Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Warrior Dash Ohio 2013 Recap

Smiling Through The Mayhem! Professional Warrior Dash Picture!

It's that time of year again! Time for thousands and thousands of Ohioans to unleash their inner warrior and tackle the dirtiest and most effed up event to rise from the ashes in recent years: The Warrior Dash. Seriously, though...how hard is it to explain to people that you are paying beaucoup bucks to run through mud? My mother can tell you that I did that for free in our backyard nearly everytime it rained when I was a teenager toddler. So when it gets old telling people that your entry fee for the Warrior Dash is to get yet another snazzy furry viking hat and a t-shirt touting that you "survived," it's time to step it up a notch!

Realistically, I could easily spout off at least a dozen reasons why I love the Warrior Dash (turkey legs, beer, brotherly bonding, moderately enjoyable live music, challenging exercises, a dose of euphoria...), but this year I was able to give one profound reason: I ran to raise money to help terminally ill children through the St. Jude Children's Research Hospital. I raised approximately $400 as a "St. Jude Hero" which is way cooler than running just to show off a massive beard - not that I could grow one anyway. And, yes, they give an award to the guy (or gal, I suppose, let's all remember Title IX) with the coolest beard at the Warrior Dash.

As a result of my being a St. Jude hero, I got to trade in my viking hat for a St. Jude bandana, wear some gnarly fake tattoos, and piss off everyone else as I gobbled down some tasty free food and used a VIP shower to rinse off all my mud at the end (not at the same time)! See, it pays to be charitable! Plus, think of all the kids out there who might benefit from a good deed through St. Jude! What's not to love about that?

As you may know, this was my third year participating in the Warrior Dash (see previous posts from 2011 and 2012). It has become a sibling staple with my brother, sister-in-law and myself, and we are always recruiting more morons to do it every year with us! Knowing that becoming a St. Jude Hero is an option is sure to draw more of our philanthropic and charity-oriented friends to come run.

We have seen the improvements from year-to-year with how efficiently things are run and how cool the swag is. In fact, we are all signed up for 2014 already (early bird registration is the way to go).

This year, the race took place at Clay's Park in North Lawrence in Stark County on Saturday August 10 (a second day of muddy goodness also took place on August 11). This was the same spot as last year, however, the obstacles and set up were entirely different - which we liked. I learned that the course was 3.21 miles (I had originally thought it was a true 5K at 3.1 miles) and included 12 obstacles:

List of Obstacles
1. Barricade Breakdown: Hurdle over barricades and under barbed wire
2. Alcatraz: Climb/swim across cargo nets that are halfway submerged in a muddy lake
3. Two X Fall: A series of balance beams that go up, down, and across while being squirted with water.
4. Trenches: Stay low and crawl quickly through the dirt and under logs
5. Cargo Climb: Exactly what it sounds like: climbing a cargo net!
6. Vicious Valleys: Climbing up and down gigantic walls using a rope!
7. Road Rage: Running through good old fashioned car tires!
8. Chained Up: Climb up and over chain link ladders
9. Iron Crossing: Climb sidways across a series of cargo nets hanging above water
10. Storming Normandy: Crawl on all fours under sharp barbed wire
11. Roasted Warrior: Leap over the warrior fires.
12. Muddy Mayhem: Scramble under the barbed wire and through the mud as you near the finish line

The obstacles seemed tougher and dirtier this year. Basically a lot of climbing and crawling in, around, over, and through things. I particularly hated the "Two X Fall," which surely slowed me down quite a bit, as I slowly tiptoed across the balance beams while being squirted with water. I kept envisioning myself slipping off and breaking my neck, and it's got to be the only obstacle I have ever been truly scared of. I may hate some of them and some may seem impossible, but this one freaked me out.

Thankfully, I made it through that obstacle unscathed. During the final obstacle, the Muddy Mayhem, however, I took a beatng! While I army crawled through the quicksand-like mud, I got scraped and bruised and even shed some blood! The Muddy Mayhem is always the grand finale at the Warrior Dash, but this time, it was an even grand-er finale. It was so fucking hard. Pardon my French. In fact, don't pardon it. I was pissed at this obstacle! I was beating my brother up until the very last muddy mound I had to climb over to get out of the pit, but I just simply couldn't do it. As a result, my brother passed me and beat me - by 13 seconds!!

My anger only lasted a split second. I crossed the finish line and we gave muddy high fives and laughed about the course. We said it seemed more difficult than in years past, but then we realized it was because we were BOOKING it! Our times were incredible! My final time was 37:53, ranking 533rd out of 5,343 runners! My brother's time was 37:40, making him 509th! Not sure where my sister-in-law placed...we smoked her! ;-)

The after party of course included the St. Jude festitvities, but also some great rock music and a ton of free beer. How that happened was a miracle. We had our first free beer of course, and by happenstance, we kept being given free beer chips or free cans of beer from people who just simply didn't want their free beer token. We must REALLY look like we like to drink, because all 3 of us had to have each had 4 free beers a piece without even trying. No complaints here!

Cheers to yet another successful Warrior Dash!

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