I know this is a little late, but a few weeks ago, I entered – and finished – the Warrior Dash!

Also, I’ll tell you now that this post will be long, but sadly lacking in pictures. The short explanation is that the professional photographers were only stationed at the end and they expect about $8 per digital copy of the pictures they took of us. No thanks. On the plus side, some dude took video of the whole course (from a later wave, so I’m not in any of it) if you’d like to see the obstacles in action

For those of yoImageu not aware, the Warrior Dash is a 3+ mile (ours was 3.55) obstacle course that includes thick mud, climbing, crawling, and jumping over fire. While it’s relatively “easy” compared to some  obstacle races, it’s still a crazy run that takes courage and willpower – especially when it comes to climbing over walls.

I did a little bit to train for it, but not as much as I would have liked. I only started running a few weeks before the race, which helped a little bit, but I ended up pretty far back in the standings. I beat out 460 people (yay!) but that was out of 5,700 people (boo), but what was important, at least to me, were two things:

  • I ran a little bit between every obstacle. I never once walked from one obstacle to another.
  • I didn’t have to skip a single obstacle.
  • I fucking did it.

Some of the strength training I did absolutely helped. I also focused on deadhangs and flexed hangs on the pull-up bar in our closet and worked a little bit on jumping and knee-highs. My biggest issue with exclusively weight training is a lack of agility training and I wish I had maybe alternated strength training with Zuzka Light videos to increase my speed and range of movement, or had at least spent more time jogging and running. Come race day, I felt like I hadn’t prepared nearly enough.

The first obstacle (at time 4:45 in the video I linked above) was a series of alternating low walls and barbed wire fences (if I recall correctly). The idea is to jump over the wall, then climb under the fence, over the next wall and so on. I haven’t exactly done any training with vaulting, plus I’m short and have trouble with my hips, so I thought I would have to get my top half up and drag myself over each one, versus just getting a foot up and hopping over. Imagine my surprise at being able to jump and hold myself up at the top of the wall to get a leg over and pivot gracefully on my butt to hop down on the other side.

My surprise continued when having to balance as I walked across a series of planks (11:10 in the video). The planks are secured, so it’s not like they’re wobbly or anything, but I’m accustomed to a lifetime of being off-balance and clumsy, plus they were a little caked with mud. I made it across surprisingly quickly and without wobble. I’m going to credit lifting to an increase in balance and core strength.

A short while after, we came across our first real climb (12:20). In the video, it doesn’t look so bad as he’s approaching, but when he’s actually standing next to the wall, note the girls around him and how short they are compared to the wall. Also, note that the top of the wall angles out, making it difficult to swing a leg over. I definitely hesitated at the top and waited for Danual to finish helping another girl over before making the attempt, just in case I needed him. As it turned out, I didn’t! The climb itself was easy, but whenever I have to swing my legs over something before down-climbing, I tend to freeze up a bit.

Everything else from here on out was relatively easy to me, running aside, until we got to the mud pit. The final climb, a very tall rope wall, and the two rows of fire that I had to jump over near the end were cake, so it stood to reason that I was basically done, with only a large puddle between me and the finish line. What I didn’t realize, however, was that this “puddle” was filled with mud that had about the consistency of wet cement. I stepped in carefully and began to trudge my way across. When it became too deep for me to walk it, I started to swim, but at some point I just… stopped moving. I tried to put my feet down, but they didn’t touch the bottom. I couldn’t get any traction. I tried holding still, waiting to sink so I could get my feet on the ground, with no luck. I tried struggling in the hopes that it would have the quicksand effect and pull me down. Nope. No movement. I actually started to feel a touch of panic rising in my chest, so I took a deep breath and I waited. Danual (my husband) happened to enter in close enough to the edge of the “pool” that he could drag himself along the wall. He pulled ahead of me, reached out a hand and dragged me through the mud and under the next barbed wire (oh yeah, did I mention the barbed wires running the width of the mud pit?) until I could get my feet on the ground. A man operating a backhoe kept dipping the claw end of it into the mud to move it around, which at first seemed like a really dick move, but I think it actually really helped to break up the mud a bit – so backhoe operating man, thank you, and I’m sorry for calling you an asshole at first.

Anyway, this probably isn’t the most exciting write-up out there about the Warrior Dash and I again apologize for the serious lack of photos. I think the next obstacle run I do, I’ll be running it with a waterproof camera – or at least I’ll leave a camera with bag check for some pictures of us covered in mud, drinking beer and eating turkey legs. Like y’ do. For now, this is all I’ve got:

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Aren’t I just precious?

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