Sunday, October 2, 2011

There Was Lots of Joy in Mudville

"No Whining!" That is one of the mantras of Susan G. Komen 3-Day for the Cure participants. After all, you are not going to walk 60 miles in three days and sleep out in a tent without some pain and discomfort, and that is under the best of circumstances. And with an almost all day rainfall which turned parts of our campground into a sea of mud, our circumstances were no where near the best. But it didn't matter. I heard no whining. People were upbeat and happy, and choose to be inspired and grateful that we were all doing this.

That being said, there was a lot of mud. I had two pairs of running shoes with me, one of which could not have been wetter. I had a pair of crocs, which I wore as shower shoes. I also wore them around the camp that night rather than risk coating my remaining pair of shoes with mud. But as a consequence, my feet got coated in mud over and over. There was no way to get them clean. The race crew did yeoman's duty putting down paths of mulch (more on that later) so we could walk in relative dryness in parts of the camp. But other areas, especially the low area between our tents and the latrines, were like walking through a swamp. You would litterally sink several inches into the mud. Mud would ooze between my toes. The floors of the portapotties were coated in mud and slimy water. It was like the beginning of my thoughts on the worst thing that could happen on the walk. I stuffed napkins into my wet pair of shoes, and they helped to dry them over the next 24 hours so that I could wear them Saturday night instead of my crocs. Thus my feet didn't get muddy the next night.

When I would get back to the tent after a trip to the portapotties or the dining area, I would use one of the towels left behind to wipe the worst of the mud off my feet. Even so, my feet were coated in mud by morning. It stopped raining about 7PM Friday, and so at least the mud didn't get worse. On Saturday morning, I walked to the sink area with one of the muddy towels and my water bottle. I also took some napkins. I would fill the water bottle over and over and squirt my feet with it, then wipe my feet with the towel. Eventually they got clean enough that I could wipe my feet with the napkins and finally dry my feet pretty well. Then I put on my socks and running shoes for the day's long walk, and was good to go.

Would I, and everyone else, have preferred dry conditions and no mud? Absolutely! Did we let the muddy conditions dampen our spirits? Absolutely not! There was no lack of joy in Mudville.

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