Charles Siskin: Here's Mud In Your Face

Saturday, May 31, 2014 - by Charles Siskin

When my close friend, Eugene, and I were talking a couple of weeks ago he mentioned he was going to be participating in a Mud Run over at Northwest State College in Niceville. Niceville sounds like a sitcom that use to be on television. Okay, maybe it was called Pleasantville? Whatever the name conjures up, Mud Run isn’t in the top 10.

Recently I read about the man who conjured up Tough Mudder and how he had made himself a cool million bucks getting people to crawl on their bellies through mud with live wires strung above their heads. Sounded like one of my brides back in my catering days.

I’d also read that recently someone had ingested cow dung that was down in the mud and unfortunately had possibly gone to Moo Moo Heaven or given two quarts of milk. Furthermore how could I possibly not attend to cheer my buddy on and remind him to keep his mouth shut while sloshing through the mud? Keep Your Trap Shut could be a mud run anthem.

Of course I would not participate- are you kidding me- having no affinity for cow dung or thoughts of ingesting something that gross. I can, however, imagine going on to Gourmet Valhalla after one really superb meal pared with exceptional wines. That, to me, makes perfectly good sense. Besides my late mother, who was full of homilies, would had been beside herself to think I was rolling around in mud when she spent so much time repeating that “cleanliness was next to Godliness”. Honestly she would have considered the assembled crowd a bunch of idiots and muddy idiots at that.

So a couple if Saturdays ago I hopped into my good buddy’s jeepster sans soft top and headed out to the festivities. It was a perfect day with the early morning temperature in the high 60’s and maybe one cloud in an otherwise blue sky. Made me remember why I had come to live on the Emerald Coast of Florida.

We arrived to find the parking lot groaning with a density of cars that had brought the 4000+ nutcases, excuses me, runners to what might be considered a close twin brother to a forced Marine march over at Quantico. Let me add that these good souls had also paid $40 to subject themselves to this torture. However that money was going to Heart of the Bride a charity that finds homes for orphans in other countries which really made the day very special.

After meeting up with Eugene’s buddy and racing partner, Bob, we made our way through the crowd to find a place near the start and finish line where there were small lakes filled with mud. The object was to start off by getting muddy and end on a high note, or low depending on how you vies yourself covered 100 percent in mud from head to toe and personal parts in between.

Did I find it exhilarating? Not. But I remember once being covered in mud when I went floating in the Dead Sea. On that occasion I kept thinking about all those women who paid serious shekels to be slathered in that mud with promises of regaining a youthful look.

Maybe so but the ladies who came crawling out of the mud this day looked less than glamorous. Mostly they looked relieved that they could pull off this 5k obstacle course without losing their cool or breaking any of their bones.

There were so many people signed up for the first 5k, there were incidentally four more during the day. The first race of the day was 10k. I should note here that these good souls ran through the woods while encountering the various obstacles. Here again I might remind everyone that there were snakes in those woods. Well maybe not. The sight of those mud cake zombies probably scared them back into their winter nest.

Again because there were so many people per race they were broken into color groups like red, yellow, blue but thankfully not brown. There was also this muscle bound dude with a Mohawk haircut and insanely colorful printed pants who led the various groups down to the starting line. That might have been a reason to drop out right there had I signed up.

Luckily the weather was warm enough that when folks hit that first mud hole they did not come out shivering. Nope they came out laughing I guess because they suddenly realized that they were in it to win it or at least finish the muddy thing. I watched my buddy disappear into the woods and then settled back to witness those who had gone before him returning.

Only in order to return they had to endure one last set of obstacles which included swimming through what had become a thick almost quicksand mud hole followed by climbing up a mud packed hill where most kept slipping back because it was getting slicker by the minute. That was followed by climbing up this vertical wall then coming down the other side only to encounter a rope that would take you over the other wall.

Now here it got momentarily sane as some people decided to walk around that obstacle and instead do, who knows, a hundred push up. Well make that 20 but it looked like a hundred.

And for the final coupe d’gras, swim through one more mud hole to victory. Honestly it was a victory and a well deserved round of applause went to each and every person young and older who finished. I don’t think there was anyone who did not.

Lastly was the sight of the fire truck with the firemen hosing off all the participants. While it looked like one of those scenes of a riot, it was a riot to watch all these good soul emerge from their water bath looking really exhausted but all smiles. Please note I never asked how the mud tasted or I might have found out first hand!

Making Mud Pies (This is not a school yard recipe)

Ingredients

You will need 1 cup crushed cookie or a pre made graham cracker crust

Making your own crust you will also need at least 4 tablespoons melted butter and if you like it sweet add 2 tablespoons brown sugar

Put the crushed cookies along with the other ingredients in a bowl to combine and, you know the drill, press into a pie shell. Then freeze for at least 1 hour. 

Filling

1 ½ cups dream whip or whip up some heavy cream. Next combine a 12 ounce package of softened cream cheese (non fat or low fat better option) then add 1 cup peanut butter. I happen to like the crunchy kind. Next add ¾ cup sugar (let your palate be the guide on the sugar) and add 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract. Sometimes I like an almond extract instead.  Mix that until well blended and smooth before adding the dream whip or whipped cream. Fold that in gently until well combined.

Finishing

Pour the filling into the chilled pie crust distributing evenly. Pop the pie in the fridge for at least 3 hours or longer until it is set. For total decadence you can break up pieces of Reeces and scatter over top of pie before serving.  Yum !


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