Monday, October 26, 2009

Got it right the first time

Wow, I’ve not made an entry since after my first ever mud run? The summer plans and back to school adjustment for the kids REALLY took charge!

On October 25, 2009, I participated in the Inaugural Irvine Lake Mud Run with my friends, spread out over team and individual participants. It was great to have my friends join me as we’re all just about getting together for fun. Going into this event, for the most part, we never competed in timed events (except Karaoke contests…right, @PaulTTran?). Coming out of it, we joke about the memories from our first timed event (@RicDizon joking that it was his belly that edged out @PaulTTran by 1/100th of a second; at one point during the race @smashgirl even yelled out "Reggie!" to me just say hi, as she rounded one of the trails that ran above where I was). That is the kind of experience we looked to have at this mud run, and we’re proud to say that this event delivered BIG TIME!

STAFFING: Brent Weber with his megaphone theatrics made sure he was “that guy” that the thousands of people had to listen to in order keep the pace and direction of the day’s events in line. My friends and I would ask when/who/what questions, and would hear Brent in the background with the answers. There were volunteers set up at various check points as we made our way up and down the scenic trails at Irvine Lake. These volunteers were helpful at reminding us which direction to go, how far we’ve run, and what’s coming up next.

TIMING: The race started about ten minutes off mark, but I believe that everyone appreciated that ahead of time Brent already alerted us about the slight delay. However, as the event was run in waves, when my wave (fifth and last wave) was cleared to start, we were only a couple of minutes off mark, so we made up time and avoided any long wait.

FLOW: There was a long ways to maneuver along a trail of uphills, downhills, and loopty-loops before we hit the first obstacle. This allowed us to get our momentum going, as well as to spread out the participants, avoiding bottlenecks at the obstacles.

SAFETY: I found that the trails were cleared well for the participants. “Taking over” a beautiful lake shore while preserving it for long after our footprints have blown in the wind, I felt the trail was well-prepared. While this is not a full on “trail run” I found that the rocks, craters, etc., provided a nice touch as we faced the challenges of the hills and loopty-loops. I volunteered for a mud run, not a serene treadmill run, and I didn’t see anything out of the ordinary of what an average mud runner should expect to come across running in Mother Earth’s playground.

SETUP: It was neat to see professionally-constructed obstacles, and not temporary parking control barriers. The location of the obstacles was spaced well to avoid bottlenecking. Running through the mud pits the only challenge was the mud. Compared to my first mud run, the 145’ long mud crawl initially gave me flashbacks of scraping my knees in sharp gravel and being poked by rebars that were accidentally left during the construction of the obstacle. At yesterday’s event, as I crawled under the markers and made my way across, it was all mud! The sun was shining and this was the last obstacle before the final hill to the finish. I decided just flop my body in for a quick “freshening up!”

SUMMARY: The steps involved in the planning of the Inaugural Irvine Lake Mud Run could have been good, great, bad, or total chaos...who knows? However, the greatest of plans are without merit when they’re poorly executed. I am certain that the planning of an inaugural mud run is a big challenge for any organizer. Executing a successful one such as Paul Rudman and his team did for the Inaugural Irvine Lake Mud Run must be a tremendous uplifting feeling. Great job, guys!

I like the concept of mud runs. I thought my first one I participated in gave me that sense of accomplishment after I completed it. I recommended mud runs to my friends after that experience. A novice at it, I blogged about some things I would probably do for the next one. I blogged today on the same topics in order to compare apples to apples. There were some negative comments about my first mud run event that were on my blog, or elsewhere. It at least confirmed that others had their opinions as well, and were willing to express them. Thank you.

I STILL like the concept of mud runs. Now it doesn’t take a genius to get the hint that I preferred my second experience better. My teammates this time around were first time mud runners. I had friends who ran in other teams or as individuals, and they got their friends to run as well. Darrell Robinson, my good friend from my high school and college years flew all the way from Virginia Beach because I had a feeling that this would be a great experience to share with him. I would’ve really felt bad if all these friends would have resented participating in this mud run. I’m happy to hear that everyone is looking forward to running in the April 10, 2010 Irvine Lake Mud Run!

I close with the echo of the quote: “Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it.” With my experience at the Inaugural Irvine Lake Mud Run, I’m happy that the challenges from my first mud run did not repeat at my second mud run. I’m happier that the based on my friends’ experience yesterday that they would ALL repeat that experience with me again. I’m thrilled that I have friends who now want to experience their first mud run in April 2010. The biggest affirmation of the aura of a fun and challenging experience of them all … I’m ecstatic that my wife wants to run on April 10, 2010 for her first mud run ever!


My teammates from The RED C (Reggie, Eric, Debbie, Chelsey) did awesome for their first time mud run:

CHELSEY VETURIS: College Student, spreading cheer to everyone as she's a cheer coach, runs regularly, has a cute dog Ally. On Twitter @ChelseyVeturis is one-third of the “OC Triumvirate,” a respected source for the goings on in Orange County, CA. A special shout out to Chelsey especially, as midway through the mud run, she walked with @OakleyOC a few times after my slight knee problem.

ERIC DIXON: USA Track & Field (USATF) Certified Level Two Track Coach. Founder of Tachyon Training Center, Eric continues to compete at the World Championships, recently finishing 4th in the world in his sprinting championships. He also trains various Orange County athletes in speed conditioning. His longest timed races are done in 60 seconds or less. Nevertheless, Eric joined in the mud run for some fun and time with friends.

DEBBIE WATKINS: In addition to finishing her studies to be a Nutritionist, Debbie also operates SoCal Dog Walking, teaming with individual clients, pet stores, and vets. Debbie helped set the tone for The RED C’s teamwork by suggesting the team name that was made up of our initials.

Pictures from the 2009 Irvine Lake Mud Run

The following videos are courtesy of @RochelleVeturis and @ChelseyVeturis:

Video 1 from the 2009 Irvine Lake Mud Run

Video 2 from the 2009 Irvine Lake Mud Run