So, even with some weirdness and uncertainty with the legality of having the correct permits, Warrior Dash went on and it was a damn good time. Normally, I go into races with one focus: running as fast as I can for the duration. Mental toughness, beating my time, super serious meeting face etc etc. I take pains to be well rested before and train properly and do things methodically to make race day as successful as possible. However, the last two races showed me that not every race needs to be that way. And that’s ok. Naw, that’s better than ok – it was a blast.
Saturday, we made shirts. We wanted to make sure we got at least one unmuddy picture. Here’s a closeup:
Yes, we ran the race in the name of iguana poop. It’s a great picture of her though, isn’t it? So Saturday ended up getting away from us, and we didn’t finish packing until about midnight. Which means getting to sleep around 1230ish. And then getting up at 630-ish. Middle of the night for me, and about 2-3 hours too little sleep to boot. However, the goal was to leave at 7am just in case it was super traffic-y. We left at 730am, and pulled up to the race around 11am. Our heat was at 2pm. With the 3 hours we had to kill, we spent it all on our feet. We walked probably about 2 miles going back and forth to the car for various things. The nice thing was I felt very warmed up, but on the flip side, my legs were actually kinda sore BEFORE the race from standing around.
Zliten is ready to rock! We headed to the start line around 1:35 after some stretching and after hearing the pre-race announcements about 20 times. Don’t go in the lake, it’s filled with bear traps (or uboats or shattered lightbulbs), get your finishers medals that were made by Australian 4 armed nuns (or Polish men with 2 glass eyes or orphans) and keep moving. Finally, it’s time to go, the flames shoot up, and we’re off!
We decided to stick together just in case we needed to help each other through obstacles, and it was a great decision. Through the straight and dry areas, I pushed Zliten to run a little faster probably than he would have liked, but through the super muddy or uneven terrain, he was outpacing me. The obstacle parts were something else though… wild. The first wind tunnel was just like running into a big industrial sized fan, but next – the first mud pit. At first I was a little hesitant, but it felt GREAT. I wore my old black shoes from the half marathon in February, so they were already destroyed so I didn’t care about getting them dirty, and STILL FELT LIGHT even after being bogged down with mud and completely wet. Score!
After some slipping and sliding, we hit dry ground again and took off running. I barely felt like we ran at all through the race – there were obstacles about every quarter mile. There was the mudslide (yes, sliding down the side of a hill on your butt), a long trek through a river, climbing up a muddy cliff, more mud pits, swimming through a lake over logs (which took some coordination – much easier with the inertia of 2-4 people going up and over), jumping over big obstacles, and probably some other stuff I’m forgetting. Then, we rounded the corner to the finish. First, we had to cross two hurdles…OF FIRE (I’m hoping the pro-race peeps got pics because those could be awesome)! Then, the last mudpit… crawling under barbed wire!
We got sufficiently disgusting, found each other, grabbed hands, and sprinted to the finish line together! We got our medals, and then got in line to get hosed down. This was AFTER applying liberal amounts of water to us. Definitely not good clean fun, but it was awesome.
Muddy tires are badass! We grabbed our stuff from bag check, and enjoyed our free beers and watched and cheered other people on near the finish line. I’ve never actually stuck around after a race and cheered other people on – I’m usually way too wiped and just want to go HOME, but it was a blast. You can see some of the awesome costumes here – next year, I think we’ll go for something crazy cool, but for this year, it was fun just to watch the guys and gals in tutus, banana men, and such.
Around 5pm we were beat and called it a day, and dragged our poor, sunburnt selves back to the hotel. Pro tip: sunscreen is good. Applying it would have been best at 11am when we got there, even though it was cloudy and cold. Applying it around 1230 when we made the third trip to the car and it was starting to warm up would have been almost as good. Even after the race at 3pm before sitting out in the sun for 2 more hours would have been good. But nope, we is dumb bunnies, so we are both lovin’ the aloe today.
All in all, a great experience. I didn’t expect to spend that long at the race and didn’t expect it to be that badass of a time. We’re already pretty much in for next year and thinking possibly about traveling to another location (Denver? So Cal?) and/or doing ours and trying to get a big group together. I love doing races with Zliten and really getting to appreciate adventure racing. There are a lot of these type of events after looking into it – the Muddy Buddy, Tough Mudder, Jail Break, and more. While I don’t think I’ll hang up my clean shoes and stop doing traditional road races, this makes for a totally fun afternoon and a completely different type of experience!
EDIT: If you’re curious about the course experience, there is a great helmet cam video here. Turn off the music unless you like angry white boy screamy rock.