Wednesday, May 20, 2015

MuckFest revisited

I wanted to blog about this on Sunday (or even Saturday), while it was fresh in my mind, but I didn’t. And then I didn’t on Monday. Or Tuesday. I really wish I had, because things have gone a little fuzzy at this point. I’ll try to do it justice, though.

The forecast for the day was high of 54°, 80% chance of rain. The obstacle course involves getting extremely muddy, and often wet. I was sublimating my stress about the possibility of hypothermia as well as I could, and everyone who talked to me about it made sure to tell me that they “may be skipping all the mud this year,” to which I replied, “feel free; I know I will be.” However, when we actually got to the course, it was a lot warmer than I’d expected and rain seemed unlikely. Everyone was arriving in plenty of time and everyone was happy to be there—what could possibly be better?

I’ll tell you!

The last group of people trickled in, and I could see at a distance that they were wearing bright green t-shirts. To myself, I thought, “Aha!!!” I had hope burgeoning in my breast. Perhaps, someone had come up with a way for us to see each other at a distance. Squinting, I could see that there was some kind of printing on them, at which point, I thought, “uh oh…” because my snails art has historically been legen… wait for it… dary. I felt a stab of jealousy that someone had usurped my throne. However, when they came within viewing range I saw that the art was faithful in its rendition, but just different enough that it was a clear homage, not an original Conley. I squealed and greedily grabbed my shirt, but then, from the depths of a duffel, emerged the true headliner of the day: heavy-duty, unbelievably pro-looking eyestalks.

How could this be.

My friends, who are amazing, had all been working overtime to produce team t-shirts and eyestalks, because they knew I hadn’t mustered the will to make anything this year. I was (and am) incredibly touched, for reals. It’s an amazing feeling to know that if you drop the ball, someone is there to pick it up. So, Steph, Carlie, Shad, Chris, Dan, and anyone else who helped that I don’t know about, thank you so much, it really means the world to me, sincerely. *big wet sloppy kisses*

Though I could gush more, I think I’ll move on to try to describe the race.

This year has been very rainy, so they delivered on their promise of mud better than they have in other years past. There was a long “mud river” on an extended downhill stretch that I found to be delightful, and I kept making references to Artax and the Swamp of Sadness (in case you didn’t catch it, Racing Snails is from The Neverending Story, too). There was a later part in which the mud came up to the upper thigh (and the water, above the waist) that was more Swamp of Sadness-y, but why take the risk? Anytime you can reference Artax, do so, sez I. I thought that this year’s obstacles were more fun and challenging and less focused on getting wet than it has been in the past, so that was really nice, considering the temperature of the day.

Which is not to say that there weren’t “get wet” obstacles. Most of us skipped the one that was just “jump off a high place into a deep pool of freezing-ass water” with no regrets at all. That’s the only one I skipped, though, and kudos to me, because rope ladders freak me out for no good reason.

As we neared the finish line, the clouds started rolling in and the temperature started dropping. There was an obstacle that required riding a zip line to the end and then plunging into water for the last few feet—there was no way to avoid it. Sadly, we hit that obstacle just as the sun went behind the clouds, so those of us who participated spent the rest of the race several degrees colder than we’d been up to that point. After that, there were three more obstacles in quick succession, then the merciful finish line.

Sadly, the tribulations didn’t end there. The worst part of the course came after the race was over, this year, and it was brutal.

We were already wet and cold, and covered in mud from head to toe. Our only option for getting clean was this communal shower area that consisted of hoses with spray nozzles hooked up to the Devil’s ice machine. I tried stripping down to my sports bra to rinse off, but at that point I realized that I’d left my towel over in the base camp, and the wind had started blowing. When I got back to the base for my towel, I had given up on the idea of getting clean and was focusing on not freezing solid.

I managed to change clothes somewhat successfully in the changing tent. I somehow managed to lose my sports bra, but I think I’ll live. When I took my clothes off, you pretty much couldn’t tell; I was a uniform brown color. I hated putting clothes on over that. Plus, I was still cold. We stayed a bit longer for the free lunch and getting swag, but my teeth didn’t stop chattering until I was back in the car with the heater blasting.

When Branden and I got home, I rinsed our mucky clothes on the driveway with my garden hose. Then, we stripped directly into the washing machine. We showered, soaping and shampooing twice, until finally we felt un-mud-golemed, if somewhat exfoliated. We washed our clothes twice, too—and unfortunately, it looks like the stains are never coming out of the beautiful shirts. Sad, but it was so great to have them anyway.

I was surprised by how human I felt. In previous years, all I had wanted to do post-MuckFest is watch TV until I fell asleep (moments later), but this time, I felt… pretty fine. It wasn’t until about 6:30 that my eyes started to feel tired. We hit the sack pretty early and slept like rocks.

Sunday, I was sore. My right elbow felt overextended and both my forearms were complaining. I was comparing bruises and scrapes with my brothers at Sam’s #3 and plotting next year’s shirt and fundraising incentives in my head. Okay, MuckFest 2016, bring it on!


Sadi said...

Love it! Can't wait for next year when I can actually join you guys again! And I already have thoughts for how to make next year's eye stalks even better. I'm sure Steph is too. ;)

muckfestms said...

What a great post! We're so glad you had a blast at MuckFest MS Denver! PS GREAT costumes!