On April 13th, my husband and I participated in Mud Fears Me.You can read more about it at here.Basically, it is a 5 kilometer long course of mud and muddy obstacles. It was a load of fun--despite the fact that I literally 'broke a leg'! The reason I wanted to do it was because it looked like a blast, I had recently gotten into much better shape than I had been (since January I had lost 5 pounds and was running regularly), and it was something TJ (my husband) could do with me.
The initial challenge was a swim in FREEZING mud water. What a way to get things started! I actually ended up swimming to the side and walking about half the length after I got kicked in the chest by a swimmer in front of me. It knocked the air out of me, and swimming in freezing water is difficult already without the muddy water with shoes and about three layers of clothes. I wore a swimsuit, capris, a long sleeved shirt, plus shorts and a tank top since the morning of the event was cold and I knew I was gonna get wet. It was an incredibly unflattering outfit, but I wasn't really there to look good.
|Ready, set, go!|
|Everybody realizing how cold the water is, but having to jump right in anyways!|
The next set of challenges showed how important it is to run this event with a partner or team, or at least help out strangers. There was probably a kilometer or so of mud trenches of varying depths (which you could not tell the depth until you took the plunge since they were opaque and muddy). There was a lot of slipping and sliding going on, and the occasional person yelling "Help, I'm stuck!" I got stuck a couple times, and TJ had to help pull me out. One person who ran along us got stuck up to his waist and we both had to help yank him out! It was pretty hilarious. After that stretch there were some obstacles that you would think of as more typical of an obstacle course -- rope climbs, wooden ladders, monkey bars, balance beams, tire climbs, one steep hill 'run' climb, and a few crawling through/under obstacles. All, obviously, covered in mud. There was one steep trench that was really long in the middle of the course that had me doing some 'high knees' to pull my legs up out of the mud. The water went up to my neck and the mud was a little deeper than my knees and probably 30 yards long. That was quite the workout, but that mud was warm so it felt great that morning! Between all the obstacles there was jogging and a few water stations.
|I'm in the upper left, and TJ is jumping down on this obstacle. We had to climb up on top of this container and then jump into an 8 foot deep mudwater pit -- then climb out of the pit.|
After a tire pile climb, we came over a crest in the course and could see the tents at the finish line, we were almost done! We had once obstacle to crawl under barbed wire - army crawl. I think the purpose of the obstacle was to ensure we were covered in mud head to toe. Then, we had to climb a ramp and slide down into a pit of mud.
|The slide -- with the end in sight!|
Then there were only two obstacle left after climbing out of that pit: the bridge and another army crawl under nets. The bridge reminded me of those lily pads you see at water parks. Except a bit trickier. They were over a mud 'pond' and were wooden platforms attached to each other by rope and to either end of the pond. You had to really have momentum to run across (a lot of people wiped out in the water). I was basically rockin the bridge, I kept my momentum up running and jumping from each one until I got to the very end.
|The fateful bridge.|
I jumped off the last platform heading to the land and my foot did not find solid ground. I landed hard on my left foot and slid into the water--I had hit either the edge of the ground or the mud gave way, but either way it came with a severe twist to my ankle. I could not put ANY weight on it and had to be helped up by a lifeguard and my husband who sprinted across that bridge behind me when he saw me fall. I was probably less than 50 feet from the finish line, and only one easy obstacle was between me and it, but I could not finish. The on-site paramedics insisted that I don't move, but they gave my shoe with the timer on it to my husband so he could run it over the finish line (I had already practically finished, right?).
|TJ crossing the finish line.|
They put my leg in a temporary splint and lifted me onto a golf cart. They then took me to the car, where TJ met us and we then mapped on the GPS the nearest ER: Willis Knighton South. Pretty far from home, but close to the event. Since we obviously could not take advantage of the showers at the end of the race at this point, the car got muddy both inside and out and we were both still soaking wet since we could not change our outfits. TJ put my nice finisher's medal around my neck though, to make me feel better. The entire time the paramedics assumed I had sprained my ankle. I don't show pain well, but I told them it hurt a lot pretty matter of factually. I am a HUGE baby when I'm nauseous or vomiting and will cry but when I'm in pain all emotion just shuts down and I tend to appear more angry/frustrated or matter-of-factual. My dad actually has accused me in the past of doing this on purpose so the doctors never believe me when I'm in pain. I guess when you just look at them and tell them you are at a level 9 of pain or something they don't take you seriously unless you have tears streaming down your face?
Well, this theme continued in the ER. I went in laughing about it, but when they asked how much pain I was in I said 9 and the nurse basically said if it were that bad I probably wouldn't be laughing, but she gave me some strong painkillers anyways. Then I sent TJ to find a store nearby and buy me some dry clothes because I was FREEZING and the shivering was making me feel worse. When he brought them and helped me change they actually had to change all the bedding in my room because it was soaked through and muddy. I looked like a mud monster or something.
The nurse basically thought I had sprained my ankle until she took off the temporary splint the on-site paramedics had put on me. Her diagnosis of my ankle after unwrapping it (imagine this with a thick southern accent): "Well, honey, that just don't look right!"
|I think we can all agree with the nurse that the left ankle does not look right.|
TJ had a laugh at that since I basically told him in the car in the past I had torn ligaments, sprained, and fractured bones and I could feel the pain of this was on the end of fracture or worse. I basically 'called it.'
Well, the x-rays came back and the doctor basically asked what the heck I had been doing and agreed that at least the story was good. I had found the perfectly wrong way to land while jumping and managed to fracture my left fibula. Clean break, all the way through.
Since it was a Saturday and they did not think I really needed surgery, though they said it was borderline for some pins, they wanted me to see an Orthopedic specialist FIRST thing the following Monday (i.e. in two days). I believe the discharge papers said "ASAP Monday." I was given crutches, a copy of my x-rays, painkillers, and told to keep my leg elevated above my heart. I also could not get the temporary cast they put on my leg wet at all. So, TJ had to help me wash all the mud out of my hair when we got home.
|The temporary cast.|
Overall, the Mud Fears Me race was a blast and the money went to a good cause. I would be willing to try another mud obstacle race at some point (there are many different versions with different companies), but I do not think I'll be doing the Mud Fears Me one again. It was fun, but I don't think I should tempt fate with it. Also, some of the climbing obstacles were nearly impossible with the spacing for somebody of my height (5'0"). I couldn't even reach the monkey bars from the top ladder rung. I am looking at a long recovery with the leg though, so I am going to have to basically start over with the getting back in shape and everything. My next goal is to do a color run 5k. In September my husband will be running the Air Force Marathon, and I definitely won't be able to run the marathon but I'll be able to cheer him on. When I told my dad I had a distal fibula fracture his response was "Jeeze, you'd do anything to get out of that marathon!"
I'll continue the story of the misadventures with dealing with military insurance the following week in my next blog post, along with the specialist visits and recovery so far.