We arrived at 7SAR with about an hour to go before our 10 AM heat. There were plenty of port-o-potties! This is super important at any race, but especially a mud/obstacle race since there is little chance to go once the course starts. Registration was a breeze. We were given our over 21 ID verified tag and headed in to bag check. Bag check was just a row of tables where you tossed your bag (with a # on your bag). There was no one there when we dropped off our bags, which worried me, but at pick-up someone was there to verify I was taking the right bag.
The pre-race atmosphere was exciting! You could see people completing the final obstacle (a giant slide into a pile of mud), a fire pit where post race finishers were warming up, booths with community information and food! We gathered near the starting line. There was an announcer pumping up the crowd. Waiting is always the hardest part. I could see the 1st obstacle- rolling hills. Rolling mud hills. :)
I'd be racing that day with Julia (my best race partner-in-crime), Andi (a new gym friend + her son), and a complete stranger. We start out on the rolling hills and we see this young woman stuck in the very first mud pit. Julia and I got on each side of her and helped her get her shoe out of the mud and back on her foot. She was wearing bagging sweat pants (always wear tight fitting clothing to a mud run!) and keds! We started to run together and learned that she was running by herself, doing the 7 mile course, AND this was her first obstacle course race. She instantly had my admiration!
We approached the first obstacle and there was a huge line. Based on when the next wave was released, I'd say we spent at least 15 minutes waiting in line. It was a Tarzan swing from one hay bale to another. I was unsuccessful, but it was fun trying. After the Tarzan swing was the "African Eating Challenge". I had visions of live slimy worms, reality was that they were dead meal worms. We each popped one in our mouth and swallowed. Not too bad.
This is where it gets a little hazy. We crawled up a HUGE hill, crawled under some rope, more hills, more rope, under a bamboo hut, more hills, through a shallow (calf high) stream, more hills, lots of mud. The last big obstacle was an ice bath. OOOOOOOHHHHH that was cold! It reminded me of the first time I tried to swim in the lake for my Sprint Tri. There was a pit with 2X4 slants. You had to duck under the slant, come up out of the water and then do it again.
(Not me, but you get the idea. Photo credit 7Sar Facebook page)
This was my favorite obstacle. Call me crazy, I know! I loved the challenge of having to do it twice since I knew how bad it was after the first time. Also, I was able to pull two different people under the boards that were too scared to do it themselves. Working together as a team are what these races are all about.
After the ice bath we were pretty much done. There was a tiny hill to climb up and then we crossed the finish line, except that we didn't. There wasn't really a finish line for the people who were doing the 3 miles. :( We got a dixie cup (the kind that you keep by the bathroom sink to sip water in), a buff, and we were done.
The post race atmosphere was fun! They had a bonfire where people could buy a s'mores pack and roast marshmallows. There were plenty of showers to rinse off. No changing room/tent or even real bathrooms. Your choices were the port-a-potties or strip. I opted to strip down to my sports bra and then wrapped a towel around to change my pants. Julia drove and there was no way I was getting in to her car that muddy. Even after a rinse off, it took days to get all the mud out.
The race was fun, but I did leave disappointed. The disappointment wasn't in the race, but in myself. There was a zip line and a giant slide after mile 3 that I didn't get to try. I should have done the 7. The 3 would have been ideal for someone new to obstacle course racing or new to fitness. I could have done more. If I do 7Sar next year I will definitely do the entire race. Someday I will stop underestimating my ability to accomplish great things.
Thank you to 7Sar for giving me the opportunity to race! :) There is a 7Sar race in California (Jan 18th) and Florida (May 3rd) coming up in the next few month. Check them out!