Sunday, July 24, 2011

The Craziest Frickin' Day Of Your Life (aka: Warrior Dash Recap)

I have officially finished my first mud run and I can definitely say that it won't be my last!

Before you read the full recap, I should probably explain the group of people I was with.  I call them The Usual Suspects.  In fact, we made t-shirts for everyone (Warriors and Spectators alike) complete with Top Gun style call signs on the back.  For the purpose of this post, I'm going to refer to everyone except The Husband and myself by those call signs to protect their anonymity/privacy since I have not asked for permission to post their names or photos.  So, without further ado, I am pleased to introduce The Usual Suspects!

Black Betty
Miss Placed

Support Crew:
Mr. Fix-It
Na-cho Nurse

Are you thoroughly confused yet?  I hope not.  Anyway, moving on...

On Friday afternoon, the husband, myself and the rest of The Usual Suspects headed west to take part in the Minnesota edition of the Warrior Dash.  After a 5 1/2 hour drive we checked into our hotel, grabbed some dinner and then hung out on a bar patio and had a few beers.  This is a departure from my usual strict pre-race ritual which involves a very safe dinner, no alcohol and getting to bed early.  The Husband and I didn't even make it back to our room until midnight and we were leaving at 6:30 the next morning!  It was all good, though.  We weren't doing this race to see if we could run fast.  We did it to have fun and do something different, so rituals could be ignored.
Now Entering Minnesota
 The alarm went off at 5:30 A.M.  I pulled on my race clothes (compression shorts, knee length tights, old tank top, old sports bra and really old running shoes), braided my hair and swallowed my usual pre-race Clif Bar.  By 6:30, everyone except Maverick, Goose and their kids were crammed into Mr. Fix-It's truck and we were on our way to The Battleground.

Battleground = Ski Resort

When we arrived, we got our bibs and chips and prepared to race...while staring at the last 3 (and most intimidating) obstacles.
Petrifying Plunge, Warrior Roast & Muddy Mayhem

The Husband and I before the race...looking all fresh and clean!

I even did a little yoga to stretch out ahead of time!  Warrior II seemed appropriate - although my form left something to be desired!

Before we knew it, our wave was being called.  It was GO TIME!
And we were off!  Almost immediately, we encountered the first unofficial obstacle of the day: running up a ski slope.  Talk about tough!  The Husband and Miss Placed charged off and that was the last we saw of them until after the race.  I was running with Black Betty and Who-Haa was just behind us as we hit the top of the hill we were confronted by our first obstacle of the day: Road Rage - which entailed running through tires and climbing over wrecked vehicles!  Immediately after that came Obstacle #2: The Treacherous Typhoon.  Warriors were blasted by gale force wind and water. Strangely, it felt kind of good because it was so hot out!
Treacherous Typhoon - as seen from a chairlift
After the blasting we ran on and up and down more ski runs before coming to Obstacle #3: Barricade Breakdown.  We had to climb over a series of chest-high walls and then duck under barbed wire. I think all those downward and upward-facing dog poses really paid off because my arms were strong enough to get me over those walls and I was able to duck under the barbed wire pretty easily.  After that came a horizontal cargo net, crawling through a pitch black tunnel, a pit of sand, a 15 foot vertical cargo net and solid 20 foot high wall and some very wobbly balance beams...all while negotiating our way up and down ski runs!

Finally, the Petrifying Plunge came into view.  Imagine a muddy slip-n-slide.  I hurled myself down it behind Black Betty and promptly got stuck!  I guess they need to make it more slippery.  I scooted the rest of the way down on my butt, jumped up and Black Betty and I took off toward the Warrior Roast.  Nothing says fun like jumping over a couple of walls of flames!  Oddly enough, we were still pretty clean at this point, but that wasn't going to last long.  The final obstacle was Muddy Mayhem: a waist deep mud pit with barbed wire strung over it.  We plunged in and dropped onto all fours to crawl our way to the finish.  In all honesty, the mud was gross.  It smelled like it had been dredged up from the bottom of a lake that morning.  We found that the easiest way to propel ourselves through  it was to use a doggy-paddle type motion with our arms.

As soon as we exited Muddy Mayhem, Black Betty grabbed my hand and we smiled for the photographers (and Maverick who had my camera) before sprinting through mud to the finish line.

And just like that, it was over. Medals were hung around our necks, we were handed a cup of water and a banana (which didn't make much sense) and pointed to the Warrior Wash area which was another wind/water cannon that didn't even begin to wash all the mud off.

The After Party was awesome and definitely lived up to the event's promise of Mud. Sweat. Beer.  Giant turkey legs (I had a couple bites of The Husband's), Shock Top Ale (I refused to share!) and live music.  We all hung around for a while drinking (beer before 10am is interesting), snacking and people watching before the sky darkened and a storm was imminent. We all high-tailed it back to Mr. Fix-It's truck and went back to our hotel to clean up.

By the time we got back, the sky had cleared and the hotel allowed us to use their garden hose to clean up (and hopefully salvage) some of our gear.  Personally, I think they were hoping we'd hose ourselves off too before coming inside!

Never in my life has a shower felt so good.  It took a lot of scrubbing and I washed my hair no less than 4 times before I finally felt clean!

The remainder of the night was spent with The Usual Suspects doing what we do best: Drinking. Talking. And Having A Great Time.

This morning we all packed it in and headed home...exhausted but happy.  It was a fabulous weekend.  If you ever have the opportunity to do a mud run, do it.  You don't have to be in great shape to succeed, you just have to be willing to have fun.

We're already talking about doing it again (although potentially an event closer to home) next year!
If you're interested in how we all fared, here are the stats:

Distance: 3.02 Hellish Miles (as described by the event's website)

Gaga (The Husband): 
Time: 41:16.0
Avg. Pace: 13:40

Miss Placed:
Time: 41:17.0
Avg. Pace: 13:40

Ringleader (me): (I'll give a few more of my own statistics)
Time: 45:42.8
Avg. Pace: 15:08
Overall Place: 4213/10450
Age Group Place: 327/1322 (Top 25%!)

Black Betty:
Time: 45:45.6
Avg. Pace: 15:09

Time:  46:26.4
Avg. Pace: 15:23

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