"If one could run without getting tired I don't think one would often want to do anything else." -- C. S. Lewis

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Pennsylvania Warrior Dash 2011

Welcome to the Warrior Dash!

Saturday June 11, 2011 maybe wasn't THE "craziest frickin' day of my life," but it certainly was A crazy frickin' day!   When I registered for the Pennsylvania Warrior Dash, I really wasn't sure what I was getting myself into other than lots of mud.  I'd watched some videos of previous Dashes, so I had a slight idea of what goes on...

I somehow talked my husband into running the 3.5 mile Warrior Dash with me and our youngest son, Tyler also joined in as did our oldest son, Jeremiah and his fiancee, Marlenah.  Good clean family fun!  We all signed up for the 3 p.m. "wave." 

The day of The Dash dawned cool and misty.  I'd been anticipating lots of heat and dressed accordingly, but I was wishing I had dressed just a bit warmer both before and after The Dash.  We had a nearly 2 hour drive to the Poconos (Albrightsville) where The Dash was being held this year.  Parking for The Dash was in a massive field, and participants were bussed from the parking area to Skirmish USA, a huge paintball facility, which is where the actual Dash was being held.   Once at Skirmish, we picked up our race packets which contained our race bib and timing chip, then dropped off our bag of stuff at the bag check facility.  Should have brought a bigger bag with more dry clothes to check in! 

I honestly have no idea how many people were in our wave, but there must have been several hundred at least.  Someone told us there were 10,000 people registered for Saturday and 8,000 registered for Sunday.  Not sure how accurate this is, but it's probably pretty close.  Jeremiah and Marlenah were running late and didn't make the 3 p.m. start, but they were able to start with a later group, thankfully.  Anyway, we lined up at the starting line and looked around and admired all the various costumes that people were wearing...everything from Waldo to dudes sporting nothing but thongs.  Ouch.

The race course was mostly wooded, and the trail was full of rocks and tree roots.  I really didn't have the opportunity to admire the scenery because my eyse were glued to the trail in front of me so I could avoid spraining an ankle (which I'm very prone to doing).

Early in the race, pre-mud and sweat.  Note my intense gaze at the ground ahead of me...trying to avoid spraining an ankle!

 Still keeping my eyes glued to the terrain!

There were about a dozen various obstacles the entire 3.5 miles of the run, everything from crawling through tunnels to trudging through mud,  climbing over 16 foot verticle walls with nothing but a knotted rope as an aid, scrambling over wrecked cars, slogging through waist-deep water, running through dozens of tires lying on the ground and leaping over fire.  The very first encounter I had with a mud pit, my right shoe got sucked right off my foot the first step I took!  Now I know why so many people were Duct Taping their shoes on!  Next time...

Oh, THAT'S why they Duct Tape their shoes to their feet...

As I was running through this course I remember thinking that I was going too slow for a "race" mainly because I had to be careful where I stepped.  I tried to convince myself that the main reason I was doing this was for the FUN and MUD, but the competitive spirit inside me was disappointed at my slow pace.  Amazingly, after the results were tallied I ended up getting 3rd in my age group for Saturday!  We didn't stick around for the awards ceremony that evening because I had no clue (until I saw the results online a day or two later).  Unfortunately, awards don't get mailed, so I'm out of luck there.  I ran the 3.5 mile course in 42:03 which comes out to a 12:01 pace.  I missed getting second in my age group by a mere 12 seconds, and I keep thinking, "if my shoe just hadn't gotten sucked off in the mud...."

All in all a most excellent day!  The fire hose afterwards was quite....invigorating!  Talk about cold water!  That was more painful than any of the obstacles!  There were piles and piles of discarded muddy shoes everywhere.  The day was drizzly, so there was mud everywhere too, and that just added to the whole mud-fest atmosphere.  And I'm still in awe at the ability of some women that I saw who were able to change their clothes while draped in nothing but a large bath towel.  How'd they do that?!

There were piles of muddy shoes everywhere!

 Here, warriors are getting a wash...

I'll definitely be signing up to do more of these races in the future.  Next time I'll Duct Tape my shoes to my feet, bring more dry and warmer clothes, and try just a little harder.

More photos from The Pennsylvania Warrior Dash...

Jeremiah and Marlenah navigating the fire obstacle as they near the finish.

Yours truly navigating the fire obstacle just before the mud pit finish...

Another view of the fire...

  And after the fire came the mud pit just before the finish line where we had to slither under barbed wire.

A happy, muddy warrior, though my mud is drying so it doesn't look quite so bad.

Happy feet!

Saving the best for last....we were PHOTO BOMBED!  Check out the dude to the right...wearing a bra and grinning for the camera!  Love it!

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