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All Roads Lead To (Foam) Barfing

Posted Nov 05 2012 12:01am

On Saturday I decided to do something a little crazy. For me at least. I’m sure there are people out there who do this and it’s no big deal. For me, it was nuts-o and even though I have figured out what the issue was and it wasn’t my crazy stunt… I still may never do it again. ;)

You see, I decided to run two races in one day.
The day after my longest run since April….

Brilliant? Or idiotic? You can be the judge of that…

Last month I won a giveaway held by  A Runner’s Heart to run the 5k Foam Fest here in Texas. I was pretty pumped. I love some obstacle/adventure runs, and this one had WATER SLIDES THAT HAD BUBBLES INVOLVED. What’s not to love about that? Then, Friday night I’m out to dinner with my folks and my step mom mentions a 10k she was running in the morning. Well oh, okay… However, this post is entirely about the Foam Fest. We’ll get to what happened with the 10k later. ;)

Like most adventure races, the Foam Fest had various wave starts. A new wave was sent off every 20 minutes. I was scheduled for noon. Perfect timing to decompress from the morning and get my booty over there to pick up my bib.

courtesy of 5kFoamFest

I came prepared, because after Warrior Dash I was a sopping muddy mess and Zack didn’t even want to let me back into his car.. Even after I was hosed off and changed. He was still doubtful. So this time I decided to bring 3 towels, a jug of water to dose myself with incase any after-race clean up missed some spots, and of course a change of clothes/shoes.

The start line was incredibly entertaining. There were so many costumes, volunteers squirting people randomly with squirt guns and silly little contests to keep people motivated. I immediately decided if I ever put together a race, I’m going to do something along this lines to keep people from getting stir crazy at the start waiting for the gun to go off! ;)

Then we were off finally!

As soon as we cross the start line we were attacked (okay not attacked.. that might be a bit dramatic) by squirt guns. Which, let me tell you felt awesome in the rising Texas temperatures at 12 in the afternoon. Had this been almost any other part of the country in November and I would have cried probably.

Then we were off on a 3.1 mile, very windy hilly and muddy course that was full of obstacles, mud pits, giant hills, WATER SLIDES, inflatable slip n slides, cargo nets, walls. You name it, it was there pretty much.

One of the very first obstacles is a chamber of foam. Yes, the name pretty much says it all. This big inflatable chamber you go through filled with foamy delightfulness. Someone got a little carried away and went diving into the thing and swallowed a pretty hefty (and nasty tasting) gulp of foam. I could not get the taste out of my mouth for the life of me. At the first water station, I seriously stood there for like 5 minutes chugging cup after cup of water trying to get the taste out of my mouth. At one point I just said screw it and started moving again. A little foam wouldn’t kill me, right?


About a mile and a half into the race I started feeling light headed and nauseous. Like, I was seeing stars. Literally. I was half-way through though and the really fun (and more difficult…) obstacles were still up ahead. There was no way I was calling it quits…

So I kept moving.. I slowed down to a near walk by the time I was 2 miles in and was miserable. I literally felt like I was going to hurl and faint and the exact same time. Then came the evil dirt hill climb, cargo climb, and the 8 foot wall. Normally these would not be difficult for me. No one likes running up a giant hill… But, I mean… Normally I could do it just fine. I was literally turtle walking up that thing. I wanted to crawl I was so dizzy.

I didn’t get it. Why was I so dizzy? (Mind you at this point I had forgotten the gulp of foam I had for lunch and honestly I still couldn’t tell you 100% if that’s what it was.)

I was shaking the whole dang cargo net when I went over it, but I made it over it and then just stood in line staring at the 8 foot wall in front of me. Great. There was a huge line which was good. Maybe this will pass if I just sit tight for a minute. No? Okay that isnt working. Maybe if I can just get to the finish line and eat something. I hadn’t ate in between races because I didn’t want to cramp up. Maybe my body was telling me YO BIZNATCH FEED ME. The volunteer took one look at me when I approached the wall and said ” there is an option to tuck and crawl under the wall” Shoot, don’t tell me twice right now sir!

Stop. Drop. And Roll I sure did! I hopped back up and for a split second thought I was going to be alright after all. Silly body.

Then came the electric crawl… Where you crawl under electrical wires in a big SMELLY pit of mud. My stomach started turning as soon as my chin hit the mud. The smell wafted up and I just wanted to die. I swam through that mud like it was a freaking swimming pool and got out as quick as I could.

I thought I was going to literally pass out so I skipped the 30 foot slip n slide and the death drop and came to a dead hult at the ridiiiiiiiculously long line for the 50 foot slip n slide. I figured that sitting down (literally. on my butt. sitting) in line for a few minutes might help. I had absolutely no idea how much of the course was left and if I was going to be stuck in this gosh darn course for too much longer I may as well give my stomach some time to settle. (while in my head I was cussing it out for ruining what could have easily been a fantastic and fun day)

Finally after waiting what felt like forever I was at the front of the line and dove in the slip n slide.. Where I literally started gagging. All I could think was

“omg charlotte don’t throw up in this slip n slide. Do not ruin this race for every single person that is behind you. Do not even think about it”


Where I grabbed my medal and shirt and just threw them on the ground and let it all. out. For a good 10 minutes straight.

Yeah, sorry about that mental image. But it wouldn’t be a recap if I left out the nitty-gritty now would it?

After what felt like a century I was dragged over to the med tent where they laid me down and gave me water to drink and after that kept coming back up they gave me some ice to suck on. Finally I felt good enough to sit up and they asked me a bunch of questions. I was in such a haze. What just happened? I wasn’t even pushing myself. I didn’t eat anything unusual. Yeah I had 2 glasses of wine the night before but that’s not going to make me sick. I’ve drank a half a bottle then run 8 miles the next morning and felt super… haha. What was going on?

Finally they decided I wasn’t dying and sent me on my way. Medal and t-shirt in hand.

I went back to my faja’s and tried to drink water and take a nap but that wasn’t happening. I decided that the foam was made out of poison. Is that true? Absolutely not. I have no idea what actually made me so sick on Saturday, all I do know is that it took 4 hours of drink water — oh hi again water — repeat, before I could finally lay down long enough to fall asleep for a few hours.

When I woke up it was like it was all a dream. I felt fine. It was so absolutely bizarre.

All in all, if I hadn’t gotten violently ill… This race would have been a freaking blast. Squirt guns, water slides, cargo nets, mud pits, hills, trail running, noodles that slap you in the face with foam. Etc.

Don’t let my horrible experience scare you off! This was honestly a fun race despite my getting so ill. I honestly don’t know if it was the foam or what was up… But, if 5k Foam Fest comes to a city near you, I really recommend looking into it. Running for a PR is what we’re all after it seems like, but we have to remember to have fun with it too!


Would you ever run Foam Fest? Are you an Adventure/Mud Run type of person?
Have you ever gotten sick at a race?

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