Saturday, June 29, 2013

Courage to Succeed (Run for Independence 8k)

JD:  About a month after the North Face 50k, Heather scheduled a family outing in Leesburg, VA called the Run for Independence 8k. We were having a small dilemma in that neither of the boys, Nic(6) and Zach (8) have ever run ~5 miles before, and I actually wanted to get a decent run in today.  What that meant is that I didn't want to run 10/11 min miles and actually work the hills a little bit.  So Heather decided she would run with Nic and Zach would be flying solo.

Not sure why the children are zipped up and hooded like it's winter!
Heather:  I was a little nervous about Zach tackling the distance solo.  He has done a bunch of 5Ks on his own, but I wasn't sure how he would handle a new longer distance.  He was a little nervous at the race start, but after deciding on where to meet Dad at the finish line and feeling reassured that Nic and I wouldn't be far behind so that he could always stop and wait for us he was ready to go.

Yes!  Mommy coordinated our outfits for a theme for this race.

Heather:  The great part about this race is that it is a fundraiser for The Arc of Loudon County Paxton Campus which is an advocacy organization dedicated to helping persons especially children with disabilities.  I thought this was a great opportunity for us to help out and also for the kids to realize how fortunate they are.  Before the race we talked about why we were running, and I told them that when it felt hard they should think about how they were blessed to be able to run because there were kids who would never be able to do this. The other great thing is that there were signs all along the race course with pictures of some of the kids saying that the kids thanked you for running for them or other inspirational sayings.  I was reading them to Nic as we went by each of them.  (Quick aside on my outfit as I was trying some new gear:  The tank was from Run Pretty Far.  It was this awesome tissue weight fabric.  The website describes it as "butter soft", and it really is extremely comfortable.  The skirt was from Running Skirts.  Previously I had tried their running skirt and wasn't completely thrilled with it because I didn't like the brief bottom.  This time I tried the athletic skirt which worked much better for me because there is a 5" short attached.  I also really like the side pockets because it is easier to get things out of them while running.  I wish one was a zipper instead of velcro because I was worried about my key bouncing out.)

JD:  The race start was at 7am, nice and early but we had to get up extra early as to pick up our bibs and junkware.  So, this race had 0 heard it right.  Instead, they used the buildings attached to this campus and used the bathrooms in there.
(Heather:  I actually appreciated the nice clean indoor bathrooms in the buildings, but I found one in a not so crowded building on the edge of campus.)
Pre-race hugs from Dad
JD:  Hmm, 500 people, a handful of bathrooms, what could go wrong...well, I made sure I emptied out soon as to not wait for the huge lines and then went and hit about 1/1.5 miles to see how the legs were feeling.  All in all they were just ok, its was about 80+ in the AM and muggy and the legs felt heavy.  I figured I would suck it up and just try to get a decent run in.  So after the national anthem, Keira hits the PR horn and we are off.  I started in the back with the family as there was no chance in hell I was going to place in this bitch.  I saw at least 20+ PR singlets which just about meant every one of them were better than me. (Heather:  I was pretty glad that I wasn't trying to run hard when one of the PR women burned me in a full out sprint to be first in the bathroom lines.  I was just going to enjoy the race with the kids and not stress.)

JD:  Ok, so the race began and I started off in the back which meant I did a bunch of passing just to get my pace down which was slow for today.  First mile was a 7:04, usually, I live in the low 6's in these races but no speed work and all long runs have taken its toll.  The second mile was worse mostly b/c of the hills thrown in and was only got worse from there, a sluggish 7:23...The fourth mile was also a 7:23...something tells me I was not running my hardest...the last mile was a 6:56 and ended up with a 36:04 for 5:01 miles which gave me around a 7:11 pace.  In the end, I came in 42nd out of 194 in the male group and 8th out of 29th in my 40-44 age group - but I kinda expected this.  It wasn't a good run at all and if i wanted to place, I would have to drop 4 minutes off my time.  Yea, sure.  I have a nice easy 10 miles tomorrow at Bull Run Battlefield so i am looking forward to that.

Heather:  So my race experience was quite a bit different.  I'm usually an upper mid-pack runner, but when I run with the kids sometimes I get to experience life at the back of the pack.  It was not pretty out there with the heat and rolling terrain. Lots of runners were using me as a pacer and kept saying that they were listening to me encouraging Nic to help keep them going.  Both boys started out with me and started out a little fast.  So I was having to sprint and weave to keep up with them.  Nic was trying to annoy Zach by running just slightly ahead of him, and Zach just can't stand to be behind Nic for even a second.  I finally got them settled down, and Zach went on ahead.  During this time I also had to answer at least 10 times that yes, the kids really were going to finish the whole 8k, and no I wasn't going to drop them off somewhere along the way. Then I had to ignore the looks that folks were giving me and hope that no one called CPS on me.

 I had told Nic that we were going to do a solid 5K and the reevaluate where we were after that.  So he settled in and was running between 10-11:30 miles for the first 5K.  He was running most of the inclines at that point and was doing really well. The first mile was mainly winding through a neighborhood and down Battlefield Parkway.  Then we crossed over Rt 15.  Nic liked this because all of the traffic was stopped so he could run across a 4 lane road. He was excited to see the water stop at 2 miles and got some water and dumped some over his head to stay cool.  
Getting some hydration from the handheld that I brought along

At this point we were running behind a bunch of schools so he was checking out the playgrounds and football stadiums.  Somewhere around 2.5 miles, two way running traffic started with an out and back so I kept him occupied looking for Dad.  We cheered and waved when we saw JD go by.  Then we started looking for Zach.  We finally saw him when we were almost at the 3 mile point.  He was running well and told us that the turnaround and 3 mile point were up ahead.  
There's Zach on his own!

Nic was excited to not be too far behind Zach.  We hit the turn around and then cheered a little when we got to the 5K point.  Nic was still fine to run as we were on a down hill so we kept going running until we hit a hill and then we walked the hill.  After walking the hill we passed the water stop again.  He walked through this area.  Then we met up with a senior runner and his son who were running with cameras on their heads.  The son was nice enough to help encourage Nic to get to the 4 mile mark by offering to race him.  So they sprinted off while the elderly man and I laughed at how our "kids" were trying to kill us.  Nic was really excited when I told him that we had passed the first mile mark and that he had officially run his longest distance yet.  The last mile was harder for him, and we did a lot of run walking even though the terrain was pretty flat back into the neighborhood.  As we were nearing the campus, one of the race volunteers said that there was only 200 meters to go.  Nic said that's what he was saving his energy for and tore off in a sprint to the finish line. 
Finish line

 He had so much energy at the end that I think he probably could have run a little harder throughout, but I didn't want to push him on the first try at this distance.  He finished at 1:01:06, and Zach had finished about 10 minutes earlier at 51:45.  I'm pretty sure Zach could have run better with one of us pacing him because he said that he let himself walk some of the hills as it was hard doing it by himself. 

Zach still running after he crosses the line.

Nic trying to beat a baby! 

 The best part about the finish was that Keira from PR made a big deal of announcing the kids' names and ages.  She also mentioned that Zach and Nic were the youngest runners and that Nic had run more K's than his age today.  That really made them feel special.  The other runners at the finish were also great about cheering for the boys as they finished.  Nic is still talking about how some lady told him that he was her favorite runner.

Post run!

One of the quotes on the signs said, "If you have the courage to begin, you have the courage to succeed."  This was so true for the boys today.  We are really proud of them for taking on a new running challenge that they initiated on their own and for succeeding at it.  We'll go back to 5Ks for the rest of the year now.  Zach wants to try a 10K in the fall, but Nic will stay at the 8K and under distance for quite a while and keep improving his times.
Sporting their race shirts...we definitely won't lose them in those shirts!

 Of course, we can't have a post without the recovery Starbucks coffee and assorted food after the race!  The race was catered by Eggspectation and the brunch was supposed to be great, but the line was insane by the time the boys finished so we hit our usual post race stop.

JD:  We are running the Firecracker 5k on July 4th, then I have the 37th annual La Sportiva Hill Climb in Vail, CO.  Starts at 8500 feet and goes up to 10,300 for a 7.5 mile run.  Here is the course map for the run.  Nothing that exciting about the race and it was run well as always, PR does an awesome job at organizing road races.  I'm out.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Running in the Sky (Meadows)

We are trying something new with this blog post.  We are going to blog it jointly so you will see it switch back and forth between our styles. We will annotate when something is uniquely ours as opposed to a joint experience. (I think it's a neat idea so we don't duplicate a post for the same run.  JD isn't quite sold, but he will come around when he sees how awesome it is.)

  This morning we went on a trail running date at Sky Meadows State Park.  We have hiked this park in the past and have been saying for a while that we wanted to get out and run some of the trails.  JD needed some hill running for that upcoming Vail Hill Climb so we headed out early on Saturday morning.

Heather:  The clouds were gorgeous and settling right into the valley below the mountains as we got ready to start.
You can't see the total cuteness as I'm wearing my new Moms Run This Town shirt and JD is wearing his Run With Dad 5K shirt.

JD:  Before we headed out on the trail, I visited the port-o-dump.  As I do with every trail run , I like to rate the shitters available.  Usually, nature calls in the middle of a 20 mile run ,and you do what you can.  But I was lucky enough to find one at the park entrance.  Being a trail runner, you get used to having nothing and if you have something to crap in - it's a good day.  On this occasion, I saw one and said, awesome.  I opened the door and it looked like there was a massive fly infestation.  Now, I don't mind if you have crap on the seat, crap smeared on the walls, tiny insects crawling on the seat, piss all over the floor but when you are crapping and competing with the flies, it kind of sucked.  At least, I don't have to deliver and clean them out for a living; however, that is what you get when you run in the woods.  Next time, bring toilet paper JD - rookie mistake and knew it!  Luckily, it was a quick one and we were on our way up the mountain.
(Heather:  Aren't you glad that I had the phone taking photos of the beautiful clouds while he was having his portapotty adventure?)
 It was about 70 degrees when we headed out at 7:30 am.  We had the trails to ourselves for quite a while as the park wasn't officially open so the only ones out there were some folks who had camped overnight. 
So we start on the Piedmont Overlook Trail which is about 3/4 of a mile uphill and not a gradual uphill and no relief.  The run quickly turned into a fast hike as we still had a lot more running to do.  So we started at about 900 feet and at the end of the first mile we have ascended to almost 1400 feet.  Then we got onto the Ambassador Whitehouse Trail and climbed some more to peak elevation of 1800 feet by mile 2.5.  Needless to say this was more fast hiking than it was running.

We were treated to an amazing view at the top.

Love this!
After the peak on Ambassador Whitehouse we headed towards the Appalachian Trail.  Ambassador Whitehouse and Piedmont Trail were a lot of wet grass that really was dragging at our feet.  In addition, it was a bit rocky under the grass so it was difficult to pay attention to your footing.  We were pretty excited to get to this point as we had been hiking more than running and finally had some runnable trail in sight.

JD:  Here is a snapshot of me trying out my North Face 50k water bottle - umm, will be switching back to my other handheld.  It was difficult  to use and doesn't really hold that much water.  Would be perfect for shorter runs.
Heather:  I had also tested this water bottle out on a previous training run and given it much less generous reviews.  I didn't like how it fit my hand.  It irritated my thumb, and it was too rigid and the water didn't flow well from it.  To be fair, we hadn't paid for this one.  It was a giveaway as part of the race premiums so I guess we shouldn't have expected much.
Nathan hydration vest rocks!
We had two choices on this section of the Appalachian Trail, going right would have sent us north and linked us up with Old Trail which is what we had originally planned to do.  We chose the incorrect direction and headed south at this point so we missed about 2 miles of our originally planned route which we will try to get in next time. The Appalachian Trail section was pretty short and fairly flat but rocky in some parts.

We loved our trail choices and really want to explore this section of the trail a lot more.  Seeing that it was a little over 50K to Harpers Ferry now has me obsessed with the idea of running the trail from Sky Meadows to Harpers Ferry.  This sounds like an awesome section and something that I really want to plan with some awesome trail running friends for next spring.  For today, we had to head back towards the North Ridge Trail. 

Heather:  At this point, we had been running for about an hour so I enforced a fuel break of Honey Stinger Chocolate Waffles.

  This section of the trail was pretty much all downhill, but it was also pretty rocky.  We were really moving on this section of the trail getting down into the 9 minute/mile range and flying over the rocky terrain.  We weren't on North Ridge for long before we hit South Ridge and kept descending, but the descent was leveling out and was now more gradual.  We were still moving at a pretty good clip.  We finally got down to the bottom of the trail and hit the Snowden Loop.  This was a nice shaded one mile loop through the forest.  It was fairly flat in the first half, but then it had a gradual climb at the end.  There was a ruin of an old house that had been back in that area.  We stopped briefly to read the interpretive sign and then moved on.

Heather: I also paused to see a turtle on the trail, but JD kept on running ahead.  I don't think he was impressed with my turtle spotting. 

We came out of the loop and hit Gap Run Trail which was basically flat and runnable near a nice little stream. It varied between sun and shade, but it wasn't too hot out this morning.  Somewhere on Gap Run we came up behind a guy who was hiking.  We had been making a lot of noise and talking the whole time that we were behind him so it's not like we were sneaking up on him.  When we went to pass him on the left side, he leaped in the air like a startled deer.   Some of the hikers out there are a little odd.  It got a little confusing at this point because the trail markings were a little unclear, but then we saw the entrance to the park and the sign for Woodpecker Lane so we started back on Woodpecker Lane towards the Visitor Center parking lot.

We finished up on Boston Mill Road and into the parking lot.  We now realize that at Gap Run we should have gone left instead of right.  Going left would have joined us back up with North Ridge and let us run down to the Visitors Center on that trail, but the route that we took was OK too.

Overall we had a great morning on the trail and are looking forward to doing this again.
Elevation for first 7 miles of the run

Heather:  I have been using a new hair tie that I want to review because I'm so in love with it.  It's from Run Pretty Far.  They are pretty colors of ribbon with the Run Pretty Far slogan in cursive on them.  The ribbon is stretchy and velvet backed so it doesn't slip and holds the ponytail perfectly in place without tearing or creasing the hair like a elastic band does.  It is also not too tight and very comfortable to wear for long periods of time plus they look a lot cuter than elastic bands.  The best part is that they are only $5 for a set of 5 ties. 

Sunday, June 16, 2013

PR Run with Dad 5k

So today, the boys and mom did the Run with Dad 5k sponsored by PR.  I took some time off after my 50k a few weeks ago and only ran about 10 miles this week so I was rather fresh but Zach wanted me to run with him.  Thus, I did not try to PR but looking back, I didn't think it would be possible given just b/c I had done ZERO speed work.  So we get to South Lakes High School in Fairfax today.  Hit the track for a small warm up and stretch...Run was at 8am and it was around 73F out and felt pretty good.  Apparently, we missed the national anthem b/c I didn't hear anything.  Zach who was 8 ran this course back in February and got a 30:06ish so he said he wanted to break that and his overall PR which was 28:56.  Out of the start, we were a doing 8:30 mile but it was hard to go faster given how small the trail was and all the people which included those ridiculous push strollers.  His first mile was 9:06 which was good since he need somthing like a 9:20 to beat his PR...Mile 2 was not good and he had got a stich in his right side.  I told him to slow down a little bit here and try and regroup.  I know the feeling but there is nothing you can do expect tell him to suck it up.  Mile 2 was around a 10 min mile....Moving on to mile 3, he tried to pick it up but ended up with a 9:57.  In the end, he got a 29:06 which was about a minute better than when he ran it in Feb.  Nic ran it in 33 minutes and was really proud of him to...I do believe he was the only 6 year old in the field.  Personally, I think he was sand-bagging it and could run it faster if he wanted to but hey, you can't push them or they will hate running.  During the first AS, zach accidentally cut off some old man getting water.  The old man shoots a nasty comment at me  - "He better watch where he is going or he is going to get crushed"..I told him not to worry about him and that I have run a race or two so I knew what we were doing.  This just illustrates the difference between these cheesy 5ks and the ultras I run.  Every tom, dick, and harry who think they are elite runners doing 10 min miles feel they can bark at some 8 year old and get away with it.    I was so pissed I was going to catch up to him and really say something but didn't as it would set a horrible example for Zach.  Plus, I knew this is the type of crowd you get at these races.  Zach ran a decent race but didn't PR which was no big deal.  One thing he did learn which I don't think he realized is running with  a stitch the whole way...Mentally, that is tough and it was good practice.  All in all, we had a good time ...from what I hear from Heather, some woman told her she was pushing Nicolas to hard...I almost laughed when I told her my story...Some people just need to mind their own damn business.  Zach said he wants to do an 8k in a few weeks which is about 4.9 miles and will be the longest he will have run...

Running with Dad (and two reviews)

For Father's Day we kicked off the morning with PR Run with Dad 5K.  As usual PR put on another great event.  This is the same course that they used for Run Your Heart Out in February.  There is a track start at South Lakes High School and then a nice little jaunt through some paved nature trails, and back to a track finish.  There are some short climbs throughout but nothing major.  The boys had done this course in February.  Nickel had a 36:42 (bad race for him), and ZMan just missed a sub-30 run.  Today they both had much better races. ZMan ran with JD and finished with 29:06 just short of his PR. The climbs were a bit much for him today.  Nickel ran a great race (second fastest 5K ever) and finished in 33:06 shaving over 3 minutes from his February time and was the fastest 6 year old!  We were very proud of both boys for doing such a great job.  I am also extremely thankful and blessed to have such an incredible husband and father for the boys.  It was wonderful that we all got to celebrate this way.  We had a fun race although the course was a little crowded with all of the strollers. 

 (Unfortunately, that's as good as it gets for photos.  The race photographer didn't manage to get any good ones of us running with the kids.)

Product reviews:  Today I tried out a new head band from Hot Headz.  They make custom headbands.   The ribbon on the headband was nice quality, and the embroidery was well done.  The ultimate headband test for me is whether it slips while running.  The headband was perfect.  It was really comfortable (not too tight), but it stayed in place really well.  The velvet backing held it in in place easily, and I didn't have to fuss with it once I put it on.  It also held back all of my little flyaway short pieces in the front really well plus it was really cute.

Last week on the trail half, I tried out the SmartWool socks that I got as a premium for running North Face.  I had the PhD Run Light Micro in gray.  They were the perfect height and also a great weight for summer.  They were very light and seemed cool throughout.  They also dried very quickly (within 10 minutes) after getting completely soaked in a water crossing.  I had no problems with blistering or chafing throughout the run.  I will definitely be buying more of these for summer trail running.  I prefer thin running socks so the light cushioning on these socks really suited me.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Only Half Crazy!

"Girls compete with each other. Women empower one another."  has been going around on Facebook as a running photo.  I love this quote so much because the awesome women of  Moms Run This Town have been putting this into action the past two weeks.

So I set out this weekend to earn Half Fanatic status by completing my second half marathon in a 7 day period.  I could probably have qualified based on halfs run in the past year, but I liked this challenge of two in a week period and the challenge that both of them were trail halfs.

Half #2

 The boys and JD were kind enough to get up early again to be my support crew, and I really love and appreciate that they do this for me.  I know it's not fun for them to hang around in a parking lot for 3 hours while I'm out running on the trails. 

This was a brand new course this year by EX2 Adventures at Fountainhead Regional Park.  I have run at Fountainhead a lot including a previous half so I figured that I knew what was in store for me.  The race director had a great challenge set up for us.  "Both the half marathon and 10K are out and back courses that start with a short .5 mile road section at Fountainhead Regional Park before heading north along the Bull-Run Occoquan Trail (Blue Trail). The course will extend  to Bull Run Marina for the Half Marathon. The northbound direction of the run will feature several fun single and double-track side trails and the southbound direction will be entirely on the Blue Trail, which parallels the Occoquan Reservoir."  I had never run the entire section out to Bull Run Marina and did not realize that it is just non-stop rolling hills.
I had planned to meet up with a bunch of the moms from MRTT most of whom I had never met before.  We met up and took some pre-race photos.

Then we had our usual pre-race brief from the back of the race director's truck.  He gave his usual abbreviated countdown and sounded the horn.  I decided to go out pretty easy because I wanted to be able to run strong later in the race.  I was kind of thinking about 2:40 and hoping for a PR, but I had no idea what the course looked like so I didn't really know.
Headed out at the start

We hit the trail after the little 0.5 mile loop on the road.  Then we started to hit climbs.
The first of many and early on so I was still "running" hills.

The humidity was pretty bad in the woods as well which was unexpected.  Luckily this race was great and had aid every ~2 miles so we could stay hydrated easily.  The trail was gorgeous, and I was really enjoying the run living up to the Brooks Run Happy slogan on my shirt.

 Eventually at one of the aid station a bunch of the moms grouped up and stayed together for the last half of the run.  We had a great time bonding and pushing each other to keep going and running as hard as we could on the flats and downhills.

The awesome part of this group is that I had never met any of these women before that morning, and we were still working together to empower each other to get through the race.  As the hills continued, I realized that my time goal was out the window, but that I could still try to get in under 3 hours.  We turned around at Bull Run Marina and headed back.  There were several really wet stream crossings that made for squishy shoes for a good part of the run.
Bull Run Marina 

One thing that I did not do well on this run was fuel.  I should have been fueling regularly at the aid stations, but I wasn't.  I did remember to take an Endurolyte at the 8.5 mile aid station and a few Honey Stinger chews, but I wasn't as consistent as I was the previous week.  We hit the last aid station and were really pushing each other to get to the end.
Can I be on the cover of Trail Runner?
Of course, the race director had to hit us with one last uphill and drag us by the graveyard when we were at the height of our misery.
Just bury me here if I can't make it to the finish
I had also found one of my best running friends out on the trail, and we decided to push it in and cross the finish line together.  We knew that we were close to 3 hours.
Dora and I in the chute

We crossed at 2:59 so we hit that goal, and I made my usual goal of getting back before the awards started.  It was not a good time for the trail half, but I felt I did my best given the course and the humidity.  I truly enjoyed the course and the experience.  I am also now officially in the asylum as Half Fanatic #4453!!

Next up is Run With Dad 5K on Father's Day.  Training for Drake Well Marathon is going well.  I did an 18 miler today which was all sorts of crazy due to the weather (7 miles on treadmill and then 11 laps around the neighborhood because I didn't want to risk getting caught too far from the house in a violent storm).  Also tried out the Honey Stinger Chocolate Waffle as mid-run fuel and liked it a lot.  It seemed to sit well and also made me feel like I had eaten some real food which is what I seem to crave late in a long run.

Running Dirty!


Pre-race photo

Daddy stayed clean today because he earned a well deserved rest weekend after his 50K
About a year ago, I did my first Run Amuck and the boys did a mini Run Amuck.  I'm normally not a fan of obstacle or mud runs.  I think they are a big gimmick, overcrowded, not necessarily safe, and I'd rather get dirty on the trails.  I make an exception for Marine Corps Run Amuck because the Marines always put on a great and safe race, and I love that they make it a family friendly event.
Our shoes were clean when we started

 The boys had talked for a year about doing this race again.  Zman was signed up for the full 3.5 mile course, and Nickel had originally been signed up for the mini course (1.5 miles).  Nickel changed his mind race morning and wanted to go for the full thing so the three of us lined up to start the full course.  We were treated to a Marine Corps band as they raised the colors (apparently the building in the background is the building that is in the intro to the old TV show Major Dad).
We were in the first wave to start, but we waited around forever.  This is the one big negative that I have about this race is that they started the race with an inflatable obstacle.  It had a wall to get over, but because of the rain the night before it was slippery and no one could really get over the wall so it was taking forever to get people through.  I know they were trying to spread the runners out, but it was really irritating.

Anyway, once we got through the inflatable mess.  I looked at the boys and said "Let's do what we do best.  Run!"  So we took off down the road at a good pace passing a bunch of people who were walking already within the first half mile.  The next part of the race was so much fun.  First we hit a giant slip and slide into Butler Stadium.  I actually wanted to repeat this obstacle because it was so much fun, but we kept moving.  We ran the stadium stairs and then hit a small tire drill.  Then we got to rappel by rope into the bottom of the stadium and then run back up the stairs.  The boys were handling this like pros and were keeping up with me.  Then we went under the fire engine hose.
See how much fun we are having!

Then we hit the trails and were making pretty good time on the trail run.  We did an a-frame and hurdled some hay bales and then hit the first PT station which was flutter kicks.
ZMan taking off after the A-Frame wall

Then we hit another tire drill and a tunnel crawl.

There was a small outbreak of tears at this point due to some mud in an eye and a little consternation over being so dirty, but we worked through it and were having fun again by the time we hit the water station around 1.5 miles.  Then it got real.  I knew this would be the hardest part for the kids because we hit Firebreak Trail which features some climbs which are daunting for little legs.  We scaled the first one with not much problem and hit the first water point.  It was pretty deep, but ZMan made it through on his own.  I helped Nickel through and had to carry him in a few deep parts. 

Zman making it through the mud pit

Then we hit Stadium trail and did a Spider Web which was pretty cheesy, but the kids thought it was fun.  The second PT station was jumping jacks and then the ammo can carry.  The Marines gave Nickel a pass because the cans were 10 lbs each.  Zman could have taken a pass as well, but he wanted to do it so he grabbed both cans and made it through the carry with them.  I was shocked and proud of him!  Nickel got to pass the monkey bars because they were too high and far apart for his little arms.  Zman got a boost by a Marine and made it across with minimal help.  Then came a series of hills which seemed to go on and on, but the kids did well with them and kept pushing.
Nickel waiting at the top of the hill for us.

You can see the second mud pit at the bottom of the hill.

 Our shoes were really heavy and muddy at this point, and it was getting hard for little legs to make it up the hills.  Luckily some of the hills had cargo nets because they were pretty slippery.  Finally we hit the last water station and saw our friends who were working there.  We rinsed some mud off of our shoes and then headed back out for the last little piece. We hit push ups at the last PT station, went through some wrecking balls and had to belly crawl through more mud.
Ready to belly crawl through mud.

 Then we slid down a mudslide and headed to the finish.

Nickel on the mudslide

We got Run Amuck finisher coins and towels at the end.  

My only other complaint about the race is that they didn't have any facilities to hose off at the end.  In previous years we have hit a fire hose obstacle at the end of the race to rinse all of the mud off.  So we were a bit of a mess at the end.
They did have nice tents where we could change, but we were so filthy that it was almost pointless to change.  I also liked that we could donate our shoes.
Changing tents and shoe donation bin

Overall we had a really fun time.  I would do it again if the kids wanted to do it because it was a fun family experience, but I wouldn't do it again as a personal experience.