Monday, August 29, 2011

Warrior Dash Recap

A special thanks to Billy Shue for his recap of the Warrior Dash: Billy finished 3rd overall in 23:12 for the 3.08-mile course with 12 obstacles he had to negotiate.

WOW! What a fun event!! I pulled into the race site just before 1:30pm, and after getting my packet, chip, and taking in the sights & sounds, I embarked on just under a 13-minute warmup around the parking field and first mile of the course before settling into a spot on the starting line in the 2pm wave. Because I knew I would be getting quite muddy by the end, I decided to wear my old Mizuno Elixirs that I ran in during the previous fall and winter (including the 2010 Thunder Road Marathon) and send those out with a bang, before bringing them back to their current state of mowing/yardwork shoes. I also wore my green USMC physical training (PT) shirt that I wore during Marine Officer Candidate School in Quantico, VA, during the summers of 2004 and 2005, where I encountered very similar obstacles during our Stamina and Endurance Course runs. (My original plan was to race in my camis and boots, but I realized I would have cooked out there had I did!)

The gun went off precisely at 2pm and after about 400m, I was leading the charge uncontested it seemed, for my heat, as I felt like I was running the first mile at 5k pace. Since I don't have a Garmin, I don't know how far we went before hitting the first obstacle, but it seemed like it was about a mile or slightly under. By the first obstacle, I could tell I had gapped the rest of the field in my heat, based off the course monitors cheering me on. The first obstacle was the "Barricade Breakdown", which involved scaling over a chain of walls and crawling under fenceposts tangled in barbed wire for several cycles. The second obstacle was immediately after and was the "Road Rage" obstacle, which involved jumping in-&-out of a chain of dumpsters and running through sets of tires in several cycles.

After the second obstacle, we got to run for a fair distance through the woods, which involved some steep, curving terrain! I was definitely feeling the burn by now, after having started out at 5k pace and then tackling the first two obstacles, but I kept charging along. (I'll pace myself a little better next year on the run leading up to the first obstacles!) After I came back out of the woods, the third obstacle was the "Great Warrior Wall", where I scaled a high wall with a rope before hurling myself over down the other side. The next obstacle was the "Teetering Traverse", where I went up a very narrow plank and then came down on the other side after hitting the crest. After the fourth obstacle, I ran another fair distance through the woods across the big open field where I started passing a bunch of people who were racing in the 1:30pm heat. I let the racers know I was coming on their left so that I could try to avoid potential traffic jams or collisions, which I was able to manage well.

After running through the woods a good bit again, I hit the crunch-time stretch of the final eight obstacles, which were all in close proximity of each other. The fifth obstacle was the "Blackout" obstacle, where I had to crawl through a low-lying tent of complete darkness. I was crawling so fast through the darkness that I almost had my bell rung when I banged my head off one of the big wooden stakes holding the tent up from within! Shortly thereafter was the sixth obstacle called the "Chaotic Crossover", which was a jungle gym of tangled nets/ropes intended for people to crawl over. I, however, briskly walked on top of the nets and carefully balanced myself while also making sure I wasn't stepping on anyone from the 1:30pm wave who were also negotiating the obstacle at the same time. Next was the seventh obstacle called the "Assassins Escape", which involved climbing up a chain of high steps and then going down a firepole at the end. I then proceeded to run to the eighth obstacle which involved jumping in & going through waist-deep muddy water over a chain of logs and to dry land again - I swam across this body of water and butterfly-stroked myself over the logs, while others from the 1:30pm heat were trudging across. This was my favorite obstacle and Lake McAlpine trained me very well for it!! After engaging this muddy water hazard, I proceeded on to the ninth obstacle, which was the "Horizontal Hike", where I went up and over an archway of wooden planks. Next up was the tenth obstacle, which was the "Cargo Climb", where I climbed up & over a high tepee of cargo nets. Next was the eleventh obstacle, which was the famous "Warrior Roast" hazard where I had to leap/hurdle over a chain of warrior fires - this was awesome!! Finally I could see the finish line, but I had one more muddy obstacle to go through! The twelth obstacle was the "Muddy Mayhem" where I jumped into a pool of mud and crawled under several rows of barbed wire. Upon completion of this obstacle, I sprinted a short distance ahead to the finish line, where I was able to successfully complete my first ever Warrior Dash!

After getting sprayed down really good by the spray trucks and seeing my parents, I watched and cheered on the rest of my heat as they were coming in. It was great recaping the experience to my parents who had a great time watching me take part in this event! I was very thankful and appreciative that they came to watch me! After hanging out with them a good bit, my parents headed home since it was pretty hot outside. I got to meet a guy named Adam from Durham who was in my heat and we chatted/hung out the rest of the afternoon there, while chowing down on some huge, delicious turkey legs while waiting for the awards ceremony. Because overall winners were not excluded from the age-group awards, I was able to double up on awards. I was 3rd overall and also 3rd in my age group, as the men's 25-29 age group once again prooved to be the group of death as we swept the overall category. I got a mini knight helmet for age group and then received a really nice Viking helmet (indicating my overall place) that fit perfectly on my head! I know what I'll be dressed up as for Halloween now!!

Hats off to all the finishers and to Josh Baker who had the top overall time this weekend of 20:55 for the 3.08-mile obstacle course. Josh and I will be two of the runners on our CRC 12-man relay team that's looking to tear it up in the Blue Ridge Relay in a couple of weeks!

I absolutely cannot wait for this event again next year!!!!

1 comment:

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