Full disclosure: As part of the Foam Fanatics ambassador program, I received one free entry for a race in the city of my choice.
A couple of weeks ago, I participated in what I can only describe as one of the most physically challenging activities I’ve done in a very long time: I ran the 5K Foam Fest. There was lots of foam, and even more mud, but overall, it was such a fun experience!
I believed I had prepared myself for this race, but little did I know how difficult the race would actually be…
I realized on Friday, July 11 (the night before the race) that I have absolutely an absolutely no-good pre-race routine, and that I should probably acquire a better one.
What I did: I came home after work, changed into some scrubbish clothing, and proceeded to gather my things for the race. I knew I would have to prepare more for this race than the last one because… well… mud. Then, I spoke with my dad, who informed me that he and my brothers would be going to see Transformers on the other side of town. I thought I was in the clear, until about 20 minutes later when one of my brothers called.
“Hey! We’re going to go see Transformers in your neighborhood. Want to come?” Of course I did. And of course I went. The movie was two hours, which you’d think I would have checked on before agree to go. I did not. D’oh! So I got home around 11 or so, and then could not go to sleep. (The movie was laughably terrible, FYI.)
What I should have done: I should have finished laying out everything I needed for the race, gone to Whole Foods, cooked myself a healthy meal, and gone to sleep. Oh well. YOLO!
Fortunately for me, we signed up for the 11:30 a.m. slot for the race, so it wasn’t a total fail. Unfortunately, we were carpooling, and had to pick up one of our teammates in Georgetown before heading way out to Charlotte Hall, Maryland.
What To Bring: Because of the mud aspect of this race, I made sure to pack plenty of things for before, during, and after all of the muddiness. I packed a towel for after the race, which came in handy when we hosed off with all of the other participants. I brought a blanket along because I didn’t want to mess up my friend Judy’s lovely new car and its seats. (Yes, this Judy.) Obviously I brought my running shoes, and tons of #sweatpink shoelaces! (They look red in the picture, but they’re definitely pink!) Side note: I loved handing these out to the groups of women who finished around the same time as our group. They were really appreciative! At one point, someone came up to me and said, “are you the lady with the pink shoelaces?” Yaaas!
Let’s see… I also brought sunblock, which really came in handy. We ended up being in the sun for a very long time, and it’s always important to protect yourself! I made sure to put the sunblock on about 30 minutes before we ran, just to be on the safe side.
I wore my A List sports bra, my lovely Under Armour running spandex which I cannot get enough of, some ridiculous mismatched tube socks, and my Spiked Punch DIY team shirt. I brought a change of clothes, and some extra running socks just in case. In the corner of that picture are my NUUN tablets. I dropped one in my water bottle the morning of the race and drank some on the ride down. I wasn’t sure how the water situation was going to play out during the course. Fortunately I drank it! Not pictured: My trusty flip flops. Ain’t nobody got time for putting their feet back into their stank nasty, muddy running sneakers! I threw all of this in the bag or on my body the morning of the race — except for my Fitbit (that’s right! The company sent me a new one! Whoop whoop!). Oops! It’s a good thing I didn’t bring it with me, though, because it probably would’ve gotten damaged during the mud crawl.
Check-In: When we pulled up to Wicomico Motorsports Park, we paid our $10 parking fee, and remarked at how much people must make at these races. $10 for parking out in the middle of nowhere? Gimme a break! Fortunately, we knew this in advance, and were prepared. With our capooling, we saved $20 AND were nicer to the environment!
We weren’t sure if there was a bag check, and neither were any of the other participants who were parking when we were. It would have been nice if the parking attendants knew, but we got to the race far enough in advance that we had time to walk to the check-in area and could walk back if necessary. Everyone put things in my bag, and we headed to the check-in area, which was a pretty short walk through a grassy field.
|Judy and I at the starting line. Yay, foam! And music!
We showed ID and got our wristbands for our free drinks after the race. It turns out there was a bag check, so we checked my bag, and were on our way. Well… we weren’t exactly on our way. We had to take a porta potty break first, which was not so bad (fortunately we weren’t in the last heat!). Plus, folks from Honest Tea were handing out delicious samples, so we took advantage of that too. Nevertheless, we eventually made our way to the start line. Now, here’s a cool thing: We signed up for the 11:30 a.m. wave. We got finished checking in around 10:55 a.m. We heard the announcers letting small groups go every 10 minutes or so, so we decided we would just jump in with the 11:10 group, and that was totally okay! We figured, hey! We’re here! Might as well get our race on! So, as the DJ pumped some jams, we joined the other runners for the 11:10 phase, and waited for the foam to start pumping. The alarm was sounded, and off we went!
The Race: Now, I don’t know why I hadn’t processed that this was basically a trail run, with obstacles thrown in every quarter mile or sooner. There were some foam obstacles, but there were definitely a LOT of mud obstacles. I’d say it was probably at least a 1:3 ratio of foam to mud.
Early on in the race, we didn’t think we were going to get that muddy. So, we did what any normal people would do: we slapped mud on each other.
Little did we know just how muddy we were going to get…
This obstacle was one with which I struggled the most. I got stuck in the mud on the bank of this mud pool on my way down to crossing the mats. You can see my friend Christie making it across the mats just fine in the picture below. I, of course, tripped and fell about 4 times. Yikes!
The mud crawl under a series of ropes definitely got us the muddiest. We were so muddy, in fact, that it almost looked like we were naked. My jet black shorts turned muddy brown, and I was the living definition of mud butt. Fortunately for us, this wasn’t one of those crazy races that provides you with an electroshock when you bump into the ropes. That would have been all I needed – an afro to go with my mud butt. 🙁 I will use this photo as an example for why you shouldn’t wear a tutu or any really crazy costume for this race. Your shoes become so heavy from all of the mud, thus making it more difficult to run. Stick to normal running gear (and a shirt that you don’t mind getting destroyed) for this race, people. Word to the wise!
The rope ladder climb was something for which I’d been training. All of those upper body workouts, embarrassing myself on the pull-up machine, and walking around with sore triceps were going to pay off at this moment! Of course, it turned out that this climb was super easy, as well as the other weird rope ladder wall thing we had to climb and the wooden wall. What I really should have done was some hill work. So much of the trail was up hill! At one point, my quads just said “NOPE!” and I had to walk it out. In fact, I had to walk it out two or three times (including the point where I ran over a branch funny and rolled my ankle slightly. This was pure clumsiness, I assure you). One super steep hill had a rope tied up so that you could grab it to help you get up the hill. I made sure to take advantage of this because my quads were screaming, and it was a little slippery to boot.
I think one of the most fun obstacles from the entire race was the gigantic water slide you climbed up, then slid down. Of course, I took the worst picture of the day on that one, so I have no photo evidence. 🙁
We finished the race after about 90 minutes (you read that right), and got some cool photos at the finish line. It was at this point that we were given our “FILTHY CLEAN” medals to through over our absolutely disgusting clothes. Look how dirty we are! Can you even see my socks? They’re knee highs!
After heading through the finish line, we ended up going past a series of tables where we collected our race shirts and other swag. We got some bottled water, Pure Protein bars, and some little shakes. From there, we hosed off as much as we could (which wasn’t very much), and made our way to the Mike’s Hard Lemonade stand.
All in all, we had an amazingly fun time, and would totally do it again! The pictures from the 5K Foam Fest photographers, as well as from the disposable camera, came out so great! Each event has a Facebook page, so you can go and check out your photos 5-10 days after the event. It even allows you to share the photos on your own timeline!
Interested in running a 5K Foam Fest race in your area? Use my code, FF3740, and get $5 off your entry! Make sure you keep an eye on the entry fees. The prices go up as you get closer to the race date. Let me know if you have any questions!
Have you ever participated in an obstacle course race? If so, what was your favorite obstacle? Least favorite? If you haven’t, what are you waiting for?