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What to Wear for a Mud Run


What to wear for a mud run

So, you’ve signed up for your first mud run…now what?  Well, one of the most often asked questions from first-timers is: WHAT DO I WEAR FOR A MUD RUN!?!?  The truth is, you can wear just about anything or next to nothing.  I have never come across any “enforced” rules regarding things you can’t wear, except for full-on nakedness. Although I’ve seen some pretty elaborate costumes, the majority of mud runners wear your standard t-shits, shorts and shoes.  I’ve noticed that the top athletes that are focused on winning the event usually streak through the course wearing trail shoes and running shorts (you know, the really short kind that make non-runners slightly uncomfortable to be around), and that’s about it.  It’s easy to do when you have rock hard abs and chiseled arms and pecs.  For the rest of us that are “mostly” in shape, might I suggest a shirt?

Knowing what to wear for a mud run is pretty important, if you ask me. Usually the course is designed to push your limits and test your toughness. You really don’t want any wardrobe malfunctions to impede your progress. I’ve seen girls start the race in sexy yoga pants only to finish looking like a hot mess, with their pants completely stretched out barely able to walk, let alone run.  The soggy t-shirt that is stretched to the knees is also a pretty common sight.  Knowing what your uniform is made of is key.


What to wear for a mud run:

  1. Shirts and shorts should be made of  polyester or spandex (Dri-fit blend).   Do not wear anything made of cotton, as it soaks up water, adds weight and stretches.
  2. Spandex compression shorts.  These can be worn under your regular running shorts.  I highly recommend a pair of these, as they do a good job of keeping the mud and gravel out of your crotch and minimize chaffing.
  3. Running shoes.  Most people will recommend a good trail runner.  I wouldn’t advise going out and buying a new pair just for the event, but if you have an older pair ready for retirement, and you want them to go out in a blaze of glory, then use those.  I’ve run several 10 – 12 mile mud events in a pair of old road shoes with no issue.  Don’t wear cleats thinking your are going to get better traction.  You won’t.  Don’t try to duct-tape them on (for fear of losing them in the mud), it doesn’t work.
  4. Gloves are optional.  They work great on low crawls and going over walls.  They suck on monkey-bars.  Not a necessary item.
  5. Costumes.  If you are into dressing up…the sky is the limit!  People are very creative when it comes to the costumes.  Costumes are optional, but encouraged.

Final note:  Don’t wear anything that you don’t want destroyed.  You are going to take a beating…and so will your clothes.



The Fun Scale

Tough_Mudder_Walk_the_PlankEver since I started capturing some of our adventurous activities, I’ve been asked, “What is type 2 fun anyway?” The short answer that I give has become our motto, “It’s fun when it’s done!” Basically, it’s an activity that is not fun at the time you are doing it–but you remember it being fun. That is type 2 fun in it’s simplest form, but it can actually get rather complex, rather quickly. What is fun?  What is fun for one person is not necessarily fun for another. As you can see, it is very subjective. There are actually three types of fun. If you are not aware of this already, let me introduce you to The Fun Scale:


The Fun Scale

Type 1:  An activity that is fun while you are doing it.

Type 2: An activity that is not fun, but you remember it being fun.

Type 3: An activity that was never fun and usually involves near death experiences or conditions so horrific that your life is put into jeopardy.


Now, in my opinion, the majority of people set out in search of type 1 fun.  This is the purest form of fun and the activity is enjoyable when it’s actually happening.  People want to enjoy themselves whether it be hiking, camping, biking, running, climbing, paddling, etc.  The list goes on and on.

So, when does type 1 fun become type 2?  This usually happens when the type 1 activity has gone on too long or has become so uncomfortable or painful that you hate it.  Type 2 fun is not fun.  Normal people usually don’t set out to find type 2 fun, it just happens.  The sneaky thing about type 2 fun is that, as time passes you start to remember it as being fun — the type 1 kind.  That is a dangerous thing, as you tend to repeat the same activities that were not fun at the time.

Type 3 fun is the furthest away you can get from actually having fun.  It usually involves extremely poor planning, bad judgement, or circumstances out of your control.  The phase “don’t die, don’t die, don’t die…” is usually running through the mind of someone experiencing type 3 fun.

To help illustrate the differences between the types 1 and 2  fun, here are some examples:

Type 1: Running in a light rain in the summer
Type 2: Running in a hail storm

Type 1: Hiking in a beautiful forest
Type 2: Hiking in a beautiful forest, getting temporarily lost, and ending up doubling your planned mileage… in the cold

Type 1: Rock climbing
Type 2: Rock climbing in the dark

Type 1: Morning  jog
Type 2: Obstacle course races (and yet we keep signing up)

Type 1: Road trips
Type 2: Family road trips  🙂

Like I said before, this is all very subjective.  A lot depends on your sense of adventure and pain tolerance.  Interestingly enough, the most memorable experiences usually involve type 2 fun and are the stories that are shared  around the campfire for years to come.  The important thing is that we’re out there looking for fun.  Even type 2 fun is fun… at least we remember it being fun.

Share your type 2 experiences in the comments below!




White Water Rafting on the Kings River

Kings River rafting

On day six of our ten day family road trip through California, we had planned our first white water rafting adventure on the Kings River, and what an adventure it was!  After some extensive research, we chose Kings River Expeditions (KRE) as our guide service to navigate us through the cold and turbulent water.  My wife was pretty stressed out, as she had never done anything like this before and was fearful for the safety of our three children (ages 10-14).  The Kings River is a class 2-3 ride with plenty of excitement for first-timers.

We arrived at the KRE base-camp which is located about an hour and a half East of Fresno, California.  We were immediately welcomed by the friendly staff and were provided drinks and appetizers while we waited for other rafters to arrive.   After a thorough safety class on how to survive a raging river if the worst-case-scenario were to happen, my wife was not feeling any better about the day’s activity.  The rest of us were VERY excited!

The owner hosed the entire group down with cold river water just before boarding an old school bus for the 10 mile trek up a windy, dirt road.  Needless to say, we stayed nice a cool during the trip even though there was no A/C on the bus and outside temps were~95°.  Even the bus ride was exciting.  We approached a very narrow, single-lane bridge spanning the Kings River, and due to its length the bus was not able to make the turn on the other side.  Jeb (KRE owner, guide, bus driver) expertly maneuvered the 35 foot bus over the bridge… IN REVERSE!!!…WITH NO HANDS!!!…and he wasn’t  doing it slowly either.  If this guy could guide a raft as well as he could drive a bus, I knew we were in good hands.

Upon arriving at the river, we could see all the rafts were in the water ready to go.  Groups were assigned to rafts and guide assignments were made.  We were paired with Stacey, the KRE staff manager, and I could tell from the beginning she had been down this river more than just a few times.  In fact, Stacey was rafting this river as a teenager and has been a river guide for over 15 years.  She had also recently accrued some international experience in Morocco.

White water rafting

Stacey demonstrated all the paddling techniques that we would be using that day, and we took a few minutes to practice before we headed out on the wild river.  I could see the anticipation on everyone’s faces as we approached the first set of rapids.  Following our guide’s command, we paddled forward to gain momentum.  Stacey expertly put the raft on a perfect course, and we blasted through.  It was everything I had hoped for.  The water was white, it was rapid and it was powerful!  For us first timers, it was quite a rush, and could I see the excitement in my kids’ eyes and the fear leave my wife’s.  From that point on, it was 100% pure fun!

The Kings River is a drop-pool river which means (just like it sounds) it drops, as you shoot the rapids, into a calm pool of flat water.  This was really nice as it gave us time to set up for the next set of rapids.  We switched spots several times during the trip and made sure the kids got their turn up front in the action.  We even put one right up front in the middle, hanging on to a rope.  I think that was one of the favorite spots.

Our 10 mile journey lasted just over 4 hours, and we hit over a dozen rapids.  Some of  the rapids had crazy names like Banzai, Tiger’s Tail and Fang Tooth, but our favorite, hands down, was the very last set called Rooster Tail.  Stacey steered the raft with precision right into the heart of the raging water.  We dropped into a hole and then blasted through the crashing waves.  Our raft was completely filled with water!

Entering Rooster Tail rapids

White water rafting

Going down…

White water rafting


White water rafting


White water rafting

…blasting through!

White water rafting

We’re alive!!!

White water rafting

Not only was this the favorite day of the entire ten day excursion, this was the favorite moment, captured by a KRE photographer.

Completion of the Rooster Tail rapids marked the end of our rafting adventure, as we had arrived back at the shores of the KRE camp.  We changed into dry clothes and then gathered back in the kitchen area for an amazing dinner and video of the days events, which was very cool!  These guides can really do it all.  Not only can they steer a raft through raging white water, but apparently, they are also gourmet chefs.  We had some delicious chicken, steak, rice pilaf and salad, and it was ALL good!  Did I mention ice cream sundaes?

We were sad when the day came to an end, but it was an incredible afternoon, an experience that my family and I will never forget.  The staff at KRE made an amazing experience even better.  It’s hard to top the adrenaline of a white water rafting trip, but the amazing experience at the KRE camp was the icing on the cake.  From the minute we got there, we were taken care of.  They made the entire day enjoyable.  The guides focus on two things:  safety and fun.

I was so very impressed with our guide, Stacey, and how well she knew that river.  She kept us right on target every step of the way.  This was one of our biggest adventures as a family, and I owe it to our expert river guide.  She kept us safe while providing a thrilling/chilling roller-coaster of a  ride.  Our only regret was that we didn’t sign up for the two day trip!





Things that sucked:

  • The road back into Twin Pines (KRE base camp) is pretty windy.  Kids about lost their breakfast.

Things that rocked:

  • Beautiful river
  • Great rapids, especially for first-timers
  • Amazing staff
  • Food was great!
  • Free T-shirts
  • Awesome photos (for purchase)
  • Awesome video put to music (for purchase)
  • Free overnight camping
  • Bus driver skills!

Conclusion:  White water rafting is just as fun as I imagined.  Even the wife loved it!  The kids think we are doing it every year, and if we are anywhere near the Kings  River, we’ll be calling up KRE to guide us!