Monday, September 12, 2011

Five Tough Mudders

I run in a lot of races. Do not take my word for it - ask my wife. Margaret has endured more than her share of Saturday and Sunday mornings at one event or another over the course of these past couple of years. On Saturday though I did something that was a bit out of the ordinary for me - I joined my wife on the sidelines as a spectator. We went to McGuire Air Force Base with Lynne to form the cheering squad/support crew for a team entered in the Beast of The East Mud Run.

Absent from our cheer crew - because she was a tad busy leading her gang through the mud - was my usual running partner Gidg. Saturday she led her team, "The Dirty Divas" through the 6.2 Mile course replete with seventeen obstacles that included a "naturally occurring swamp" and (as we saw with our own eyes from the spectator zone at the five mile mark) back to back obstacles that combined knee deep mud and muddy hills. Way back when in the late Spring when she signed up for this event and mentioned to the rest of us that she had recruited four other women from her office to compete with her (not a ringer in the bunch), I think that for half a heartbeat she probably wondered if she could actually do this. She was alone in that question....if she asked it at all.

Gidg is among the most hardheaded people I know. And I mean that in the best sense of the word. We have run together in races of lengths ranging from 2 miles to 26.2 miles and in weather conditions running the spectrum from single digit temperatures and snow-capped roads to sweltering heat with humidity pushing the heat index into the triple digits. She worries. She frets. She makes so many pre-race trips to the porta-john one thinks that she thinks it is a time share. Yet she never fails to answer the bell. And she never fails to finish what she starts.

Saturday there was a bit of unintended pre-race angst for Gidg and her team of Dirty Divas (their team name - not a characterization). The plan was for all five Divas to meet at the base by 8:00 a.m. However, poor Janet got lost on the way there and then upon arriving at McGuire she was caught in a very long line at the security checkpoint. Thus, it was not until only a few minutes were left before they had to report to the starting area to begin their 9:40 heat that the Divas were at full strength.

But once united, they proved to be an unstoppable force. Lynne, Margaret and I took a bus out onto the course and picked up the action at the five mile mark. We got to see firsthand just how well they were doing:

Gidg (or as I shall now refer to her - the Alpha Diva) and her Divas (Janet, Jen, Melissa and Yvette) completed the course in slightly less than one hour and forty minutes. They probably could have finished in at least ten minutes less time had we not compelled them to stop and pause for photographs:

Whether their experience on Saturday was a life-changing one I do not pretend to know. I know that judging by their reactions post-race it certainly appeared as if each of them had one hell of a good time. As they stood posing for their proof of life shot with ear-to-ear grins, four of them were probably thinking of how they were going to spend their Saturday once they got all cleaned up and de-mudded. Not their fearless leader. I know Gidg. She was already planning for the next one. How to squeeze more enjoyment out of it. How to shave a minute or ten off of the finishing time. She cannot help herself....

....someone has to be the Alpha Diva.



The Unbearable Banishment said...

On Sunday my bride went to Sandy Hook to cheer her pals on in a girls-only scaled down triathlon. They swam in the bay, which is a questionable thing to do for health reasons. At least the ocean side is self-cleaning. It was a weekend of agony in the Garden State!

Adam Kenny said...

I have a friend of mine who has competed in that triathlon before - although I do not know if she did it this year. Braver souls than me on display all over NJ this weekend.....

....not that there is a damn thing surprising about that, truth be told.

Sean said...

Janet I'm proud of all the hard training you did for this event. You still looked beautiful even covered in mud.


Marathon 5k said...

Amazing, Congrats girls ! You made it through and you are a certified Tough Mudders now. Great stuff and nice photos.