I am a runner. I have been for most of my life. This past weekend I decided to spice up my running a bit by participating in something called the Warrior Dash. It’s like a 3 mile trail run, but with obstacles. Lots of obstacles. And mud. And fire. And really cold water.
I first heard about the race several months ago and thought it sounded like a really bad idea. I mean, you have to jump over fire. That’s crazy. But then I heard some more people talking about it and they said “the fire is really low”, so I let curiosity get the best of me and I looked it up online. And I must say, in pictures the fire doesn’t look very high. So I thought I might like to give it a try. You get a cool viking helmet just for signing up, plus I got a Groupon, so I got in for half price.
Fast forward about a month … The race is just a couple of days away, so I once again pull up the website to see how I go about picking up my packet and actually participating. This is when I discover the release form. As a runner, I have signed many a release form. This one, however, convinced me that I might not live through this particular race. At best I would be severely wounded or catch some bizarre disease from tainted water/ mud. To make matters worse, I got a better look at the obstacles. All 12 of them. Somehow I missed the shear number of obstacles the first time I researched this race. I guess I was so relieved that the fire was not bad that I failed to notice the other, far worse, terrors that awaited me. Needless to say, I was a bit nervous about finishing the race. I’ve run two marathons and a dozen half marathons, but this little 3 1/4 mile race had me quakin’ in my boots.
(Me, not really quakin’ in my boots here, but that’s what I imagine it would look like if I were)
Turns out all that worrying was for nothing (mostly). I did really well and had a great time running the race. I finished 89th out of 552 women in my age group with a time of 44:56:50 (the fastest in my age group finished in 30 minutes). The run was tough. Trail running in general is tougher than road racing, but I usually do pretty well at it. I think I am less afraid of falling than other people. I think my love of running also helped me to do well. I actually enjoyed the running portions and could use them to rest and recuperate between obstacles.
This is me slithering through the second to last obstacle, the mud pit, then running on to face the WALL OF FIRE! And let me tell you. The pictures lie. That fire is not at all short. It was about mid-thigh on me. At least I was completely soaked at that point, so I wouldn’t ignite if I misjudged my jump.
For anyone interested in running a Warrior Dash, I’ll give you a quick break down of the obstacles. They are spread out in groups of three throughout the course so you get to run for a while between the sets. The first set was about 3/4 of a mile in (I’m totally guessing on that one). The rusty cars was the most physically taxing obstacle of the entire event for me. You not only run over cars, but through car tires (think football drills) and you do this three times. This was our third obstacle, which made me very glad that I can actually rest and recuperate while running. Prior to that one we had to jump over walls, then crawl under walls (repeated three times) and run through a gauntlet of old tires. Several of the obstacles involved climbing up very tall walls, then somehow getting back down to the ground on the other side (in one instance by dropping about 10 feet). The obstacle requiring the most physical prowess was the horizontal rope net. The holes were about 12″ wide, so you had to be careful. The most deceptively photographed obstacle was the in-water log climb. This one is described as trudging through waist deep water and over logs. Our water was up to my face (possibly higher, I gave up on walking pretty early into that one). And really, really, really cold.
If they are in your area, I would highly recommend the warrior dash. It’s a great event that is not only fun to run, but has a lot to offer spectators as well. Plus you get a furry viking helmet just for registering.