Monday, July 25, 2011

Warrior Dash 2011

First of all, Rob and I think "Dash" is not a very representative term for this race.  This race was 3 miles, not 50 yards, and if possible, felt all uphill.

I'll back up.  Back in January I signed Rob and I up for the Warrior Dash taking place in July at Afton Alps.  It is a 5k run through mud and obstacles.  All I knew of it was what I saw on their website.  It sounded fun and out of the ordinary.  Three miles didn't seem too bad and I've always like obstacle courses so I was looking forward to it.

Fast forward to yesterday.  I haven't run 3+ miles since April because I've been getting terrible shin splints everytime I try.  But I figure it won't be a big deal because every 1/3 of a mile or so I will have a "break" to do an obstacle course.  So, at 9:30am we arrive at Afton Alps and get ready for our wave of the race to start.

So naive.

At 10:30 our race starts and we've run no further than 200 yards when we turn a corner and are faced with a giant hill.  We are at Afton Alps after all.  We probably ran halfway up the hill before we figured out that we could probably hike up the hill faster than we could run up the hill.  By the time we got to the top (or what I thought was the top) I was seriously questioning the "fun" in this.  Turns out it wasn't the top and being that the race took place on a ski hill, it felt like 1/4 of a mile took place on flat ground, the rest of the time we were either running uphill or downhill...equally challenging for me in their own ways.

Anyway, so we ran through a "typhoon" which was snow making machines blasting water at us, then a junkyard of cars and tires.  I don't remember the exact order of the obstacles, but there was also 5 ft walls, followed by low barbed over/under type of obstacle.  I was happy for long legs on this one.  There was a long black tent no taller than 2 ft.  It was incredibly steamy crawling through that...and at one point the guy next to me spit and it landed on me.  Gross.  Except, it was Rob so I guess it could have been worse.

We climbed across a horizontal cargo net, a vertical cargo net, and a tall wooden wall with a rope.  We ran through mud that threatened to suck off my shoe with every step, and then across some plank boards (that were super slippery since our shoes were caked in mud), and the best obstacle was going down a big water slide of sorts.  After that, it was jumping over two firepits and finally jumping into a giant mud puddle and crawling under barbed wire. 

Here's some random people going over the fire and into the mud pit:

Perhaps this thought makes me less of a "Warrior", but I could have done without the mud puddle.  It kind of seemed like an unneccesary obstacle at the end.  I was feeling plenty dirty and gross prior to swimming through the mud pit.  The microbiologist in me just kept thinking "keep your mouth closed!"

Luckily they had a way for the racers to clean off:

Okay, so "lucky" probably isn't the right word.  When you're standing in front of a snow making machine it sort of feels like you're being pelted with little ice chunks.  And it was quite cold.  And pretty unsuccessful from a cleaning standpoint.

As Rob was cleaning off I looked down at my shoes and decided I'd throw them in the pile with everyone elses.  I guess the race cleans them up and donates them someplace.

But, alas, it was fun and aside from the hills, I would do it again.

Oh, I almost forgot.  Rob and I have a standing joke that no matter where we go, he always knows someone there.  I think it started years ago when he came to MN to visit me when we were in college.  We went to the Mall of America, in the city I grew up in, and he ran into two different sets of people he knew from Iowa.  That was just the start and it happens everywhere.  Chicago, South Carolina....every time we are in a sea of people, Rob will run into someone he knows.  So, before our race I made a comment like "I'm surprised you  haven't found someone you know here" and we laughed it off.  Well, after the race, just as we were going to turn in our time chips I heard someone yell "Rob!" and I turned and sure enough someone was chasing Rob down to say hi.  Apparently this guy is a controller at some company Rob used to audit.  Furthermore, he lives in Shakopee very close to us, and he is from Emmetsburg, IA (about 20 minutes from Rob's home town).  To boot, that guy was here with a group of people from Emmetsburg.  One of which turned out to be a guy that graduated with Rob's older sister. 

I'm glad I wasn't let down.  Kind of made the Warrior Dash Run compete in my head.

If you want to watch a 5 minute video someone made from the MN race and see the obstacles, here you go:


Kerry said...

Very impressive, guys!

Lynne said...

Hey guys- good job! I am curious as to who the group was from Emmetsburg.

Anonymous said...

Kent Johnson and some guy who's mom teaches 2nd grade and use to work with Dave. Also Carrie Anderson from Mallard.

Small world.