A column by Jill Richardson
After several months of preparations, working out in the mornings with aerobics, boot camp and/or running, our day finally came, Saturday Aug. 25, the day of the Dirty Dash race in Boise at Bogus Basin.
We had our cat ears and tails firmly attached, whiskers painted on and, of course, protective goggles for the mud.
We are the Melba Mudcats. Ok, so a mudcat is a fish not a cat, but we looked cute in the cat costumes, let’s face it.
Six of us gals from Melba, Leilani Draper, Coralee Hinz, Debbie Saurey, Cindy Roberts, Lynne Svedin and I, have planned for this day for months.
Not knowing exactly what we had gotten into, we took comfort in the description from the website: “You’ll need endurance to trudge up mountains of sludge, courage to overcome uncompromising obstacles, a complete lack of shame to wallow in pits of mud, and a smile to show through at the end!”
Of course there is a good cause at the center of all this mud and adrenaline, YMCA or Treasure Valley and other local charities.
So here we are, all decked out, running shoes on, hair and makeup done, costumes looking great and pumped full of caffeine and adrenaline.
There are hundreds of people wearing the most outrageous of outfits wandering about, laughing and eh, drinking beer…
I see a group of Catholic nuns with five o’clock shadows at 10:30 a.m., not to mention the 40-year-old men with pot bellies in baby diapers escorted by women in revealing nurse outfits, the entire track team from the movie “Juno,” men is aprons and chef hats, men in skirts or tutus, cowboys and Indians, superheroes, French maids and plenty of pigs.
Just about anything you can imagine is represented at the Dirty Dash.
We could clearly see that this is not your average Melba Mayor Slayer type race.
The emcee announced gift cards for the first five ladies to pump out 30 pushups, so with true Melba pride, Leilani and Cindy jumped on stage to effortlessly perform the task.
When our heat was called to the starting line, we lined up behind the “nuns,” said a little prayer and took off across the road, down a hill, around the turn and up another hill and jumped or climbed over a one ton hay bale.
After what felt like climbing 10,000 feet of elevation, we began to encounter more obstacles; about every half mile we got a new set.
There were large pipes lined with mud to shimmy through, tunnels and hurdles, monkey bars, tall walls to climb, huge nets strung over a frame we wound our feet and hands in to get to the top, then do it all again backwards, tires to step in and plenty of mud pits with pumps placed sporadically to spray mud, just in case you didn’t get enough as you slipped and fell on the downhill slope on the way in or out of the pit.
Through all this chaos, one thing was consistent: the laughter.
The costumes were hardly identifiable at this point; everyone was just brown with mud.
And still the joy, laughter and smiles were infectious.
The Mudcats all stuck together at the obstacles and helped each other through, also doing close inspections that each of the team members were adequately covered in mud.
We were thoughtful about it, and sent one team member to remove Coralee’s glasses before ensuring she was properly dunked in the mud.
At the top of the last hill we had to climb we saw a group of exhausted, muddy bodies drinking feverishly from the beer guzzling tent.
We see the seriousness of this race at this point, and, not to be left out, Cindy and Debbie join in with cold root beers.
Seeing this as our big break to get ahead, Mudcats regrouped and took off down the hill along the last stretch of the race.
We whizzed right past other racers, not because we were fast, but because the others were moving slow to avoid spilling their drinks.
Together we slid down the inflated water slide and held interlocked hands up high through the final mud pit.
We crossed the finish line with pride, smiles, laughter, bruises and a feeling of accomplishment that was amazing.
We finished the race in about one hour and forty minutes and about five pounds heavier with mud covering our bodies, head to toe.
The race took us about an hour longer than it takes us to run four miles at home, as a group, but it was worth every dirty, sweaty second.
Next year, we will be ready again for what the Dirty Dash has in store for the Mudcats.
As for costumes, I am thinking some sort of rubber suits with fins.