#14: Going Commando

Posted by Megan on July 9th, 2011
You may peg me as a liar upon reading the headline of this entry. Many former college roommates can attest to my affinity towards going commando during my early twenties.  Not wearing undergarments was my retaliation towards thongs. Thong underwear were in their hay day back in the early 2000’s, and regular cotton briefs got quickly labeled “granny

Thongs are bad.

panties.” My practicality prevailed through this dark and uncertain time. In my opinion, thongs are fundamentally flawed. Even while wearing my practical cotton briefs, I still manage to spend far more time than I’d like unwedgy-ing myself. Thongs just go strait for the crack, therefore creating a perma-wedgie. No thank you! I vowed to never wear these torture inducing unmentionables.  At the time I lived with five other skinny chicks. It seemed they were all-thong all-the-time and razzed me relentlessly for my choice of practical skivvies. Since thongs were out of the question, my only course of action was to go all natural. While I was never brave enough to go commando under dresses or jeans (ouch!) I frequently went panty-free during a six month period. A bonus, it cut down on laundry! This is an especially appealing benefit, when laundry cost $3 a load. Give me a choice between a beer and a load of laundry and I’ll go with the alcoholic beverage every time.  Thankfully thongs have fallen out of favor (or am I just getting older?) and I’ve gained confidence in my cotton briefs. Nevertheless, when a friend asked if I wanted to “go commando” I instinctively agreed, not realizing it was a 5K Adventure Race that required jumping over fire and slithering through a mud pit.

 The Team Ortho Go Commando race is held just outside Minneapolis in a hilly wildlife area. The course contains 3.1 miles of running with several army inspired obstacles along the course. Our team captain, Susan, registered a team of 13. I immediately signed up along with a few of my work friends Aimee and Kris. A month later we were still looking to fill a roster spot so I begged my husband  to do it with us. I somehow managed to combine guilt with untruth to persuade him into doing it – and it worked! He is awesome.

Our whole team prior to the race. For some reason I decided to do a pirate impression.

 Susan’s sister has a house very close to the race course, so we were lucky to utilize this as  a home base to hang out at before and after the race. Our team was running in the 11 a.m., wave so we arrived at her house at 10 a.m. so we had enough time to meet everyone and get situated before raced time.  The atmosphere was a mix of excitement and dread. Some people on our team were beginners, some were running veterans. Some were looking to run it for speed, others were just looking to have fun and walk when needed. Susan and her husband made us team T-shirts. They were awesome! Yellow with “Team UO” on the front and “Undies Optional, Go Commando” on the back. It was easy to spot members of our team with these standout shirts. Kris and Aimee decided to paint their faces warrior style. I can never turn down a chance to paint my face so I joined in. One of these days I’m going to go to work with my face completely transformed into a dog, then I’ll answer my phone “Bow-Wow can I help you?”  Don’t put it past me – I really might do it!


Kris did my warrior makeup. I'm fairly certain that if we hid in bushes we'd be lost forever.


My work buddies sure are tough!

 We arrived at the race venue then got our race numbers and gear. Racers left the start line every 15 minutes. The race began at 8 a.m., so there already tons of people on the race course, as well as a lot of folks who had run earlier and were hanging out drinking beer and socializing.

Nothing like a Saturday morning party/run/mud wrestling contest to start the weekend right.

 It was a 21+ event. While I heard some feedback from runners suggesting it would be nice if their kids could come watch the event, I really like the adult-only atmosphere. You could walk around with a beer and swear with no consequence. It was my kind of place.

 My husband Brad, Kris and I lined up at the front of the pack for our start time. When the blow horn blared Kris was out of the gate very fast. The course began with some medium intensity hills with unsteady footing. I was immediately pushing my cardiovascular limits, but we I started breaking away from the rest of the group of about 100 runners quickly. The first half of the course was mostly straight running with only a few minor “adventures.” Our first was to run over hay bales. Kris and I were a bit ahead  Brad at this point, but he quickly got ahead of us as he took about one step over each bale while Kris and I required at least three. I thought perhaps Brad was wearing those springy shoes that Michael Jordan was peddling in the 80’s but upon further inspection, he is just that athletic. Lucky bastard! Shortly after the hay bales we were instructed to run through a pond. The water was about waist deep. Brad used his super sonic speed to cruise right through the pond, while Kris and I plugged away walk/swimming, trying not to be submerged. Next it was up a tough hill followed by a long running section. We then came to a horizontal cargo net. This was the most challenging obstacle in my opinion. Kris quickly figured out the trick and shouted back to me “move your feet first, then your hands” just was I was getting the hang of it, Brad caught up and started climbing on my net, sending the weight differential in his favor. I was climbing somewhat sideways but managed to get to the end before I was eaten by the giant human-seeking spider that surely created this trap.

 Next came some extremely challenging switch backs up a very steep hill. I was huffing and puffing like a chain smoker by the time I reached the top. Thankfully the next obstacle was easier, some logs to run across followed by some hurdles of varying heights. Moguls and rope nets were next easily conquered. Now it was time for the most fun of the day, the slide! I waited a few seconds for my turn before I was sent flying down a makeshift slip-and-slide which was placed atop rough ground and rocks. The minor abrasions I received were worth the fun filled ride. By this point Kris and I had managed to gain a big lead on the rest of our heat. Only one young college aged guy had zoomed ahead of us early in the race.

I dominated you switch backs!.


The mudslide was a blast. I walked away unscathed, however many others had bruises and abrasions from the rough ride.


 Next we were faced with a mini junkyard full of tires, followed by the famed fire pit. We easily hopped over the miniature fire then sloshed our way through the mud pit to the finish. Kris and I finished second and third in our heat. The top two women! I’d like to take a moment to celebrate this, since I will never-ever win a race again unless it’s at a third grade track and field day – and even then I’m no shoe in!

These dudes look pretty bad ass. When I jumped the fire it was about half this size.

I had a great race. I was pushing myself but also taking time to enjoy the challenges. We waited at the finish line to watch the rest of our team come in. Kris and I devised a plan to tackle our team leader Susan into the mud pit upon her finish. We saw her coming and prepped our tackling position. I believe Susan yelled some inappropriate words as we wrestled her to the ground. The same treatment was prepared for Aimee’s arrival. By the time our entire team was in, we were covered in mud, happy and ready for our free beer.

Sorry Susan, this is what get for organizing!


 Hot dogs and Finnegans were the perfect post run snack… far better than the nuts and chocolate milk Runners World keeps recommending. It was a great race with a great group of people. Just for the record, I did indeed fulfill my duty to run Go Commando in the literal interpretation.

Muddy buddies after the race.


Post race shower

  • © 2011 Megan Steil