Remember last year when I said that my first mud run definitely wouldn't be my last? I was telling the truth. Last Friday night, The Husband, a handful of The Usual Suspects (we were missing Mr. Fix-It and Nacho Nurse), and myself set off to Channahon, IL to tackle this year's edition of the Warrior Dash.
After a quick group dinner we all headed to bed, knowing that we had to be up really early since we were in the first wave of Warriors the next morning.
As always, the 5:30am alarm came too fast. Unlike last year, I wasn't nervous at all as I put on my race clothes (exact same stuff as last year except for the socks and shoes) and braided my hair - I was pumped! As soon as everyone was in the hotel lobby, we piled into two cars and set off for the Battleground. Once we arrived, we discovered some of the many benefits of being in the first wave: easy parking (at $20 a carload) and short lines for packet pick up.
Once we all pinned on our numbers and secured our timing chips,which doubled as our free beer token, to our shoes, we dropped our stuff back at the cars and made our way to the starting line.
|They're clean...for now!|
|The Husband & I...Before|
|Best I could do before throwing my camera to Giggles!|
As usual, The Husband and Miss Placed charged ahead. Unlike last year, Whoo-Ha was right behind them! Black Betty and I had decided to stick together no matter what, so we let that trio do their thing while we concentrated on working our way through the crushing herd of humanity in the narrow starting area. Soon enough we encountered Obstacle #1: an ankle-deep mud puddle. A lot of people came to a dead stop as they tried to figure out how to avoid getting their feet wet! Black Betty and I shrugged and charged through it on our way to Obstacle #2: Mortimer's Crossing (balance your way across a wobbly rope bridge). There was a massive bottleneck at this obstacle - so much so that Maverick and Goose caught up to us. After a few minutes, we realized that there was no way we were getting on those ropes any time soon, so we opted to take the 'bypass route' down one ladder and up another in order to get moving! It may qualify as 'wimping out' in some people's books, but for us it was a strategic move that allowed us to make forward progress rather than waiting in line for 10 minutes!
Obstacle #3: The Trenches (army crawling through dirt trenches under barbed wire) was easily the most painful obstacle in my opinion. The dry dirt tore up my knees and my palms. After that we were on to Obstacle #4: Vicious Valleys (v-shaped walls with hurdles). Black Betty and I found that rather than trying to stretch between the two walls, we were better off balancing on the narrow ledge on one side as we scurried across. Once we jumped down from there it was a short run to Obstacle #5: Vertical Limit (a vertical rock climbing wall followed by a slide down a fireman's pole). I liked this obstacle a lot, although I could have done without the fireman's pole - that didn't feel so good on my legs.
Soon Obstacle #6:The Petrifying Plunge (a muddy slip 'n slide) came into sight. Unlike last year, this slip 'n slide didn't end on a grassy hill - it ended in a giant muddy pool! Black Betty, who is 4 inches taller than me, found it amusing that while she was up to her thighs in muddy water, I was up to my waist! We scrambled up a muddy hill and I spent the run to Obstacle #7: Road Rage (climbing over wrecked cars and tires) wringing out the bottom of my shirt! We cleared Road Rage with no problems and made our way to Obstacle #8: Hard Rain (climbing up a ladder while water poured down on us). I absolutely loved this obstacle - especially since the water was so cold and the weather was so hot!
After Hard Rain, the course took a rather serpentine route to Obstacle #9: Chaotic Crossover (crawling across horizontal cargo nets). This obstacle was one of my least favorites last year and I ended up really hating it this year! Not only did the cargo nets hurt like a beast, but when I was climbing down the 3 ladder rungs at the end, my foot slipped and I ended up taking a hard fall and smacking the right side of my face against the ground! Don't worry...I'm fine and my face is fine - no bruises! I picked myself up, dusted myself off, high-fived a couple of guys who saw it happen, and kept running. Obstacle #10: The Great Warrior Wall (10+ foot high wall with a rope hanging down) was next. Climbing up was no problem, and you can bet that I was damn careful coming down the ladder on the other side after my earlier incident! At this point the course turned into more of a trail run, complete with rocks, roots and a stream! Lots of people were walking through this section, but Black Betty (who ran cross country in high school) went crashing across the stream to get around people, and I was right behind her as we approached Obstacle #11: Giant Cliff Hanger (running up a diagonal platform with a rope for assistance). When we reached the top, we could hear the finish line and that meant there were only three obstacles left!
Obstacle #12: Cargo Climb (climbing up, over and down 12 foot high cargo nets) was fun and relatively simple. After that, it was time to haul ass to get up enough speed to hurdle over Obstacle #13: Warrior Roast (leaping over live fire). Last year there was only one line of flames to jump over. This year, there were two! The first was no problem, but there wasn't enough time to build up a lot of speed before the second. I could definitely feel the heat from the flames on that second jump! At last, only Obstacle #14: Muddy Mayhem (crawling through a mud pit under barbed wire) remained. We plunged in, commenting how the pit was much bigger and the mud was far less goopy than what we experienced last year. Black Betty and I climbed out of the pit, grabbed each other's hand and sprinted across the Finish Line. Just like last year, it was a total rush!
|Obstacle #12: Cargo Climb|
|Obstacle #13: Warrior Roast and Obstacle #14: Muddy Mayhem|
We (The Husband, Miss Placed, Whoo Hah, Black Betty, and I) made our way over to the Warrior Wash while we waited for Maverick and Goose to finish. This year's Warrior Wash was so much better than the one in Minnesota. Some lovely gentlemen were wielding garden hoses and pretty much power washing the Warriors. I stripped off my mud soaked shirt, rinsed off, and hurried back to the Finish Line.
I made it just in time to see my Twitter buddy and fellow blogger, Megan, and her friend Audrey finish their first mud run! They both looked pretty happy as they ran across the line pumping their muddy fists in the air. You'll have to check out Megan's blog to get her take on the race.
|Audrey, Me, Megan|
We hustled back to the car to change out of our mud-soaked clothes, dropped our destroyed shoes in the donation pile, and returned to the Battleground for an absolutely fantastic after party.
|Shoe Donation Pile!|
|Beer and Turkey Legs: Keepin' It Classy|
|Do NOT come between a hungry Warrior and his food!|
There was also quite a side show going on around us. One of the many things I love about the Warrior Dash is the crazy costumes. Here are a few of the crazier/better ones I saw:
|Kilts are always quite popular|
|Not sure if he's brave or insane!|
After a while, the heat got to be unbearable so we packed it in and headed back to our hotel to shower, clean out our cuts and scrapes, nap, and get ready for the After After Party!
|My fellow Deadliest Catch fans will understand why I found this so amusing!|
All in all, it was an absolutely fantastic weekend and I'm already thinking about next year's event!