Let it first be said that I’m not about getting messy. Both my sister and my friend Jeff (this young man to my left) always tell me that it’s the reason I get sick as seriously as I do- no immune system.

Whether they’re right or not, I think I made up for 25 years of being careful in just under an hour this past weekend. Warrior Dash 2012 was a race I signed up for on a whim, as a means to do something I’ve never done before, and to hang out with Jeff when he came down from Colorado for a weekend.

From the beginning, it was a serious challenge. Of all the running surfaces there are to love or hate, I hate sand the most. As I told Jeff during the race, there are other things I really enjoy doing in sand. Like sitting, lying down, and sleeping. But running? No. And as much as I hate it, my calves hate it more.

That is, until I hit the mud. Uggggh. I tweaked my knee right off the back trying to maneuver through the sludge. It slowed me down at first, but ultimately it came down to this: I didn’t collectively drive 6 hours to walk a 5k, especially one as unique as this. I ran through the inconvenient, but not dangerous, pain, and survived 3.1 miles of madness. Among the highlights:

The “over/under” obstacle: over waist high barriers, under barbed wire. As I huffed and puffed, trying to negotiate an aching knee and avoid scrapes from the barbed wire, I got some encouragement from the runner next to me…burning through the course with a prosthetic leg. Her perseverance carried me through!

  • Unexpectedly realizing the race involved swimming. Saw people sloshing through water, and thought “Cool, let me get on in there.” As I sank to shoulder level, I was quickly reminded of my height, and gave it my all to swim through!
  • Running up to the wall scaling obstacle with Jeff at my side…only to see a guy dressed as Batman scaling the wall ahead of us. For those who watched the original Batman TV series and first movie, you get why this is so awesome.
  • The final obstacle- big ol’ mud pit. In traditional Parker fashion, Jeff tucked and rolled right in, getting quite the reaction from the spectators near the finish. My first instinct? To yell at the same crowd “He’s getting in my car after!”

Ultimately, we made it through. Jeff and I have been through grad school, comps, and the job hunt together, and now can add trudging through sand, mud and fire to that impressive list of feats. Thanks for giving me a once-in-a-lifetime experience in the mud. I hope you don’t have dysentery.

And now, the phrase of the weekend, as coined by Christopher Turk:

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