Friday, April 27, 2012

“If you’re not bruised, bloody, and muddy, you’re not doing it right” – Warrior Dash, Part III

Have you ever taken a swim with your tennis shoes? Yeah, before the Warrior Dash, me neither.

After the hurdles and cargo nets, we had to walk over narrow planks. I have awful coordination generally, and the planks were narrow and went up about six feet, stretched out for probably 20 more feet, and then you had to walk down. I made it to where you had to walk down and then, because of my shoes being coated in mud, I just jumped down because I was worried that I would fall.

Kyle, on the other hand, has the balance of a squirrel. He made it over in record time, I am certain.

We had a little lull until the next obstacle, which was probably a little less than half a mile away. And it stunk. A twenty-foot tall rope wall.


I have little arm strength anyway, but couple that with the rope being muddy, and I was very anxious about climbing. I tried and got a little way up (like a foot) and then decided this was not an obstacle for me. Call me a quitter all you want, but I didn’t want to get halfway up and then slip down.

The tunnels were next, and, surprisingly, they were hard. I don’t know how the guys made it through, because they were narrow and tiny for me. You really had to put your elbows into it and crawl under. And whatever you do, when you see light, DO NOT GO UP. There was barbed wire right above your head. Yep.

Within sight of the rope wall and the tunnels stood the rock wall. AWESOME. I was so psyched about the rock wall, but it was a lot harder than I thought (as I’d actually never climbed UP a rock wall previous to this – oh, and, unlike the ones you see in the mall, this one had no rope to hold on to you). However, some guys up top called down to me and said, “Give me your hand!!” So I did, thinking they were just going to help me as I navigated the rocks. Nope. Pulled me straight up. Well, that works, too.

So once you’ve climbed the 12-foot rock wall, you may ask, how do I get down?

Fireman pole.

Believe it or not, 12 feet looks a lot higher from the top than the bottom. I stared at the pole for a few seconds in a slight fear, but then I realized at some point, I had to get down, and I figured the pole was a lot safer than climbing down the rock wall.

I thought the pole would be a lot more slippery than it was (as everything else on the course was super slippery from mud), but it was not. So not only did I pull something in my arm, but I also hung there at the top of the pole for a moment before realizing that I had to loosen up my grip if I wanted to go down. And you know what? Turns out that was super easy and fun.

Then another balancing obstacle. And we ALL know how awful my balancing is. There was a rope you had to walk on and another rope higher to hold on to. I was, without a doubt, the slowest one to finish. The fastest? My husband. He probably could have gone over it without the higher rope to hold on to.

The next obstacle was swimming. In tennis shoes. In 50 degree weather (because, while it had been around 85 degrees EVERY. DAY. FOR. A. MONTH. all of a sudden, we had a cool snap. Fabulous.). By that point, though, I didn’t event feel the cold of the water. Seriously. I don’t remember freaking out about the water temp. Maybe it was adrenaline or sweating from the running and obstacles, but I liked swimming as much as a retriever.

Now, not everybody was all into the swimming like me. One of the guys in our group jumped in the water without hesitation, and the coldness was such a shock to his system that he couldn’t breathe and therefore was unable to complete the obstacle. So if you’re planning on doing this, be warned that the water is colder than you might think.

After the swim, there was ANOTHER swim. This time, it was over logs. I’m sure I looked crazy trying to crawl over the logs, because every time I tried to get over them, they’d just spin in the water. However, a guy came by and had more strength than I did, so as he pushed the logs under, I just piggy-backed his success and jumped over when he pushed them down.

By the final three challenges, I was exhausted but still had some adrenaline coursing through my veins. We had a fairly large (15-foot maybe) cargo net to climb over and climb down. The athletic tape had mostly fallen off by this point. I didn’t know it at the time, but my knees, despite my precautions, were scraped and bruised from the various activities.

I reached the top of the cargo net and had to swing my leg over to the other side and climb down. My hands were a little shaky, my camera was strapped around my wrist, and I was tired. My husband looked at me and I think could tell that I was getting tired. He said, “I’m right here. I don’t have a Plan B.”

In other words, don’t fall.

So as I swung my leg over and started climbing down, I stopped caring about rope burns, scrapes, bruises, or splinters. All that mattered was holding on to that muddy, slippery rope and not falling down.

Easy peasy.

The fires were the obstacle I had been most terrified of. And when guys tell you, “Oh, don’t worry about that; they’re only like six inches high,” do NOT believe them. They don’t know and are lying. Those fires were about two feet high, seriously (as the guys admitted after jumping them).

I made a judgment call and didn’t jump the fires.

I’ve actually thought a lot about the fires because, unlike the rope wall, that was one obstacle I didn’t even try. But I am fairly terrified of fire, and I am not the world’s best jumper. WHEN I do the Dash again, I think I’ll focus more on my jumping skills so I will feel more confident jumping them. But at that time, I do feel I made the right call.

So I thought we were done; I thought the fire was it. Nope. There was one. last. mud pit. And, in case you thought you could slop through it like the others, barbed wire had been placed up.

How do you get through? Belly down, crawling under.

It was fabulous.

Our group
Showing off our Dash bling
With our Warrior helmets!
After party! (AKA waiting in line for the shuttles)
The last cargo net obstacle. I'm in the green on the other side of the nets, and Kyle is beside me to the left.

It’s been a full week now since I competed in the Warrior Dash, and I finished (while goofing off) in an hour and 13 minutes. My bruises and scrapes are still here, but I would do it again.

In a heartbeat.


Carol said...

Well done to you and your group, Penny! I think I'm scared straight now. Not sure I will sign up anytime soon. I just got a reality check. Hehe. ;) We'll see... my competitive side might have to sign up even though I'm chicken.


So very. Cool! Loved the report!

Kara With a K said...

I read this shaking my head in disbelief, thinking "That girl is insane". And awesome. Utterly and completely awesome. I bow at your ridiculous awesomeness. And I'd say I want to be you when I grow up, but let's not be silly. I can only watch in awe.

Brooke said...


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