Awww. Look at the happy little couple with their little bibs on ready to conquer the Warrior Dash! Bless their little hearts.
Ahhh, the Warrior Dash. For those of you who aren’t familiar, this is a 5K obstacle course mud run. We (ok, Richard) had been looking forward to this for a long time. This is an all-day event, with different race waves starting every 15 minutes from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Our official start time was supposed to be at 12:30 (this was the only slot available when we signed up – these things sell out fast), but we quickly learned after we got there that it really didn’t matter which start time you chose.
The start times were about as disorganized as everything else was. *Sigh* But I’m getting ahead of myself….
Ok, here’s what we forgot to notice in this cute little picture.
One – a random flag floating mid-air over my right shoulder. Um. What the heck?! Ok, that has nothing to do with the story I’m about to tell, but I just had to point that out. Freaky, much?
And two – the angry chick to my right.
Ok, let me point them out for you:
Ok, so although the ghost flag is pretty awesome, let’s concentrate on Angry Chick for a minute. Because that represents what my story is going to revolve around.
Angry Chick is angry. I don’t personally know Angry Chick, mind you. But I know a little something about how Angry Chick feels now. Angry chick is covered in mud, has a medal around her neck, has a fierce look on her face, and is holding a beer. I’m going to tell you how Angry Chick got that way. And I’m going to tell you how Richard and I soon joined Angry Chick in Angrychickville. (Ok, Angrydudeville in Richard’s case).
Let me give you a nice little overview. Here is a comment that a participant placed on the Warrior Dash Facebook page after the race:
“Warning to warriors: There are far more obstacles than advertised in this race! The first unpublished obstacle required you to stand in line for almost an hour in the sun to get your registration packet from the six people they had working to check in ten thousand runners. While standing in line, you had to try to avoid getting shoved into the back of the sweaty fat guy in line in front of you. The next obstacle was to try to make it to your heat on time after standing in line for so long. (We were only an hour late.) The next few obstacles were pretty easy, they only involved jumping over fire and crawling under barbed wire. The mud pit was very challenging thanks to the concrete-like consistency of the mud. But that’s nothing compared to the next obstacle. This one required you to get rinsed off from the one guy with a hose who was rinsing off one person at a time. Given these obstacles, it’s highly unlikely that I’ll be attending another Warrior Dash….” – James Lewis
Oh my gosh, this race was horrible.
As described in the comment above, we knew we were in for a disorganized mess when we couldn’t even find the line to pick up our packets. There were just gobs and gobs of people standing everywhere. Once we finally somewhat figured out where to stand, we stood there for at least 30 minutes before we looked around and realized that this group was only men. We couldn’t see the tiny little signs WAY up at the front of the line that said women’s sign-ins were to the left and men’s were to the right. So, in an extremely non-typical move for myself, I did what most everyone else was doing. I cut in line. I’ll be darned if I’m going to stand in that scorching heat (92 degrees at that point) for another half hour. First rule of warriordom? Each man (woman) for themselves.
To quote another witty Warrior Dash participant’s Facebook page comment:
“I want my medal to say ‘I survived the packet pick up.'” – MK Turner
So, after the torture of waiting to get signed up, we then stood in another slightly less long line to check our bag. All in all, the whole process only took an hour and a half. No biggie. AN HOUR AND A FREAKIN HALF. In 92 degrees. With no water. Before a race.
So, once the race finally started – at first, it wasn’t too bad. Well, sorta. Did I mention it was hot? Now, mind you, Richard and I are both half-marathoners. But at the 0.5 mile mark?
Me: You wanna walk?
Richard: Oh dear God, I thought you’d never ask.
The obstacles were admittedly pretty fun, I’ll have to say. Well, maybe fun isn’t the word. Gratifying? Maybe that’s it. You just felt somewhat accomplished after completing them – even if you were on the brink of death from heat exhaustion.
Ok, did I just say the obstacles were fun? Let me rephrase. Most of the obstacles were fun. Until the last one.
The mud pit.
Oh, dear God. The mud pit.
Now, we were well aware that there would be a mud pit. That’s part of the draw. We were ready to get dirty. No problem. Bring it on, yo.
But holy llamas – what the hell was that?? That wasn’t mud. That was brown cement. Brown cement that almost took my life. And I’m not exaggerating. Not in the least. Even calm-mannered, non-dramatic Richard will tell you the same thing. It was so incredibly thick that you could barely move. And you didn’t realize this until you were halfway through it and there was no way out. It was like quicksand. We were in all the way up to our chin and couldn’t move at all. Each step propelled us maybe an inch. Maybe. The only redeeming factor is that the people behind you who were also ‘in too deep,’ so to speak, saw what you were going through and knew they would soon be in your place (there was no other way to go but forward), so they were reaching down in the mud and trying to help dislodge your foot from the muck it was sunk down into to help push you forward. Honestly, I don’t know if I would have gotten out of the pit if it wasn’t for the girl behind me. And again, that’s no exaggeration.
Eventually, though, after lost shoes, lost shirts, a lost Mason ring (it still makes me sick to my stomach to think of Richard losing that…), and lost energy and drive to ever do any race ever again, we managed to stumble across the finish line. Together. 30 pounds heavier from the mud, but still upright and breathing. Barely. I cringe to think of what that finish line picture looks like. I just hope I didn’t flip the camera off, because at this point, I cannot be held accountable for anything that happened in the delirium that followed the mud pit escapade.
Oh yeah, and as if that weren’t enough….there was ONE MAN with ONE WATER HOSE to try to clean off about 10,000 muddy people. I’m sure you can imagine how well that went over. At one point, the little sprinkles of water I was managing to get hit with only did nothing but serve to get mud in my eyes, which I could not remove because there was not one single solitary piece of my body that wasn’t covered with even more mud. So, eyes closed, I asked Richard to bend down and I managed to use the only available thing within reach – the one tiny little spot on the top of his head that didn’t have mud on it. Yes, I rubbed my eyeball in one little inch of mudless hair on my boyfriend’s head. Look, people, in times of war, you do what you have to do.
Oh dear God, I could go on and on trying to describe the water hose process more, but frankly, I’m sick of talking about this race.
We got our free beer for completing the race (ok, Richard got his two free beers since I don’t drink the nasty stuff); we laid in the sun for over an hour to try to let the mud dry so we could scrape it off before getting back in the car to head home; we stood in another 30-minute line to get our bag back; we put our dumb ol’ hats and dumb ol’ capes on in the scorching heat and snapped a picture to commemorate the misery; and we hauled our exhausted butts home.
So, Angry Chick, wherever you are, we are now members of the same club. We have survived this near-death experience of a race and will live on to tell our grandchildren about the time we almost died during a 5k. We are survivors, right?
Yes, my fellow angry friend, we are warriors.
(And, oh heck, who am I kidding? We’ll probably see ya next year. I mean, ‘hope springs eternal’ and whatnot, right? Surely it couldn’t get any worse than this. Could it?)
“All life is an experiment. The more experiments you make, the better.”
– Ralph Waldo Emerson
P.S. This particular Warrior Dash was in Huntersville, NC, on June 1, 2013. From what I have heard, not all Warrior Dashes are like this disorganized mess. Just wanted to throw that disclaimer in there on their behalf.