Yesterday morning, I did the Warrior Dash. And it was so awesome! The thing that is not awesome is how the muscles in my body felt (seemingly every last one of them) this morning.
The thing that concerned me about this course going into it was the obstacles. I've been training to run 3 miles since March, so while I still wasn't anywhere close to comfortable with running a few miles, I was pretty sure that the upper body strength required for the obstacles was going to be the real problem. And I didn't know a way to really train for those - climbing over cargo nets and up diagonal walls using a rope, hurdling and then limboing under logs, etc. What do you do to train for that? Parkour? I did some weight-lifting along with running, but I knew that short of P90X I was unlikely to become an upper-body beast.
Well, turns out the running part was a zillion times harder than I'd expected, because the hilliness of the course was ri-goddamn-diculous. I walked probably about half the way, which was a bit embarrassing, but I was definitely not alone. The groups of people running/walking around me were certainly self-selecting, because the fast ones had already gotten ahead of us, but as well as I could do was about as well as they could do, which was nice. (And race results indicate I was firmly in the middle of finishing times, which is totally okay with me.) The obstacles were mostly fun and awesome, but today my arms are telling me that I Did Stuff yesterday that I don't normally do. And I did walk around a single obstacle, a vertical wall, because there weren't enough knots in the rope for me to be able to climb up. I tried it, but couldn't do it. Again, very much okay with me. The only people climbing it while I was there were hoo-wa type dudes.
The thing that was so great about it was the little accomplishments - after I climbed up and over an obstacle I felt this rush of YES I JUST DID THAT. Most of the triumphs of my life have been long-haul ones, like graduating from college or finishing a novel or something, and ones that only take a few minutes and feel awesome to have done have been pretty unusual. And jeez, they feel good. I wish I'd known that before now.
Getting muddy as hell and not caring would have been a lot more fun if the mud hadn't been really grossly smelly. I don't know whether it was, uh, local mud? or if it was dirt that they brought with them and mudded up or something, but PEW. GRODY.
I had planned to write a step-by-step explanation of the course, because when Googling to try and learn more about it before I did it, there wasn't much help for me and I wanted to help those who came later. But honestly, that doesn't sound like much fun to write or to read, so I'm going to forego it. If you're reading this in the future and are really anxious about whether you can do the Maryland Warrior Dash and want to know more, please e-mail me, I'm happy to help. I will say my best possible tip would be that if you're training, train on hills. I had no earthly idea how hilly this course would be. I'm pretty sure I walked as much as I did just because the hills wore me out so badly, not necessarily because the obstacles were crazy hard.
There was a giant waterslide that was a hell of a lot more fun than I could have imagined. God, it was a blast. The climbing obstacles were built for people with longer legs and more upper body strength than me, i.e. men, which was sort of obnoxious to discover. If I'd been even a little shorter, there were some obstacles that I'm not sure I could have done at all. But the best part was that most of the people that I came in contact with weren't super-competitive, they were just there to do the thing, like I was. (Probably all the competitive guys were ahead of the rest of us.) There was some running and some walking and some encouragement, and absolutely no one was a jerk. I really, really enjoyed that.
I'm sorry I've missed blogging for a couple of days. Unsurprisingly, it's been a busy time, trying to get things in shape for the move. Matt came home on Friday, thank GOD, and we've had a lot to do. I will have writing things to say tomorrow. In the meantime, I'm so damned happy that I did this and wanted to share it with you. I can't wait to do another event like this, maybe a Zombie Race. Or another Dash!