This past weekend I ran my 4th Warrior Dash and Chris ran his 2nd!
All of the Warrior Dashes that I have done have been at the same location in Mt. Morris Michigan, so when we pulled into the parking lot of the event on Saturday morning I told Chris that I felt like I was coming home. It may seem like a silly thing to say, but running my first Warrior Dash 4 years ago sparked a journey that I never imagined. It just goes to show that sometimes when you do something our of your comfort zone you will find a passion that you didn’t know existed!
Okay, enough with the sentimentalism, let’s get on with what you really want to hear about it…..The Warrior Dash!
The day before the Warrior Dash I had to check my email confirmation to see what time Chris and I had signed up for. We signed up for the race almost a year ago, so I wasn’t sure what we had picked. To my surprise we were signed up for the competitive heat! Those in the competitive heat were expected to maintain a 7:30 minute pace or less. Ummm, what?! Even when I was more trained, I didn’t maintain that kind of pace.
Luckily the Warrior Dash is very lax when it comes to what wave you actually run in so Chris and I did the first open wave after the competitive heats. (As a side note, it appeared that there were plenty of people in the competitive heats that didn’t maintain the required pace so we just may run in the competitive heat next year to see how we do.)
There were a lot of changes at the Warrior Dash compared to what I am used to. If memory serves me correctly, at all previous packet pick ups you had to stand in a line that either corresponded to your last name or bib number. This year you could stand in any line which was confusing to me at first. lol Waivers were done electronically at packet pick up on a tablet versus the paper waivers that they used in the years past. Saving trees is always a good thing!
The biggest change of all (for me anyways) is that the Warrior Dash is no longer timed. This is a big thumbs down for me. I like to know my time, I just do. Taking that away turns the Warrior Dash into a just a fun run and I tend to shy away from un-timed events.
On the upside, the pictures taken by the on course race photographers are FREE now whereas in years past you had to pay for them. This is a big plus! (But I still want my timing back. Grrr.)
The layout of the course and the arrangement of the obstacles was slightly different this year as well. Spectators weren’t able to see as many obstacles as they had in the years past as the new obstacle Goliath took up a lot of room at the end of the course. However, Goliath is an obstacle that has several different obstacles within it, so that makes up for it.
Now let’s talk obstacles! I am not going to list out and describe each one because you could simply go to the Warrior Dash website to see that info. Instead I am going to talk about the ones that stood out to me.
By far my least favorite obstacle is Alcatraz. It is a water obstacle where you have to swim to a large square raft and pull your self up, walk to the other side, get in the water again and then swim to the shore. I am not a good swimmer and every year I feel like I am going to meet my death on this obstacle. This year was no exception. The water was much deeper than in the years prior probably due to the large amount of snow we got this past Winter. On top of that people are either not paying attention to what they are doing or they just do not care or maybe they suck at swimming like I do. Regardless, it seems that people will push you down to get themselves up or they take their time getting up while everyone else is treading water behind them. Long story short, I didn’t like it at all but I survived.
Goliath is another obstacle worth mentioning both because it is new and because I was dreading it. I am scared of heights and everything about this obstacle is high up. First you climb a cargo net, then you walk across a 2×4 type plank high above water with just a rope on either side of you to help you cross while simultaneously being blasted with water so that the plank is slippery and it is hard to see. Once you get across that you go up a small ladder and then you arrive at the giant slides that will spit you out into a pit of muddy water. I let several people go ahead of me before I got the courage to go down. I tried to use my elbows to slow myself down before I got to the bottom of the slide and that turned out to not be such a great idea.
After the race, there was a picture station where you could take your muddy picture and have it emailed to you or you could post it directly on Facebook. I thought that was a pretty cool idea and the line wasn’t very long so we gave it a go.
All in all Chris and I had a great time at the Warrior Dash. I am still bummed that they are no longer timing the event but I don’t think that will deter us from coming back next year!
What do you think about the Warrior Dash changes?
Did you do any racing this weekend?