Or should that be 'Mudd, Blood & Hyperthermia... Ok, so it wasn't quite that bad but I did scuff my knee a little and it was certainly cold enough not to sweat!
Mudd, Sweat & Tears is a 12km cross country obstacle course similar to the Tough Mudder or Spartan races out there. It's designed to test all round fitness, team spirit and determination. Here in Kelowna BC the event takes place at Crystal Mountain - one of our local ski resorts, which being at elevation means the weather is unpredictable to say the least - especially in spring. It was probably 15 degrees C in town but up the hills it was no higher than 5. With rain. With wind. With icy cold water obstacles... Thankfully there was lots of running up an down hillsides in-between obstacles which gave the competitors a chance to dry off and warm up - somewhat. I say competitors but really it's not a race at all, at least not against other teams, just against yourselves. All teams help each other out when it comes to the more challenging events like climbing up and over 9ft mud slicked walls and the likes.
Our team consisted mainly of people from Helen's workplace, and me as a guest member and was a variety of ages and fitness levels, but only one goal - to have fun and to finish! Our start time was 10 am but due to some logistical issues and the sheer numbers of competitors we got going with the newly created 10:15 group!. There seemed to be less of us in our group so we had a daily clear run to the first obstacle - the above mentioned 9ft wall. Once over that the fun really started - with a muddy crawl through a pit covered with strands of barbed wire - just to keep our heads down and our bodies low, and wet! This really set the scene for the morning and from now on anything we came across was covered in mud from previous participants - I was always a bit of a dab hand at rope climbs but when both it and my hands are covered in slimy mud...
Other obstacles consisted of the intentionally demoralizing idea of carrying something heavy up a hill only to then carry it back down again, hulling a truck tire uphill by rope, more mud pits and wading through a waist deep mountain stream full of snow-melt - only the males amongst us can really appreciate the effort it takes to keep the water level below 'that' certain part of the body :-/
But the clincher, hence the photograph, had to be the last obstacle - the 'Over and Under'. A mud pit just a foot or so deep with logs running side to side; waist high ones to climb/slither over and low ones barely above the mud level to go under. Amazingly I did see one or two clean-ish faces that had managed to somehow get under without having to fully submerge the body, but for me at least, the only way under was to literally swim under! And so it was I emerged with enough mud in my face to not be able to open my eyes for sometime afterward - tricky really when the only way to clean off was a fire hose connected to yet more snow-melt water.
It was funny to watch a crowd of people trying to get their free finisher's beer to their mouths whilst shivering uncontrollably to the point of spilling more than they drank - but those few sips that made it to your mouth were oh so sweet!. Carelessly we'd taken just one small towel between us thinking that it would be easy to dry off and then put on our clean clothes - ha, no such chance! Getting home, (how awesome are heated seats when you need them...) we had to strip off in the garage before entering the house as even our 'clean' clothes were caked in slowly drying mud. And then the longest hottest shower ever ensued...
All in all a top day out; lots of mud, some sweat and some very almost tears of feeling fingers again after eventually thawing out - way to go team Bridge Trolls!!!