There comes a time in the life of every runner when they need to leave the well kept sidewalks of the world behind and plunge right into the pigsty!
Jason and I, along with four of our compadres, did the dirty this year. The Dirty Dash is a 10K mud race that sends you scrambling through and over all sorts of obstacles including: muck-filled ditches, giant hay bales, soggy tunnels, impossibly high walls, mud pits, a sludgy lake, and of course the slop ‘n slide. Running doesn’t get any messier than this or any more comical!
I love that the bibs for this race listed not only your team number but also group and individual names.
We christened our team “The Filthy Mudbloods.” If you have read the Potter books you’re probably chuckling right now and, if you haven’t, you’re mostly likely shaking your head in bewilderment. I’m not explaining so just keep shaking your noggins or look it up on Wikipedia.
Our group made Hogwarts student hats, which were equipped with elastic bands to keep them on our heads, so the whole world would know that we are magically dork-a-licious. Additionally, Jason kindly sculpted wands for everyone out of wooden dowels. We kept them out and at the ready to obliterate any obstacles in our path as we ran, skipped, crawled, and trudged along. Although we did cast spells in concert as we threw ourselves at impediments, team problem solving proved slightly more useful to our cause than magic, howbeit less entertaining.
I had to have synchronized assistance on both sides of these walls to make it over. Luckily, the men were unusually helpful in this circumstance.
Abigail torpedoed out of her slide chute as catawampus as the rest of us.
Yes, we worked together and helped each other along using any means at our disposal: brute force, stabilizing hands, or just good old-fashioned encouragement. Admittedly, I was probably less helpful than most since I have the upper body strength of a gerbil but, thankfully, the men in our group harnessed their inner Neanderthal and picked up the slack. They offered themselves as steppingstones to propel the weaklings, like myself, over some of the hurdles we encountered. They also selflessly volunteered their assistance in the form of mud-flinging ambushes. There’s nothing like having an enormous glob of muck tossed at your head by one of your teammates to enliven you and expedite your devolution.
Jason's belly practically had its own river system when he emerged from the slop 'n slide. I guess some tummy gravel is just deserts for being determined to go headfirst.
Jeremy, like Jason, slipped down the slide headfirst. Yes, it hurt him too.
We had an unimaginably good time tramping through chest-high rank waters, balancing on thin boards precariously positioned above sloshing pits, and catapulting ourselves over towering walls. Of course, afterwards we literally had to be hosed off with a pressure washer to remove all of our dirt clumps. I took three showers and one bath on the day of the race and I still felt like I had woken up on the wrong side of the pigpen. You’d be surprised by how much grime can hide in your earlobes or unmentionable places.
Run, run as fast you can. You can't catch him he's the mud-splattered man!
A grimy grin on a mud-streaked face: incontrovertible evidence of a dirty good time.
In addition to the dirt farm you are forced to cultivate between your toes, in order to participate in this filth festival you must make one other sacrifice to the mire gods. For some reason encasing yourself in mud, running through murky water, sliding through soil, etc., etc., etc. sends your body into some sort of hypothermic state. You don’t notice it while you are intent on the race and frolicking about but shortly after you stop it all catches up to you and you become colder than you can remember being in your life, so chilled that you get a backache from the fierce shivers that are convulsing through your body. Brr!!!
While the rest of us opted not to cannonball into a mud pit, we all appreciated Jeremy's enthusiasm...even if it splashed us a lot.
And just kept on splashing us...
But, even with those scruples, would I recommend this race? Does a pig answer to the call of suey? If you run the dirty you will become grimier than you ever have been in your life x 100. You will not feel clean after multiple scrubbings and you will be inexplicably drained after all is said and done. But you will get to spend roughly an hour and 45 minutes* grinning from ear to ear while you unabashedly do all the things your mother always told you not to. So yes, I would definitely recommend The Dirty Dash and I plan on doing it again next year.
Our team definitely became filthy enough to deserve its Filthy Mudbloods title.
*Please note that this time estimate assumes a standard allotment of halting for mud chucking. Actual times may vary depending on personal hurling preferences.
Jason and I lead a bit of a crazy life. If something sounds idiotic or ludicrous you can bet your bottom dollar we’ll be in for doing it. So it’s no shocker that we were up for being part of the largest dodgeball game in the world ever.
When we heard that a local company, Property Management Solutions, was putting together what they were hoping would be the biggest dodgeball game on record in the form of a rivalry match between the fans of two local colleges, BYU and U of U, we were willing ball fodder.
This huge game ended up being even huger than expected. Over 4,000 participants showed up to support their team and become world record holders. Since the U of U side was undermanned we decided to join its ranks. I really couldn’t care less about college sports or team rivalries so it was an easy choice.
Over 760 balls were used for this game, two hundred of which had to be overnighted when the number of estimated participants soared.
The instant the game started the field became a frenzied bedlam. Blue and red balls streamed through the air as if some divine power were frantically weaving a magnificent maypole across the sky. It was quite the sight but my enjoyment of my surroundings quickly decreased as the competition heated up.
I got nailed in the face three times over the space of about a minute near the beginning of the game, mostly because Jason wouldn’t stop distracting me with his complicated game strategy, which he was insistent on me implementing. After three whammies to the cranium I decided to separate my head (along with my body) from the path of those pesky balls thus ending my dodgy career. Now if you are thinking that a hit to the face is illegal in dodgeball, and punishable via the thrower being ousted from the game, you would be correct. But my hitters in blue feigned obliviousness to this rule. I saw nothing in the way of remorse or removal to indicate their acknowledgement of what they had done. Curse you sly throwers for making my discomfort of no strategic consequence!
I couldn't play dodgeball without donning some classic attire: knee-high socks, a headband, and short cutoffs. Other players took the look even further.
Yes, the BYU players, which outnumbered the reds about 3 to 1, pretty much cheated openly. Throngs of bluers that should have been leaving the match as they got hit remained on the field. Come on! Not only did you Y fans soil your goody two-shoes reputation for a trivial game but you outnumbered the U crowd so enormously that cheating was completely unnecessary to win. Shame on you! Granted, there were a few U tricksters as well but poor sportsmanship seemed much more rampant on the Y side of things, and of course I am completely unbiased in this observation.
Jason waited anxiously for the competition to start with the rest of the red team. We were so outnumbered that we knew this was a match few of us would survive.
Once again, as always, where crazy is Sabins follow. I’m glad that we witnessed and participated in this historic mayhem but I’m sad to say it left me with a bit of a headache and a disgruntled attitude for our friends in blue. Karma must have been taking note too because BYU miserably lost their football game to the U the following day. I guess your annoying little sister was right when she told you that cheaters never prosper.
By the way, I think we blew the world record out of the water but I haven’t heard anything official yet on that.
I am now a surprised fanatic of the cartoon series Avatar: The Last Airbender. Jason and I started watching this show a few weeks ago and I became totally engrossed. I was not expecting that, it is a cartoon after all.
I went through all 3 seasons of Avatar in about three weeks. Those who know me know I typically spend very little time watching TV and movies at home so this was a very unusual occurrence. What can I say? I got completely absorbed and I just couldn’t help myself. Don’t judge me unless you’ve conquered the mighty pull of the Avatar yourself.
Cruising through a series that quickly does have its disadvantages though. Now that I have finished all of it I’m having some serious withdrawals. The Avatar dreams I keep having every night just aren’t enough.
This series comes with the highest Rachel rating available and can be viewed instantly on Netflix. After watching it all though I decided it was something I needed to buy.
I would highly recommend The Last Airbender to adults and children alike. This is something you can enjoy with your kids or just keep all to yourself. The characters are complex and endearing, the script extremely well written, and the animation fantastic. It’s funny, thought provoking, and action packed. Perfection!
On a side note, this incredible series should not be confused with the James Cameron flick about the blue aliens. Nor should its unfortunate association with The Last Airbender movie hinder you from viewing it; that movie was dismal and humorless and in no way reflects the quality of the cartoon.
So check out Avatar. You’ll be astonished by how quickly you become bent on it.
Participating in the Utah Marathon Relay has become a tradition of ours. This year marked our third time running in this race, which consists of 26.2 miles split into five segments of 5.2 miles each.
All the first runners were lined up here and ready to start. Drew claimed trail real estate far behind the bulk of the group for some reason.
We lost a couple of our teammates this year due to pregnancy and laziness so we found some fresh blood in the form of our friend Abigail and my sister-in-law Simone.
Once I had that sweaty baton in my hand I was off like a shooting bullet...or possibly a limping noodle.
Things went smoother this year than last, we didn’t have to replace any of our runners at the last minute due to overflowing bowels, but not everything went exactly according to plan. As with last year, the night before the race I started getting a sore throat. Give me a break body! Why must that always be part of this annual ritual?
I may have been moving a tiny bit slower than last year but I was still obviously enjoying myself.
On the plus side, my brother Drew actually trained this time. Yes, miracles never cease. He was our first runner this year and managed to pull off a 49 minute 8 second run. I think that’s almost ten minutes faster than his usual. So yes, training does make a difference. (Please take note of that Drew for future reference.)
Simone ran a good race for a first timer. Hopefully now she realizes that 5 miles is a breeze.
It was my turn next. I wish I could say I shaved ten minutes off my time but I crossed the finish line at 52 minutes and 46 seconds, which is very close to what I ran a couple of years ago but about 2 minutes slower than last year. Sad. I’ll blame it on the sore throat and shin splints. (Yes, my shins were a hurting during the race due to a bit of overtraining in the days leading up to this event.)
Abigail dramatically handed off the baton just minutes after dramatically upchucking in the bushes.
Simone and Abigail were our next runners. This was the longest race Simone has ever run. Kudos Simone for taking on the challenge! Abigail is no running rooky but the heat and exertion got to her and she ended up puking in the bushes within eyesight of the finish line. Way to take one for the team Abigail!
Jason was flying so fast his hair couldn't keep up.
Jason closed the race for us with a 42 minute and 23 second run, which is pretty dang good considering that the temperature was escalating quickly to sickness-assured levels.
Our team kept its name, The Gait Keepers, even though we had a huge changeover this year.
I’m proud of our little group. Our total time was 4 hours 22 minutes and 10 seconds and we finished 48th out of 63 teams. It may be our slowest pace yet but we did have fresh pack members this year and participants new to running in general. So good job everyone!
We are the Gait Keepers and we will step all up in your pace!
It’s definitely no secret that I love Utah’s peaks. There’s just no substitute for the serenity of our unkempt wildernesses. That’s why Jason and I happily spent two consecutive Sundays in American Fork Canyon.
The first Sunday we went for a lovely hike on the Tibble Fork Loop. This path is approximately 3.8 miles long and roams through hillsides of fragrant pines, graceful aspens, and rolling grasses. Beautiful! We enjoyed our low-keyed exercise but countered these mellow meanderings the following Sunday with an adrenaline overload.
Nestled between a speckled canopy and a cascading creek was the perfect spot for some picture taking.
This stream was accented by a timber rainbow that arched elegantly over its banks.
The next week we went rock climbing and rappelling with a couple of our buddies: David and Chuong. The two cliffs we scaled, Stoic Calculus and Rockapella, were ones that Jason and I have ascended before on a couple of occasions so they didn’t scare the bejeebers out of us. However, after we were good and tired from climbing David took us further up the canyon to a different block of rock, which we accessed through the Echo picnic area, for some rappelling, a much more intimidating task.
Jason is a natural climber. He's got long limbs and he knows how to use them.
Jason and David make quite the pair. They're even goofier together than this photo suggests.
Our friend Chuong hadn't been climbing in years and he was a little unsettled by the idea of starting up again but you'd never guess it from the way he spidered up the walls.
A ridge at the top of Stoic Calculus provides a great spot for resting and gawking. Here Jason is taking in that view from 70+ feet up.
I accidentally put my helmet on backwards without realizing it. That prompted a lot of smack talk and the taking of this picture.
None of us, besides David of course, had rappelled before so when he explained that we would have to belay ourselves on the way down, in essence do our own braking, everyone panicked. We didn’t know what we were doing so we were sure our amateurish self-belaying would result in some colossal mishap.
I may be smiling here as I take a leap of faith over the side of this cliff but inside I'm crossing my fingers that I don't end up a flattened morsel.
Jason was hesitant to plunge into the abyss but, since Chuong and I had already done it, he knew he'd most likely survive.
Here I am dangling just a few feet from the ground. No splat for me!
David has been rock climbing and rappelling for years. He "showed us the ropes."
No one wanted to be rappelling contestant #1 but somehow I got volunteered to be the guinea pig. Sure, send the girl first, she’s expendable. Those first few steps over the ledge of that imposing drop-off were nerve-racking but then I loosened up and realized I was having a blast. Once I got to the bottom I understood David’s reasoning for forcing me to lead. Those manly men wouldn’t want to be shown up by little ol’ me. Calling their masculinity into question proved greatly motivating. Chuong was very worried about going down and Jason was a bit anxious as well but they both reluctantly scurried along the precipice. Their braking hands were so tensed around the ropes during their descents though that by the time they reached the bottom those grips of steal had cramped their palms and they both had to have help getting their gloves off. Surprisingly, I had kept my cool while dropping so my hands were just fine and I decided to go back up to the top and give it another whirl. So much fun!
Jas and I had a great time in the canyon two Sundays in a row. Between the steady constancy of hiking and the adrenaline rush of mountaineering we experienced the full spectrum of what American Fork Canyon has to offer, from the relaxing to the taxing.