Monday, March 2, 2015

A Story + 3 Products You NEED if You Like Mud/Obstacle Course Races

Getting Dirty

Generally I hate getting dirty. Anyone who has ever heard my father tell a story of my childhood knows, I was the kind of girl to play with barbies. My bedroom was pink and I slept in a canopy bed. In short, I was daddy's little princess. These days I dress a little geekier, or as a friend would say, "you're kind of professor chic, J.Crew and Prada puked on you but when you talk we can tell you are one of us (geeky that is - insert elbow patches here).

Knowing about my childhood, it may or may not be hard to imagine, if you do not know me well enough, that I have my moments where I don't mind getting really muddy.  If you are like me and don't mind getting a little dirty every once and a while, then you will love adventure races.

Adventure races are basically muddy 5-10k runs with obstacle courses. Are you intrigued? I'm guessing you know at least one cross-fit friend who has mentioned something like this, but if not I recommend you watch a Tough Mudder video for inspiration and then start your first mud running experience off with something a little easier like a Gladiator run or Warrior Dash. Both of those races should take you under a hour, will be easy for most people (you will feel it the next day), and they both average 5k.

Taking on a Challenge

If you have already accepted your first Tough Mudder Challenge and succeeded, but are wanted to move forward with even harder athletic obstacles checkout Goruk, Spartan races, Tri-Adventure races, Maumee, or any number of other races that include a mixture of hiking, biking, ice picking, snowboarding, biking, rock climbing, bungee jumping, zip lining, followed by obstacle after obstacle. Some races are still 3-4 hour races others may take a week or more to complete.

I'm still at the 4 hour 10-13 mile Tough Mudder level. If you have surpassed me, bravo. If not, bravo. Either way, if you like adventure racing I'd love to connect with you on social media. Send me a hello. I'm @Desaraev just about everywhere except YouTube, where I'm DesaraeV6

Please note: At the time of this writing, Salomon and Mad Grip have never sponsored me, given me money, or sent me free products. I do, however receive a few pennies if you purchase something from Amazon by clicking on the pictures or links provided. If you enjoy my blog and reviews, please support my writing habit by buying the products via those links (if you plan to buy them).

Salomon Low Trail Gaiters

Price: $23.95 - $92.35

I first bought Salomon Low Trail Gaiters for my first Tough Mudder. They worked wonderfully to keepy gunk off my feet and out of my shoes, for the first two hours. At one point I had slipped, slided, iced, and crawled my way through so much water, mud, and earth that they started unsnapping anytime I got into mud slides.

The Salomon Low Trail Gaiters may come unsnapped but alway resnapped, even so, I wish Salomon had decided to use zippers, ties, buttons, or snaps instead of velcro for this product.

If you sew, like me, this should be easy enough to fix that (I still haven't).

Even though I hate the velcro on these, I'd still recommend purchasing these if you plan to hike, mud run, bike, or do anything dirty. They will work very well unless you spend 4+ hours in watery mud. Even then, I didn't loose mind and finished the challenge with slightly less gunk in my shoes that I normally would. Having good mud shoes also helps. Which brings me to my next recommendation.

Mad Grip Pro Palm Glove 100

These come in grey, black, orange, yellowish-puke orange, and red. I skimmed tons of other gloves and reviews before making this purchase. The upside of the Mad Grip Pro Palm Glove 100 is that they are inexpensive, work well, and if you hate them you didn't spend too much money that you will begrudge buying something else. 

Depending on the color and where you buy the Mad Grip Pro, they will cost you somewhere between $7-$20. That is about the same price you would spend on a nice pair of gardening gloves, but these gloves offer a nice rubbery grip that will keep the mud off your hands, electricity from biting you, and give you a little extra grip on the incredibly slippery monkey bars. 

Even if you hate the Mad Grip Pro gloves (you probably wont hate them - I wont guarantee it though so you can't sue me for the $7) you should bring gloves to adventure races.

Some adventure races have plants on the ground that you do not want to touch, a lot of races require you to climb hills (again with the wild plants that may do more than scratch soft skin - some itch and suck to touch), and for various reasons you may want a good grip that your hands can no longer offer because they've been in and out of the mud all day.

 I've attended the Living History Farms race for 3 years and every year they have areas that you have to crawl over trees, up hills with burning nettles, and through thorny bushes. I'm not a fast runner, so I'm generally one of the last people to get to the hills that are thoroughly trampled and wet. I'm also short.

For two years in a row, at the end of the Living History Farms run I've had a leg or two get stuck nearly to my thigh. If it wasn't for the gloves and graciousness of gentlemen willing to pull me up and out I'm not sure I could have gone forward or turned around. Buy the damn gloves, and thank me later.

Tread system displaces water and oil. Seamless reinforcement in critical abrasion areas for extended durability and vibration dampening. Pre-curved rubber construction avoids bunching and conforms to natural shape of hand.
  • 50% rubber 50% polyester
  • Superior durability and comfort compared to nitrile or rubber dipped gloves.
  • Seamless cushioning prevents blistering and hand fatigue.
  • Machine Washable
  • Made in China

Salomon Women's Speedcross 3 Trail Running Shoe

 The Salomon's Speedcross 3 have obviously been updated since I purchased them. I hate the color in this picture. Me Speedcross 3 mud shoes are a bright pink (they still come in other colors). I LOVE these shoes.

They make men's shoes too, but I'm not a man and can not tell you for sure if they are as good (I assume they are).

I bought these shoes at the beginning of my first season as a sponsored adventure race athlete (yes I'm slow, but I blog a lot and love to exercise so a few companies have graciously supported my addiction to sports). Last year I ran 15 races, the year prior I ran 5. So even if I'm slow, short, and have yet to win.. I've still ran enough of these races (without dying, getting too hurt, or killing myself) that I think it is safe to say I have enough experience to make solid recommendations. 

Salomon makes great shoes. They cost a little bit more (okay a lot more) than cheap shoes, and probably the same if not more than Nike, Adidas, or Puma. Salomon is made for people who like sports. They are quality shoes and I've ran in just about every other major brand of running shoes (maybe not all but a lot... but let's not dwell on my excessive shoe collection).

In the past, some shoes have given me shin splints. Yes, that's right I'm rightfully blaming the shoe. It is generally, according to my doctor, the fault of your shoes if you get shin splints. Note: I'm not a doctor and this is by no means medical advice, seek a doctor if you have leg pains.

These shoes stand out with there thick bottoms, excellent grip, and quality craftsmanship. The Speedcross 3, also have pull clip laces. So you do not have to worry about your shoes coming untied, at all. They pull closed, lock, and then you put the excess between your laces and enjoy the run! When you are done with the race just drop them in the washing mashing with your other muddy clothes and they will come out looking as good as new. I recommend hosing everything off outside first, if you like your washing machine.
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Senior UI/UX web designer at a large-scale IT contractor for defense, intelligence, and civilian government solutions. Adventurist and certified Yoga / Barre Instructor. Love aviation, books, and travel.Prefer long light hearted series in mystery, comedy, fantasy, and romance.
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1 comment:

    Engaging in sports like obstacle racing or padel is vital for overall health. Quality facilities not only provide the space but also foster community and skill development, ensuring a fulfilling sporting experience.


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