May 7, 2012

Koa - Warrior

Moving to a new place is a great excuse to start over.

Since we were trying healthier habits and new adventures, I thought I would be inspired to workout more often if I had a race to train for. I heard about the Warrior Dash, it looked interesting... short run, some obstacles, some mud. However, I chickened out it was kind of expensive, so I decided not to.

Then it was the Living Social deal of the day. And I can't pass up a good deal!

Although I was excited about the race, I kind of forgot about it. Then, about a week beforehand, I started to take a look at the course and the rules. Then I looked at the obstacle list.
The mud.
The super high fences.
The fire.
And the 21 point checklist I had to initial so I couldn't sue them if I got injured.

Cargo net climb

Fear crept in. And I started to doubt this crazy idea.

It was then I realized I didn't register Kyle and it was too late to sign him up. Plus, the race was not where I thought it was, but actually on the exact opposite side of the island. And Kyle was working nights before and after race day.

So I would have to run by myself, and make my sleep deprived husband drive me and watch the kids.

I proposed this situation carefully to Kyle, hoping he'd tell me to forget the whole thing, and then I wouldn't have to embarrass myself by breaking my leg in front of thousands of people.

Instead, he was excited for me and encouraged me to have fun.

[Insert nervous fake excitement]

I couldn't stop looking at the pictures of the dreadful obstacles. I knew the 3.1 mile distance wouldn't be a problem. It was climbing over things that I was worried about. It started to dawn on me that people train for this, or at least they are able to muster more than a handful of bent-knee push-ups.

Mud pit with barbed wire leading to the finish

So my goal was simply to complete all the obstacles and run without walking. I didn't even think about a time.

On race day, I was in the last heat. And it rained all afternoon. So a normally muddy experience was quadrupled for my group of runners. Just getting through the staging area was difficult, since I hadn't tightened my shoes. Lots of spectators in their slippers were up to their ankles in mud. Stinky mud. Not only were there lots of sweaty warriors, but the farm itself added to the distinctive odor.

As I waited with my fellow warriors for the gun to go off, I looked around. There were people in ridiculous costumes: fairies, aliens, sexy matching coeds, and one guy in his tighty whities and a Superman cape. Then it hit me, I was supposed to have fun. I was not going to win. I was not going to go fast. But I would have fun.

It felt good to be running a race. It was even better with the added fun of trying to run through the mud that sucked you in, and stole shoes from unlucky victims. The mood was light as people sang crazy songs and told jokes. Then we hit the first obstacle, which required balancing on muddy beams. My mood lifted as I realized I might actually accomplish my goal.

Then I saw the larger-than-it-looks-even-in-your-nightmares wall. The lines to climb it were 10 people deep, so there was a lot of waiting and dreading. In my line, a woman really struggled to get over, but we cheered as she finally made it. Then another woman in front of me quit. So I was even more nervous when my turn came.

This wall is way taller than it looks!
But I climbed to the top with no problem! That is, until I slipped and couldn't get a grip with my old shoes on the muddy wall. I was hanging onto the top with one hand and the rope with the other, scraping my feet on the wall desperately trying to get a foothold to push up.

I asked for help and the tiny girl next to me tried, but couldn't do much and gave up. Then another guy scooted over from two ropes away and gave me a hand. Just enough to get to the top and I was golden. Then I heard clapping and cheering. Although I was embarrassed it might have been for me, I was warmed that my fellow warriors were encouraging me. But, I'm still pretty sure they were cheering for a different person that was about to slide down on her face.

After that, I knew I could handle anything this race threw at me. Sliding down a fireman's pole? Swimming through a dirty river? Fresh out of drinking water? Broken fingernail? No worries!

It wasn't an easy task, but it was fun. In the "I'm glad I tried that and survived" kind of fun. And I was amazed to see this tougher side of myself. And for my kids to see this side of me too. It was encouraging to hear their little voices cheering at the end!

Totally worth finding mud in my belly button two days later.

More pictures for your enjoyment!

Wading in the river helped wash away most of the mud.

Showing some brotherly love

That's me!

Who had the bright idea to pass out bananas at the finish?

Kids did not want to get near me

So so muddy!


  1. Anonymous5/07/2012

    I love that you did this! Better to risk regretting trying than to regret never trying!

  2. Ha! I'm glad that I tried it too... the Dash is in Michigan if you want to check it out :)