Saturday, October 15, 2011

I Survived the Warrior Dash

My husband and I survived our first Warrior Dash this past Saturday! We attended it with two of his friends from work. It was a perfect day for racing: 72 degrees and sunny. After spending the night at my mom's home, we drove an hour north to the race site. There were people everywhere. Everyone I encountered was friendly, encouraging, and relaxed. Mostly people just seemed intent on making fun memories with friends. A large portion of people were in costume, which made the atmosphere festive and lighthearted. As we jogged, we heard others along the path talking or joking with each other. As a hat tip to my friends in the blogosphere who inspired me to start jogging and attend the Warrior Dash, I wore a Yoda tee shirt, given that you all know me as DoOrDoNot. My husband wore a tee shirt with Darth Vader so that we could have a Star Wars theme between the two of us.

The pace of my 5K was quite slow! I wasn't intent on setting a personal best time. The four of us decided to stay with each other and complete the obstacles together for the experience of it. My husband and I walked most of it as he had injuries as well as an asthma flare up. The terrain was quite hilly, so even if I had jogged, I wouldn't have run the same pace as my last 5K. Had their been no obstacles, it would have proven to be a relaxing trek through the woods on lovely fall day.

However, there were 12 obstacles that we encountered once we had completed a mile of the course. Mostly, they weren't difficult and proved to be what made the run such a fun adventure. One of the men in our group wished there had been even more. We took water proof cameras with us, and snapped photos all along the way. It was more a sight seeing adventure than an actual race for us!

As long as heights weren't involved, I was A-OK. I enjoyed the over/unders and took DagoodS' advice and rolled when I encountered the nets we were to crawl across. It was quicker, especially because the people in front of me weighed down the nets, allowing me to roll on an incline. Although I don't enjoy sliding down fire poles, it wasn't difficult to complete that particular obstacle. I maintained my balance walking along planks which were set at angles.

The barricades and netting that were suppose to keep us firmly on the ground doing a belly crawl, allowed me enough room that I should have just stooped and run but I started out crawling on hands and knees then sped up to use my hands and feet. I'm sure I looked graceful :) I actually enjoyed running across the staggered steps set up on poles but I was concerned about losing my balance, so instead of just leaping from one to the other without pause, I regained my balance briefly before leaping to the next step. They wobbled and I didn't trust myself to land in the middle of each step where they were stable. I though I might be nervous about jumping the flames, but by the time I got to them, they seemed fairly tame compared to the other obstacles. They were higher than I expected, but I remained unsinged!

My least favorite activities involved heights. I'm not a fan of those. The cargo net wall was not difficult at all for me, thankfully. And the wall with narrow toe holds which we climbed with a rope wasn't terribly difficult. However, I panicked at the top of one obstacle which was a wall with a sheer surface that was placed at an angle, requiring that we walk up the "hill" at a 45 degree angle while holding on with a rope. I had difficulty figuring out how to get over the top to the other side. My husband kindly held my first foot as I threw it over to give me support and help me feel more confident about releasing my hold on the rope. Another wall also sent me into a bit of a panic at the top. After easily climbing steps to the top, I had to straddle an over sized ledge and swing my legs over till they reached a stair that was several feet down. Again my husband helped hold the first leg I brought over as I had trouble reaching the first stair. Then I had to hold on and let myself side down the sheer, angled wall the rest of the way down. I was worried about splinters, but none found me.

(I was still smiling because I hadn't yet tried to climb over any walls. )

The mud pit, which was the final obstacle, had one set of barbed wire about 18 inches off the surface. I think it was shallow enough to walk over the wire instead of slogging through the mud. However, the crowd at the pit was quite insistent that everyone get thoroughly soaked, so I acquiesced and sunk into the mud up to my chest and went through. My husband was more dramatic and rolled into the mud lengthwise.

After the race, we subjected ourselves to the (literally) breathtakingly cold water sprayed by firefighters from their hoses to get somewhat cleaned off. After changing into dry clothes, we ate the turkey legs and chicken sandwiches. We all had quite an appetite after our adventure. I would have enjoyed spending more time than we did just listening to the music and people watching. It was entertaining and challenging enough without being too difficult. I highly recommend the Warrior Dash. It's definitely an event to be enjoyed with friends.


  1. Such physical endurance tests are just a distant memory for me now. I still enjoy an occasional brisk walk (also I've been working on a list of people who died while exercising). But by all means you and your husband have my congratulations. I will stick to walking. :)

  2. That sounds like a blast! I'd like to get a group up to do one myself. Congratulations on completing it!

  3. I know! Wasn’t it a lot of fun? The people watching, the obstacles, the camaraderie—the whole atmosphere. You can see why people were signing up for next year’s run within days of finishing this year’s run!

    I am glad your husband helped you on the obstacles. I ran with my son, in case he needed help. But next year (and he already knows this) he is on his own! I am also glad you caved (like we all did) to the peer pressure at the mud.

    Just reading your description makes me anxious for next year, already. Perhaps a road trip….

  4. Doug B,
    Walking is not a bad thing! I wonder if I should compile a list of people who have died from house cleaning? :)

    I do hope you get to attend a Warrior Dash. Yso ou can definitely do it. I will say my shoulders and arms are still sore. We women don't have as much arm strength so some of these obstacles may tax us a bit more. My arms weren't sore during the race though.

    Thanks for letting us all know about the Warrior Dash. I haven't met anyone yet who didn't enjoy it. I'm inspired to work on my climbing skills for next year (as well as my running). A road trip would be fun!

  5. Sounds awesome! Kudos to you and your husband for accomplishing the event! I'm going to have to check around my stomping grounds to see if there is a nearby Warrior Dash.

  6. OK all you runners out there with your Warrior Dashes are making me really jealous!! We have no Warrior Dashes in El Paso!! I have a young friend who really wants to participate in one, so she signed up for the nearest one she could find – next month in Austin – some 600 MILES AWAY!!! grrrr.....

    Well, I am glad you and your husband had such a great experience at your Warrior Dash!! Thanks for the great photos!!

    I am currently in Baltimore on business travel. The local paper had a feature on a race here next week – its a 5k race along a camp trail where the runners where flags attached to their shirts. In the meantime, volunteers, dressed up like Zombies, hide and ambush the runners!! I think the idea is, you have to avoid the zombies and make it to the finish line with your flags intact! The story included photos of all these nuts in zombie makeup attacking hapless runners. It looks like great fun! Too bad I will not be here next weekend to participate!

  7. The Wise Fool,
    I hope you find a Warrior Dash near you!

    DagoodS has already mentioned that Zombie Dash and in fact, noted a few places next year where he might find one. He mentioned Austin and Indie. I noted there is also one in Atlanta. We all might need to make a road trip to one of these sites next year! My husband's friend is really into zombies and is already looking into that race. It does sound fun!

  8. Congratulations!!!! Can't believe we haven't talked about this, but there'a alwasy so much other exciting stuff going on....haha.

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