A few weeks ago, I had the chance to play in the mud. I couldn’t pass that up! So, my roommate and I signed up for my new favorite race: the Warrior Dash.
Several of my friends had run the Warrior Dash before. They had told me it was a difficult 3-mile muddy run full of obstacles to climb over, like giant wooden walls and piles of cars, and that you had to jump over fire pits to cross the finish.
I thought they were exaggerating… I was wrong.
My friends and I got to the Warrior Dash after a very bumpy ride through a farm’s field, i.e. the parking lot. As we waited in line, we scoped out the people who had run in the waves before us; they came walking slowly from the finish line area, covered from torso to toe in mud, some laughing, some looking exhausted, some looking just plain weird (weird = the men in muddy pink tutus).
As we watched people walking around, we still weren’t sure what to expect. Then I heard someone say, “That was the hardest thing I’ve ever done!” and wondered what I had gotten myself into this time.
We waited like cattle in the starting area, and after a sudden countdown from 10 to 1, we were off! It was a nice leisurely jog at first, along pretty woods and soft field dirt. I could get used to this, I thought; it’s a walk in the park!
Then we got to the first hill: a steep muddy incline that made it virtually impossible to stay on your feet. At the bottom, we had to cross a stream…then climb up the other side of the muddy bank with the throngs of fanatical racers.
As I got passed by a man dressed in a black suit and aviator goggles (really), I spied our next obstacle across the field: people were hurdling up the side of a 15-foot wooden wall and over the top to who knows what on the other side. As we approached, I wondered if my spindly arms could take on this beast of a wall. I decided that I better suck it up since I knew there were several more climbing obstacles coming my way. So, I grabbed the rope, mustered my little arm strength, and made it up and over!
With one wall mastered, I made my way through the 3-mile run, one obstacle at a time… Up and over more walls, through an army-style tire course, jumping from platform to platform above the ground, climbing over destroyed cars, scuttling over nets, and avoiding flying elbows and knees.
Then I saw it ahead: the two tiers of flaming dirt that I had to jump over. The “warrior roast,” they called it.
This obstacle was for real?!
I could see the finish line from there, and I was thirsting for my free malty beverage that lay just beyond the endpoint. I took a breath, ran as fast as I could, and took a leap. I tried to call back good form from my hurdling days in high school, hoping I wouldn’t fall this time. I must be a natural born fire-leaper, because I didn’t even feel the slightest lick of a flame on my ankles.
I was almost there—but one more obstacle lay in my way. Up to this point, I couldn’t understand why people who had finished the race before me were SO muddy. The warrior gods shone down on the answer: a giant 20-foot long mud pit glinted (er, gurgled) in the sun with barbed wire strung above it. You had to get down and dirty in almost two feet of mud to get under that wire without getting caught.
Luckily, I had no issues getting a little mud under my nails. I swam my way to the end, got my muddy butt up, and crossed the finish line with my roommate right next to me.
We’re warriors now!
(My once-pedicured toenails have the scars to prove it.)