I know everyone and their mother ran the Warrior Dash last weekend (well, not my mother, as she has a bum knee), but I'd still like to give a little recap about my experience. It wasn't exactly what I expected!
For a little background, the Warrior Dash is a 5K obstacle-laden race that is touted as an "extreme 5K from hell." (Touted by themselves, I should say.) It sounded cool and got a LOT of hype around these parts, so when I heard it was close to selling out, I signed myself and Katie up, and Laura was right on our heels.
Leading up to the race, I didn't really give it much thought. I trained for the Lincoln Half Marathon and did Body Pump twice a week all winter and spring. Then there was the wedding, which was obviously all-consuming. The race was slated for the following week. That morning, I started getting nervous. It was hot, and our wave didn't start until 3:30pm. Plus, I made the mistake of watching the video on their website, which is pretty intimidating.
But nerves are part of the game, right? Backing out was not an option. It's always been a dream of mine to be in some sort of obstacle race competition. As a child, I was certain that we could kick butt at Family Double Dare, if given the chance. And if not, I was more than willing to take on the Crag via Guts on my own. Even now, I wish I could try my hand at The Amazing Race or a Real World/Road Rules Challenge.
So, I slathered on sunscreen, dug out an old pair of sneakers, and donned my grubbiest running clothes. There was a mud pit, after all.
(this was after getting hosed off )
We arrived at the race site and it was crazy! There were people everywhere (something like 20,000 people were running that weekend.) Plus it was hot, windy, loud, and DUSTY.
We found a bit of shade & some water and waited for our wave to start. We gathered in the corral at 3:25, and at 3:30 we were off...straight up a hill. Great way to start a race. We weren't far into it before the 3 of us stopped to reconsider our general "run until you need a break, then walk" plan. Kate injured her knew a few weeks prior, and was already feeling it. Laura is still a newbie at racing, and this one was not looking nice. We determined that we would just walk it and enjoy the course as much as possible. Besides, we were there for the obstacles, right?! (Or was it the turkey legs?)
And it turns out, we were not alone. There was a large group in our heat that walked right along with us. It was fun to be able to chat, joke, and complain with others along the way. The obstacles weren't crowded, and it wasn't until the very end that the next wave of people started catching up with us.
What surprised me about the obstacles is that they didn't seem very hard. Granted, I wasn't exhausted when attempting them, and I wasn't trying to complete them for time, so my view may be skewed. I guess I just assumed that I would have more of a challenge with them because I don't consider myself very strong. However, most of the obstacles were geared more toward balance, agility, and willingness to be uncomfortable.
There was one obstacle that caused a lot of problems. First, you scaled a rock-climbing wall, and then you used a fireman's pole to get back down to the ground. However, this obstacle was positioned after a swimming obstacle, so everybody was soaked. I don't know if you've ever tried to slide down a fireman's pole in wet clothes before, but it is slick! SO many people lost their grip and landed hard. Many knee and ankle injuries were caused here, and, unfortunately, our group did not make it through unscathed. Laura stuck a hard landing and gave her knee wicked twist. She could barely stand, let alone walk, so they had to cart her off to the medical tent. The worst part (now that I know that she's ok) is that she was 7/8 through the race! She was this close to the finish line.
But she got a free beer!
Overall, it was a good time! Of course, I wish that Laura hadn't gotten hurt. Obviously I don't want any of my friends to be injured, but I also wanted her to be able to finish the race. She was so close and missed out on what could be argued to be the 2 coolest obstacles - jumping over fire and swimming through a mud pit. But I know this experience hasn't turned her off from racing. In fact, I've already heard her talk about doing the Warrior Dash again next year!