Friday after my 10:40 class I headed up to Urbandale, IA for the Living History Farms Mud Fest that passes off as a Cross Country Race. Driving up with a couple teammates, I couldn't be more exited and debated with myself whether I should race it or not, but cooler heads prevailed and I decided not to. We got there after a good four hours on the road, which was perfect, not even a quarter mile from the start line, and went to dinner. We went to bed early after watching a bit of Return to the House on Haunted Hill (terrible movie.) The day of the race was ridiculously foggy, but not that cold. We woke up at 7:00, and got to the race after a quick warm up at 8:45 or so for a 9:00 race. There aren't really waves or anything, and there isnt really a starting chute, it was just line up and go. You had to get a good spot because there is a tunnel about a mile into the race and I hear it bottlenecks pretty bad for the people in the back of the midpack. I lined up in the fourth row and went out kind of fast, so I didn't get stuck in that, and I was off. About two miles into the race there are hay bales on the right as you run, and I saw some people in front of me try to climb up and jump off, and look like idiots, so I decided not to and run right past.
After the hay bales (or maybe before them?) there was this huge hill. I mean ridiculous. I ran up it, but I saw a bunch of people walking. I was like, are you kidding me? Two and a half miles in there's your first stream crossing. I was disappointed by how many people were apprehensive about it, waiting to find the perfect spot to slide down the banks. I jumped down and tore through the river, but had a hell of a time getting up. There was another stream crossing a short while later that had a bunch of rocks in the center that people were trying to step on to cross the river. I thought I would be smart and went to the far left and splashed through the water by everybody. Then there was a cornfield, which was a little tough to go through. It wasn't well plowed, and there were ears of corn everywhere which were ankle breakers, that really slowed me down.
Then there was this creek crossing where I lost my shoe, and had to go through in my socks, which was wet. After that I put my shoe on, and went immediately up a hill, a huge one that you had to use a rope to climb up. Again, I went to the left and climbed up pretty easily because there was a huge line to use the ropes. You went a little farther and into the woods where you went down a really big hill, this was at the last creek crossing, and people were yelling HARD LEFT! HARD LEFT!! in front of you, and it was through another river. I had a bunch of speed, so I jumped over a lot of the river and when I landed I got really really dirty. I then went up another one of those rope hills, and again tried to not use them, but slid down twice when I was halfway up the hill. I got up on the third time, and it was through the tunnel, over the gigantic hill and up to the finish to eat hot beef stew.
All told there were 8 creek crossings, and lots and lots of mud. I was really looking forward to a hot shower at the hotel after the endorphins wore off half hour before the race, because it was freezing and I was wet. Unfortunately, the hotel turned into a ghost town at 7:30 before the race, and everyone came back around 10:30, and everybody used all the hot water. Definitely a race I'll do again.