Sunday, July 31, 2011

I am a Warrior

I've got to set the scene for you. Are you ready to turn on your internal soundtrack? 'Cause, to read this post, you really need to be hearing Pat Benatar's "I am the Warrior" in your head. You getting there? C'mon, "shooting at the walls of heartache. Bang, bang. I am the warrior." Got it? Ok, let's do this thing.

Months and months ago, I heard about this crazy run called the Warrior Dash. For some reason, I thought it would be awesome to run a 5K with obstacles interspersed and a guarantee to get dirty. So, because I thought it was such an awesome idea, I also tried to convince almost everyone I know to do it, too. Hey, spread the misery around, right?

I wasn't fully comprehending the whole concept until about a week or two ago. Then, I became convinced that I was crazy for signing up for this thing. Really, who runs an insane race with obstacles at 1pm on the last weekend of July? The heat was really freaking me out. I am strictly a morning runner. I am always finished running by 8 or 9 in the morning, and those are late mornings. Most days, I'm home from my runs by 7:30am. So, the thought of running in the middle of the day on July 30th was really quite daunting to me. And, well, frankly, the thought of jumping into a mud pit was also weighing on my mind.

But, since I had convinced everyone that this would be an awesome idea, there is no way I could "get sick" at the last minute and back out. I was in it. We contemplated bringing the girls along with us, and truly, Molly was really excited by the idea of seeing her mommy completely covered in mud. But, we just weren't sure what kind of atmosphere it was going to be, and decided not to risk it with the girls.

We piled in a van with a neighbor, Tom, and a friend, Anne. Our saving grace was that a thunderstorm and cold front had moved through, so it was slightly overcast in the morning and the high was only supposed to be 90. Massive improvement from the 100s of late. We couldn't have asked for better weather for the end of July. We checked in and met up with Katie and Brandon, who were also running in our wave time.

Turns out, between the two days of the race, and all the different start times, there were something like 15,000 people signed for this insane idea. So, the whole setting was kind of crazy. I wish I had thought to take a picture of the overall scene, but you'll just have to trust me. Thousands of people covered a giant hillside. People in their worst clothes. People in crazy costumes. Guys in drag. Spectators with cameras. Girls with pink hair. Babies. Pregnant women with mud on their bellies. Truly, I can't convey the varied nature of the crowd.

After we checked in, we took inventory of the crowd. There was a lot of pointing, gasps of "wow!" and "I can't believe that!" and guesstimating how muddy we ourselves would become. Some more friends showed up a little later. They were in the heat after us, so we took a couple pictures with them, then headed up to the starting corral.
Brandon and Katie Hearn with me and Cory.

Anne, me, Cory and Tom in our toughest warrior poses.

We are three tough chicks.

But, we had to do something fun fashion-wise, so we all wore bright knee-high socks.

Me and Cory.

Meeting up with Hilary and Meredith.
It turns out the actual run was probably the hardest part of the race. I was concerned about all the obstacles, but they really weren't that bad. There were some tires to jump through, a couple knee-high streams to wade through, a couple walls to scale, some hay bales to climb over. But, the run was the toughest because you were running on essentially muddy hiking trails. I'm strictly a pavement-pounder, so I was not used to having to watch for each foot-fall. I ended up trailing behind Katie for much of the race, placing my feet in exactly the same spots she did. Of course, this did backfire on us, when we both took the high part of a muddy trail, lost footing and slid down. Luckily, some nice guys caught us before we slid all the way down the hill. But, truly, they didn't have much choice, because we probably would've taken them out with us as we slipped all the way down.

The last three obstacles were right in a row at the very end. You had to climb up a cargo net about 20-30 feet in the air and back down again. Then, you had to jump over two fire pits. The fire was probably my favorite obstacle because it sure as heck felt bad-ass to jump over fire! Unfortunately, I have no pictures of said fire jumping. If the professional ones from the race turn out cool, I might just have to break down and buy one.  Of course, I will probably just end up looking really dorky. In that case, no dice. You'll just have to imagine me triumphantly (and gracefully) flying through the air while the flames lick at my feet. I'm sure that's exactly what I looked like.

The last obstacle was the duhn, duhn, duhn ... MUD PIT. Up until now, I wasn't too dirty. My feet were soaked and pretty mud-covered, and my body was a little mud-splattered. But, overall, not too bad. Well, here's where that all changed:
"I can't believe I am about to do this."
And, here we go. Right up to the neck.
Oh, the Triumph!
Of course, right after that last picture, I totally wiped out. I'm just glad Emily didn't get that on camera.

So, we survived. It was pretty amazing. I had a blast.
That's Brandon and Katie, and me and Cory again.
Scott, Tom, Cory, me and Anne.
Emily is the clean one in the group. She took pictures, along with Katie's awesome parents.

I don't know if I'd do another Warrior Dash, but I sure am glad I did this one. I'm pretty sure I've finally cleaned all the mud off my body. And, despite still finding random bruises, sunburns and chunks of mud, I think I've recovered.

My mud line. The only way I'll ever look tan.
So, is that song still playing in your head? 'Cause I'll leave you with an image to go with it:
Every true warrior needs a beer at the end of her battle!

1 comment:

  1. We forgot to get a picture of me hosing Amy off in our front lawn when we got home :)