**WARNING THIS IS REALLY LONG**
I ran the Warrior Dash yesterday with my friend Mary. Now some of you may remember Mary from this post about my first 5k after my surgery. Mary was awesome stayed with me, motivated me and kept me going when my 200+ lb body wanted to quit. Now since that race, I've finished running one other race, lost 60 more pounds and taken up running as my full-time exercise routine. To give you some type of comparison as to what shape I was in, in May, vs. yesterday, here are the two pre-race photos of Mary and I at both races:
Not sure I even look like the same person! But of course Mary looks awesome in both of these pics.
Well now that I have some photo whoring out of the way I'll tell you about the race. See that pic of us in our fuzzy hats? That was taken at about 2pm. Please note that our race heat was supposed to be at 1pm and we are very clean. That's because we didn't even get to the packet pick-up until 1:50 pm. The traffic coming in to the venue was horrendous. We hit it about 5 miles from the venue at around 11:45 am. At 1:00 pm we were still 2 miles from the place. At that point an enterprising small business was allowing us to park on their grounds for $5 and we walked, passing by many, many cars. I guess we wouldn't have arrived until after 3 pm if we'd stayed in the car. And if we had we would have been met my flooded fields that our van NEVER would have made it in to or out of. All in all I'm very happy we decided to pay the $5 and walk in.
For those of you who know me personally this will not come as a surprise, I HATE to be late. It makes me nervous and my heart races and all around I become a very unhappy person. I was worried that since we didn't make our wave time they would be jerks. They weren't. They happily let us jump in the next heat at 2:30.
A note on accommodations. While there were a lot of porta-potties there weren't enough and by the time we were there, 90% were sans toilet paper. Now come on people, you know how many people are showing up, 50 toilets = not enough!
Ok what you really wanted to hear about is the race and all the cool obstacles, so here you go:
The 2:30 heat took off at 2:30, that was nice! These cool flame thrower things shoot into the air and produce a large quantity of heat above your head. A neat beginning. Now is probably the time to note that while I've continued my running since the first race with Mary, she has not. I realized I was not nearly as good of a running partner as her as I continually ran ahead and then realized I was running with someone and had to turn around. I suck!
About .5 mile in we ran into our first obstacle. It was barbed wire with mud underneath. The line wasn't long, you really didn't have to low crawl through and I came out the other side relatively clean.
Now the real obstacle for me, probably wasn't meant to be an obstacle at all. The large quantity of mud in the running path. I know, I know, it's a mud run. But, I'm not sure that it is usually like this. This is the kind of mud that your foot lands in and then slides right out from under you. I think it was a combination of being a later heat in the day (therefore more feet stirring it all up) and the massive amounts of rain we'd had in the last two days (see the mud pit that was parking referenced above). It really slowed me down and made me feel unsteady on my feet.
There was a long run between the first obstacle and the second, including a run through an open field and trails through the woods. If we weren't in a race, it would have been beautiful to just stop and look around!
The next obstacle was an over under. Basically you jumped over a 3' wall then under barbed wire. I did okay on this though I knocked the hell out of a shin when I tried to get cute with the over part. I will note that Mary tried to be really cute and jump in one fell swoop, and instead just landed on her ass!
Back to running some more and then met by some tires to run through. This is where my complete lack of coordination really shows! I had to basically walk through because I was unable to accurately place my feet inside the hole of the tire. How I can ride 1,000 lb horses but can't run through tires, I don't know!
The obstacles pick up the pace from here on out. The first 2 mi. basically just had 2 obstacles all the rest are thrown in the last 1.5 miles so it gets real exciting now. Stay with me!
The balance walk was next. Basically a board you have to climb up then walk across. I did fine with this, no issues whatsoever. I actually remember this one being AFTER the next one but my memory is sketchy and the website says this was next so I'm going with it. Mary and I both felt this was the easiest and sailed across.
The next was a log "roll" in waist high water. Now these were large logs chained down in some truly yucky water. We weren't strong enough on our own to push the log down so 4 or 5 ladies got together called out and pushed it down and rolled over together. We did this three times, talk about a team effort!
The next thing we came to was a big sign that said non-swimmers this way. They weren't kidding! Unfortunately, before we got in the water, Mary saw a leach hanging off a guys ear and decided she was a non-swimmer. I on the other hand went for it! There were very large trees submerged and my shins paid the price but I swam out to a large pontoon and pulled myself up on it, then you dip down into the water again and can pull yourself across on a rope, to have to climb back up on the pontoon. I was pretty damned proud of myself as upper body strength is not something I have a lot of but I guess when you lose weight it's easier to pull yourself out!
I caught up with Mary on the other side and off we went to the next obstacle. This is an obstacle I dreaded. It was a GIANT "A" frame with a rope to pull yourself up. I will tell you now that I do not do heights. Not at all. I was able to climb up to the top but couldn't figure out how to transfer over the top, I sorta panicked and my heart started racing so back down the "A" frame I went and I walked around. I think if I'd had someone who could talk me through how to get over the top I would have been okay, but I didn't and therefore quit.
The giant wall was next. Again I had no problem getting up, my arms are much stronger than I imagined, but I could NOT make my legs move to get myself over the top. I actually froze unable to go up or down but finally managed to get myself down while Mary walked me through it. So, if you're keeping track that's 2 obstacles I didn't finish!
Now the next thing is that last obstacle before the big finish. On the website it shows someone running through a river ankle high. That is SO not what we had. The river James was to my chest and wading was the fastest speed you were going.
You come out of the river and can see the finish and all it's glory. Rather than use words I'll show you!
Mary and I are in the pink and gray next to each other on the right.
Looks like a blast right?! So much fun, I had mud in my teeth but very happy. What was my time you ask? I have no freaking clue. Didn't even go to the results tent. It was over an hour I know that but really I don't care. I had so much fun. Would I do it again? Yes, but I would try to find one that had a better parking situation. And next time I'd like to run it with hubby. He did a great job being the photographer but next time I'd like him on the trail next to me.
So, if you get a chance I say do one. Was it perfectly run? Nope, but I wouldn't have missed it for the world.