When I first heard about the Warrior Dash, I was gushing with excitement. The idea of running through muddy marshes, trudging through water, crawling under barbed wire and jumping over fire would seem horrendous to most people. But not to me. And, apparently, not to the thousands and thousands of people all over the WORLD that participate in the Warrior Dash.
What is it? It's a 3 mile race that takes you through 12 different obstacles along the way, some of which include: Hell's Hill (just a really steep hill), Deadweight Drifter (trudging through water), The Great Warrior Wall (a barricade you must scale), Hay Fever (running over huge hay stacks), Warrior Roast (leaping over fire), and Muddy Mayhem (crawling through mud under barbed wire). Cargo nets, tires, junk cars, and ropes complete the chaotic series of obstacles. It's definitely not for the squeamish!
I grew up watching those tacky competition reality shows like Survivor and The Real World/Road Rules Challenge (guilty pleasures!), not because I cared much for the drama or the people on the shows, but because I get a rush watching the obstacle-course-type competitions featured on the shows. I always thought it'd be awesome to get to do something like that, and now with the Warrior Dash, I finally do! (Side Note: I actually am the grand champion of my entire 4th grade class for the annual obstacle course our gym teacher put together...it was a proud accomplishment that perhaps sparked my love for such crazy competition haha).
The slogan for The Warrior Dash is "Mud, Sweat, & Beer" (a play on the phrase "Blood, Sweat, & Tears") which to me is badass. You get muddy, you sweat, you ache, and then you celebrate with all of the other muddy, sweaty, aching people with beers and rock & roll! Warrior Dash Finisher Medals are given to all participants as well, which is fittingly in the shape of a viking helmet. You'll also get an awesome t-shirt and, best of all, "the pride that comes along with being a Warrior."
The Warrior Dash had its first Ohio race in Logan back on June 4 & 5. I unfortunately did not hear about this until just a couple of weeks beforehand. I was very devastated I had missed the event, but was determined to participate in the next Ohio incarnation. Luckily for me (and for YOU as a reader of this), Warrior Dash is making a triumphant return to the Buckeye State on September 10 in Carrolton, near Canton. Interestingly enough, Ohio is one of the few states Warrior Dash is revisiting for the 2011 calendar. It seems our state is full of warriors!!
Because this is essentially a 5K race on steroids, I have been trying my best to train for the Warrior Dash this summer. I obviously can not mimic the obstacles to test my abilities, but I have found other ways to prepare.
First, I took the time to find friends or acquaintances that ran the Warrior Dash in June and I asked them for advice. My friends Christina and Bryan both told me to practice running uphill! There is a lot of this throughout the race, and even an obstacle specifically dedicated to it. They also told me to work on upper body strength for the climbing obstacles.
Second, took this advice to heart and have been going to the gym to improve my uphill running (I run on an inclined treadmill) and upper body strength (lateral pull downs and shoulder presses are great for this).
Third, I have taken my own advice in my Beginning Tips for Beginner Runners post and improved my times and distances running. It's been tough outdoors because of the heat, but I stay hydrated or just do more on a treadmill. It all works. Smart phone apps like "RunKeeper" help a great deal as well, and I suggest you start using one!
I am extremely excited about the Warrior Dash and am taking seriously the seriousness of the obstacles by working hard to get in good shape and cross it off my Bucket List. I encourage everyone to sign up as well! I would love to share in the experience with you! As the web site states, this is more of a mental challenge than a physical challenge, so don't be afraid! Sign up on the site and let's become warriors together!