I survived the Warrior Dash!
I’ve never been a runner, but I have been running more in an effort to burn off a little of the extra padding I’m carrying around and to complement my weight lifting and karate training. I’ve never run in a race before, so many thought it odd I’d choose one with obstacles.
May as well make it interesting, right?
Some friends of mine had run the Warrior Dash before, and they all had a blast, so I turned around and talked a few coworkers into running the Dash as well. We couldn’t all hit the same start times, but I did run with two of my coworkers.
We set out with an easy pace. Steve and Beth had run half marathons before, but they were content to hang back with me for the Dash. Our only goal going in: finish the thing. We had heard mixed stories about the obstacles, and we saw no point in burning out before we got to the last of them.
The obstacles presented a mix of climbing, crawling, jumping, and lots of mud. We had to crawl under barbed wire and across cargo nets. We had to go up mud-slicked climbing walls and down fire poles and slides. We had to crawl, trudge, or swim through creeks and mud pits.
And yes, we jumped over fire.
The obstacles were not as difficult as I expected, and I’m happy to say I went through all of them, no cheats or bypasses. I never stopped, either, with the exception of bottlenecks entering an obstacle or lining up to grab a quick drink of water (they had three water stations to keep competitors hydrated during the hot day). We never stopped to catch our breath or to take a break.
My only regret, in fact, is not pushing the running stretches a little harder. There were several hills on the course, not counting the obstacles, and again, I didn’t want to wear myself out and be unable to tackle one of the obstacles. As it turned out, it wouldn’t have been an issue, with the possible exception of one known as the Giant Cliffhanger.
The photos on the website didn’t do this one justice. There’s no bypass around this one, no easy way up. Competitors have to climb a muddy slope, already torn to bits by the several thousand people who climbed it before, using a rope which is wet and caked with mud. Wooden planks lined the top, offering a small foothold every four feet or so, but then the rope ends and we really had to claw our way over the top edge. I managed to leap from foothold to foothold without tumbling back down and taking out the dozen or so people behind me.
They clocked my final time at 1:05:20.40. Less than stellar, but my normal mile pace is on the slow side, so throw in obstacles and less running and it’s not surprising. It’s also far from the end of the pack, so I’m content with that time, if not happy with it. I’m just thrilled to say I finished it.
We had a great time on the Dash. I did tweak my ankle in one of the creaks, but no break or sprain so I’m good. My weight lifting training helped get me over the obstacles, and my only sore spots have been the stabilizer muscles around my ankles. Next year leading up to the Dash, I think I’ll do some more field and trail running to get used to the slopes and uneven surfaces.
And yes, there will be a next year. I was sold before the end of the Dash. If they were taking signups for next year, I’d have registered on the spot.
Now I have a time to beat, too.
St Jude Children’s Research Hospital reported they had a great weekend. 18,911 competitors ran the course, raising $272,073. And that was just the Illinois event! Another Warrior Dash went down simultaneously in Pennsylvania.
Thanks again to those of you who sponsored my run. I’m glad I could bring in even a little bit, and having access to the St Jude tent turned out to be a great benefit.
I donated my shoes to GreenSneakers at the end of the race, too. I retired this pair from the running track a year or so ago and only use them when lifting, so I was happy to throw them onto the pile. If GreenSneakers can clean them up and send them overseas, then more power to them.
All in all we had a great day. My wife hung out with Steve’s family, and though they couldn’t see us running until the very end of the Dash, they enjoyed watching people in costume and listening to the live bands. Just a fun course, a great atmosphere, and a good excuse to get outside and stay active.
If it sounds at all like your kind of thing, then I highly recommend you keep an eye on the Warrior Dash website to see when they’ll be nearby. You won’t regret it!
For more photos, click on over to my Warrior Dash Flickr set.
Bonus video! This must have been shot on Saturday before the storms rolled through and mucked everything up.