Hello All! Next up on the list is to run a 5k! A task that may be a bit daunting if, like myself, you absolutely abhor running. However, it is always a good idea to challenge yourself, and have a reason to get in shape at the same time! Just to clarify, I fully planned on training for the 5k I ran… how often that actually happened is .. questionable (read: embarrassing) at best.
I have been wanting to run a 5k called the Warrior Dash (https://www.warriordash.com/) for a long time, but i’ve never had the opportunity or someone to run it with until this year. My friend, Ranger, and I signed up for the May 16th Warrior Dash located near Athens, OH.
The Warrior Dash was one of the first of the trend of ‘fun runs’ that popped up a few years back. Instead of straight running, this 5k involves obstacles, 12 to be exact, strewn throughout the course. The course itself, as we found out very quickly upon starting the race, is set on trails through the woods. So no track or gentle incline here. We are talking hills and valleys, streams and creeks, oh and did I mention they are all seeped in mud? But let’s be honest here, that’s the best part. There is not a person out there whose inner child doesn’t shriek in delight at the thought of jumping around in giant mud puddles. Ah! Don’t lie to me.
So when we arrived for the Warrior Dash, we went through the normal motions of checking in etc. and we got out first look at the course. We could only see the end of it, of course, but by the look of those crossing the finish line and the obstacles we could see, we were in for a fun muddy ride. Although I had a ton of fun with just my one friend, I do think it would be even more fun with a group. Unfortunately, it was wedding weekend and everyone was busy. So it was just us dos amigos going it alone. Next time though, i’m going to get a big group together and coordinate with costumes. Cause if we aren’t indulging our inner children enough, adding ‘dress up’ will be the cherry on top of the cake.
After prepping to be absolutely soaked in mud at the end of the race, and by prepping I mean stowing our things in the ‘Gear Check’ tent and making sure we had fresh undees to change into. Secret time: we didn’t change. Turns out the ‘Warrior Wash’ at the end of the race was just a slightly less muddy pond to wash off in. I didn’t see any sense in changing out of my muddy clothes when my own skin was just as muddy as the clothes themselves. And trust me when I say, you will have mud everywhere and jumping in a pond isn’t going to do anything for that.
Our start time was technically 2:00 PM, but we ended up jumping up a time slot on accident and starting at 1:45. We were ok with that because it meant that we got to run with two guys dressed as Spy Vs. Spy.
The run to the first obstacle was longer than expected, and this is when we got our first taste of how the rest of the course was going to be: muddy and hilly. There were some parts of the trail that you couldn’t run because if you did you would have been on your ass in about two seconds. This might have been because we were running later in the day, after hundreds of bodies pounded down the trails and tracked the mud throughout the course. Or maybe i’m just a little bitch. I don’t know. I do know there was one point on a particularly steep and muddy slope that I lost all traction and just started sliding backwards on all fours. The gents behind me were kind enough to give me a push in the right direction.
They don’t waste any time in making sure you are covered in mud because the third obstacle was the ‘Mud Mounds’. Just picture three giant mounds of slippery mud with barely any hand or foot holes to use to get over followed by a short fall, when you inevitably lose your footing trying to get down, and a sudden stop in a foot and a half deep pool of mud.
We had to wait a bit at the next obstacle called ‘Deadman’s Drop’. The tough part about this obstacle was that the top part that you climbed over jutted out towards you so that you had to sort of hang back from it before you could climb over. I have done inverted rock climbing before so it wasn’t too difficult for me, but I can easily see why some people had trouble maneuvering the top. Plus everything was slippery from the afford mentioned mud via the Mud Mounds.
We then had to cross the ‘Pipeline’. A word of advice: don’t try and army crawl through them on your hands and knees, instead flip over on your back and pull yourself up and through with your arms. Unless you have absolutely no upper body strength you should get through this one pretty easily.
Next up was maybe my favorite obstacle: ‘The Great Warrior Wall’. Who knew all the rope climbing in gym class would actually do me good? Actually, I never did that, but I did shimmy up the tether ball poles in elementary school to put up the tether balls. Yeah, I was that cool. As one of the signs on the trail during the race said, ‘Your 12 year old self would be proud.’ At this point there were a cluster of obstacles all within the last few legs of the course. Go time.
Then came the ‘Trenches’. These instantly made me think of crawling through the Cu Chi Tunnels in Vietnam, which prompted me to say, “This reminds me of when I was back in ‘Nam.” Said no one else in my generation ever.
A short run after and we were at the ‘Chaotic Cargo’. This one was a little tricky because a false move or slip of the (still muddy) rope and you’ll be tangled in the rope looking at the ground 12 feet below.
The next obstacle was a surprise because it wasn’t listed on the event page for this certain Warrior Dash. That being said I think it is called the ‘Tightwire’, and I got a sick picture from it, even if I do look a little stupid.
I’m not a mouth breather I swear, it was just … you know… from the running and all.
Some more sweet pictures came from the ‘Warrior Roast’, a Warrior Dash staple. Ranger and I gave this one a great big sprinting start, and were rewarded with cool pictures.
Worth it just for pictures like this.
Now comes the ‘Goliath’, the mother of all Warrior Dash obstacles. You start by rope climbing up a slanted wall then crossing over a beam of wood high above a muddy pond while being sprayed with water. They after a short second climb you get to slide down the chutes into more muddy water. Did I mention you’ll be covered in mud? Just a word to the unsuspecting: that water is deeper than you think it is, and you are going to hit it harder than you think you are. So that being said, hold on to your bandanas (I lost my American flag one, kinda mad about it) and hold onto your nose. I was blowing mud out of mine for the rest of the day. Now swim towards the shore, have fun getting up the mud, and your off the the last obstacle!
Which was the ‘Muddy Mayhem’ cause you weren’t already muddy enough. This obstacle isn’t hard it just requires you to army crawl through mud underneath real barbed wire.
Cross the finish line, give out a mighty Warrior roar and you’re done!!
Now comes the best part of the whole thing: beer. If you’re like me you enjoy partaking in a drink or five every now and now, so a delicious cold beer after the end of a 5k is just what I want. Not necessarily what I need, that’s probably water… but beer is mostly water anyway, right?
After you finish and take the obligatory muddy, guns out pictures (see below), head to the Warrior Wash (pond) and rinse off as best you can. I may or may not have found a creepy crawly in my shirt when I got out of the water, so you may want to check yourself. No, don’t worry it wasn’t a leech. This isn’t Stand By Me.
So a few words of advice to those looking to do a 5k, and specifically a Warrior Dash.
1.) Train, it’s harder than it seems. Sure it wasn’t the most difficult thing i’ve ever done in my life, but i’m in (semi) decent shape and there were times I was breathing pretty heavy. It was mostly the running that did me in, though, the obstacles weren’t too hard. My favorite part of the race was a sign that was placed right at the top of a particularily gruling hill that read: “Yeah, we wished you’d trained too.” Touche, Warrior Dash, Touche.
2.) If you have long hair, put it in some kind of braid. It will stay out of your face, and out of the mud (at least as much as it can).
3.) Don’t take it too too seriously. It’s a ‘fun run’ for a reason. Go with friends, mess around, crack jokes, stay awhile, drink some beer and have fun.
4.) Unless you are going for the competitive waves and need to finish fast, take your time. The race will be over before you know it, and if you are like me, you will want to do it again and again.
5.) Run earlier in the day. This way you can finish earlier and watch all the other people come through the finish line. Also, this way you can enjoy the party afterwards for longer. There will be a stage and a DJ and tons of like-minded people who just finished this crazy race and are pumping with adrenaline, go mingle!
6.) Stretch after! I was a bit too excited for beer and pictures that I forgot to stretch after the race. I was kicking myself the next day for not doing it. Or I would have, if I could have moved.
7.) If you have a Go Pro, bring it. I’m thinking of investing in one just to have it for these kind of races. You will have the coolest video by the end.
What did I learn?
I learned that I can push myself to accomplish something I never thought I would do, and even enjoy it! I also learned, however, that I still hate running and probably always will. Call me crazy, but I do plan on doing more runs like this, maybe the Spartan Run or even the Tough Mudder. Although i’m not so sure how much i’ll love being shocked and jumping into ice baths. Who knows maybe i’ll be into it?
Until next time never forget,
Adventure is out there, so never stop exploring!