I first wrote about Run For Your Lives back in January when I made it part of my list of things to do before my twenties expire and my thirties begin. Well, Saturday was race day! I woke up that morning feeling horribly unprepared. I was certain that I hadn’t trained enough and that I was doomed. I convinced my friend Brynn to come with me and she was also pretty sure that she was zombie bait.
We set out early, as the race location was about an hour from where we live. Even though I was nervous, I was also excited and ready to outrun some undead!
We got to the race location (out in like Boonies, Georgia, where I was half-convinced that someone was just gonna straight up Texas Chainsaw our asses) and got everything settled registration-wise. We had about an hour to kill so we wandered around, checked out the events of the all-day Apocalypse Party and limbered up (which happens to be rule #18 of Zombieland).
We ran in the Noon wave and guys, it was intense. It was more intense than I imagined it would be. The first wave of zombies were ruthless and right off the bat I got two flags taken. I did encounter some neighborly zombies (we are in the South after all) who gave me two flags back so I would have a fighting chance the rest of the race. I don’t know how other RFYL courses are, but in Georgia, there was at least a quarter of a mile (maybe more) that was all uphill. On the way up and the way back down there were no zombies, which was good because I’m fairly certain that if I had run down that steep hill I would have fallen and killed myself.
I did fall, actually, really hard. I was crossing a ditch filled with rocks (I assume during rainy days it is filled with water) and a zombie came up from behind me and scared me so bad that I screamed, ran, lost my footing and just fell knees-first right into the pile of rocks. I banged my knee up and scraped my leg. A medic was nearby and made sure that I was okay, but I didn’t come almost two miles just to give up so I solidered on.
I had to skip some of the crawling obstacles, but I did dive into the vat of cold, muddy “blood” water, scaled walls, and sprinted through outstretched zombie arms faster than I thought my body was capable of. At the last stretch, I had one flag left. After I crawled out of the vat of cold blood, I was faced with a field full of what had to have been at LEAST thirty zombies, just waiting to snatch my flag. Brynn and I decided to try and stick with a big group and we all just took off running across the field together. I sprinted as fast as I could and avoided all zombies. Suddenly I was five feet from the finish – the end was in sight! I was going to survive! But then, two zombies came after me. I did the #1 thing that I now know not to do: I hesitated. The moment’s hesitation is all it took and I was surrounded. A zombie to the left, a zombie to the right. One of them started grabbing at my flag and I was yelling, “NO NO NO NO!” while twisting and trying to get away. But she was faster and snatched my last flag – RIGHT AT THE FINISH LINE! I was so mad.
The finish line was one more obstacle; a belly-crawl under electrified fence through the mud. At this point I was wet, bloody, in pain, and “infected” but there was only one way out and that was under the fence. I slithered through the mud and a friend we’d made during the race was on the other side. She grabbed my hands and helped pull me through the rest of the way.
Even though I finished infected, I finished! I was bummed that my hurt knee forced me to skip some of the obstacles, but I still felt so exhilarated and thrilled to have finished something that was so difficult. And y’all, it was SO HARD. It was fun, it was terrifying, and it was really challenging. I went into the race afraid that my body wasn’t ready for the challenge and finished the race amazed at what my body was capable of. I wasn’t tired, I didn’t feel like collapsing and dying and the only complaint I had was that my leg was throbbing from where I fell.
We stuck around and enjoyed a free beer and some of the Apocalypse Party. I got called onstage for a zombie movie trivia game where another girl and I faced off against two guys. My head is jam-packed with useless movie trivia and that helped my team win! I won a RFYL beer mug, which was put to good use that evening as I enjoyed some well-earned brews.
Run For Your Lives was every bit as fun as I had hoped it would be. I’m really proud of myself for finishing, and I honestly cannot wait to do it again. It was one of the most fun experiences I’ve ever had and if you have the chance to do one, I would highly recommend it (use my special discount code ZPTD10 to get 15% off your registration). Check out this video below, it’s coverage from the race I ran in and gives a good look at what the 2013 Georgia race was like – plus it shows how the RFYL team transforms people into the walking dead!
Disclosure: As a RFYL ambassador, I got some sweet RFYL swag and gear. I also got two free race registrations, which I used to run the race in Georgia. All opinions are my own, and I really did love running this 5k and plan on doing it again next year.