Mud Wrestling in Kansas City

Is the headline a cheap exploit to attract new viewers to my blog in ratings month or the latest road adventure training for my next marathon? Read on and find out….

I’m two weeks away from my next marathon (Déjà vu all over again) and I’ve entered once again the blissful stage of taper, or as I put it in my twitter on Friday, TGIT (thank God it’s Taper) time. If you have trained for a marathon, or are training for your first, you know that you typically plan and chart runs over roughly sixteen weeks. According to my spreadsheet, this week’s Thursday run called for a SL/G 5. A semi-long goal paced five mile run.

Before my sixteen week marathon plan, I know exactly what I plan to do each day over 112 days, but you don’t know what the weather will be like, will you be healthy, will you be nursing a “hitch in your giddy up,” or as a traveling sales executive, “where will I be?” Kind of a runner’s “Russian Roulette.”

Spin the wheel, and this week’s SL/G 5 landed in Kansas City. I’ve logged some great runs on the road; the Golden Gate Bridge, Stanford’s track field, and New York’s Central Park. I queried my twitter peeps, pinged my DailyMile homies, and’trolled for KC suggestions. Business got in the way of my running life, and I had to find a late afternoon run from a Marriott Courtyard south of the city.

With all that research, I relied on…the strongest source of information available. The front desk clerk at the hotel. Talk about “Russian Roulette,” you’re really “rolling the dice” by putting your faith in someone who doesn’t run that’s ready to get off their shift.

So I ignore, DailyMile, MapMyRun, and Twitter peeps and go with the “chicken scratched” note that starts behind the strip mall ½ a mile away. Hmmm…sounded suspect, but I was committed to “checking the box” and reporting to my running community and my conscience that I completed that day’s task.

The run was a “Beauty and the Beast” kind of run with some great characteristics and some, not so much.

The Beauty? You can’t go wrong with the idea of running someplace new and in this case, the route “mirrored” Kansas City’s Indian Creek—the bonus was that it was a crusher fine trail. On the continuum of what’s rough on the body, concrete is the hardest followed by asphalt. On the soft end is a dirt trail or best yet…the crusher fine trail. Cool weather on the verge of raining…ahhh…running bliss.

The Beast? On my left is the beauty. On the right was characterized by the “ass end” of several strip malls with the trash cans, grease disposal and graffiti.

As I indicated above, the weather was cool on the verge of rain. What I didn’t know is that it had rained for two weeks and I had to run serpentine style to dodge the deep puddles and soggy grass that had my socks wet by the ½ mile mark (a good thing this was only five because anything over seven with wet socks is a bad blister buzz.)

Then came the comic relief part, I approached a section of the path that dipped below a busy Kansas City viaduct. I’m used to this having run hundreds of miles along the Platte River in Denver. As I sped down the slight hill under the bridge, I saw mud, but it was too late the “throw on the brakes” and didn’t see a dry patch on either side. I assumed that the mud was shallow and would be a few feet in length. Wrong and wrong. This thing could have been a venue for either Saturday night’s mud wrestling contest or full length mud football game.

I’m lucky I didn’t take a "digger" taking the pool at full speed as the sludge rose all the way up to my ankles as I "muddled" through the gauntlet. Once emerged from the bridge, my shoes looked like chocolate covered strawberries, but smelled like smelly feet covered in sewage.

The only good news was that I had another five miles to shake off the slop and get the run done before the rain. As I indicated in the video clip of my run, I incorrectly mixed Caddyshack’s “I don’t think the heavy stuff is going to come down for awhile, I think we should play on” rain clip with “It could be worse, it could be raining” line from Young Frankenstein.

The rain started as my run ended, but as I also indicated in my video blog, it’s like the bumper sticker that says “A bad day of fishing is better than any day at work,” or as I put it, a bad day or running is better than any day at work. In this case, it wasn’t a bad day…it’s a great day to be a runner.

A footnote: I apologize to the Marriott Courtyard housekeeping staff who are likely not happy with the condition of the bathtub and towels I used to get my shoes clean enough to throw in a trash bag for the trip back to Denver.


  1. Love this post. I used to run on Wimbledon Common. Over the years I tried almost every trail out there. It was an adventure because you never knew what you would get. The funniest day though had me running deep through the woods on an obviously untraveled path. I was running pretty fast so when I hit a surprise patch of mud it had sucked the shoe right off of my foot before I noticed. The fun part was getting back to said shoe with only one shoe on and not only digging it out of the mud but digging the mud out of my shoe before I could fit my foot in. That is still one of my favorite running moments.


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