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Good, dirty fun 

Fearless runners tackle the Laguna Lake Mud Mash

Look. Let’s be adults here. I can admit that I wasn’t at my usual best (which is generally quite good) on Oct. 28, when I woke up five hours too late and several whiskey shots too hungover to even think about running five whole Ks in the Laguna Lake Mud Mash, as I foolishly promised to do last week.* Great. We’ve got that out of the way, but now you have to admit that I’m still a lovable scamp. Deal? You bet your ass it is.

click to enlarge WINNER WINNER CHICKEN DINNER :  Lindsey Whitaker, Travis Robertson, and Carly Schleppenbach relaxed in the beer garden after crushing the Mud Mash. Finishing in one hour and 12 minutes, Travis had the best time for the 10K. - PHOTOS BY NICK POWELL
  • PHOTOS BY NICK POWELL
  • WINNER WINNER CHICKEN DINNER : Lindsey Whitaker, Travis Robertson, and Carly Schleppenbach relaxed in the beer garden after crushing the Mud Mash. Finishing in one hour and 12 minutes, Travis had the best time for the 10K.

By the time I got to Laguna Lake, runners were starting to cross the finish line in the last wave of the 10K. There were long gaps between finishers, and they looked tired but determined, like handsome winners. After crawling through the final mud pit, they dashed through a short maze-like thing guarded by gladiators who’d smack them with those giant q-tip looking deals. I don’t know what they’re called, but everyone was smiling a lot and having fun even though my head hurt so bad I was sure they could feel it.

Chris Stehula, a renowned local athlete and practicing vigilante, co-announced the event, shouting encouragement at runners and sometimes tackling friends in the mud. According to Chris, roughly 1,800 people ran the race, which was just lousy with obstacles that I couldn’t even see from my vantage point of maybe 200 feet from my car, a distance I barely managed. He had to describe them to me, and I imagined them with what must have been wonder in my bloodshot eyes.

MC RUNNSALOT :  After running the 5K on a lark, machine-man Chris Stehula helped announce the race.
  • MC RUNNSALOT : After running the 5K on a lark, machine-man Chris Stehula helped announce the race.

Anyway, those 1,800 healthy runners raised an entire boatload of money for the Special Olympics and Connect SLO County, a project by the SLO Bike Coalition that aims to build a bunch of trails, probably.

Between finishers, Chris’s co-host, Shannon, would wrestle her friends and playfully joust them with the gladiators’ pugil sticks (thanks Internet!). I cannot stress enough how jolly it all looked, and how horrible I felt. Like maybe I should spend more time being an athlete instead of being the polar opposite of that.

Who knows, maybe next year I’ll have my act together enough to actually run in the thing. That would probably be for the best.

I moseyed on over to the beer garden, but I didn’t drink anything. Promise. That was not at all what I was after. I wanted quotes, and I got them from Travis Robertson, who won the shit out of that race.

click to enlarge MUD MAN :  Competitors had to crawl under army wire in the mud to get to the finish line, and here I am whining about having to take pictures whilst hungover. If I didn’t know any better, I’d suspect that I’m an asshole.
  • MUD MAN : Competitors had to crawl under army wire in the mud to get to the finish line, and here I am whining about having to take pictures whilst hungover. If I didn’t know any better, I’d suspect that I’m an asshole.

“I’m feeling good now, but I’ll be sore tomorrow,” he said.

Tell me about it.

*Here’s how stupid I am: With a ticket to SLO’s wackiest Halloween party in my pocket, I publicly declared my intent to “art bash” an obstacle-filled running race, instead of the Establishment party with all the free booze and elaborate art installations. Did I mention how out of shape I am? Lots. But I didn’t want to do homework at a party straight out of Mickey Mouse’s nightmares, so I didn’t. The bathroom was decorated like a 101 Dalmatians coat factory, and I didn’t even bring a camera, because I’m an idiot.

Nick Powell needs a nap and some scrambled eggs or something. He also has an email: npowell@newtimesslo.com.

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