Something that is VERY important to know about the Dirty Girl Mud Run, at least in Scranton, is that the mud is T.H.I.C.K. It’s like trying to maneuver through natural peanut butter. Some parts are very wet like the top of the jar of PB before you stir it. Then other parts are like the bottom of a jar that you never really stirred well to begin with so the knife or spoon bends when you try to make a last ditch effort to mix it up. Don’t know what I’m talking about? Skip the Skippy next time and pick up a jay of Justin’s at your local natural foods market.
Mud like this eats shoes. Mud like this is why, if you plan on doing many mud runs or OCRs, you need to invest in good shoes. This may take investing in many different shoes and finding the ones that work best for you. My typical mud run/OCR shoes are my X-Talons from Inov8. I’ve kvelled about these shoes before. A lot. I did not wear them for the Dirty Girl so these are neither of the Two Shoes from the post title.
One of the Two Shoes were my brand spanking new Altra Lone Peaks. Why try something new when I’ve already got the best shoes out there? Because I keep finding myself at races that go from dirt to gravel to asphalt to mud to well I think you get the picture. Crazy terrain calls for more than just a plain road running shoe like my Intuitions, but less than the insane nubs that cover the bottom of my Talons, so I decided to try out the Lone Peaks when they popped up on The Clymb for >50% off (score!)
They were great for walking/running between the parking lots and the trails and the woods. No hill was too steep for them because they gripped any terrain beautifully. They drained nicely when wading through the creek, which was something I worried about because reviews I had read said they had poor drainage. Where they were not good at all was when you had to step into ankle to calf deep mud. The evil peanut butter mud tried to eat my fancy pants shoes and nearly succeeded. But I would let them. I literally dug my own feet out of the mire a few times and took the last mud pit barefoot, carrying my shoes. I guess the wide toe box that is so great for my toes is not so great for mud-odynamics (like aerodynamics, but dirtier.) It is also great for scooping up mud, weighing you feet down, and collecting leaves.
I will probably not be wearing these to any Spartan Races, but I think they might work out well for the Down & Dirty and trail runs.
The second Shoe in the Tale of Two Shoes is my mom’s pair. She wore some $10 Old Navy sneakers that she picked up for last year’s mud run. They worked well then, but they just had no life left in them to conquer the bottom-of-the-jar mud for a second year. Her feet got trapped at the end of the Runaway Bride obstacle. She just could not budge. Women tried to help her, hand her ropes, anything to wiggle her loose, but nothing was working. I had dug my own feet out of that one, so I figured I could do it again. I jumped back in and tried to dig out hers.
It didn’t work.
And then I was stuck, too. All the while, all of us, including mom and a dozen others in the obstacle with us, were laughing our asses off. We all now knew how it felt to be a wooly mammoth in the La Brea tar pits. Mom had pretty much come to the conclusion that she was going to live out the rest of her life in the mud pit.
It took a volunteer firefighter (teammate Deb) to pull her out of the mud. Mom’s shoes tried desperately to stay in their new muddy abode, but got pulled out with her. Being unhappy with the situation, they self-destructed. The soles tore away from the shoe and were held on only by the little nubbin of rubber that comes up over the toe.
My mom was awesome and kept going with her sneakers-turned-flip-flops. A quarter of a mile or so later, she got some help to tear off the soles entirely. She had thought that maybe the inner footbed piece would stay on enough to cover her feet for the remain few meters of the race, but no such luck. Mom finished the rest of the race- covering asphalt, rocky root covered forest floor, and more giant puddles and creek portions- BAREFOOT.
Now that’s a Dirty Girl.