Sunday, August 16, 2015

The Well-Read Runner: Vino and the Beasts 5K recap!

This weekend's race was quite different from any other I've done before.  It was my first obstacle run!  I had no idea what to expect going in, but it was a great day and has definitely piqued my interest in doing more of them in the future.

Several months back, one of my fellow moms in our local MOMS Club chapter suggested that we form a team for the Vino and the Beasts 5K run.  The run takes place at Three Brothers Winery in the Finger Lakes (just over an hour from us), is advertised as fun and team-oriented, and there's wine.  (Did I mention the wine?  So much wine.)  It did not take much to convince 6 of us to sign on for the race.

I have been leery of obstacle/mud runs for a few reasons.  First and foremost are stories like this one, about mud runners who get vomity gross infections after ingesting mud from the runs. GAH.  I am such a germaphobe to begin with, that does not sound like a good time for me.  Second issue I have is with obstacles that seem potentially life-threatening.  Like that ice bath you have to jump into at Tough Mudder.  That's got to be bad for your heart, right??  And the electroshock thing?  Just no.

However, Vino and the Beasts sounded low-key enough that no one would be dying from electroshock, and I could hopefully keep all the mud out of my mouth.  :)

The race started at 11am, but our heat wasn't until 12:20, so we rolled into the winery just after 11.  There was a decent crowd, but parking was easy and because there were so many heats (over 15 of them, and only a few teams in each) there was almost no line for registration, bag check, or porta-potties.  I was a little annoyed at the extra charges ($5 for parking is one thing but $5 for bag check??  Seriously??), but overall everything was organized and easy to navigate.
Pre-race by Cayuga Lake and still so fresh and so clean, clean!
Our 6-woman team (me, Amanda, Erin, Emily, Jessica, and Aimee...a better list of popular girl names from the 1980's there never was) had a range of fitness levels: a few regular runners of varying speeds, a few who did a lot of interval/body pump/etc training, a few who didn't train and were just planning to wing it.  :)  We all agreed that we would stay together though.  No soldier left behind!

Right before our start time, we were offered a shot of wine: YAY.  Great way to start the race!  Our heat started and off we ran.  We did about a half mile before the first obstacle showed up, the Walk of Shame: basically two upside-down V-shaped boards that we had to walk up and then down.  Not to tough.  That was the theme for most of the obstacles, as we found most of them to be a laid-back break from the run rather than a tough challenge to overcome.  Appropriate for a wine-themed run, I'd say!

Two more obstacles followed shortly (some hay bales covered in a tarp that we had to crawl through, and a rope web to climb), then a water stop, and then came the longest period of straight running.  Much of it was on wooded trail, which was beautiful, but a large section of it was also through a corn field, in full, mid-day sun.  The heat was pretty killer.  To keep all of us together, we alternated walking and running throughout this section.  We were all excited for the second water stop, which offered both water AND wine!

It was fun to experience the race with friends who are not all runners.  Emily is a soccer player, and while she's in great shape, she gets insanely bored with just running.  So partway through the race, she started weaving back and forth on the course, pretending she had a soccer ball to dribble, just to keep herself entertained.  Ha!  Jessica powered through by pretending all the obstacles were on American Ninja Warrior ("I'm taking on Mount Midoriyama!!  Where's the Warped Wall??" lol).  Do what you gotta do!  I was just enjoying the fact that I was running a 5K without a time goal!  I don't usually sign up for a race unless I plan to run it full-out, so it was fun to kick back this day.

Then we had more obstacles: several hay bales to jump/climb, followed by the two water obstacles.  The first was the Mash-Up, basically 12-18 inches of water with a net draped over it that we had to elbow-crawl our way through.  (Cue me trying to keep muddy water out of my mouth...haha.)  Soon after was the Beast Bath, a 15-foot deep mud/water pit that we had to swim across.  It wasn't a terribly huge obstacle, but this was hard!  I soon realized that swimming in soaked sneakers is tough stuff...haha.  But, we all made it across, and it felt pretty awesome to be soaking wet at this point in the race.

More running, and more obstacles (some wooden boards we had to hop over/crawl under, Mt. Vino (a giant wooden wall we scaled with a rope), a tangle of elastic bungees to crawl through, and a potato-sack jump) before finally, the finish!  The 6 of us linked arms and cheered through the finish line (53:43 final time).  We all made it, no one was crying/collapsing, a success all around.  :)
Done!  Not muddy, but very wet.  (And yes, I did wear my Forerunner 10 and it did great even in the water obstacles!)
By the end, I definitely saw the appeal of obstacle runs (especially low-key ones like this) as races to tackle with a group of friends.  This 5K wouldn't have been half as fun if I did it alone, or with a time goal, etc.  A course like this lends itself to joking and camaraderie, while still providing a good physical challenge along the way.
Team Moms With Muscles is ready for the vino
After the race, we all got changed (in the porta-potties...they really need to provide changing rooms, this was more challenging than the obstacles!!) and then picked up our finish-line wine glasses and tasting passports.  This allowed us to do free tastings at the three local wineries (Stony Lonesome, Bagg Dare, and Passion Feet) and one brewery (War Horse) on the grounds.  We grabbed a quick lunch from the local food trucks, then headed to our tastings.  While I didn't love every drink I tried, they sure did go to my head fast (running 3 miles in 85+ degrees and not hydrating enough will do that to you)!
Me so happy about wine.  Mmmmm wine.
Tasting time was a blast, but I think we were all ready for some R+R by the end.  Time to head home.

First obstacle run = complete!  While I'm not sure I'm ready for a Tough Mudder just yet (the electroshocks, y'all, let me just reiterate that), I would definitely do another 5K mud run with friends any time.  Awesome experience all around.

Have you done any obstacle runs?  Did you race them with a time goal, or use them as a fun way to run with friends?


  1. That sounds like so much fun! And just my speed :) I've heard about the electro-shock, etc at Tough Mudders and I'm pretty sure that's not up my alley! I did my first sprint triathlon this morning and will have my recap up tomorrow.


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