Born and raised in Colorado, my roots go far into the ground there. I spent my whole life in Colorado, grew up with friends, fell in love with downtown Denver, had favorite cafes and bookstores. Then I met someone. I graduated college, married, and because my new husband was more transient than I - he proposed we move to Florida. Why not? I wanted adventure too. We settled in Miami, blocks from the beach. But something unexpected happened. This was not an adventure, it was an emotional catastrophe. I became angry, I cried. Although I just married the love of my life, he was new and somewhat unfamiliar. I had never moved, never been away from my family, from my twin sister. I did at least four life-changing events all at once: graduating college, moving, marriage, first real job, first time move away from family. I missed all that was familiar, and I hated Floridian culture (Miami is three times as transient as L.A. with even more drunk people roaming the streets every night). I began to run - a way to siphon the thrashing emotions. I pounded it out. I was in the best shape of my life. Then, we reached two years and decided to move again. Florida to California. I was burned-out, both physically and mentally; we settled in but I couldn’t shake a newfound distaste. I didn't want to run. I now connected exercise to heartbreak and exhaustion. I had pushed myself too far, what would I do now?
I’d never run a race before, except against my personal best, but I found out soon enough that it might be worth considering. During my time of cautious re-introduction to running, a few friends of mine brought up the famous Camp Pendleton Mud Run. Curious and partial to doing research, that’s exactly what I did. I found that the four Mud Run’s in 2008, and one in January of 2009, were very popular and thus sold out. Bummer. Sold out status be damned, there’s always an alternate route.
It’s not Camp Pendleton, but Skyline Sports sponsors its own dirty run at Skyline Church. A dusty, hilly, hot spot near San Diego. That afternoon, determined to run again, I signed myself up for a run in the mud. I had four months. On the weekend of November 16th, the temperature reaching above 80 degrees, I met my sister and a friend for the ambitious event.
The 5K was hard, no free-wheeling feeling in this run, no adrenaline packed bursts of energy, just a need to finish, and finish dirty, maybe with one shoe left stuck in the mud at 450 feet – a victorious nod to fighting in the trenches. At the end, I was happy and relieved. I was elated, accomplished and inexplicably energetic. I came out on the other end revived; I faced a challenge, finished a race, muddy shoes my badge of honor – ready to run again.
I still run. I run sporadically and for fun. It's not quite the same, but it's not different either. I neither hate it nor love it, but it feels good.