Holy flaming jumps, Batman - I'm running!
A couple of months ago, our one-time friend Julie posted on Facebook something along the lines of "Hey, I'm doing this fun little event called the Warrior Dash, which promises to be a fun day outside in the sunshine and fresh air. You should check it out!" We love Julie. But clearly she must have said something to trick us. Running is such a very un-Grady activity.
The Warrior Dash is half 5k run, half obstacle course. I hate running. Mostly because it's such a dreadfully dull & monotonous thing to do. You want to catch me? Sure. At least that way something interesting will happen. I used to run a lot, because the Army made me do it, and I do admit that I enjoy that self-righteous "Sure, I can have an extra helping of deep-fried chili and jalapeno potato balls with extra butter sauce, because I ran today" feeling. But that's about the only thing going for it.
On the other hand, breaking it up every few hundred yards with some fun kind of stunt ('Climb a wall!' 'Walk across this plank!' 'Jump through these tires!' 'Crawl under this barbed wire!' 'Jump over fire!') sounded like maybe, just possibly, this Warrior Dash idea had something going for it.
And then, at the end of the race, they promised everyone a fuzzy viking helmet. And beer.
Ok, we're in.
This is us before the race.
See how clean we are? Note the smiles on our faces? I went out and bought that special "wicks away the sweat" shirt, just for this race.
In the weeks leading up to the run, I told myself I should probably get outside and try and do something vaguely physical. Other than the occasional short burst across the driveway when I dropped a still-full diet coke can, I hadn't really run with a purpose in a couple of years. Sure, in summer months, I do some fairly physical stuff from time to time, mostly comprised of picking up buckets of chicken crap and hauling them to the compost heap. But I didn't want to completely embarrass myself.
When I mentioned this to my loving Bride, she laughed. She's been working out twice a week for the last 6 months, with a trainer that used to be on the Irish Olympic Luge team. The smack talk was running pretty high in our house for a while. Which meant that despite the discomfort and frequent assumption of the fetal position until the nausea and the quivers passed, I kept waking up early to get in some rowing before work or went for an occasional run through town. Nothing serious. Just enough to remind me why I hated running, and to make me feel like I wasn't going to have to be carted away in an emergency vehicle somewhere along the race.
They forgot to tell me about the mud.
It had been raining for most of the two weeks leading up to the race. The course is a winding track up and down (mostly up) hills through a wooded area. The mud was occasionally up to my knees and constant. There was risk of slipping. There was much falling over. There were occasional shoes sucked off of people's feet by the deep, clenching muck. There were ponds of the stuff, viscous and treacherous. This was not what I had trained for.
As a consolation, though, it wasn't what my beautiful, smack-talking Bride had trained for, either. And when the mud was up to my calves, it was up to her knees. Ha!
Her bet with me was that while I might finish first, she would find me at the end a quivering mass of pale flesh, lying in a pool of my own exhausted sick. At which point she would lord over me and do the dance of Warrior victory.
Not only did I beat her, but I managed to do it without needing to seek medical attention or be unwillingly hospitalized. I am proud of this. OK, sure, I managed to come home with a dozen or so scrapes and cuts and a bruise the size of a grapefruit on my ass from sliding down a long muddy slope, only to discover the hard way that there was at least one rock in my path. But I won!
My time was a fairly respectable 52 minutes - 1,765th in our day's heat of more than 5,400 racers. (The winner was a 20 year old whose mother obviously did unnatural things with a cheetah in her misguided youth. He finished in 25 minutes. Bastard.). My lovely bride finished in 1:19. She told me later that she was trying to be careful and avoid things like falling as she went through the woods or down hills. That rather un-Warrior-like behavior cost her the family bragging rights until next year.
The Warrior Dash is muddy, long, exhausting, muddy, treacherous, muddy, bruising and muddy. I highly recommend it.
Next year, we're getting a group together to run. Bring on the mud!