Pretty Muddy 5K Sacramento, CA Recap: Holy Hotness!

Sporting a Fellow Flowers t-shirt for the Pretty Muddy 5K in Sacramento, CA. I was there to have a good time and finish—No Excuses!
Sporting a Fellow Flowers t-shirt for the Pretty Muddy 5K in Sacramento, CA. I was there to have a good time—No Excuses!

I’m not going to sugar coat anything about this race experience—it was a scorching hot day and I was cranky. Who knew the heat would turn out to be my biggest obstacle in a Pretty Muddy 5K?

Michael K. Farrell and I woke up early for the drive to the start line at Granite Park in Sacramento, CA. (Thanks to Michael K. Farrell’s lead foot, we covered those 127 miles in just under 2 hours. Whoa there, speedy!) I had signed up for an 11:00am wave, thinking it would be a good idea to have extra time to get there (just in case we hit traffic, took a wrong turn, got a flat—none of those scenarios happened, but I like to be prepared).

Once there, I checked in at the registration tent and got the lay of the land. It was 9:00am and racers and their families were already jockeying for position in what little shade they could find as they waited for their waves. (Clearly, I didn’t consider the heat of the season when I registered for this shindig back in February.)

Those jumping jacks helped ease the pre-race jitters that I always get. I should do them before every race!
Those jumping jacks helped ease the pre-race jitters that I always get. I should do them before every race!

I volunteered to participate in an Old Navy fashion show, so I quickly changed out of my clothes into a cute pair of shorts, sports bra, and tank. (I can’t say, “No,” to the spotlight—or a free outfit.) I hammed it up with a few squats and jumping jacks, and then put my own race duds back on.

My solo start at the Pretty Muddy 5K in Sacramento, CA.
My solo start at the Pretty Muddy 5K in Sacramento, CA.

Pretty Muddy is designed to be a fun run. There are no clocks on the course, and women come out with their girlfriends for a day of running, challenging obstacles, and mud. Everyone was super friendly, but I was insecure about not having a partner. I didn’t have a BFF by my side when I lined up at the start that morning, and I felt a little left out.

Instead of relaxing and having a good time, I started to obsess about getting the whole thing over with and going home. I pushed myself to run between every obstacle and up every hill—even though the 94-degree heat was demanding that I slow down. I just kept looking at my watch and moving on.

The blazing sun and all that mud made it impossible to read my watch.
The blazing sun and all that mud made it impossible to read my watch.

Then something magical happened: My watch got “pretty muddy” while crawling through one of the pits, and I wasn’t able to read the numbers anymore. No matter how many times I tried to wipe it away, the dirt remained. There I was a mile from the finish without a friend, without a clear watch, overheating. I realized I had two choices: I could keep scowling and slog my way to the finish, or I could accept the situation, stop worrying about splits, and try to make some friends out there. I decided to smile.

All mud and smiles at the finish!
All mud and smiles at the finish!

I gave out high-fives, thanked the volunteers, and cheered on my fellow runners during that last mile. Michael K. Farrell got the biggest smile of all as I came across the field toward the finish arch. He deserved a hug for being my BFF and cheerleader on such a hot day—but he refused my embrace until I’d hosed off.

All in all, this Pretty Muddy was a pretty awesome experience. Getting dirty while running a 5K is oddly satisfying, and it’s a great way to break up your standard training routine. Will I do it again? Yes, but next time I’ll recruit some friends and pick a cooler time of year.

Have you ever done a Pretty Muddy? What’s your biggest obstacle on hot days?

New Shoes, New Races, New PRs!

Sweaty shopping: My bank account took a hit during this spree—proof even healthy addictions can be expensive! But happiness returns make new running shoes a worthwhile investment.
Sweaty shopping: My bank account took a hit during this spree—proof even healthy addictions can be expensive!

You know that flat feeling your legs get when you’re running in dead sneakers? I had that feeling on Monday, so at the end of a 3-mile lollipop route instead of heading home, I hung a left and ran directly into Running Revolution. (This small shop just off the main drag of Downtown Campbell is definitely worth a stop if you’re in the market for new shoes.)

In seconds, I went from “flat” to “fantastic.” After trying several brands and styles, I walked out with a brand new pair of Brooks Glycerin 10. I practically hugged the box all the way home! (Running with a shoe box is awkward, so I was forced to walk.)

Happiness (and PR!) returns make these new Brooks Glycerin 10 Women's Running Shoes a worthwhile investment.
Happiness (and PR!) returns make these new Brooks Glycerin 10 Women’s Running Shoes a worthwhile investment.

I was on such a shopping high that I went on a registration binge, too. I have now signed up for three upcoming races, and I couldn’t be more psyched for each of them. They’re all first-time courses for me, which means PRs are guaranteed. (Score!)

I’m saving the dates for:

Pretty Muddy 5K in Sacramento, Saturday Jun 29, 2013 This will be my first obstacle-laden mud run, and I’m really excited to participate. I’ve been going to boot camp fitness classes lately, so the competitive part of my brain is throbbing with the possibility of completely killing this course. (Hey, Rope Ladder, my arms will be ready for you!)

Sharks Fitness Faceoff 10K in San Jose, Sunday June 30, 2013 The Sharks are huge in San Jose—sunny Californian’s are some of the toughest hockey fans, believe it or not. And I’m expecting a big turnout for this charity event. I’ll be tackling the 10K (there’s a 5K and a health walk, too) and plan to attack it like, well, like a Shark—fast and ferocious!

The Jungle Run Half-Marathon in Los Gatos, Sunday July 14, 2013 To be honest, I’m a little anxious about signing up for my first half-marathon in the great state of California. My last attempt at a 13.1-miler back in October resulted in a DNF, but my butt is feeling better and I think putting this race on the calendar will be good for my head—I’m a goal setter, after all. (And, again, it’s a guaranteed PR!)

Which of these races are on your calendar? Are you looking forward to an upcoming PR, too?