Sometimes you just have to shake things up. So this weekend the kids, my two sisters, and little ole me, ran a ZOMBIE MUD RUN. No, seriously. We did.
What is a zombie mud run, you ask? You map a 5k through a forest, you sprinkle it with 20 crazy obstacles (many involving a crap-ton of red, North Carolina mud), and then you stock it with zombies who chase you, BRAINS! BRAINS! and freak you the fuck out.The zombies were terrific.
No, really, it’s fun!
Here is most of our team, waiting in the line for our wave to start:
Let me remind everyone that I am a middle aged woman, that my sisters are eight years younger than I am, and that I am, at heart, a total wuss. What the heck was I thinking, right? Clearly I had a moment of insanity when I came up this plan. I blame my sister who is cursed with FOLLOW THROUGH. I was kidding, okay? I never meant to actually do it….
But there I was, waiting in line for my turn to be eaten.
Okay, I wasn’t doing this totally cold. I have been running 3x a week since spring (woot!) I can run a 5k without dying. I’m not a complete push-over. (That’s a lie, I totally am.) But still.
Here is the first obstacle:
That’s me in the middle on the right with the black shorts and the red flag hanging over my butt, hauling myself up that slick surface while calling out to my sisters, “Okay, it occurs to me at this late juncture that perhaps this was a bad idea. Upon consideration, I may have made a mistake. I don’t think I can actually do this, without injury I mean, I’m really very weak you see, I’ll just let you kids go on ahead…..”
Luc, 10, is cresting the climb in the blue shirt in that pic. Luc would like it to be known that he did all 20 obstacles, did them barefoot (he lost his shoes to deep, sucking, mud at the second obstacle), and that he finished with all THREE of his flags (the zombies try to steal your flags and if you lose all three, you are INFECTED, too bad for you). He is, officially, a hero. No question.
[Photograph note: The first few obstacles were up close to the start, before the forest, and so my mom, who was our official cheering section, was able to get some pics of her crazy daughters and her gonzo grandchildren wallowing in the mud. Thanks, Mom!]
Here’s another obstacle, and again, me at the top waffling, “Oooo, I don’t know, it looks kinda scary, maybe I’ll just stay up here on top of this hill, the view is really very nice here….” Later in the run my monologue became, “GO ON. SAVE YOURSELVES.”
I did manage to keep up, though, as I did 15 of the 20 obstacles (you could walk around if you had to, invoking only slight shaming, it was a fairly supportive crew), that’s right, 15, uh-huh, including fording a lake, walking across a rope, jumping logs, etc. I even finished with a flag (that is, UNinfected, thank you very much), although I had to perform 20 pushups (chaturangas, actually) for a “medic” in order to get a replacement flag after I sacrificed myself to a zombie so that my children could tear past to safety. It’s what mothers do.
Here is some of that action:
See Sophie scooting past in that third shot? See me cracking up through the whole thing? I finally got past this guy by saying (between my screaming-like-a-girl hoots and my panting) “Your wig is sooo hot.” He cracked up, too, and I was able to dart past him, finally.
Or as my sister said, Not today, Mr. Zombie. Not today.
That red color on my legs is red mud. By the end, we were covered in it.
My other sister, one of the sweetest people I know, would call back to each batch of zombies that we made it past, “Thank you zombies! You were great!” She is adorable. They would wave and call back, “Sure, you were great, too! Have fun!” while their spooky zombie wounds oozed gore. Or sometimes they would growl and drool, if they were really in character, but it meant the same thing. Everyone was having a good time.
Especially Sophie, 11, an amazonian BAD-ASS. She was amazing. For example, take a look at this obstacle:
That’s not her in the photo, those are some other intrepid zombie-avoiders. Sophie wouldn’t simply climb over like these mere mortals are doing. Oh no, she WALKED up one of the vertical boards, like it was a balance beam, up over the top, and then down, smooth as silk. I mean jesus chirst, the middle was 8 feet up! I, on the other hand, hands-and-knee-ed it to the top and then completely froze up for a couple of minutes before I found my ovaries and was able to inch my way back down. It was interesting how it was doable until it was 8 feet in the air. Turns out 80% of a zombie mud run is psychological.
I was shaky (but pretty pumped) by my success on that one. In comparison, Sophie was all, “WHAT’S NEXT!?!” She ninja-ed over logs, hauled ass up ropes, balanced on her toes on the rock-climb section, fell fearlessly into the mud (everything was slick as spit with red clay by the time our wave was moving through), wearing a giant grin the entire time. “This is AWESOME!” was her comment, and, “Next year, I’m going to be a zombie!”
Here she is doing the monkey bars while zombies wait on the other side to eat her:
Something that surprised me was how primal being chased felt. Despite knowing I was completely safe, that it was all a game, that the zombie-look was all make-up…once a zombie started coming after me my heart thundered, adrenaline flooded through me inducing tunnel vision, cold sweats, involuntary screaming, the works. It was all instant and automatic, like when you see a spider and jump back, only times 100. I haven’t run so fast or so hard in decades. Apparently we have spinal-cord instincts to avoid zombies, too.
The day after, I couldn’t lift my arms.
But I survived. And I bet years from now we’ll all remember this Saturday afternoon, unlike most quiet Saturday afternoons that all meld into one another in memory. There’s nothing wrong with a quiet Saturday afternoon (I adore them, no prefer them, I admit it), but perhaps too much of the same dulls the point of life. Nothing like some zombies and a 10,000 gallons of mud to wake me the fuck up.
Luc proudly wore his finisher’s medal for two days.