I think somewhere in the scriptures it says, “He who is not dirty let him become as a little piggy.” No? Well, I’m sure it’s going to make the next edition.
Jason and I did the Dirty last week with Abigail, Jeremy Rowley, my brother Drew, and his wife Simone. The Dirty Dish is a filth fest for runners. It’s really more about freeing yourself from acceptable hygiene practices than getting exercise. As you slosh your way through a 5 or 10K, whichever you’re tough enough for, you’ll find yourself in slimy pits, on top of muddy ramparts, or in the midst of a stinky lake.
Most members of our team were Dash veterans so they knew what we were in for. We expected muck in places where the sun don’t shine and being worn out beyond reckoning. We were surprised by one thing though: this year’s obstacles were a lot wetter. The water to dirt ratio was significantly higher than last time; there was less soggy soil and more pools of filth. We were in one of the first groups out the chute so the temps up in Soldier Hollow were still in the 40s and all those puddles were awfully cold. Most of us had numb hands and arms after our first dip but we kept moving to discourage our chilled extremities from giving ideas to the rest of our bodies.
Another change for me from last year was the condition of my ankle. Tearing my tendon 3 months ago meant that this time I had to contend with a testy foot. Thanks to my injury I couldn’t just jump into the murky depths, I had to carefully navigate my way through them so as not to damage my tendon any further. That caution and instability made me feel infinitely weaker, a bit like an old lady, a curious state for an unabashed mud seeker. But even with all that extra care my ankle was still pretty aggravated with me after the run. I guess there’s just no pleasing some tendons.
This year we continued our juvenile costuming tradition by naming our team MuckTales and dressing like ducks. Yes, MuckTales is a play on DuckTales, that Disney cartoon you watched incessantly when you were a kid. Jason and I came as two of the triplets. I believe we were Dewey and Louie but don’t quote me on that. However, you can quote me on this universal truth: sopping sweatpants make running really uncomfortable. The white sweatpants Jason and I wore to represent our duck feathers were a very bad idea. They absorbed all that muddy liquid like sponges and we came out of each trench about 15 pounds of gross sludge heavier. You don’t know chaffing until you’ve sprinted while sporting gritty dripping sweatpants. Although most of the other participants didn’t seem to recognize our characters, everyone caught on that we were ducks except for a delirious couple that thought we were piggies for some reason. (The feathers and beaks didn’t clue you in?) I guess with all our layers of goo we probably looked more like sewer treatment pond scrapings than anything else.
We had a lovely grubby time running the Dirty Dash again. It was a bit chilly and I think our whole group was still cold hours later from that foul freezing water but it was all worth it for the chance to completely put aside cleanliness and see Jeremy get hit in his open mouth with a mud bomb. I will long treasure my mucky memories and the grime I keep digging out of my toenails. Dirt and fond recollections are the gifts that just keep on giving.