The Olympian on fire-jumping, mud-swimming and more

Swimming pool or mud pit—it’s all in the name of fitness for Olympian-turned-TV host Summer Sanders. She’s a veteran of the Warrior Dash (the crazy-fun mud run loaded with obstacles like mudslides and fire-hopping), and now she’s partnering with us to host five races. We caught up with her before the mud slingin’ begins.

What was your finishing time at Warrior Dash last year?

I actually didn’t keep track of my time the first time I raced it. Funny ... I guess I was having too much fun getting muddy and jumping fire to notice a clock!

What's the Warrior Dash's toughest obstacle?

I think the climbing wall is pretty difficult because I have a bit of a fear of heights. It’s not debilitating, but it’s enough to make me want to get up and over as fast as possible without looking down!

Which obstacle is your favorite?

Jumping over fire! It made for such an awesome photo! Funny enough, I was right behind a firefighter when I did it!

Was the "mud bath" at the end refreshing at all? Or does the barbed wire overhead erase any sense of relaxation?

It was ooey and gooey and gross and awesome! At one point I was swimming through it and touched a random leg ... that was a little freaky and funny! 

Olympic swim training or Warrior Dash training: Which do you like better?

Well, one has some super-awesome and unpredictable obstacles and the other has a black line at the bottom if the pool ... both are quite rewarding in their own way!

Any tricks for getting all that mud off?

A good, powerful shower head and some patience! Like an epic day at the beach, the mud sticks with you for a while; it gets everywhere. It’s kind of like your badge of honor! Some races just have a medal; Warrior Dash has mud and medals!

Besides a good mud bath, what’s your favorite real-world HappiMess?  

Cooking with the kiddos! I have to just let my clean freak go and enjoy the kid cooking that takes place in my kitchen. A dropped egg, some errant flour … it all gets clean in the end. When the kids cook, they learn about what goes into making good, flavorful, healthy, real food, and how much fun the process can be!