We're crazy about trail running. And we love the challenge of boot camps. So what could be better than mixing the two disciplines on a sunny spring morning?

That's the appeal of the mud run, races that include a crazy quilt of obstacles. Modeled on military training, routes include climbs over hay bales and walls, water crossings and lots of muddy trails. Mud runs focus on fun and fitness, not competition--and there's no time limit, so you can even walk the entire route if you please.

We're registering for the Merrell Down & Dirty National Mud and Obstacle Series on April 15 at nearby Castaic Lake. On race day we can decide between the 5K route, including belly crawls and a low wall climb, or the whole 10K course (both are $75), adding Marine hurdles, a cargo climb and more.

Then there's the 10-mile Tough Mudder ($125) on July 7 and 8, held two hours east in Snow Valley. Designed by British special forces, the race starts at 6,800 feet; features include fiery fields, jets of ice water and live electric wires to run through while getting little shocks. Daunting (and a little scary), yes, but one of the event credos is that everyone helps one another finish. Plus, race staff is on hand along the course to lend support.

We're training now, and on race day you'll see us sporting old sneakers, wear-and-toss fitness gear--and most importantly, a sense of humor.

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