Sunday, October 10, 2010

Dashin like a Warrior

So maybe 6 months ago our friends the O'Shanks asked us if we wanted to participate in aWarrior Dash up in Harford County, actually at the same property that my school does their Outdoor Education. We looked into it, found you get really dirty, and said sure!
It is a two day event with heats of people starting a 3.5mile run every 30 minutes. The race consists of multiple obstacles with the final two being a mud crawl and jumping over fire! It was a lot of fun. This is one where you go to do the event not to do a best time. The hubby and I along with the O'Shanks all ran together. This way if anyone needed help there was assistance available and I had the camera to document the whole thing! Additionally beer and heavy drinking are encouraged once you finish!
Upon arriving we see a bus that is in some trouble. We wondered if this was the first obstacle or just bad parking.
Before every obstacle was a warning to get you ready!
First up were tunnels to crawl through, just kind of a warm-up I suppose of what was to come! After a quick crawl we jogged to the next task, climbing up and over 4 trucks. There were ropes available and it was easiest to use the window as a step. I would not have looked so ridiculous if I was just a little bit taller. I felt like a little kid trying to get out of the pool on the side because she was too cool for the ladder. My height and upper body need some work. Who wants to help with the height part?
Next were like giant ant hills and we were the ants having to get over them. Some you could kind of go on the side for and others were clearly up and over. Luckily stepping spots were carved out of most of them since so many people had gone through. Usually up was the easy part but the steep down was hard. Weren't quite sure to jump or if your footing would hold to run down or if you would just topple forward. Surprisingly I didn't topple forward.
Next was the hay pyramid. It was pretty self-explanatory. Just take the stairs up and over. Just be careful you don't put your foot between hay block because then your leg falls through, yup face full of hay!
Next up was a cargo net! I like these! Shanks was in the Marines way back when and gave us the advice that your hands should hold onto the vertical ropes and your feet go on the horizontal ones. The vertical rope is more taught while the horizontal is made to have some give to it because it is for the feet. It makes perfect sense and made the rope much easier. At the top was a platform where a guy was taking pictures. He was really weird and it felt like paparazzi in my face. Those should be interesting. Coming down was hard in that you had to turn around on the platform, lay down and go down backwards, not as easy as it sounds. But still fun!
After a brief water stop, which was actually pretty necessary, we headed to the webs. It looked like they just strung a bunch of chinese jumpropes between trees. They had a decent amount of give to them so they weren't too bad unless you let them go while your foot was still coming out. I didn't but I did see it. Shanks and the hubby took turns making holes for me and others to continue through. Shanks let several people through, so he could delay running again!Next where some planks of wood over a 1.5 to 2ft drop. Not to hard and there wasn't even water below. Not much of an obstacle but definitely didn't want to run.
So far things haven't really been to bad. It's just an obstacle course in the woods but you know more is coming and you keep waiting for something worse. But it wasn't next. The next challenge was a tented area where you had to walk on hands and feet, no knees and you butt sticks up in the air. Easy for me being small but I could see if you were tall you might ram your back side into the wooden posts holding it up. Again still not bad. It's coming I just know it!
And so it begins. First let me tell you many people were surprised I agreed to participate in this because well I don't really like being dirty. I love camping but hate the constant dirt. I like showers and running water. I don't like being dirty! But I was still ok with the next task, most people weren't. We had to go over logs in icy water! I don't know the temp of the water but it was cold. I actually found it refreshing because it had started to get hot in the fielded area of the earlier obstacles and well it was in water and I like water obstacles! For this you had to work with the people around you. The logs spun and for many they spun you backwards. For this to work you had to spin the log forward and basically go head first over it. After you got over them you had to get out in a muddy area. I was no longer clean...yuck...I wish this had been a task at the end so I could get clean but I knew it was only going to get worse...
Ok we are out of water and dirty, I am out of my element. My shoes are filled with rocks and questionable sediment from the water. Our area wasn't too bad but we definitely walked by some of the water that had a nice green moss film. Ewwwww! On to wall hurdles. These were totally manageable. Go up backwards, prop butt up, swing legs around and carefully hop down. The wall was a bit slick since everyone was now wet and the ground was now a bit muddy. Great... Now it starts to get dirty... BTW did you notice how we are yucky and I still have a camera?! I definitely have the best camera ever! It can go underwater and is just awesome. If you are looking for a durable camera this one is the Olympus Stylus 1030 SW. They have newer ones out now and you can get a floaty strap so that it can float too. I hooked the camera strap onto my bathing suit top and stored the camera in my top while running. It worked pretty well.
Ok so back to the course, the dirt is just beginning. Next up was steep slope to climb. It probably wasn't bad for the first few groups but after hundreds of wet folks going it got a bit muddy. Some folks slipped and face planted into the mud, that was highly entertaining especially when they were cocky to begin with. The trick was to go slow, find footing, and don't be afraid to grab a tree (or another person who is already on the ground) for help.
Last up is the big finish. Crawl through a mud pit with barb wire above your head then jump through fire. When you start into the mud put you can see the finish but mud and fire stand in your way. Ugh! There are people along the sides encouraging you to dive in head first....riiiight..I am already pretty close to my threshold on the dirty factor my head is not going into mud and the face umm no but a few of my friends had no problem going in head first and rolling around. It was pretty funny well until they had so much crap in their eyes they reqired the paramedics to clean out their eyes. One even required them to get his contacts out. I got junk in my eyes but a few swishes of water got it out. I am thinking goggles next time like they used to give on the show Double Dare
After the race you get a free beer and can sit on the field and enjoy the live music while clean people look at you. Some look with envy to get started some look a bit horrified as to what is to come in their future. There was food to buy which smelled pretty good but we had Cracker Barrel waiting for us in our future. Yummm! Once your mud has dried nicely you can stand in line to be hosed off by the firefighter while standing in you guessed it muddy water. Don't expect your feet to get clean. I did come out a bit cleaner but was still way grosser than I want to be again. The funny part was this part took place within the fence to a public pool (which was surprisingly still open in October). They had set up some sandbags and such to contain the muddy water but the dam was starting to break. It was the job of one employee to look at the failing dam and make sure a muddy person didn't jump in their clean pool. Another dude hosed at the water that leaked through the dam. Yup super effective there...It was pretty entertaining to watch.
They gave away pretty good stuff. We got medals at the finish. Before the race we got nice shirts and viking hats! Some people wore their hats on the race. Most hats didn't survive the race.
Would I recommend this race? Sure if you are into getting muddy and then drinking while still muddy or have had any inclination for reason to have a mud fight with barb wire by your eye sockets. Its also good if you need a reason to get rid of the ________(insert item of expensive clothing here) that your ________(explicative adjective) ex-_______(name of ex that gave you said item) and totally ruin it beyond recognition then this is your race. People wear crazy costumes so that Christmas sweater from Aunt Gretta will work here too. "Aunt Gretta I didn't realized mud wouldn't come out of the dry clean wool sweater. I am going to miss it terribly. no, no you don't have to get me a new one I would rather treasure the memories of the good times sweater and I had together." So would I do it again? Well it kinda brought back up a pre-existing injury to my knee. I wasn't a huge fan of having to go 2 hours for event. Had it been in the original location it would have been much closer. I would probably wear old running shoes instead of the boating-made-for-water shoes because apparently they dont' give much support. There are other races out there such as Muddy Buddy and Tough Mudder. The O'Shanks are doing Tough Mudder next year. They are blogging about their adventures and training leading up to the event next year. You can read about mudding adventures here. They are also raising money for the Wounded Warrior Project so if you can donate that would be great!
Update 10/13 so I got my email saying my pictures can be viewed but they only have one picture tagged of me, the rest I have to find in the lost and found except that everyone looks the same!! It doesn't matter if you are black, white, purple, or red every body ends up brown! You could have worn shorts or worn pants or worn nothing it's all brown and matted down. The angle of one of the photographers isn't even close enough to see faces not that it mattered because we all looked the same. In some ways it is thought provoking that I wouldn't want to live in a in a monochromatic world where we are all the same color but I want to see what I look like covered in mud damnit because that ain't happening again!
~End Communication~

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