I did my first mud run last Saturday. It was a filthy blast. A mud run, for the uninitiated, is an obstacle course run that always includes, you guessed it, mud pits. Yesterday’s was the the Irvine Lake Mud Run, a 3.8 mile course along the banks of Irvine Lake in Orange County. We were coerced encouraged to run the race by a longtime running friend of Chuck’s who is blind. her regular guide couldn’t make the race, and so she called Chuck, who has led her on runs and in races before (leading a blind person in a run is a skill that not all people possess – and I would be one of those people who does NOT possess the skill. More on that later.). He tried to weasel out by telling her how slow he was, but she countered with telling him how slow SHE was – it was clear he was going to lose that argument as she is incredibly tenacious and stubborn – so he caved and agreed. I thought it sounded like fun, so signed up too.
Charlene was recruited for the race by a group that was raising money for the Gavin R Stevens Foundation. They needed a real deal blind person to run the race with them (to add, I guess, some verisimilitude to the undertaking) and not surprisingly it proved tougher than they expected to find a blind person willing to undertake a mud run. Charlene is a balls to the wall athlete who has been blind from birth. She has run marathons, done sprint triathlons, completed a 50 mile race, (tandem) biked in Europe – there’s not much she’s afraid of (except flying insects getting in her face). The race officials were going to let her go around all of the mud pits to which Chuck responded, “No way!” and made her go through at least a few of them. He went through a bunch as well, and ended up sliding into one pit that turned out to be deeper than he expected. At the finish he was so mud-covered that we couldn’t really see what he had done to himself, but later in the day it was clear that he had done a bit of a number on himself.
As the images show, things got ugly. It didn’t help that the next day we decided to do an ocean swim and he pulled on (then pulled off) a wetsuit over the leg. Each day the leg became a bit more tender and got redder and angrier, and finally this past Wednesday, as puss started oozing out from the chunkier wounds he decided it was time to go see a doctor. Three prescriptions and one shot later we headed home. He’s on two antibiotics and has some cream he’s supposed to put on it. What was really amazing is it took less than 12 hours on the antibiotics for his leg to look better.
The thing is, we forget that he was getting cancer treatments for 18 months, and that those only wrapped up about six months ago. The chemo took such an obvious toll on him – he lost his hair and looked and felt awful, but he was on immunotherapy treatments for an additional year. And though the immunotherapy drugs didn’t make him lose his hair or look sick, the one thing ALL the cancer fighting drugs had in common was that they kicked the crap out of his immune system, leaving him vulnerable to infections of all sorts. He’s had two colds in the past six months – and this is a guy who never gets sick! Cancer is a real bitch, and the recovery is no cakewalk either! I’m going to try and make a bigger effort to remember that and try to keep him from doing any extraordinarily harebrained activities in the future (hahaha!!). Like I said, I’ll TRY.
Anyway, he’s mostly fine now (nothing’s oozing) and plans on staying out of mud pits for a while.