We drove down to Crawfordsville Friday evening so that we would not have to wake up uber early to arrive for my 8 am wave. We went to bed kind of late, but I managed to drag my butt out of bed at about 5:20 so that I could run a mile on the treadmill to wake up and get my body moving in preparation for the race. After getting myself and the family ready we headed out around 6:30 to find the race location. We arrived just before 7 am which was perfect timing.
The parking was run very smoothly. There were no backups and they had tons of people directing you to where they wanted you to park. I was sort of annoyed that it cost $10 to park, but I knew about this in advance. It would be nice if they would just somehow build this into the fee they charge you online. After parking we got the stroller and kids all set and we were off to packet pickup. Again, everything was running VERY smoothly. This could be because it was early and there were so few people there, but from what I have heard, it ran smoothly all day. The race packet included a timing chip (which doubled as a free beer token), bib number, t-shirt, and a fuzzy warrior helmet. After picking this up we headed over to the Warrior Store because I wanted to buy some race gear. I know, lame! Falling for the merchandising, but oh well - won't need to buy next time. I ended up spending $50 to buy a track jacket, tank top, decal, and eye blacks. I honestly felt the prices were pretty reasonable for race memorabilia.
After spending hubby's money I decided to find him a place to sit with the kiddos. They had benches to sit on near the mudpit so that's where we stationed him and the kids. I wish that they would have had something between the mud pit and the fire so that he could have gotten photos of both obstacles. After putting on my bib and timing chip we took a few more pictures and it was time for me to head off. I visited the porta-potty and then went to the start corral. I knew there weren't many people in my wave, but I was sort of disappointed by how few people there were. I think there were maybe 50-60 people max. I talked with someone for a few minutes - it was her first time and she was about as nervous as I was. She said that she didn't want to finish last - I told her my strategy was that if I was slow enough it would just look like we were part of the next wave, haha. It ended up being that I didn't need to employ this strategy, but it was a nice back-up plan in my head.
(note: this pic is not my wave)
8:00 came and we were off. Because the wave was so small there wasn't a whole lot of crowding of the course which was nice, I decided to just take is slow and easy to start with. I wanted to make sure I could finish the race without walking except for at the obstacles. We ran for what felt like forever before we hit an actual obstacle. However, there were some massive up and down hills that I was not expecting. It was kind of funny to me that I was doing exactly the opposite of most people - most were walking the uphills and barreling down the hills. I was much more able to run up the hills but then practically slid down the hills on my butt for fear of injuring my knees. Well, thats not true but I was VERY slow and VERY careful. Now, they said there were only 12 obstacles in an interview I saw on tv, but I counted 14..?
Obstacle #1 - Cliffhanger (?)
I was terrified of this steep downhill, the pictures dont do it justice. For someone with bad knees, steep hills are bad enough, but ones that are dirt and crumble with each step are even worse. I finally got up the nerve and scooted on my butt and grabbed a rope and started my descent. Somehow I managed to get my camera looped around the rope here so I lost some time getting it untangled.
Obstacle #2 - Deadman's Drop
This was an unexpected obstacle and not on our course map. I banged up my shin on this one - my first and worst warrior injury.
This was easy, but this was the site of my second injury - a small cut on my knee.
This was just a horizontal cargo net but it was harder than I was expecting. However I managed to get across pretty effectively and quickly.
Not sure this was much of an obstacle, but hey, they call it one. The ropes were way too easy to get through, the "tangled" pattern was super easy to get through.
We actually crossed a river twice in addition to this "rio dash" but I am counting this as the official obstacle because we had to run down the stream for a longer distance.
Another unexpected obstacle, but it was easy peasy, didn't even use the ropes, ran right up.
This obstacle wasn't terribly difficult but still a bit harder than I was expecting.
This was the final unexpected obstacle much easier than I would have expected, guess my balance is better than it used to be.
Again, not terribly difficult, you had to go over the wall and then under then barbed wire. I managed to rip my bib on this obstacle so the number wasn't showing. Somehow in the middle of the race, I was aware enough to think about the fact that if my bib number wasn't showing it might be hard to find my pics, so I managed to re-pin it while running to the next obstacle.
This was the obstacle I was most worried about. I am afraid of heights and after hearing about people getting hurt falling off this wall it made me even more nervous. I had hoped that i would be able to climb this wall using the footholds as hand holds too, but I quickly realized that wasn't possible so I grabbed the rope and scrambled up the wall much easier than I thought I would. I even stopped at the top to take a picture of myself, too bad you couldn't tell that I was on top of a 16 foot wall! Going down the back was super easy and I was off to the next obstacle.
I was glad they had this back to back with the great warrior wall, I still had the courage from having just done the wall so I didn't even hesitate to climb right up. I felt like I went up this pretty quickly, but I did stop near the top to snap a picture. Again, its hard to tell I was at the top of the cargo net, but at least I have something to remember it by.
I was really looking forward to this, I did a really high gazelle type leap over the first set of flames. I obviously didn't realize they took the picture of you jumping the second set of flames so I didn't do a cool jump the second time... oops. Thank goodness my running skirt has attached shorts underneath because it flew up when I leaped over the flames.
I wasn't really worried about this obstacle, I figured it would be hard, but not that difficult. Unfortunately I didn't get any tips from anyone before hand. I stepped into the mud pit and sank past my knee. I got scared when my second step had my sinking even further. Finally someone in the crowd screamed to swim not try to walk. That strategy worked well, but of course I had already lost quite a bit of time. Then near the end my camera slipped of my wrist. Now, this was a BRAND NEW camera so I wasn't about to leave it. Someone screamed at me to keep going because it was a race. I yelled back "my camera, I lost my camera" I started to panic when I couldn't find it. Someone yelled I hope its waterproof, I told them it was and they responded "what about mud proof" my response? "I sure hope so," Finally I found it and continued my trek out of the mud pit, It was harder to get out than I expected it would be.
Because this is so long I am going to end this post here, but I will post again tomorrow or Thursday about some of my post-race reflections and finishing stats. One last picture because it is ADORABLE (at least to me, but I am biased). Here is one of the reasons I am "running for my life." My little girl is so proud of her mommy and is already starting to talk about how she wants to run when she is bigger. And, to top it off, she
was super excited because she thought "Mommy won". Of course, we all know that I didn't but I couldn't bear to break her heart and tell her I didn't do that well.
Note: Pictures with the Warrior Dash logo on them are from the WD page on facebook, I added them to clarify areas where my pictures suck. :)