Ah, The Warrior Dash. This event is probably one of the best (and worst) events that I have ever completed. It was at Afton Alps ski hill in Hastings, MN. What this means is that between each of the obstacles, there is an uphill run. Over the course of three miles, you gain 377 feet in altitude. That’s okay, though.. we’re up for it–We’re a team! We even have “matching tattoos.”
(I’m on the girl on the far right, next to the guy in the white shirt)
We arrived at about 9:30am and the place was already pandemonium. Warriors from earlier runs were walking past us dripping mud from head to toe. Music was blaring, and the next group was in the gate waiting for their wave to go. The whole crowd was just frenetic.
We shot the group photo before I checked in my gear and then it was already time to go.
In the gate, we stretched out the best we could, we tried to develop strategies to stay together, Ramon got Dave to let him take his camera on the course so we could get some action shots, and then it was time to go! Again, it’s at a ski hill, so our first “battle” was uphill, and then down a pretty steep hill to our first obstacle. We had waded through hanging tires but that was more of a nuisance than an obstacle. There were some people that could just barrel down the hill full tilt, but I had to be conscientious of my ankle (which I had broken going downhill in the past). Between the uphill battle and the down hill care, I was one of the last people to make it to this beast:
The wall. A lot easier than it looked! Until you got to the top. I froze and just couldn’t get over because of my fear of climbing ladders. Yep. You read that right. I made it to the top and could not climb down the “ladder” on the other side. I decided to just go back down the way that I came except I kind of lost my grips and suffered a friction burn on my back as I slid down. This race was off to a *great* start…. /sarcasm.
One thing that was *really* awesome about this obstacle, though, were the five people that I was with. Two were running as Wounded Warriors and they supported each other through and through. The other 3 were in a group together as geeks and one girl was the weakest link. She made it to the top and, like me, froze in fear. One of her friends followed her up afterwards and pushed her bum for support so she wouldn’t slide back down. Shouts of encouragement rained down from her friends and the rest of us there were moved to shout as well. She, unlike me, made it over the wall with the support of her friends. You could tell that they were more physically fit than I was, but they were loyal and supportive and you could tell that they were in it together. It was so amazing that I hugged her on the other side and told her that she’s got true friends and should feel so loved.
Then I climbed the hill to the next obstacle…
Given all of my balance work on the BOSU ball, I nailed this obstacle. They were high and scary, and very unsteady, but I conquered it 🙂 By the time I made it to this obstacle, I had also buddied up with a girl who was going a pace very similar to mine. Her name was Jody and she had been talked into doing it by her daughter. She got dusted by the group that she came with (same as me) but she was a Warrior bound and determined to finish it.
I rocked the trenches. There were rocks and debris in them which was a hazard to the knees, but I only came out with a few scratches — at least I didn’t get caught on the barbed wire.
This obstacle was both easier and harder than it looked. I made it to the top just fine but something about going over terrified me. I just kept picturing myself losing my grip and plummeting to my death. So I climbed up one side…. and right back down the same side. I figured it was the same amount of work and should totally count.
There were many more obstacles that I don’t have good pictures of – over-unders where you have to hoist yourself over 4.5′ walls and then duck under a fence lined with barbed wire, a treacherous hill where you have to make it under fishing nets–I think the point was to army crawl, but it was down hill so most people just rolled–followed by crisscrossed barbed wire. Again–I think the point was to army crawl, but as it was down hill, most people (including me) did a combination of rolling and crab walking. There were a couple times where I thought I had cleared the barbed wire and I had misjudged it and became very thankful that I was wearing glasses. There were “hurricane force winds” where they had multiple snow generating machines blasting you with water. The mists felt good at first but as you ran through them the mist turned to sand and you were getting blasted.
There was a grueling portion of the track that led me through steep hills and switch back single-path trails. At one point I was so winded and we had already started to get lapped. I had to climb a rock and hold myself against a tree to let the better athletes pass me.. As I stumbled back on the path I just pumped my arms and told myself that there was no place to go but up.
Eventually, we were able to start our descent. We jogged briskly and came to the funnest “obstacle” of all – a water slide:
At the bottom of the slides were indents from all of the other warriors who had slid before me and as I cascaded into the puddle, I was laughing and yelling with delight. Best way to get down a hill ever.
The epic fire jump was shortly after this, but it was on a hill as well so that your left was lower than your right–making it that much harder to get ample lift.
I seriously felt as if I had started my feet on fire, though ;D I was never so happy to see a mud pit in my life. Surprisingly, there was little to no apprehension when it came to just crawling right in. I had read a few blogs that gave advice on making it through the mud pit. .. Namely, if it’s got enough water, you an float. I thought I was being all smart and just floating and pulling myself along (under barbed wire), but then they had a guy spraying people with a fire-hose… I was glad that I had tucked my glasses into my boob-pocket or they’d’ve been lost..
My parents were waiting for me when I got out of the pit. I had warned them that they might get a little muddy, but I was still surprised when they gave me big muddy hugs and agreed to be in pics with me:
I reunited with my team from work for our victory photo… and then did my best to get cleaned up. I think it took 3x shampooing to get all of the mud out of my hair. Pro-tip: Make sure to check your belly button for mud haha..