The Warrior Dash is where it all began.
Prior to last year’s Warrior Dash, I was a mud / obstacle run virgin. Quite honestly I was scared to death of doing it. I even said “This is sooooo NOT my kind of race!” What a difference a year makes! Now I LIVE for these types of events!
The day before the Warrior Dash I woke up feeling excited and my endorphins were already pumping. I could not wait for race day! I may have even been annoyingly perky and overly happy all day. Just ask my co-workers! The morning of this year’s race was much different from the morning of my first Warrior Dash. Gone was the fear and hesitation of competing in such an event. Instead, I felt confident and prepared for the muddy obstacle filled fun ahead!
At this Warrior Dash, I met up with two bad ass girls (Brittany & Jessica) who also happen to be two of my teammates from my Tough Mudder race! Once you run a Tough Mudder with someone you are bonded for life. True story.
Both of the girls had never done a Warrior Dash before. But again, they are Tough Mudder chicks so …….
Once it was time to line up for our wave we decided it would be best to start as close to the front of the pack as possible. Last year I started in the back of my wave and it resulted in a lot of bottlenecking at obstacles. We also decided that we wanted to push ourselves just to see what we could accomplish. With that goal in mind we squeezed our way to the front of the wave and once our race began we sprinted to the first obstacle.
Obstacle #1: Barricade Breakdown - I don’t know what it is about climbing over walls and under barbed wire that does it for me but this is one of my favorite obstacles. They had this last year and there was also something just like it at the Tough Mudder.
Obstacle #2: Capsized Catamaran - I did not do this obstacle. I know, I know….but let me explain. This required you to swim to a barge, hop on the barge, go across the barge, get back off and swim to the other side. I am not a strong swimmer and we were warned very loudly that the water was over 10 feet deep and weak swimmers should not attempt the obstacle. I hate passing up an obstacle. Had this been a Tough Mudder I have no doubt in my mind that someone would have seen my hesitation and would have helped me through it one way or another. Unfortunately the camaraderie that exists in a Tough Mudder race does not exist in the Warrior Dash. I am not knocking the Warrior Dash. They are just very different races. With that in mind I knew that if I could not rely on myself to get across then I should not attempt it. It should also be noted that my time was not any better for going around the obstacle as I waited for Brittany to complete it.
Obstacle #3: Chaotic Crossover – Another repeat from last year. It is a giant cargo net laid horizontally across support beams. Fun!
Obstacle #4: Hard Rain - Sounds harder than it was. Basically it was an elevated platform that you had to climb up while water was being forced upon you. Force may be too strong of a word. That water wasn’t very forceful more like refreshing. At the top of the platform you had to turn around and lower yourself down.
Obstacle #5: Mud Mound – Another newbie! You had to climb up and over huge mounds of mud / dirt that were a tad slippery.
Obstacle #6: Road Rage- An oldie but a goodie. It was like running in a junkyard. Over cars and tires. I was surprised by the number of people who were going AROUND this obstacle. I know it sounds hypocritical, but really…why would you go around this?
Obstacle #7: Great Warrior Wall – I redeemed myself this year on this obstacle. Last year I panicked at the top of it but this year I climbed up and over like a pro. That’s not to say that my fear of heights is cured. I just know I can do it now.
Obstacle #8: Mortimer’s Crossing – Another new one! You had to make your way across a rope bridge. It wasn’t high off the ground at all, so it was easy.
Obstacle #9: The Trenches – This was big trenches in the ground with large logs on top. This was a pretty quick obstacle to get through.
Obstacle #10: Storming Normandy – This was barbed wire that was low to the ground that you had to army crawl through. Hard on the knees but fun.
Obstacle #11: Cargo Climb – Same as last year but it’s definitely one that should stay around. By the time I got to this obstacle my arms were feeling the effects of being abused in ways they aren’t normally. I need to work on my upper body strength. I also still had trouble with turning around at the top of it so I could come down the other side. My height does not work in my favor when it comes to that.
Obstacle #12: Warrior Roast – It wouldn’t be a Warrior Dash without fire jumping. What’s not to love about it!
Obstacle #13: Muddy Mayhem - The very last obstacle is the muddiest of all! One last army crawl under barbed wire in a big pit of mud.
When I crossed the finish line I glanced up at the clock to see how we fared. The clock said 43 minutes and some change. If memory serves correctly it was 43:45. I was pretty pumped about that! Unfortunately, for whatever reason my time and Brittany’s time is not listed on the Warrior Dash results page. I guess I shouldn’t be too surprised about this considering my time last year was listed in the wrong age group – by 60 years!!! But I am still bummed that this year’s was not listed because I would have actually placed 17th or higher in my age group depending on exactly how many second I was over 43 minutes. I don’t normally place that high and I would just like to have it officially recorded somewhere so I can say “Hey, look what I did!!!” I’ll get over it…eventually.
I had a super fun time at the Warrior Dash and you better believe that I will be back for more next year!
And in a few years, perhaps my future Warrior will do one with me!
Recently I entered a contest on Facebook to win a sponsorship for a free race entry! I love free! Especially a free race entry! The contest was held by a local windows and door company Renewal by Andersen who also happens to sponsor local runners in local races! Love, love, love that! The contest was simple. All I had to do is post a running pic of myself on their Facebook wall and the top 3 people with the most likes got to be sponsored in a race. Here is the one that I posted.
Unfortunately, I did not place in the top 3 BUT they gave EVERYONE who posted a pic a sponsorship into a race. WooHoo!
I was asked to email my top 3 race choices from their list of sponsored races. After looking at their races my top pick went to a mud run race (a no brainer choice), second pick was a 5k race (I still need to hit my 27 mins or less goal) and my third pick was a popular local half marathon (why not?). And guess what? I got into my first choice race!
So I will be doing this race in August!
Can. Not. Wait.
Speaking of mud runs. In just about two weeks I will be returning to the site of my first EVER mud run. And the one that got me hooked on doing them. The Warrior Dash!!! Woot! Let’s hope they don’t make me age by 60 years again.
In case you haven’t already guessed, I may have an addiction to mud runs. What is your running / workout addiction?
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 . . .
It’s true, I have signed up for another mud run! You might think I am crazy but I think I was meant to do this race! After the hubby and I completed the Warrior Dash we found a flyer on our car promoting the Dirty Dog Dash. And the very next day, I received a Groupon offer for more than half off the entry of the race! Fate was definitely trying to tell me something. Luckily the hubby took it as a sign and registered for the race too. The only downside is that I will be losing another pair of shoes . . .
In more mud race news, I have also registered for the Warrior Dash for 2012. That’s right 2012!!! I never would have thought that I would be registering for a race one year ahead of time, but since the Michigan Warrior Dash in 2011 was the 2nd largest Warrior Dash to date, I wanted to secure my spot and get the lowest registration fee.
Anyone else interested in getting muddy?
I have to admit that I was feeling pretty nervous on the morning of the Warrior Dash. I mean, I have been in races before, but this was not your ordinary race. And it didn’t help that one of the first things the hubby and I saw when we pulled into the Warrior Dash battlegrounds was a woman being wheeled out on a gurney. Yikes! What did I get myself into?!?!
I had plenty of time to ponder that question as the hubby and I had a good chunk of time on our hands before our wave started, even after we picked up our race packet. So we headed to the spectator area to see first hand what we were up against. Only the last three obstacles were visible to the crowd. They were the Cargo Climb, the Warrior Roast and the Muddy Mayhem. It was about that time that I said, “WTF did I get myself into?” I don’t like getting dirty and I am scared to death of heights! This is sooooo NOT my kind of race!” Thankfully I am pretty stubborn and I had already made up my mind that I was doing the Warrior dash. So just before our wave time of 11am, the hubby and I lined up amongst 498 others racers. Once the announcer shouted GO and the flames shot out of the top of the starting gate, we began our journey to becoming warriors!
I would guesstimate that there was a good one mile run before the first obstacle which helped spread out the pack of people a little. But enough about the running, let’s be honest, the best part of the Warrior Dash is the obstacles!
Obstacle #1: Road Rage – This was like running through a junkyard! There were rows of tires and old cars that we had to get past. I would say that this was one of the easier obstacles, but it was still fun!
Obstacle #2: Deadweight Drifter – After jumping into waist deep water, we had to work our way over a series of giant floating logs. There was quite a back-up of racers at this obstacle, so it took us longer than necessary to get through it.
Obstacle #3: Barricade Breakdown - This one was a lot of fun! It alternated between six-foot high wall that we had to jump over and barbed wire that we had to crawl under. Being short actually helped me with the barbed wire because I was able to “limbo” beneath it as opposed to crawling.
Obstacle #4: Great Warrior Wall - To put it simply, this scared the $#*! out of me! The wall had multiple ropes connected to it that you could use to pull yourself up and very teeny ledges to put your feet on during the ascent to the top. Once I got to the top and swung my leg over, I froze. My fear of heights was in overdrive and to make matters worse, I was too short to reach the foot ledge on the other side. I very much just want to get down the same way I got up, but that didn’t seem very warrior-like. Eventually, I took the plunge and lowered myself to the other side and scrambled back down to the ground. Talk about feeling accomplished!
Obstacle #5: Chaotic Crossover - This was a giant cargo net laid horizontally with support posts underneath. My technique involved going down the inclines on my butt and then crawling up the embankments. Easy peasy!
Obstacle #6: Teetering Traverse – This one looked a lot easier than it actually was. Picture a series of inverted V’s made out of narrow wood planks and that is what this looked like. Sand from some of the other obstacles had found its way on the wood making is slippery to navigate up and down the planks of wood.
Obstacle #7: Blackout – If you recall my previous post about the Warrior dash, you will know I was tempted to bring a flashlight for this obstacle. I didn’t bring it. This was a black tent that was very low to the ground that we had to crawl through. Just like the name states, it was pitch black in there and the air was so thick from the hot day that it was hard to breath.
Obstacle #8 – Arachnophobia – A bunch of bungee cords woven around trees to resemble a complex spider web made up this obstacle. The only dangerous part was making sure that the person in front of you didn’t snap the cords back into you. Otherwise, it was easy and fun.
Obstacle #9 – Log Balance Beam - This obstacle definitely created a traffic jam. It was a very muddy creek with one log going across it. Some people chose to avoid the line for the log by running through the creek. My hubby did this and sank up to his chest in muck. I waited in line for the log and once I crossed to the other side, I faced a slippery muddy hill that was lined with ropes that I used to assist with my ascent to the top.
Obstacle #10 – Cargo Climb - Another heights obstacle for me to tackle. At this point in the course I was exhausted and didn’t really want to go up it. But I had completed all the other obstacles and only three remained, so up I went. Once I reached the top I had a hard time turning myself around and ended up going down a few steps face first. Not a technique that I would recommend. However, I ended turning myself around and completing the obstacle.
Obstacle #11 – Warrior Roast – This was two rows of low to the ground fires that we had to jump over. Relatively easy, but I couldn’t help but wonder how the guys in the grass skirts fared. (There were a TON of people dressed in costume for this event!)
Obstacle #12 – Muddy Mayhem - This was the muddiest obstacle of all and a crowd favorite. Basically we crawled in a mud pit under barbed wire and then ran to the finish line!
Upon crossing the finish line we were awarded our glorious finisher medals! We were officially warriors!
Then we headed to the warrior shower!
In our younger days, the hubby and I would have stayed around for the after party. But instead we headed home to our future warrior.
The bottom line is that if you ever have the chance to do the Warrior Dash . . . DO IT! It was the craziest frickin’ race I have ever been a part of and I will be back for more next year!