Hell Run. I didn’t take the name seriously. I mean, I love me some Warrior Dash, but they do exaggerate a bit when they tout the badassness of the courses. Not to say they’re not fun, or a challenge, but craziest frikkin day of your life? Nah. Try running a semi-trail half marathon in late June in San Antonio. Now that is a crazy time.
However, we love these things. From the costumes to the obstacles to the bands to the post race party… they are way fun. Whereas most races are about going all out and getting a PR, these are about the experience. We love getting the costume together, we love the mass humanity and people watching, we love the obstacles breaking up the run, getting muddy, post race muddy pictures, the post race beer or 4, and chillin’ out in the sun listening to a band.
Hell Run had a lot of that, and I figure they’ll figure out more of it with more races (this was the first one ever).
I had intended to do something different superhero-y (since the schwag included a cape) because supergirl is getting a little tired. However, the week got away from me and I didn’t put anything together until about 11pm the night before. I decided I was just going to go with Super Quix, because if you throw knee high socks + short running skirt + a cape on, anything looks superhero-y. There were a lot of wonderwoman costumes so next time I might do batgirl. Or just elaborate on my own super outfit. I definitely looked like I had the “before” version of my super suit (think Kick Ass – when he’s just wearing the old wetsuit). That’s ok, because I still felt super.
I mean, come on, check out these biceps! They kinda snuck up on me. I’ve got some righteous guns forming here. Hooray swimming!
The capes had to go for the actual race though… they were a bit too big and cumbersome, but they sure looked cool!
So anyhoo, we got there pretty early and actually ended up with pretty rockstar parking (3rd car from the front), picked up our packets, dropped off everything but the keys, bag checked, and went to go watch people at the finish line… and we ran into J and J (the folks that put on the duloop), which shouldn’t surprise me because we run into them every friggin’ race, but still blows my mind. They were running in our wave so we hung out with them. I hit the porta potties one last time and ran into Tricia and family. She had just completed the Super Hell (6.85 mile) course with her hubbs and said it was a blast.
We saw the wave before us gathering, and the folks we were with decided to wave jump, so we did too. Felt a little bad about it, but it just kept getting hotter and hotter and caved to peer pressure. Karma caught up with us, as we ended up in the back of the pack, and a quarter mile in, we came to a complete stop and shuffle. For like, 5 minutes. We figured we were at the first obstacle, but nope, it was just a steep narrow downhill. With each of those steep downhills (this was the first of many), there was another evil uphill. At first it was grass and dirt, and then the terrain got worse – sand, and then rocks. Not nice, small rocks, but apple size rocks. I spent a lot of time playing the “where to put the foot to avoid bruises and turning my ankle” game, as I was wearing old shoes and was just terrified of hurting myself.
I can’t say they didn’t warn us. The damn place WAS called Rocky Hill Ranch. The run WAS called the Hell Run. I just didn’t have the respect.
The obstacles were sorta standard fare. There were mud pits (sadly, they were pretty dry by the time we got there so it mostly got our shoes muddy. Hopping over walls. Hay bale climb. Jumping over fire. What WASN’T standard fare was the steep uphills and downhills and amazingly uneven terrain. Very quickly, we decided that we weren’t really going to push it. I have a 5k in a few weeks I am REALLY wanting to PR. I have no use for the idea of not being able to run hard in preparation. We walked when it seemed appropriate and ran when the hills weren’t SO steep and there were clear paths. We saw the super hell course split off and were almost tempted but figured breaking the rules once to jump waves was bad enough. Maybe next year!
The second to last obstacle was a swim through a pond. That pond was NASTY. Apparently, to add to the soup, someone had thrown up about 15 minutes before. Didn’t know it went I went through, and it felt damn good even though it was stinky. We hopped over the fire (was a lot lower than WD but we ARE under a burn ban now so it was cool they even had it) and finished up. Sadly, we weren’t very dirty, but we were VERY happy to be done. We finished in about 56 minutes, which was super slow, but preserving my body was absolutely first priority.
We waited in a HUGE line to get hosed off (one dude with a hose), enjoyed our post race beer (plus another), and hung out with our friends. We were going to wait around for awards because they might have had a chance at the age group awards, but it took longer than expected so we all just took off.
The drive back was nice and uneventful, and then Italian subs and champagne ensued.
The aftermath the next day? A hangover (but that wasn’t the race’s fault, heh), screaming quads, a sore wrist from bracing myself from a near fall after jumping over a wall, but NO feet bruises. So nothing is sore that I needed for today’s sprints, so that’s super happy!
I’d do this one next time. It has potential, I’d just like to see less people per wave (send them off every 15 mins maybe) or a course that isn’t so dang narrow, more mud, a better tech tee (it’s kinda lame, although men’s small fits ok now, so I know and don’t have this drawer full of pajama race shirts), and instead of having the band on the course that you saw once for 10 seconds, have the band at the post race party area. DJs just weren’t the same. However, I loved the cape, as frustrated as I was with the course while on it, I would just need to be prepared with better shoes, a better position for the start, and knowing what to expect. However, that being said, the next one in the area is the same weekend as Austin Warrior Dash. I would likely do the dash over this if I had to pick.
There may be a Hell Run coming to your area – you can check it out here.