Not my best race… but far from the worst.
It was very much a runners course and I began to realize the caliber of runners that showed up long before the gun went off while they were warming up. After watching a bunch of sleek muscular girls sprinting back and forth between zero-gravity, zero-bounce drills I gave up any hope for a top ten spot today.
Top twenty in this crowd would be A-OK for a slow-twitch loper like myself.
I think the three or four fast twitch muscles in my body were freaking out at this point. “Lady, we have not got this.”
That first mile-long grinder wasn’t half as bad as I’d imagined. I ended up getting a little left behind on that first flat since many of the ladies absolutely ripped out of the gate and then died with the same curt enthusiasm.
To my surprise, I was passing like crazy on the hills, which are usually not my strength.
That next knocker was pretty much just straight up a gnarly slope. The elite males charged up it but everyone within my site was power hiking with their hands on their knees – or crawling.
This is at the course walk the day before. I did not actually race with my three-year-old and in flip flops
The first obstacle was a barb wire pit on a downhill without any internal obstacles like bales or ruts. This made for a perfect speed roll – and phenomenal dizziness – and a great difficulty running straight for at least 200m. I’d volunteer at that pit any time. Probably just to raze everyone with drunk jokes.
After the incline-rope-wall there was a bunch of cars you had to climb over and and a bunch of tires you had to run through. Running on the rims is super easy if you step on two tires at once and look for the beefier ones. I accidentally stepped on the flipped up glove box door thinking it was sturdier plastic. It wasn’t terrible but it sure shot my heart rate up a few notches.
After a steep drop came the first set of mud mounds, I jumped as far as I could and muscled up on each and that strategy seemed to pay out much better than running through the whole thing and then hopelessly clawing at the slippery edge like a rat in a water pail.
Next up was a wall, into tubes, to a bigger wall. The toe kicks were super big so you could even scamper up by clutching on. This also came at 2 miles which was a happy moment for me.
After the gully and up the hill to the latter wall, and cresting… the finish area came into sight. Of course, there were a pile of obstacles in the way: a tube made out of netting, a traverse wall with a toe kick on the bottom and a rope on the top, a wall with climbing holds, a mud pit trench, cargo netted A frame.
Trench – barbed wire later added
Goliath was the last of the non-mud obstacles. You climb a cargo net, walk across a balance beam high in the air whilst getting blasted in the eyes with water and then bomb down a slide into a mud pit. You’d think the balance beam with it’s very real danger would have been an issue. Nope. I hesitated for moment and then flung myself down the slide. Which terrified me beyond all terror. I had spent the morning trying not to look at it on my warmup jog so as not to totally freak myself out before the race and had to miss the male elites coming in.
And it wasn’t so bad. I think the slide at the Spartan Pacific NW scarred me a little on the inside. Phew no panic attacks this time ’round.
At this point, I was starting to give up an settle into a somewhere-in-the-top-twenty spot. This running 5k thing hurts.
And then things got interesting.
I worked out a solid strategy that involved leaping as far as I could just before sliding into the pit. I didn’t get the whole way… but I had to only take one step before muscling up and out of the pit which gave me more energy to scramble up and over the pile.
Rolling mud pits with Coach Ama advising at the Course Walk
When I came up to the last pit before the finish, it was like a scene from the Walking Dead. There were a handful of girls lodged in the mud on the right-side of the pit. And I do mean lodged. I took the left-side. It was so deep I had to swim but I feel like I had it easy.
I passed the an amazing athlete (who placed second at the Spartan World Championship.) She was one of the very lodged. I urged her on – but truthfully, I’m sure it was me passing her as she fought her way out of the mud that spurred her forward. We got out at more or less the same time. I had sandy mud in my eyes so I couldn’t really open them. I had to sprint to the finish line covered in heavy mud – and blind. Luckily it was a narrow shoot. That and the fact that my shirt had ballooned up with mud… must have added to the spectator entertainment for the day. I’ve never had that happen before, it was like happens in a hot tub only heavy mud. I guess that speaks to the level of mud in that pit. Can’t wait to see those finish line picks.
I can’t say much about how I feel about the race. I was two minutes or so from a top 5 finish but I held my own at a distance that I am neither bred or trained for. I can be OK with that.
One thing’s for sure, Warrior Dash did a great job on this one.
My only suggestions would be to have a loud speaker announcing top finishers and times – and to have a few porta-potties at the start. That and post live results already. 50 person charity races have been doing it for ten years.