The Warrior Dash!

Ahh, a cold malt beverage never tasted so good!

The Sunday noon warriors! Me, Chris, Page, Taylor and Londa!
“Slow and steady wins the race…” Well, it didn’t quite win me the race but it did get me across the finish line, alive, and earned me 18,956th place (out of nearly 19,500 finishers).
On Sunday, my boys and two of my friends competed in (or should I say completed) the Warrior Dash, the most physically and probably mentally challenging thing I have ever done in my 42 years (and that includes the three times I have given birth.)
The Warrior Dash is touted as “The ultimate event for thrill-seeking athletes. This 5k race is held on the most demanding and unique terrain from around the world. Participants will take on intense obstacles…”
The race is held at different locations around the country and world. Afton Alps Ski Resort in Hastings was the home of the 2011 Warrior Dash Minnesota, the first in the state.
We signed up back in January and watched as the time slots filled up. They were predicting 15,000 people to partake in the race over two days, up to 500 people per wave and the waves left every half hour. The 5k distance we all knew would be no problem (I can’t run that far at one time but can easily complete that distance walking and jogging) it was some of the obstacles that would be challenging. Boy, we had NO idea how challenging.
For starters, the course started off up hill. Not just a small hill, a ski hill, one that usually requires a chairlift to get up. 75% of the people walked the seemingly endless hill. Finally, reaching the top (or so I thought) I knew the obstacles would begin. I had studied the obstacles and knew that most of them would be more fun than anything so I wasn’t too worried. I had conquered “the hill,” the rest had to be downhill from here, right?
The first obstacle was called “Road Rage,” a series of junked cars and tires to run through. I crawled over them and went carefully through the tire mazes. No problem!
Shortly after that was the “Treacherous Typhoon.” No problem again I thought, I just had to run through water that was blasting at me. Shortly after entering the typhoon, I couldn’t see anything. Luckily everyone had left me in the dust so I knew I wouldn’t run into anyone. Suddenly I found myself gasping for air! Can’t see, can’t breath, water blasting at me, and I’m alone. I’d drown before the people I was ahead of (if you can believe it) got to me.
I survived only to find myself going downhill! Awesome! I can do this, then I glanced up to realize we were going downhill only to be heading back uphill. On my ascent, people coming down the other side assured me there was water at the top. “Thanks fellow warriors” I thought, and trudged up the hill. Ahh, water and level ground.
After that hill the course went through a series of up and downs before one of the most brutal obstacles (for me) stared me in the face- a series of nearly five foot walls alternated with wood and barbed wire walls that were to be crawled under. I hoisted  myself (and probably let out a primal grunt) onto wall one… Let’s just say it wasn’t pretty but I completed the series.
A cargo net crawl, a scramble through a scorching-hot, dark tent, and a 15’ cargo net climb followed. I steadily completed all of them while slowly navigating the steep hills. I was two-thirds of the way through the race before the leaders of the next wave caught me. The end was near. Then came the wall…
“The Warrior Wall,” a 12’ high wall with a rope to climb it- a rope and one inch foot holds every few feet. The only way over was to climb the rope.
Me! Leaping over fire!

I stopped and stared at the wall. There was NO way I could climb it, but I was NOT going to walk around it so I grabbed on and pulled with every fiber of my being. I think every muscle in my shoulders exploded. They had to wonder what the heck was going on. All I know is that it was one of the best feelings that I have ever had in my life when I heaved my wide load over the top of that wall…

The rest of the course we ran through mud, up one more hill before the final obstacles, the fun ones. We slid down a ginormous slip-n-slide, leaped over fire, and crawled through a very large mud pit under barbed wire. After that it was just a few feet to the finish line. I finished in 1:14.11, 8,752nd for the day.
For our efforts we got a tee-shirt, warrior helmet, medal, and a free beer. Definitely worth it.
Today, I am badly sunburned, have bruises appearing randomly, and am just a little sore but not what I expected. Maybe it’s because ibuprofen has become my new best friend?
I highly recommend this race for anybody that is looking for a challenge or just something different to do. It was a family day for us as my parents, brother, and son’s girlfriend were there to cheer us all on. They even took the chairlift to the top to catch some action up there.
Besides the race there were bands playing, turkey legs being eaten, and fun all-around.
Although the race was not hosted by a charity, the event company “hired” charity groups to staff the event and they also collected the muddy tennis shoes, if you wanted to leave yours, to recycle them into new shoes for persons around the world who don’t have shoes. A pretty good cause in my book.
Afterwards, we all agreed that we couldn’t wait until next year but this time we were going to find some super costumes (part of the race-fun if you want to dress up) and we were really going to train.
Call me a warrior! A tired, sunburned, sore- warrior!

P.S. The VERY best part of the day was coming down the final hill and hearing my family and friends cheering wildly for me! I love you all!

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