You know you’re in trouble when the best part of your vacation is spent on your hands and knees, crawling through a giant, gloppy pit of mud.
Instead, I slogged my way through an adventure race called The Muddy Buddy.
My “Buddy” was cousin Joe, a dyed-in-the-wool Chicago sports fan and jock who e-mailed me back in August to say he’d love to bring the family for a visit, and, hey, while he’s in town, we could run and ride bikes in this lil’ ’ol race with a harmless name.
It’d be fun, he said. We’d bond, he said.
And besides, I was the only person in our family remotely in good enough shape to survive it. (Not high praise, mind you. We’re more iron-deficient than iron men in our family.)
But how could I say no?
And this is how Cousin Joe became Joe the Torturer.
Somehow he persuaded me to drag my 43-year-old bag of bones onto a rugged 7-mile course at Cedar Hill State Park in Grand Prairie that featured steep hills for biking, rocky trails for running and commando-style obstacles for falling.
Did I mention his name is Joe the Torturer?
Yet, now that it’s all said and done (and I have feeling back in my legs), I must admit the Muddy Buddy was a rush, a blast, and an experience I’ll treasure for the rest of my life – which seemed to be about 10 minutes when I hit that first hill.
As I reveled in the post-race hose-down, mud pouring out of my shoes, a deep sense of accomplishment welled up inside.
Who cares if those two ladies dressed in mumus and shower caps beat us? We made it. We conquered the Muddy Buddy. And Joe the Torturer was right. It was a bonding experience.
Our wives kept teasing us that this was the beginning of a beautiful bromance. And they’re right.
Toasting our victory (read: survival) that night with shots of Pisco, I began to muse about next year’s Muddy Buddy. And how, if I actually trained a few times without falling, we could cut five minutes off our time (1:03) and maybe even get onto the medal stand.
Joe the Torturer nodded. He knew the mud was in my blood.