Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Warrior Dash 2012

The final obstacle on the course.

In a few of the goals I have posted, I mentioned training for the Warrior Dash.  The Oregon Warrior Dash was held last weekend, September 8th and 9th.  It is a 5K run (3.1 miles) with several obstacles along the way.  It looked challenging and I heard it was fun; so, I decided to give it a try.  I ran with 3 of my favorite people, and had a blast!

Let me just say, I am not an athlete.  In school, I was always thrilled to have a friend chosen as a team captain in PE, because it meant I would not be one of the last 3 students chosen.  I saw a t-shirt at an Under Armour outlet store that read, "I don't jog, I run."  Well, I am the opposite.  I don't run, I jog - if you want to call it that!

We heard the course had a lot of hills.  I guess I was picturing something like the Portland Shamrock Run (in previous years, they changed the course this year), running up Broadway - a slow steep slope.  Um, nope.  This was a course of fine, loose dirt and steep, steep hills.

Jogging up one hill, someone behind me commented to their friend, "Remind me why we are doing this."  The same thought was running through my mind, but I was not about voice it out loud.  Shortly after, we reached the 0.5 mile sign.  (Sad, right?!)

The first obstacle was crossing "logs" in water.  Large plastic squares were roped together to form our "logs."  We carefully stepped down the muddy bank of the water.  Our third step in, we realized the mud beneath us was uneven.  It dropped more than a foot in depth.  Strangers behind me, grabbed my shirt to catch their balance.  Some apologized, others just raced forward.  Pulling yourself up onto the log and crossing over was not tricky in itself.  The hard part was having so many people trying to cross at once, as it made the logs roll backwards.  Some kind souls held the ropes from the other side, to hold it steady for those crossing.  My sister-in-law was almost over the second log when a team counted to three and all tried to climb on at once.  She felt the log begin to roll back.  Not wanting to climb up again, she dove forward and went under water, face first.  It was awesome.  We all had muddy streaks drying upon our faces as we trudged forward.

I will be honest, I am horribly afraid of heights.  On our way to the race, I remembered trips my sister and I made to the playground about six blocks from our home when we were children.  I would climb up the big dome bars, and then freeze, terrified I would fall, until some kind dad climbed up and walked me through the steps of reaching the ground below.  "Put your foot here, now grab on here..."  Well, you get the idea.  So, I was nervous about the tall obstacles.

We reached the wall and I reminded myself it was mind over matter.  There were knotted ropes hanging over a wall of wood.  Small strips of wood were interspersed along the wall - our footholds - or toeholds?  They seemed way too narrow for my slippery, muddy shoes.  I took a look, gulped, and grabbed the rope next to my son (Monkey - my 15-year-old ran was within our group.)  The second knot in the rope was too high for me to reach.  I stepped back down, looked at the other ropes and moved over to use the one Monkey had climbed.  I could reach that knot.  My descent attracted the attention of a volunteer.  He approached and told me to use my legs, not my arms.  I commented, "And pretend I'm not afraid of heights!"  He told me it was a 3-foot wall.  I replied, "Built on another 3-foot wall."  (In reality, I imagine it was at least 8-feet tall.)  For me, the creepy part was feeling my body swing back away from the wall as I pushed up to the next knot in the rope.  I have no upper body strength, so I did not want to lose what little bit of footing I had.  The rope ended at the top, and the board along the top was too wide to feel I could really get a good hold of it. I took a deep breath and prepared to swing one leg up and over, praying I would not lose my grip.  Imagine my surprise, as the volunteer's head popped up on the backside of the wall.  He had climbed up to guide me down.  He instructed me to swing my leg over, find the wooden rung below, get my balance and bring my other foot down.  Mind you, I knew those were the next steps to take, but my inner-child grinned.  I climbed down the ladder of wooden rungs on the other side and met my group with a grin.  "It was just like being on the playground again!" I laughed.

We went on to pull ourselves over barricades, to crawl and sometimes roll under barbed wire.  I walked up the hills, and jogged down them.  We went through tires, and a web of elastic.  Just before we reached the cargo nets, I heard my husband yell my name.  He and Mutt (my 12-year-old, he chose the nickname because he does not like me to use my nickname for him in public) had been waiting for us for over an hour.  That would be my fault.  I kept encouraging my wonderful group of warriors to go on ahead, but they patiently waited for me at each obstacle.  At one point, I seriously wanted to sing the song "Just Put One Foot in Front of the Other" from the Christmas classic, "Santa Claus is Coming to Town."  I was just too winded to pull it off. *grins*

Descending the cargo net.

According to my husband, who can judge heights far better than I, the cargo net wall was at least 25 feet tall.  After making it over the rope wall, this would be cake. I had to chuckle as I got to the top.  The young man next to me reached the top and asked, "Now what do I do?"  He probably was not expecting an actual answer, but I repeated my helpful volunteer's directions from the rope wall.

The end was the most fun.  We went through a mud pit.  I found myself wishing I had a pit of mud like that to play in when I was a kid.  It would have been a HOOT!  As it was, I somehow managed to make my way through the thick muck without losing a shoe.

After the mud pit and the mud slide.  (Anyone want a hug?)

Then, I went down a mud slide.  Umm... next year, I will remember to see where the ruts lead from my beginning point.  Had I noticed the diagonal path left by the person in front of me, I would have moved.  Instead, I found myself yelling a warning to the young man to my left that I was heading his way.  At the bottom, I apologized for landing on his cape.  Oops!

With a big gulp, and mental, "I can do this!" I ran and leaped across the two rows of flames to reach the finish line.

The muddy pond we were able to rinse of in never looked so inviting.  Although, I must admit, I hesitated after a guy in the middle of the pond yelled, "If anyone plans to pee in the water, do it over here!  I'm freezing!"  Everyone laughed, as we cleaned ourselves in the filthy water.

It looks like I have a year to work on my endurance and practice running up some steep hills so the course is a little easier in 2013!


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