Staying clean is overrated. That’s what I learned after yesterday’s Warrior Dash obstacle race.
Don’t know what Warrior Dash is? It’s a “hellish” 3.1 miles of running mixed with 12 obstacles. Oh, and you get muddy. The website says there’s no way around it – which my friends and I got to understand first hand. Warrior Dash is a traveling race tour (kinda like U2’s Vertigo tour) that goes from city to city. This version took place at Quiet Waters Park in Deerfield Beach, and we ran the first wave at 8 a.m.
About four months ago I started training for this race called the Men’s Health Urbanathlon, a 9-mile course with city-like obstacles – you know, climbing over taxis, over police barricades, running up Arthur Ashe Stadium and the like. Unlike “normal” 5Ks, marathons and half-marathons, what attracted me to Urbanathlon were the obstacles and non-running athletic challenges strewn in. But after finding out I’m ill prepared to run more than two miles without looking like I got shot in the kidney and feeling I need a tank of oxygen to recover, I wussed out.
And then came Warrior Dash. This is what I call a junior version of Urbanathlon: something that’s challenging, but not enough to make me want to wish for a new set of lungs. Obstacles included climbing over steep walls, crawling through mud while avoiding barb while, hopping through tires on the ground, climbing over a beat-up Mercedes or two, and more. And at just more than three miles, I felt I could do it with my current pulmonary reserve.
People asked if the obstacles were hard. I said the same thing over and over again: “Not at all.” If you have some relative coordination, a bit of agility and a dash of motor skills, you should be fine. You don’t need to be a great athlete to do this race. It’s really more about the fun and camaraderie than anything else. Lance Armstrong or a Kenyan marathoner wouldn’t run something like this – which was all the better for a bunch like my friends and me.
I raced with two friends, George and Chris. We had a great support team – which included each of our significant others and Chris’ son – and I couldn’t have imagine running this with anyone else. The guys pushed me throughout the race, and I was thankful for their patience. I learned a lot about my two friends: Chris is a work horse who doesn’t exhaust easily, and George’s humor doesn’t ever dwindle, even while eating mud.
Here’s a few shots of the race, courtesy of my fiance (whose sprained ankle prevented him from running Warrior Dash).