Not Afraid to Get Dirty

9:29. Hundreds of other runners - wearing what ranged from rainbow tutus to sleek sportswear - milling around the Mud Run attractions. And three sets of old sneakers, rocked by me, my dad and sister, waiting at the start line. A blow horn screams. So we run.

casey the college celiac
A few pre-race photos!
When my dad asked of I'd like to join in on the Mud Run 5K, I said why not? Since I strained my IT band nearly a year ago, I haven't jumped in any fun races. And I've never been the kind of girl afraid to mess up her hair. 

Which was good, because, by the end of the race, there wasn't an inch of me free of mud. We ran through mud pits, bear crawled under what felt like eons of netting, climbed a slippery mountain while being sprayed with fire hoses. And, to finish it off, did 5 push ups that planted our faces in the mud. When we crossed the finish line, I might've been half blind by grime. More than I already was thanks to running without my glasses

casey the college celiac
casey the college celiac
But even as my leg ached, palms stung from gravel, and face shined with a sunburn, I loved it. 

I loved learning that doing lunges in the middle of running - though perhaps not 250 feet of them (talk about feeling the burn!) - can help loosen up my tight IT band. 

That I am actually in pretty decent shape, never losing my breath (except when mud it stole away). 

casey the college celiac
Our serious faces...
That I may be small, but I can still climb over the net wall faster than most competitors. 

That it's the experience, not the time, that really matters. The fastest 10K runner that day staggered across the finish at 48 minutes. We survived the 5K in a little over an hour. We didn't enter the competitive group for a reason: because our biggest goal was fun. And, slow of not, we reached it. 

casey the college celiac
Fun along the way!
That I can survive a group (mostly clothed) shower as men dressed as Cowboys shoot us with soap and water. 

That, even as dozens of booths filled with gluten-filled pizzas, burgers, and desserts surround the race, there might be a few celiac-friendly places to refuel. Plus, leaving a jar of banana ice cream in the car for the drive home is always a good idea. 

Much needed (gluten free) refueling!
That I have come such a far way from the weak, malnourished, tired girl I was two years ago. On the days after the race, I'm sore. I'm tired. But I'm not so broken that a few days of good sleep and rest can't fix me. 

That I'm already planning my return - running the 10K Mud Run with my dad next year. Hopefully by then, we'll both be mostly injury free. Even if we're not, though, we'll have just as much torturous, dirty, tiring fun. 

casey the college celiac
Post-showering game face!

When that blow horn marked the start of the race, I had several expectations. I knew it would be at least moderately difficult. I knew it would be muddy. And I knew I should have fun

What didn't I know? That it would be one of the highlights of my summer and fondest memories of my dad and sister. Cause nothing brings you closer than sinking in the same mud, showering in the same cube, and surviving the same insane race! 

*Also found at RunningwithSpoon's link love!*

Have you ever done a (Mud) Race? What's your favorite summer memory so far? 


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