer in my hand, I really have started to enjoy running. It is peaceful. When I am running, it is just me. I am doing something for myself and I don’t feel bad about it.
Well, I guess that is about it. Oh, wait, the Do Good part. The money raised from this event benefited Sower of Seeds International Ministries and helped drill water wells so people can have clean water to drink. Sad to think that there are people who still don’t have clean water to drink. Happily about 10,000 people helped them not only reach, but exceed their goals. There is another race in May 2011 near Austin. Visit www.runthejailbreak.com if you are interested in signing up. We just might see you there!