14 Mar Badger Cove 2016 Race Recap
First and foremost, I need to say one thing: I never wanted to run a “tough mudder.” Running through bubbles or paint, sure, bring it on. But mud? Nope. In spite of this, thanks to recent rains, I ran my first 5k AND my first mud run last weekend at the Badger Cove race in Livermore, California.
See, I signed up for what was going to be my first 5k back in January, BUT, I found out that there may not be a medal for that particular race. I started to freak out because while I know the 5k is the baby of all of the races and what most people consider a piece of cake, it is a HUGE milestone for me. To commemorate this milestone, I for sure wanted that first piece of race bling! So, I changed plans and signed up for another 5k: the Badger Cove 5k put on by Brazen Racing. I really didn’t look into it that much or think much about it. I saw there was a 5k. I saw there was a medal. I signed up. I definitely did NOT know that there would be pretty steep hills involved!
Race day started out innocently enough. I drove into a gorgeously lush Del Valle Regional Park with a friend of mine who is a pretty seasoned racer. Thankfully so because she gave me a few runner tips like use the bathrooms right before the race starts, pass on the left, and watch for the runners coming out of the bushes with one sock. Didn’t actually see anyone doing this on the 5k, but I’m thinking maybe if I ever hit a half marathon, it might happen! If you don’t know what I’m talking about, just think about for a minute, then get a good chuckle in.
After parking (and taking the obligatory pre-race selfie,) I quickly realized that while it was not actually raining, the rains from the week before had made the park a giant mud pit! While some people were tiptoing through the mud to get to the check-in table, others were just sloshing right through it. You might have guessed, but I was with the group of people who was carefully choosing walking paths based on what looked the least sludgey. After braving the mud to pick up my race shirt, I had a nice chat about my festively green Costco shirt with a fellow runner and Costco shopper and I also met my twin who was wearing the same shirt! (Did I mention that this whole race was themed around St. Patrick’s day? It was pretty fun and gave me a great reason to wear my new green shirt!) Finally, my green Costco shirt and I and made our way to the starting line…the back of the starting line that is. (While I had trained for my first 5k, I still run at a turtle’s pace, so I was happy to take my place at the back of the pack.)
To the tune of some Irish music, we were off! Within the first few minutes of the race, we started to encounter hills. Nothing major, but definitely something that took a little extra effort to get up. Then we hit the mud. I’m not talking like a tiny mud puddle that was easily hopped over. I’m talking MUD. A giant trail full of mud. Not just mud, but rivers and lakes of muddy water. It wasn’t just on the trail…it WAS the trail!
But if you ignored the mud (which was really hard to do) the view of the green, rolling hills was absolutely stunning! I tried to get a selfie with the hills while running, but this was the best I came up with. (Gotta work on the whole running while picture taking thing!)
Then the hills got steeper. WAY steeper. Finally, that last steep hill before we could turn around and go back through it all again came at that 1.3 mile point. This mud was “pull off your shoes” sticky! People were either stopping in the middle of the hill to tighten their laces or put their shoes back on. Even though I was covered in mud and sliding everywhere, I had to take yet another selfie near the top of the hill before heading back down….mostly to prove to my husband that I actually did it.
Now it was back through the swamp that was the trail, up and down a few more hills, across a road, and we were once again on the asphalt! Never thought I’d be so happy to see it, but I’m not gunna lie, I was beat. I could literally see the finish line and all I could think of was “WHY did I think I could do this!?!?” That is when I heard “Go COSTCO!” Yep, my friend from earlier was there cheering me on! That was just enough for me to ditch the negativity, pick my pace back up and finish the race. Thank you, Costco friend! Although I was pretty dang close to dead last, I did it. I officially ran my first 5k!!!
To commemorate this occasion, I got an awesome medal! I don’t know what I was expecting, but this was a super heavy medal. Definitely worth the sloshing and sliding and slipping through the mud! Instead of a pot of gold at the end of this rainbow, there was a feast: bagels, oranges, bananas, Oreos, cake, pie, Lara Bars, danishes, chips, muffins, M&M’s, hot chocolate and hot apple cider! Best of all, there was an IT’S-IT Ice Cream Sandwich (the real San Francisco treat) with my name on it!
The Badger Cove 5k was, in one word, unexpected. I’m not sure what exactly I expected it to be, but the hills, the mud, the ice cream, the support, the bling…all of it, the good and the bad, was unexpected. Looking back on it, I can say that I’m really glad I did it. Even though I came home with my pants, shoes, and socks in a trash bag, I really did have a good time. I am, however, looking forward to my next race which will hopefully be a little more flat & a lot less muddy, with many of the same supportive runners I ran into at the Badger Cove race. Who knows? Maybe I’ll be back to run the Badger Cove race next year after I’ve had a bit more race experience!
Did I mention the MUD?