I have had Rodney Atkins song “If You’re Going Through Hell” stuck in my head ever since I competed in the Dirty Dog Dash this past Saturday. It’s not that I actually heard the song when I was there, it’s just that my internal Ipod felt it was a fitting song for the event. Take a listen for yourself.
The Dirty Dog Dash – Hell Survivor was a 3 mile mud run with obstacles. It was held on Hell Survivors Paintball field just outside of Hell Michigan. Ironically as we approached the race location, my car odometer turned over to 39,666. I. AM. NOT. JOKING. I wish I had a picture to prove it but my hubby can certainly vouch for me.
Once the hubby and I parked our car, we picked up our race packets and prepped for the race. (Pined on our race bibs, used the restroom, etc) After that, we had a short amount of time before our wave started to watch other participants. There were two obstacles visible to spectators. One was a giant mud put and the other was a fire that you had to leap over. We also listened to a local band, ThunderFunk, who were quite good!
Once it was time for our wave to start we joined a group of people at the start line. Some were dressed in costumes and some were not. The hubby and I just wore some running clothes that we didn’t care much about, just in case we had to throw them away.
Once the horn blew, we raced down a trail into the woods. The people in our wave varied from very fast runners to people who started walking before we hit the 1 mile mark. The course itself was very hilly, something I am not used to as I live in a very flat area. Another challenge about the course was that since it was a trail run, you had to keep an eye on the ground to avoid tripping over tree roots and other debris while at the same time keeping an eye on the orange flags that marked the course. Prior to our wave we had heard a lot of chatter about the course not being well-marked. I personally only had a couple of occasions when I wasn’t sure which way to go, but again, I think it was due to having to be aware of so many things at one time. The obstacles on the course included barbed wire that you had to army crawl under, rope that was weaved spiderweb style in between trees that you had to meander through, ponds to wade through, etc. My favorite part of the course was how the paintball structures were integrated into the race route. Many of the structures had staircases that we had to climb up and then climb down. (Between the stairs and the hills my legs were getting an awesome workout!) They even placed a fog machine inside one of the structures, which was a nice touch. There were several times on the race where I thought I was getting close to the finish line, only to be routed back into the woods again. However, I finally did cross the finish line after going through the mud pit and leaping over the fire. I had a respectable time of 32:56. I was the 82nd female to cross the finish line out of 376 women. Go me!
After the hubby and I both finished, we tossed our shoes into the garbage (I wish the Dirty Dog Dash would have partnered with Green Sneakers so I wouldn’t have felt guilty about throwing them away.) and hosed ourselves off as best we could.
We then headed to the beer tent (I detest beer, the hubby loves it) and much to our surprise each participant was entitled to endless cups of beer. Well, at least until they ran out anyways. Another surprise about the race is that the race photos are free! Once posted on the Dirty Dog Dash website, we can download them free of charge. Very cool! Another unique feature about the race is that the finishers medal is a dog tag.
As you may remember, I participated in another mud run called the Warrior Dash (click here for a recap of that race), a few months back. Because of this, people have been asking me to compare the two races. To be honest, despite them both being mud runs, they are just too different to compare. It would be like trying to compare one 5k race to another. Each 5k is different based on the course, the reason for the race, the conditions, etc. With that being said I will say this. The Warrior Dash is much larger in scale in comparison to the Dirty Dog Dash, probably because it is a nation wide event. The Michigan Warrior Dash that I was in had 10,000 participants and 10,000 spectators each day, whereas the Dirty Dog Dash had just over 700 participants and even fewer spectators. In addition, I would say that the Warrior Dash had more challenging obstacles but the Dirty Dog Dash had a more challenging course with all of the hills. And finally it should be known that the proceeds of the Dirty Dog Dash go to the Wounded Warrior Foundation, whereas I believe, that the Warrior Dash is for profit.
After competing in both the Dirty Dog Dash and the Warrior Dash, I am really starting to love mud / trail runs. In fact, I think I like them better than traditional foot races. Maybe there is a Tough Mudder in my future when it comes to Ohio in April 2012??? Only time will tell . . .