On Sunday, I “ran” the San Diego Mud Run with my husband and two best friends. Ran is in quotations because the race was primarily an obstacle course involving very minimal running across the 5K course. It took us 58 minutes and 39 seconds to make our way through dozens of thigh-high pools of mud, tunnel crawls, slipperly hills, 4-foot wall climbs & hurdles, not to mention the mud pit after mud pit after mud pit. We’d climb out of mud, get blasted with freezing cold water from fire hoses, then sprint straight up a steep gravel hill only to dive back into the mud. It was hardcore. I literally ate dirt and have scabbed knees, hands and ankles to prove it. It was INSANELY FUN. I’m also unbelievably SORE. 5Ks are usually a nice confidence booster before long races, but I’ve been so sore (sorer than I’ve ever been post-marathon), I can’t help worrying… At the same time, I’m already looking forward to next year’s mud run!
This “war” got me thinking about all of my running wounds. I’ve dealt with my share of shin splints, achilles issues, sore knees and sciatica, but that’s not what I’m talking about here. I’m talking about all the times I’ve “bit the cement” mid-run.
There was the time I was running in the pre-dawn hours while living in Phoenix and headed into a new neighborhood. Without the help of street lamps, I took a spill off a steep curb, landing hard on my hands and knees. I spent the next few days with my dressy work pants rolled up beneath my desk to let the wounds air out and smiled to myself about my first running scars, which felt more like badges of honor… like race medals that I would wear indefinitely.
Then there was the Monday morning long run that Jared and I were squeezing in before work. Again, we were out in the pitch black, pre-dawn. A mile and a half into what was planned to be an 18-miler, we were crossing from the street to a park and both failed to see the curb in front of us. Again, I went face first into the cement, this time gauging deep holes in my elbows. I raced for the park bathroom and found myself bleeding from my knees, hands and hip, but my elbows got the worst of it. We rinsed off and ran on, completing 14 miles of what we now refer to as our “Athletes Run,” because, well, only real athletes would keep going while dripping blood. My elbows are still pretty gnarly looking and I can’t help smiling at the scars, which are visible in some of our recent wedding photos.
There’s the evening I went for a short jog with our 90-pound bloodhound, who dodged after a stray cat, pulling me off the curb, leaving the skin of my shins behind. There are countless stumbles and falls from treadmills (where it’s especially easy for me to zone out and get clumsy) and the ultra painful treadmill burn that’s left behind. And of course, there’s our most recent war wounds of the San Diego mud run, where I had so much fun crawling through mud, sand, and rocks, that I didn’t realize I was bleeding until we hit the showers at the finish.
I realize I might sound masochistic, but all of these “badges of honor” that I love so dearly, they’re purely accidental and I’m usually an irritated, shocked mess when it happens. There’s no doubt that it’s painful–especially when I get home and douse the wounds in peroxide, screaming like a girl and cursing like sailor. But the bottomline is that I love the run, I am a runner and whether or not it makes me a masochist, I love all the blood, sweat and tears that come with it!