Wednesday, August 03, 2011

Warrior Dash 2011

There's no real way to describe the events I'm about to tell you about. I will do my best, but unless you were there, and you tried it yourself, you probably won't really understand. Sounding like an exclusive club . . . yes, of Warriors.

Ok I'm going to recount this for you play by play so you can add your own theme songs; wipe black lines under your eye; and get your meanest groan on. In 3 . . .2 . . .1 . . .

"Dude!!! There's like 500 people here!!" We got off the shuttle bus to find hundreds of people surrounding this luscious land, either just having finished the race, about to start, or enjoying the warrior festivities like eating a huge turkey leg without any silverware. We picked up our registration, turned in our waivers - basically giving all rights to sue for injury - away, dropped off our gear, and mentally psyched ourselves up. We were among the marginal group of crazy folk, actually volunteering to run a 3.5 mile obstacle course of shear torture, lol. Well, at least it wasn't hot outside - it was damp and looking like it was about to rain.

My friends and I all lined up near the Start line; well, as near as we could get, with about 100 people in any given wave. And we waited. No one had a watch or cell phone because you knew it would get muddy. You wore just the bare essentials. People had on costumes, crazy decorations on their body, hats, you name it. All in the name of good fun. We're grunting and continuing on like warriors, but little did we know. Grabbed some before pictures and then the countdown began. They counted from a muffled 10 to 3 . . . 2 . . .1 . . . and a loud horn sounded. Everyone pretended to run because there were about 99 people in your way, so you are really at a comfortable walk/jog. We walked/jogged through the dirt as our competitors moved up fast out of our way; and we completed our first obstacle of Muddy Mayhem. Not so bad, we thought. This dash may just be a piece of cake. We continued on to Crusader's Castle, basically a great bottleneck to break up the crowd. It looked like a Castle and fort from back in the hay day.

Not too shabby Warrior Dash, not too shabby. At this point I'm making goals for next year to run more and thinking - I may just do this again. This isn't that bad. What was all the hooplah about? Sheesh. Then we get to this stage in the middle of the woods that we have to crawl under. They called it Blackout. The ends have been covered with black cloth and you can't see, so you are just crawling through dirt and leaves and branches. This is the first really strenuous semi-warrior-like activity. Within a minute we're moving to the next one. Go TEAM!!

And then there was Teetering Traverse. Planks of wood running up and down about 3 feet lay before us. Going up wasn't so bad, but going down was very scary. "Must not fall, Must not fall" is what everyone is repeating to themselves. Obstacle number 4 complete. By now we are seeing how they weed out the fast and the slow. I'm not worried about time though. My only goal was to finish. Running to the next obstacle was tons of fun. We ran through 2 feet of mud, grabbing at shoes and dragging people down. Left and right pre-warriors were falling. When someone fell I tried to get in front of them so I at least knew I wouldn't be in last place (horrible, I know, but you gotta do what you gotta do . . .). I run to Barricade Breakdown and see a series of wooden fences to jump over, followed by barbed wire to crawl under. How bad can this be? I see them do it in movies all the time. Yeah, so these walls were 5 or 6 feet tall, so you really had to push yourselfs up with your arms (I was really impressed with my flexing muscles, lol) then propel your leg over. Yeah, after doing this once or twice it gets real old, real quick. I think we had to do this like 6 times. So your arms and legs are a bit sore and then you must continue running. Yes, run run run, that's all everyone was doing.

I did misspeak earlier - my goals were to 1) Just to finish and 2)Not be the last person. Tunnels of Terror wasn't so bad - basically crawling inside 3ft wide tubes. I did forget about the whole crawling one time and I bumped by head. Luckily it was dark, so I don't think anyone saw. By this time I was on my own - I told my pre-warrior friends to go on without me. I was doing the at-my-own-pace-and-dont-yell-at-me-to-go-faster race. Baby steps people, baby steps, lol. So I'm running and wondering what the next obstacle is when it hits me. Neck-height string was taut between the trees and it was like that scene in Ocean's Eleven with all the lasers and he's trying to grab the jewel in the middle. Remember that? That was an awesome scene. Ok, so I digress; Arachnophobia, as it was called was tricky, but a good time.

As you can see my recounts can get pretty wordy so I'm just briefly touch on Deadweight Drifter, Rio Run, and Slithering Swamp. We ran through the stream with trees and brances and logs in the way, jumping over them to get to our destination. Some trees had like thorns sticking out (ouch, yes it did catch me) so you had to be careful which side to jump on. Plus like I said you had 99, ok, honesty by this time, 20 people breathing down your neck to get out of their way. Then we ran through 4 feet of water to the other side. It was actulaly a nice break and nice way to cool off. Oh, and by run, I mean enjoy the scenery and walk really fast. That of course made the following dirt path all muddy, so you are watching the ground trying not to slip and bust up your ankle like the girl we saw in line when we were dropping off our gear and she was picking up hers. Definitely a helpful remider to be careful.

And then, yes this deserves its very own paragraph. And then you get to the Great Warrior Wall.

It's bringing back bad memories, I might have to write this rather quickly.

So, yes, the Great Warrior Wall. You are running and running, and doing even more running. And you glimpse some barricade out of the corner of your eye, but you really have no idea what it is you are about to do until you reach it. Then you get there. There stands about a 20 ft high wall of wood. There is a rope with a couple of knots in it and pieces of wood sticking out for foot support. Your shoes are muddy from running in all the water and then dirt. I back up and try to pick my spot. I'd like a good spot that I can take my time. I'm also watching to see what other people are doing. That doesn't look so bad, I think to myself. I got this!! Well, I grab on to the rope and realize how slippery everything is. Wow, who thought of doing this with all this mud on your feet? Anyhow, when in Rome, plus I wanted to finish each obstacle. I didn't want to skip any - then I wouldn't really earned my warrior hat. So I grab on again and hoist myself up. After 2 knots I pretty much have to finish or it's a long way down. . I get to the top and am wondering how in the world to get to the other side. You have to swing your leg over and at some point let go of the rope - the only thing between you and the ground. I stayed on top of the barricade for some time trying to figure out which body position would work. If I swung my leg over but didn't have a good grip I could slip. If I let go with my hand and tried to swing my leg over I might miss the footstep. It was a mess. Needless to say there were only two options down - either I fall, or I climb. So I sucked up all the gusto I had that made me sign up for this crazy race in the first place and swung my leg over, holding on for dear life. Then I climbed down. I definitely did a little Rocky jump with the hands in the air when I got to the ground. Of course, there wasn't too much time for celebration as I ran to the next obstacle.

The last leg was a bit of a run or jog/walk depending on who you ask. Then we have a Cargo Climb with a huge rope net. Then we got to jump on top of junkyard cards in Road Rage. We were almost at the finish line and crawled through mud water, under barbed wire and on top of sharp pebbles that hurt your knees and hands.

Finally, I ran and jumped over two fire pits in the Warrior Roast; crossed the finish line; and took a victory picture with my Warrior friends.

That, my friends, is Warrior Dash. I don't know that I'd do it again - not sure it meets my safety standard, but definitely a fun time, and something to cross off my to-do list.

-Warrior Mokah