Sunday, July 22, 2012

Warrior Dash 2012

Today was the Warrior Dash  I woke up a bit earlier than I had hoped but it was alright.  Amber had taken the day off to come with me and we got on the road by 8:10 and headed to my old stomping grounds of Orillia (and Horseshoe Valley) Ontario.  After about 2:20 of driving we had arrived.  My back was a bit sore from the long ride, but that melted away quickly as the excitement for the race was building up.2012-07-21 11.28.36

We met up with Jodi right away and the three of us hung out while we waited for the noon start time.  We gazed upon the massive hills that surrounded us hoping that they were not in fact part of the race itself.

Once 11:30 came by we got into the starting coral for the noon wave time.  Jodi just decided to run in the same wave as me possible chip timer screw ups were not her concern.  Excitement built and people were yelling when the guys at the start line were calling out things to chant and counting down the minutes to the start time.


Finally noon came and we were off!  I went at a pretty good clip to begin with staying with the leaders of my wave.  This was actually planned, I wanted to be at the very front so as not to be bogged down in the big group of people!  The waves were supposed to be about 650 people each!!.

The first obstacle was just mud pits.  The first few I leaped from firm ground to firm ground on rocks or tree stumps.  My first actual step in the mud I lost my right shoe! Luckily I was able to step on solid ground when that socked foot landed next, circle around outside the race course and grab my shoe.  Even after that I caught back up to Jodi and passed her again for a while.  Then there was the first of the hills!  My god was it ever steep! And long!  I managed to run up that hill and keep on going.  At the top of it was a bunch of bungee cord strung between trees.  It was no big deal stepping over that and continuing along the way.  The first real obstacle came shortly after with a series of walls to jumps over that were just about waist level and then a board with barbed wire over top to duck under.  There was about five of each of these and it was during this portion that I separated myself from the pack of leading people.  I would say by this point, from our wave there was maybe about 8 of us that were bunched up within ten seconds of each other.

I was still ahead of Jodi when we came to a section where we had to just crawl maybe 20 feet under barbed wire.  I was motoring along and went to stand to run not realizing that there was one more wire!  I got it right in the forehead and down to the side of my nose.  Luckily it did not hit me in the eye, but I have a nice little scratch to show for it.  Jodi said that her and the next guy both looked at each other when I did that and just made that ‘that's gotta hurt face’.  I sort of went back a bit with the pull of the wire and then got free and continued.

More hills followed and while they were very hard to climb requiring a few walking steps, what was worse was that the downhills were so steep you couldn’t even really run down them!  You had to stutter step or constantly be trying to slow yourself down.

It is hard to recall all the obstacles in order now.  I wish I had thought to jot them down in the car on the way home!  I believe that the next thing after a steep down hill was crawling through the sand pit.  I think what makes it hard to remember is that the first mile was maybe just those three obstacles I have already mentioned, maybe just two of them even!  i know for sure that I completed the first mile in just under 6 minutes!  A blistering pace really, less than 4 minutes per kilometre!  and then the end of the race was rife with obstructions, so it is a bit hard to keep things straight, unless there was significance to them!

So the sand pit, Jodi and I arrived to the sand pit at almost the exact same time, there was different dug outs, like six of them I think, and she just edged me out by a second or two coming out of the pit, I know this because I cursed her as we exited. and then it was the mother of all hills.  In direct glaring sun both of us plodded up this monster of a mountain, no one was running.  It was here that I recognised just how flippin’ hot I was. It seemed to last forever and while we were both walking up the hill it was here that Jodi took the lead for good on me.

At the top of the hill was the rope walk, you stood on one rope and held onto another.  I slipped off this a couple of times, but made it across in fairly good time.   Then we were up and over a framed structure, just climbing up and down on 2x3s.  It was somewhere around here that we came down from the peak of this mountain! it was a decent so steep that they zig-zagged the course and it was all I could do not to lose my footing!  It was frightening to be running, well more like trotting down this hill right on the edge of completely losing my balance and rolling down this hill. I was right on Jodi’s tail still as we came to a bunch of 2x10s set on different angles up and down that you had to balance across, it was on these that I passed a few of the guys from the heat that had been leading up to this point.

Then it was the last big climb, I pushed myself to be jogging up this hill as it was not quite as steep as the last and came to the top, I looked down and saw the big slippery slide thing.  The relief must have been evident on my face as a bunch of guys that were just watching yelled out to me “you have to turn!!” I clued in that they were talking to me, and turned ninety degrees to my right, only to discover, more hill! UGH! Up I went, and then came back down to see a very steep obstacle where you had to use a rope to help pull you up and you walked up the super steep incline.  I think this was actually my favourite one, it just seemed cool. The opposite side of this particular obstacle was not as cool and other than fearing for my life running down the steep hill I mentioned earlier this was the only moment of ‘oh crap’ that I felt.  It was a framed structure again, but the gaps here where big enough that one missed footing would send you tumbling between the boards like 15 feet maybe.  Yikes.

I came to the slippery slope. Jodi was out of sight by then, but the guy that had been out in front from our heat was in my sights.  I got to the big tarp for the slope, and did a bit of a jump and landed on my bum and began to go!  I pushed with my hands and caught up with the guy. But now I was going FAST down this tarp.  The tarp was quickly coming to and end and the ground did not look so slippery as much as it just rocky at the bottom of it.  I tucked one leg under the other, and planned to plant my right foot on firm ground and spring myself back up into a run.  My plan did work.  Nearly perfectly.  The only problem was that it went into action about ten feet too late.  My left shin has a few scrapes on it, but not nearly as bad as I had feared.

2012-07-21 12.28.18By this point the end was in sight, I had caught up to the guy that had been giving a bit of advice to everyone at the start of the race, and the accent up the cargo nets ensued.  I took the net two or three squares at a time, bouncing my way up. Down was a bit slower going, but I managed to hit the ground just after my new rival did (I later learned that Jodi ‘ran’ down the netting facing forwards, I think I called her insane when I heard that).2012-07-21 12.29.09

I turned on whatever jets I had left and leapt over the two sets of burning logs and then got into the mud pit at just about the same time but got out just ahead of the guy.  I slogged through, ducking under the barbed wire, not so much crawling as monkey walking before coming out and making the final ten metre dash over the finish line.

I had completed, in 30:16!!  I was not under 30 minutes, but there is still a 30 there, and so I’m totally calling that goal accomplished!  We got our medals, and Amber took some pictures of us all muddy. Then went to get hosed off.

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Jodi finished in 29:38, so not too far ahead of me, but that time for her, was good enough for 6th woman overall (and in her age group) on the day! out of 3700+ women competing!  My time placed me 38th in my age group and 110 for men. In my age group there was 1126 competitors for Saturday, my 38th place puts me in the top 3%! and over all I was in the top 110/2966, also good for a top 3% finish!

What a fantastic day!  I couldn’t have asked for a better experience and it was great that Amber was able to get the day off and be there for it too!

Professional photos of me jumping over fire and coming out of the mud here.

1 comment:

  1. Update: Sunday's results are in and when they are combine I placed 48th out of 1763, top 2%! If I had raced Sunday I would have been 11th in my age group!