I like to think of myself as being fairly athletic, but the truth is, I spend way more time watching or covering athletes than I do being active myself.
On July 21, ready or not, that will change.
About two weeks ago, I came across a local deal on Groupon. It was for a discounted entry fee for the Hog Wild Mud Run, held in Dover across Interstate 4 from Strawberry Crest High School.
I’ve kept my eye on events such as these for a while. Nationally known events, including the Warrior Dash and the Tough Mudder, have become increasingly popular the last few years, and many of my friends have taken part in these types of competitions.
With this one being local, it seemed like the perfect thing to get me off my lazy behind and train for something. At the very least, I thought it would make for an interesting column or two.
So here I am, just two days away from my impending fate.
Once upon a time, I was active. A runner, in fact. I was the captain of my track and cross-country teams in high school and spent my days running 15 to 30 miles daily when not in class.
But, a lack of motivation when I got to college and a steady diet of Mountain Dew and hot wings ever since has erased years of conditioning and replaced them with something much more, well, pedestrian.
I began training for this thing about a week ago, so in no way do I expect to be running the five- to six-minute-mile splits I did seven years ago. But then again, the Hog Wild Mud Run isn’t anything like the 5Ks I ran in high school. Sure, the distance is the same, but this race includes more than 25 obstacles, including an ice pit crawl (not sure how that works in Florida), mud pits, cargo nets, wall hurdles and much more. The finale is a giant slide into a mud pit before a belly crawl under barbed wire and live electrical wire (!!!).
You may think my biggest fear would be being overwhelmed by the physicality of this event, or the fact that I have the knees of a 60-year-old man, but I’m not concerned with any of that.
I was born and raised in metro Atlanta, so I’m not exactly the outdoorsy type. Don’t get me wrong, I like camping and hiking as much as the next guy, but the wildlife down here in Florida is no joke. I’ve been reassured in the past two weeks from Florida natives that alligators and snakes are “more afraid of you than you are of them,” but I’m not convinced. The route of the race is sectioned off and well-planned, but you never know what you may meet when running through woods or natural bodies of water.
It’s not likely, but with my luck, I’ll be the one who has to be pulled from the woods after a snake bite or after wrestling with a gator during a pond crossing (in that case, my money is on the gator).
Pending an unexpected amputation, I’m excited for the chance to get out and do something like this. I’ve always been a competitive person, so I expect my overall mindset going in to be positive, but I’m not sure how my out-of-shape body will feel after this undertaking.
Regardless, I expect to earn my Hog Wild T-shirt and commemorative medal Saturday. And on Sunday, I will be lying comatose on my couch staring at said items, and probably will be enjoying an ice-cold Mountain Dew. And probably some hot wings.
Hey, don’t judge. I earned them.
IF YOU GO
Hog Wild Mud Run
WHEN: July 21. Nine 30-minute wave starts begin at 8:30 a.m.
WHERE: 2441 Kirkland Road, Dover
SPECTATOR SPORT: Unfortunately, registration for this event has passed, but everyone is welcomed to come out and watch Matt Mauney embarrass himself for free!