Oct 15th, 2011 I became a Warrior! Happy Dance is now a Viking Warrior ready to take on anything, ready to go full force over any (well most) obstacles that come my way and take a mud bath if needed! I AM A SHE WARRIOR HEAR ME ROAR!!!
Warrior Dash is something I have been training for since I signed up for it July 22nd, 2011. It is a 5K (my first 5K actually) with obstacles throughout it. The first map I saw had a junk yard and tires as examples of what we could be hurdling ourselves over. That changed to other obstacles, but I practiced for those two specifically by jumping up and down in my back yard like I was running in tires and climbing play equipment at the nearby parks. Yes, I know my neighbors already think I am crazy, and yes, I know that by doing these things to train for the Dash, that I probably looked even more insane. But that is besides the point, I wanted to be a Warrior, and nothing was going to stop me!
I signed up with three girls that I had met on my online fitness site. Inspiration, Motivation, and Amazing Armpit Girl will be the three girls names. Inspiration was a women that I had friended over a year ago, we had never met, but I had “watched” her transformation take shape over the year and she had wowed me. Motivation is a friend that I had met before and no matter what is going on she is always pushing us to do our best, and even though she considers herself a “wimp” when it comes to pain, she still pushes herself to the limits, surprising not only us, but herself with how awesome she is. Amazing Armpit Girl is a woman that I have met quite a few times and we Wog together a lot. She got this nickname because her armpits are amazing! I have never seen someone’s armpits be this amazing looking. She has shaped them with weight lifting. The Warrior Dash is Motivations and my first 5K. Probably not the smartest move on our parts, but we were going to have fun! Amazing Armpit Girl has done tons of different types of races before and Inspiration has been doing 5Ks for about a year now.
Amazing Armpit Girl met Bebe and me at our house to car pool to the 5K. We got excited and talked nonstop the whole ride there. Once we got there we paid to park and then walked along a field to the opening where the potential Warriors were preparing for the battlefield. We registered and then took a look at the few obstacles we could see. We could see a net wall, a place to leap over fire, and a mud pit to crawl through. The magnitude of what was going to take place, still hadn’t hit me at this point I don’t think. A few minutes later we met up with Inspiration and Motivation. They had arrived with their husbands. We took some pictures together and then it was Noon! Noon is our race time!
The husbands go off with Bebe to get ready to take pictures and the girls and I plan our attack of the battle field. We know the first mile or so is nothing but ground, no obstacles, so a light jog is all we are going to do. Then walking/light jog between the obstacles that are supposed to be pretty much back to back. Then we start seeing the crowd of people ahead of us start to move forward, and we take off! Once we get through the start gate fire lights up above us, the heat and randomness of it all gets us to move faster. We get some ground, the whole time smiling and talking about everything that is going on. Amazing Armpit Girl is already ahead of us surrounded by people. We reach the first obstacle which is barbed wire and hurdles. So we climb over the hurdles and go under the barbed wire. One obstacle down!
The next obstacle is a net that is laid flat out but up away from the ground. I get on the net and see Motivation doing the crab crawl. I follow suit! I feel like “Sara” (From Working out isn’t working out blog post) trained me for this one. I get to the second net and a girl next to me moves so quickly that her weight pushes the net around and down. My feet fall through the netting and I scream! Half of my body was through the nets and I had to work my way back up to get over this obstacle. The girls I am with ask if I am ok, and I say yes, and I start back doing the crab crawl over the nets. I get down and my adrenaline is pumping so much that we are off even faster than before.
We get to the next obstacle which has us army crawling under barbed wire. By this point Motivation and Amazing Armpit Girl are ahead of Inspiration and me by a few minutes. Inspiration was getting over a sinus issue, and I was still freaked out a little by the obstacles.
Inspiration and I get to another obstacle that deals with huge steps and a firepole. Here is where my worry wartness gets in the way. I climb the steps and get to the top. Inspiration zooms down the pole and is ready to go. I am frozen stiff. How am I supposed to get to down this very tall firepole without killing myself. Inspiration gives me the words of encouragement I need and I go down the pole. I don’t zoom down the pole, and this is probably where the problem lies. I held tight and my arm pulled upward along with my rib cage. I got to the ground and the pain in my side brought me to my knees. In my head all I can think of “I broke something, everyone was right, I can’t do something like this, I’m only going to injure myself, and I did…I injured myself.” I was so mad at myself for getting hurt. The EMT, there is one at every obstacle, and Inspiration rushed to my side and I started to breathe in deep. That hurts! I cough, that doesn’t hurt. NOTHING IS BROKEN! (Is all I can think in my mind). The EMT wants me to go to her chair, but I know if I sit down, that’s it I’m done for. I tell her thanks, but no, and stand up slowly. I am in a lot of pain, but I must push forth. Inspiration stays back with me and I stretch a little and we start walking.
I do every obstacle but four…it was almost five obstacles but Inspiration, an old man, and all the other Warriors on the Net Wall encouraged me to go on and do it!. The three obstacles I do not do are two walls with ropes, and something called Staten Steps. I climb the ropes of the two walls as much as I can, but it hurts my side more, and I figure I am going to fall and die and can’t hold myself that much and so I let myself down the wall and kept on going. Staten Steps is an obstacle that you stand on table tops that wobble and have to leap to the next table top to the end. I tried it and was ok, until I saw a huge gap, I decided I was just going to get down and walk around it. No use in hurting myself worse. All I saw was my head hitting one of the table tops and crumpling in pain on the ground.
Inspiration and I make it to the third to last obstacle. It is a huge net that stretches up about 20-25 feet in the air and then comes down the other side. Other Warriors are climbing the sides up and down as we got closer we watched them. Inspiration is up and over before I can even really begin. I get half way to the top and my panic and fear and worry takes over. My mind goes into something like this: I don’t know if I can do this. I don’t know if I can do this! I can’t do this. I CAN’T DO THIS!!!! Get me down! GET ME DOWN! OH MY GOD, I’m GONNA DIE! I AM TOO FAR UP! I start shaking and Inspiration tells me I am almost there and to keep going. My fear has me by the arms though. I can’t make it over this without coming crashing down, there is no way! An older man, around the ages of 55-60 sees my panic stricken face when he passes me up the net. He, while I’m on the verge of tears, smiles at me and tells me he is going to help me up and over, that if he can do it so can I. Everyone else on the net seems to figure out there is a potential Warrior having some difficulties, and they start cheering me on. With the older mans help, and the cheers from the others and Inspiration, I make it up and slowly over the top and down to the ground. Inspiration and I high five and take off. I look back and tell her “I can’t believe we just did that!”
We can see the finish line now. We decide to up the pace and start jogging slowly, and then faster. The fire obstacle is next and we leap over the two fire pits together, we race around the bend and then the mud is in our sights.
We crouch down in all fours and the cold mud hits our hands, our arms, our stomachs, our shoulders. We float up our legs and move across the mud on our hands. I grab onto roots, and grass, and sticks and push myself to the finish line that I can see under the barbed wire and flags over the mud I am in. We get out of the long mud pit and we both slip. We pick muddy selves up and climb up the little hill to slide down the other side into hay bales. We pick ourselves up and walk across the finish line where there are people putting medals on all the participants.
We reach for the water being offered and Motivation and Amazing Armpit Girl come over to congratulate our accomplishment of the 5K. We take some muddy pictures and then head to the wash off station. The fire department is there with fire hoses on, rinsing people off. It is the coldest shower I have ever taken. We scream and laugh, and then race out of there.
This was my first 5K and first obstacle course. I was told back in high school I would never run again, proved them wrong, and I was told by many people I was getting way over my head with this Warrior Dash, and I proved them wrong. Yes, I don’t like filth and mud, but I embraced it. All the mud, bruises, callouses, sunburnt skin, blisters, and tears were worth it! I don’t know if any other 5K can come close to this experience! I’m excited for next year!