Monday, June 27, 2011

Warrior Dash

Or: How I Spent My Sunday In Mud

I knew that the Warrior Dash was going to be pretty crazy, after all it bills itself as the "Craziest frickin' day of your life", so I was expecting it. It did not disappoint.

We arrived at the shuttle area with plenty of time before our 11AM wave and was greeted by this:

One big-ass line
Don't worry, we made it to the start eventually.  Then I began to wonder whose bright idea this was.
Um, okay then?

But we are warriors dammit!  Right?  Whose with me?! Anyone?  Okay, time to get into the corral for our start.  Looking around I noticed one interesting fact: (two actually, the first being that people will look for any opportunity to dress up crazily, but that is irrelevant to my story) I was the only one in the group wearing trail shoes.  You know, shoes that are designed to be worn while running over dirt and grass and mud.  Pretty much the exact conditions we were to be facing.  Interesting fact, let's see how it plays out.  One thing I will give the race credit for though, is that they have a recycling program for old shoes.  Wear your shoes during the race and instead of bringing home a souvenir pair of mud sculptures you just throw away the shoes. So this may explain the shoe wearing.
Apparently it is a popular option.

Enough of that, race time!  The gun, er, the shooting flamethrowers go off signaling the beginning of our wave and with a warrior yell we start to run!  And then everyone starts to walk.  The start of the race goes right up the side of a moderate hill for about 120 yards. Here I am thinking how much easier this is than Mt Washington and  yet everyone around me is walking.  Only one thing to do, pour on the speed.  I rapidly left many of them behind and powered my way up the hill into the Forest Of Doom™ (I made that name up) where I leapt like a stag picking my way through the downhill slope.  It was here that I realized that the race wasn't just going to involve running through mud, it was running through mud the entire way.

I continued to pass people.  I ran through muddy puddles.  I slipped, and slided, and generally had a fun time.  I also began to notice that  I was pretty much the only one still running. At the half way point I was still cracking jokes and I was still being ignored by everyone around me.  No accounting for taste I guess.

Finally we began to get to some good obstacles.  The first real one (I omitted the one called "Arachnaphobia" because it was really just a cord stretched between some trees) was a series of walls which were about 3.5-4 feet tall.  You jump over them then scurry under the next one.  Easy.  I attacked it with vigor and leapt over the first wall.  My right foot landed in some mud and I expected the same of my left but instead it managed to find the one piece of solid ground anywhere on the course.  It crunched down hard and hurt.  Visions of a swollen and bruised ankle danced through my head, and marathon training began the next day!  No!  I'd have to deal with that later, onwards through the mud!

More obstacles appeared; the balance planks, the tall wall to climb, the slow walkers (the actual people, not a real obstacle).  I approached and conquered them all.  Truth be told, I was really just jogging the course and having a good time.  The weather was great and the mud wasn't too bad once you figured out how to run through it.  As I rounded a corner I then came face to face with the most intimidating obstacle of the race, the Warrior Roast. Two lines of burning logs stood between me and the free-flowing beer at the end of the race.  I put my head down, quickened my pace, and soared over the flaming debris to freedom!  Actually the logs were only about a foot high so all I needed to do was lift my feet slightly higher than normal.  That was kind of a let down to tell the truth.

Finally I reached the top of the last hill.  Scrambled over the rope wall and slid my way down the steep mud slide; making sure to perform a flawless 360 degree turn on the way down.  There I was presented with a surprise final obstacle, a rope walk, which I rapidly defeated by running over along the support beams.
Jen's technique works too
And then the finish.  Huzzah!  I was covered in mud but had a fun time all around. Next up, turkey legs and beer!
Warrior food

I actually ended up placing 76 overall and 17th AG with a time of 34:05.  Next time I think that I'll actually try instead of just jogging it.

Some pics for your enjoyment.
The "before" picture

And after

Happy to be done
Me and my warrior

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