My back aches, my shoulders hurt, my muscles feel sore, my feet are tired, my body is worn-out … but I feel good.
I survived the Warrior Dash.
Despite the gloomy and drizzling weather, which doesn’t happen often in Southern California not even in winter, I made the two-hour drive to Warrior Dash Central. I was anxious, nervous, and filled with butterflies in my stomach.
As I made my way from the parking lot to registration, I started to notice a pattern …
Dude. I felt something was missing. Something was not right with my t-shirt and shorts outfit … A superhero costume would have been more appropriate.
I felt like the Lone Guat in a sea of costumes. There was a Superman family, Wonder Woman, Xena Princess Warrior Chicks, brightly colored fluorescent people with matching head bands, The Smurfs, Ghostbusters, The Bear Naked people, the barely naked people with matching Speedos, chicks with pink wigs, chicks with pink, green, and blue tutus, dudes with hazmat suits, and even dudes dressed up as chicks. It was like The Justice League reunion with a motley crew of party crashers, and I didn’t get invited.
My dude said … “I don’t think this is the kind of race you do alone … but at least you got a cheering section.”
My kids and dude made the trek.
So with my Guat-Mexican party of four I made my way to the starting line.
“Good luck, mom. Don’t go in the muddy water. Those people look yucky. Win the race!”
All I could think about was don’t fall. Don’t fall and finish.
“You’ll be fine. We’ll be waiting for you at the finish line.”
I walked over to the starting line and began my athletic ritual. Everyone has one before an event, consciously or unconsciously: stuff like, stretching out and counting to seven, but not eight; stretching out your left leg first; and doing your arm thing to loosen up. Whatever the ritual may be every one was doing it. If you don’t have a ritual, you’re probably not a real athlete.
As I stretched and did my routine, I looked around … the chicks and dudes with the 80s fluorescent leotards and matching headbands were in front of me and the Xena Warrior Princesses were next to me. I was nervous. I felt like I needed a cape. I looked behind me … regular t-shirt and shorts people like myself were among the sea of costumes.
Countdown begins … 10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1.
I did the Sammy Sosa ritual move and took off.
With all that adrenaline I took off faster than usual, but kept my steady pace. As I reached the half-mile mark, I noticed all the costume people trailing off little by little. Xena Warrior Princesses probably fell on their swords or something because I didn’t see them at all.
There were no obstacles until after the half-mile mark and the first one being the Road Rage Tires.
I was like one of those state-champion double-dutch chicks. Dude. It was on! I made it through that obstacle pretty quickly. The only time I slowed down was when they triple stacked the tires.
Then came the Barricade Breakdown where I hurdled over barricades and crawled under barbed wire. I used my Dukes of Hazard jumping-over cars skills to jump the barricades that were chest high.
More running after that, where I continued passing costume after costume. The Justice League and the Smurfs were gone. My T-shirt and shorts people made their way to mile two and saw the rock-climbing wall. I was like Spider-Man as I scaled that thing up and over no problem. Sweet. Once I got to the top, I slid down the pole like a professional firefighter.
After mile two, the challenge hits you … all the obstacles. They are spread out, but between mile two and the finish line I was huffing and puffing. That was my soundtrack, in surround sound, because everyone else was breathing heavily too.
My next obstacle was the one I feared. The Teetering Traverse. My heart was pounding and all I wanted to do was go fast, but I knew better.
I was causing traffic, but I didn’t care. I didn’t want to eat it.
After conquering that bad boy, came the Horizontal Hike. This didn’t scare me when I saw the online description, but once I saw the arching geodome and all the cargo nets and pieces of wood I had to hold onto in order to cross over, I knew why there was a paramedic on standby. I made it through with only a couple of rope burns and scratches.
As I climbed up the ropes of my next obstacle, The Great Warrior Wall, I saw her behind me … struggling. It was Wonder Woman…she was not that wonderful at climbing ropes. So in my sportmanship-way I yelled at her:
“C’mon Wonder Woman…You can do it!!!”
She smiled and grabbed hold of the rope.
She must have done well because at the Chaotic Crossover, a series of tangled nets we had to cross over much like the horizontal hike but lower to the ground and with more opportunities to get snagged and left behind, I saw her causing traffic grabbing hold of the nets. She was spread out like a bad twister game. She lost her amazon bullet proof bracelets and golden tiara.
But she seemed to make it through, because I saw her again at Deadman’s Drop. I climbed this tall structure with extreme caution. Not one, but two paramedics were on site. The “unhandy hurdle” at the top was a bitch. So as I was moving slowly I saw Wonder Woman down at the bottom. I couldn’t let a chick like that beat me, so I pressed on and slid down the other side with caution. No splinters.
The Cargo Climb was tricky. Not only did I have to control my own balance, but I also I had to be aware of other people’s maneuvers. A foot here, or a hand there changed the way the ropes moved. Grabbing onto the wooden frame was also a bad idea as the rope trapped my fingers and crunched them when people pulled and tugged on the nets with all kinds of body parts. I was pretty tired by this point, but then I saw three 50+ year-old Ironman type of ladies pass me by … just jogging like they were beginning the race. All cool and under control.
Dude. The competitive side of me said, “C’mon now, you can’t let all these ladies pass you by, you’ve got to at least beat one of them.” So I got enough strength from who knows where and kept running to the next obstacle and beyond.
The Petrifying Plunge was a fun slip-n-slide. Most people went head-first. I preferred to go feet first, because I didn’t want my face to plunge into the murky cold waters below.
The Capsized Catamaran awaited me in the freezing waters. This obstacle killed me. It killed everyone. The water was about five-feet deep and you had to pull yourself up and over this plastic structure. Then plop back in the water, swim, or walk if you were tall enough, to the next plastic-up-and-over obstacle. However there was nothing you could push off of … it was pure upper body strength hauling your tired ass out of the water. Catamarans suck. This obstacle took me about fifteen minutes.
The water was so ice-cold and the chick and her dude in front of me were not climbing this thing fast enough. So even though I didn’t know her, I gave her a boost and pushed her up and over, so that I wouldn’t drown while treading water. However by the time I got to the second up and over, I struggled during the “up” part as did everyone else. Some racers gave up and swam to shore, including Wonder Woman, a big body-builder dude with a dragon tattoo, and even one of the Ironman 50+ ladies.
Me. I continued struggling. Then I found some chick wearing a Winnie the Pooh backpack who was struggling too, and said: “Hey I’ll pull you up, if you push me up.”
Normally the backpack would have thrown me off, but as I was freezing and desperately wanting to finish this obstacle I tagged teamed with the Winnie the Pooh chick and we became the Wonder Twin Powers.
She pushed…I pulled. Push and Pull. Repeat. We were a dynamic duo. However, on the last leg of this obstacle I pulled too much and I fell over into the water. But it’s not like I wasn’t wet so it didn’t matter. The wetter the better because The Warrior Roast was next. So I didn’t mind the fall.
As I made my way out of the water and up the hill, I tried to muster enough courage and energy for the fire. I was out of breath and needed to sprint in order to gain enough momentum to jump over these logs. Winnie the Pooh girl saw me hesitating and said “C’mon, you can do it.”
So I busted out my best hurdle-jumping ballerina leap and made it through unscathed. No firefighters or extinguishers needed.
After that came the Muddy Mayhem, where we “scrambled” beneath barbed wire in muddy, rocky waters.
Everyone was dragging and hurting, but made their way to the finish line.
My shirt was wet, shorts drenched, and my New Balance shoes and socks were soaked.
After crawling out of the final pit, I ran toward the archway. Not walked, but ran.
I didn’t need the cape. I was a Warrior.
What did I learn from this Warrior Dash Saga? Tune in tomorrow.