In December, I was feeling particularly ambitious, so I started planning my races for 2013. I’ve decided that I don’t really enjoy long distance running, so I wanted to do few things that were varied to keep my interest up. I read a lot about the Warrior Dash, watched the videos and apparently drank a lot of coffee the day I signed up. I could barely contain my excitement. Last week, I was not excited. I was worried. I was nervous. However, yesterday afternoon, I stood in a corral with dozens of strangers in my nastiest clothes and felt the heat from the pyrotechnics at the starting line.
My whole wave took off in a dead heat charging along the flag line until someone in the front realized that no one was kidding around when they set up the course and within 500 feet of the starting line, we were running up a steep hill into the woods. When that person realized this, the whole line came to a screeching halt as we then walked up the hill. Every. single. last. person in my group stopped trying to be competitive and just walked. Once we got to the top, some of us returned to running, at least until we got to the part where we realized we were going to have to go back down. And to do that, we had to run down the largest hill in the Clear Fork Ski Resort. Super. Some people were rolling down the hill, but after I saw a lady throw up because she got so dizzy, I decided against it and jogged my way down.
Up next: the first three obstacles! The first one up encouraged me because it was clean water… well, clean once you slogged through a giant mud puddle. Easy, peasy, up and over.
After that one, I felt refreshed from the previous run, I could see the next two obstacles and then the water station so I knew I was a third of the distance done. Whoo! The next obstacle was called the Mud MoundS. Plural. This is important to note because I didn’t. Once I got to the top of the first mound, I followed everyone in front of me and slid down. I splashed into the muddy pit of water (?) at the bottom and almost went under. I then looked up to realize I had to do it again… twice. Ick. I was completely covered in thick, milk chocolately mud by the time I escaped. 🙂 The next obstacle involved climbing over walls and then scooting under barbed wire. I found the easiest way to do this one was to stay at the edge and use the braces as extra footing to get up the walls.
Up next: WATER!!! Bless those people standing out in the mud while hundreds of nasty, sweaty, muddy people stood in front of them huffing and puffing and chugging as much water as they could. I turned from the water station to realize we were going back up another steep hill. Argh!!! I took this one at a run and found I could hop up the rocks that were sticking out randomly… I pictured myself leaping like a gazelle, but let’s face it… I probably looked a lot less graceful.
At the top of that hill and after a thankfully smooth run, we arrived at an obstacle that required one to army crawl until barbed wire to the end and then shimmy out from under a net. Piece of cake. Until a pin from my race bib got caught in the netting and I was stuck. It took two kind souls (probably ones who didn’t want to look at my rear any longer than they had to) to unhook my bib before I escaped. More running. Next obstacle: The Trenches.
Honestly, this one was really easy too except for the part that my quads were killing me from all the hill climbing at this point so I was really wobbly. Under normal circumstances, I would have laughed at them calling this a “challenge”. Up and out of that, we were faced with the “Cliffhanger”. I almost walked around this one. These are the only photos I could find of the obstacle on the Warrior site, but it is not quite accurate as the one we were faced with was straight up and not on an angle. I have no idea how on Earth I got to the top… but as I shifted my body to being the climb down I started to cry. I am deathly afraid of heights and yet, there I was on top of a very flimsy wall and I got there by pulling my entire body weight up with a rope. To tell you the truth… making it through that obstacle was all I needed. I conquered it and I was proud of myself regardless of the outcome.
After that, we happened on the second water station so I knew we were now 2 miles in. Whew! At that water station I took an extra cup of water to try and get some of the dried and cakes on mud off my hands. After that, the obstacles was a strange wooden, climbing up and over that was relatively easy, but I was really getting tired and I could see the horrible cargo climb coming next. I was NOT excited to do that one and could see people throwing up their hands and walking around it. I did not. I was scared to death as I wobbled around, but up and over I went. I also knew that I was finally nearing the end!!!
More running. 🙂 At this point, though, there was no more running for me. I was tired and my legs were shaking from the hills, the adrenaline and with four more obstacles to go, I wasn’t going to waste energy running when I could just walk. I was glad for my decision as the next obstacle was a cargo net-like ladder made out of chains. It was a real challenge for me as I kept losing my footing. Worst moment? Looking up from this to realize there was someone from Sport Photo there snapping away… Ergh. After this, we went down another large hill to the 10 obstacle which was a vertical cargo net that we had to crawl across. It did not work out well for me as I didn’t have a great hold on the ropes and when this giant man jumped onto it, I was sent flying off it and landed hard on my left hip. I was kind of stunned 🙂
Last water station! 3 miles down 0.2 to go!!! Annnnddd… back up a hill, through the woods, down another hill through the woods and at the bottom we were greeted by the Warrior Roast: two rows of Duraflame fires we were expected to “leap” over. Groups that come together were clumped at the bottom waiting to jump together but I just wanted to get it over it. I didn’t get very high on my first jump and felt the flames singe my legs. Yikes. Needless to say, I got more air the second time!
And then… the last obstacle. I was almost there and I charged my way to the 50-foot long muddy trench. There were rows of barbed wire criss-crossing the top, so we had to swim. I was just so relieved, because really… after all that, what else could stand in my way of rising victorious from the mud and marching over to claim my medal? Oh, right. Super slick mud, wobbly legs and wet shoes. Um, yes. There is proof that I wiped out at as I came out of the trench… on video. Also witnessed by all the people at the finish line, news cameras and the dude handing out medals who them dumped three cups of water on me because my face was full of mud 🙂
In the end, I am incredibly proud of myself for doing this race. It certainly isn’t the right event to try and PR, but it was fun. It was HARD, but it was so fun. A few people have asked me why anyone would willingly sign up to do something like this… I did it because it scared me. I did it because I needed to show myself how strong I really am. I did it because I could.