Thursday, August 2, 2012

Guest Race Report: Warrior Dash 2012

Guest Author, Kathy Battle,
Post Dash

Okay, before you get the wrong idea, let me make it perfectly clear. I did not do the Warrior Dash. It's not that I am afraid of getting muddy -- on the contrary, I love mud -- it is the whole climbing walls and jumping through fire thing that made me chicken out. Thankfully, some of my running friends are braver than I am, and last weekend they headed off to the Warrior Dash Michigan. One of those brave souls, Kathy Battle, has agreed to share her story with us so that we can get a taste of the experience. Another dasher, Tina Coyer, has agreed to share some additional photos to help you picture the mayhem Kathy is describing. Are my running friends great or what!!  After reading her report, it makes me feel like I am really missing out. Hmmm, maybe I will pencil this one in for next year...

Warrior Dash 2012
by Kathy Battle

Tina and Friends
Last year was my first time to participate in the Warrior Dash Michigan race. My team was so excited after finishing that we all agreed to sign up again for the next race, only at an earlier time to avoid the then 90 degree plus heat.

On July 28, 2012 at 4:50am my alarm went off.  I’m second thinking this decision! After all, who in their right mind gives up some much needed sleep to get tossed around, kicked and splashed with mud? Well, about 25,000 other people was the answer to that question!

Kathy with Fellow Dashers

As our 8 am start time neared, my team of six and I lined up --  not too close to the start but a respectful 1/3 of the way back to allow those wilder and crazier warriors to get a fast start. While standing in line we were pumped up by a staff member. We did the wave a few times, raised hands for first timers and those from far distances. Yes, people actually travel to do these events all over the country! With the burst of two flames of fire over head we took off.

To begin: a one mile run.  As a runner, I was feeling really good, leaving most of my team behind and about 3/4 of the other 600 people in the first wave as well.  Obstacle one: a wall hurdle and a crawl under barbed wire, times three I believe.  Another short run and then obstacle two: a floating dock system was tied out in a “not so lovely” swamp area.

Ugh! In I go, trying not to think of what might be in that water. Soon I had to swim. It was deep! I was pushed under by a woman trying to use me as leverage to push her up.  Startled but unscathed, it was my turn.  I struggled trying to grab anything to help pull me up; a nice muscled man (my favorite part) grabbed my hand and pulled me up. Onward, I jumped off the end of the obstacle into water over my head and swam to shore. Small climb up the muddy bank, and I had completed that one! Whew!

There are 13 obstacles on the course, but I’m already feeling fatigued. I tell myself to keep running; it is just short sprints now between obstacles. Faster warriors are beginning to pass me now.  Next up, a wood frame with cargo netting over. It was a breeze. Some people rolled over it, others tried to walk on it, and I just crawled; it seemed effective.


Next was a climb over a wall while water dumped all over me. I appreciated the wash off at this point!  Little did I know the mud hill was next! Up we went, over a large mound of dirt, then down in a large pit and back up, back down and back up… that I was wet, the dirt was sticking real well. This made the next challenge of jumping on cars and stepping on tires a bit more challenging. This is the point where I was very grateful for the early start that morning, knowing that the following warriors would be facing some slippery conditions once all the previous muddy runners made their way through.

Tina and Mike conquering cars and tires

The next 4 obstacles were completed, and I could hear the band at the staging area -- music to my ears, quite literally, since I knew I was nearing the end. At this point I was feeling pretty good; I had the customary dirt covering showing I had fought hard. I took the time to converse with another person while crawling in mud under barbed wire, somehow not even noticing the muck under me. Rejoicing for being shorter, I race through with little fear of becoming one with the wire.

During the next run I began counting previous obstacles, cursing myself for not knowing the exact number. Oh well….I’m a warrior….keep running! 

Still not convinced it is
 a good idea to jump through this!

Then I see it! The rope wall near the end. The crowd is gathered around, and I feel a surge of energy as I leap on the rope and work my way up and over. Jumping off I run towards the two lines of fire ahead, thinking “please don’t trip in the fire,” and over I went. A small hop into the final mud pit, ducking under the barbed wire, only this time I am caught, snagged on my shirt. I work myself free and decide to get in the mud a little lower to avoid further snags. I cross the finish line!! A PR!! Nearly 17 minutes faster than last year!

Again in our excitement, our team wants to get signed up already for next year! Okay! I’m in!  364 days to recover. 

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