By Matt Mauney | Staff Writer
The fact that I’m able to write my column this week means a few things.
First, I have retained all of my fingers — an essential part of my livelihood. I’m also happy to report that other than a little soreness in my quads and forearms earlier this week, I’m feeling pretty good physically.
Mentally, I’m even better, because all those things add up to this — I successfully completed the Hog Wild Mud Run!
Although it would make this a much more interesting read, I have no stories to tell of gator wrestling, snake bites or a chase through the woods by giant insects (yes, I probably watch too much of the SciFi Network).
There were cows, however, and I think even a bull, which may have gotten loose and is on its way up Interstate 4 to Orlando — but that’s a story for another day.
The important thing here is that I not only showed up to the Mud Run Saturday in Dover, but I showed glimpses of the athlete I once was, before all the Mountain Dew, hot wings and plethora of Tex-Mex eats.
As suggested by the pre-race email, I showed up an hour before my 1 p.m. start time. When I finally found a parking space, I began walking to the registration tent, only to be directed to the back of the long line. After seeing that things weren’t moving along efficiently, I suspected I wasn’t going to make my start time.
I was right.
It was 12:58 p.m. by the time I registered, and I still had to go back to my car to secure some belongings.
I heard the horn for my race sound while walking back from my car. I considered running, but I knew I would be doing plenty of that soon and didn’t want to be the out-of-shape schmuck that passed out on the first straightaway.
By the time I pinned on my race bib, got my timing chip on my old, beat-up running shoes and did some pre-race stretching, it was around a quarter after, and no runners from my group were in sight.
After a straight stretch of running and wading through the first mud pit, I was able to catch up with part of my wave during an upstream river march. I closed the gap with the majority of my group at the next obstacle — an inverted wall climb that only accommodated four people at a time.
By the fifth obstacle — a run around a pond while carrying a bag of gravel — something clicked. It was a feeling I haven’t felt in a long time. I was regaining the feeling of what it was like to push through and get a burst of energy.
Granted, unlike during my high school track and cross country days, this newfound energy was short-lived, but I was excited to just have that feeling again. It meant that there was hope for me after all.
I wouldn’t say I dominated the course, but I finished in the middle part of my group after a late start, and I didn’t feel like I was going to collapse after crossing the finish line.
It felt great. Getting my medal felt even better. I wore the caked-on mud on my arms and legs as a badge of honor for a while until finally rinsing off. The muddy race bib remains secured on my fridge door as a reminder of my accomplishment.