Tuesday, November 22, 2011

The Warrior Dash

The long-awaited day was finally here.  No more wondering.  No more guessing.  It was now or never.

I was still worried about that wall.  But as my sister and I pulled up tot he parking lot, it was just a little bit of excitement and curiosity as to what was coming.  Angie and I had taken off before the husbands and kids to be be sure we had time to get our packets and meet everyone before the race.  Packet pick up was a breeze, and we met up with Princess Che, Kelly, and Leslie before we knew it. As I handed Che her tutu, I put mine on "just for a picture" and then it never came back off.  The tutu had won the mean-voice war, and it was going with me on the battlefield!  We were also joined by a couple of handsome princes, Wessel and Pieter.  We were a pack of seven heading for the 9:30 wave.

Left to Right, Prince Pieter and Wessel, Princess Che, Leslie, Kelly, Angie, and me!
 Angie and I kept looking for our husbands, but as the clock counted down to the start of our race, we knew we were not going to see them.  This made us both sad.  The warrior fire went off, and our wave was starting.  As we made our way to the start line, I saw my husband.  I rushed over to the side to give him a kiss and then we were off; finally on our way for whatever was coming next.  We ran, and basically the first mile was just running.  Running on dirt, through pastures and by horses.  It was smelly, but very pretty.  My 'I-don't-run-sister' made it through that first mile like nothing.  She was in the zone, and it was awesome to see her running with such strength and ease.  Before we made the turn to go back into the woods, Leslie and the guys were waiting for us.  We trekked on as a group, and soon enough there was a back up.  It was a deep ravine that you had to run down so that you could make it up the other steep side.  After that we were at our first obstacle.  The Barricade Breakdown.  This obstacle consisted of five walls, each about four feet tall.  You had to jump over them and then crawl under barbed wire.  Kelly and I had practiced this at the playground, so I knew how to tackle it. 

After that, it was the Road Rage.  We had to run through a maze of tires after which came the junkyard of cars that we had to traipse over.  Then we had more tires to run through.  Surprisingly, I felt very balanced and strong, and we made it though without causalities.  True to form, I was slow; as I was most of the race.  =)-

I think the next obstacle was a muddy river.  It was about knee-high deep of very dirty and muddy water.  The bottom was very gooey and slimy, and your feet sunk into the mud with each and every step.  The guy in front of my lost his shoe.  We made it though without falling, but someone behind us, maybe even Wessel or Pieter, made big splash and our first splatters of mud made their appearance.  Pieter at this point, was drenched from head to toe in mud, and I used my tutu to wipe his bib clean.  This way his number was visible and I looked more muddy and more like a warrior without actually having to do any mud work. It was a win-win.

Along the way there were many, many ravines that we had to run up and down. I kept shouting, "Elevation!  Elevation!" but I quit because there was so much of it in the woods, that it would have lost its humor pretty quickly.  We came to a point where there was a steep incline.  It was muddy and slippery and there was a rope that you could use to pull yourself up.  I had my first concern there.  Did I have enough upper body strength to use the rope?

I did.  The guy at the top of this obstacle was even there to lend a hand to get you to the top, but I didn't need him.  I made it, and we kept going.  The next obstacle was the Chaotic Crossover.  This was my least favorite. Wessel had jumped into the middle and rolled his way across each of the three sections of cargo net. But I think I even may have cheated by scooting myself along the sides rather than going through the middle.  The girl behind my kept singing, "I'm sexy and I know it." and at this point, I believe Kelly had put hand prints on my butt, so I shook it when I was finally coming down the ladder.

Next up there was another knee-high muddy ravine, only this time you had to climb a plank to get over it when you were done.  So much mud!  Wessel handed Angie his camera because he was going to dive in!  He and Pieter were completely covered, head to toe, with mud by now.  This, I think is my favorite picture.

Front: Candi, Che, Kelly, Leslie
Behind: Angie
Behind Angie: Wessel

At this point, all of us girls had strategically placed hand prints on our shirts.  We kept going over more ravines and dips and inclines.  We had the Horizontal Hike which wasn't nearly as bad as it looked in the picture.  We had the teetering Traverses, which when we came to it, I heard that voice say, "Just go!' and I did. I even posed for a picture in the middle.  I never once looked down so that I couldnt' get freaked out if I looked at the ground to see how far off of it I was.  Turns out, there was a woman on a gurney by this obstacle.  I guess she had fallen off the traverses and they were taking her off.  I'm glad I didn't see her, but I know Che and Kelly did. 

Coming up was Normandy.  This was x-shaped logs with barbed wire at the top that you had to get low to crawl under.  After a few of those there was a large cargo net that you had to crawl under.  As I approached this one the guys hollered at me, "Come on princess, get low!"  He was also yelling out that once you get under the net, you could stand up and run it out.  That would make it easier.  But as soon as I got under the net, my tiara got stuck in the net.  It took me a second to get it out, but I did; and I was glad that guy gave us the tip, because it was kind of a long net.

Soon enough we came to our first water station.  The cups even said Warrior Dash on them.  Cute, but I wasn't about to try to carry one all the way back for a souvenir.  The guy shouted, "only three more miles to go!" and I laughed, "Three miles?  I can do that in my sleep!" 

We started coming out of the woods, and we were met by the trenches.  I tried to pick one that was wide to go in.  The ground was soft, but the texture was definitely more rocky; and my knees were starting to hurt as I got toward the end.  The last log before I got out was very low, and I had to scoot on my hip to make it out. 

There was a bit of running, or rather walking from there.  My shoes were so heavy from all the mud, and it must have added another 10 pounds per leg.  It was harder to run, and I didn't really want to because I wanted to save my strength for the obstacles ahead.  Angie commented that we could use some jelly beans or something, and it was true.  We were starting to feel the lack of fuel at this point. The trail was rough, with lots of sticks and cacti, and even poo!  Before you knew it, we were at the end and the last five obstacles. 

First up was a fire pole climb which was not listed on the website.  You had to climb up these very steep, narrow stairs.  This was difficult in itself because my thighs were feeling the effects of all the getting low and my lack of squats as of late.  Once we got up, the guy hollered, "Stand up princess!" and I had to stand up to slide down.  Che was down there encouraging me.  This was the one that had intimidated her because of the hieght, but she had made it down like a champ!  I reached out and slid down.  Then Che and I were all, "We just slid down a pole!  Uh huh!"

Next up was the wall.  That damn wall that had given me pause, I was now ready to tackle it!  Then I tried to climb a bit.  I came back down in a panic.  I said out loud, "I can't do this!  I can't do this!"  I heard Angie say, "Ya, you can!."  I stood there.  I looked up at the rope.  I looked at my feet.  "I can't do it," I said either to myself or out loud.  I don't know.  Then I looked over to the side of the wall.  That was the only other way around it, and I couldn't do that either. So I grabbed the rope and stepped up.  I looked up and reached up for the next piece of rope, and I pulled myself up to the next step.  I did this again and again until I reached the top.  Once I reached over the top of the wall, I knew I would make it.  I pulled myself over and sat on the top.  Angie told me, "You did it!  Now take a minute!"

I breathed.  I had climbed the wall, and I was sitting on top of the world.  I didn't take a long minute, and we climbed down the back.  I looked around; we had all done it.  We were not only warriors, we were wall-conquerors; and I felt a few tears coming down my face.

Right after that was the Cargo Climb.  Not that it was going to be a problem.  After that wall, it was all easy going as far as I was concerned.  The only "thing" here was it was  large step from the ground to the ropes.  We climbed the nets ,and they sank into every step that we took.  The three of us "tutu girls" as I heard us being called made it to the top at the same time. 

By now, our family was in sight, and we could see our kids cheering for us and jumping up and down. I blew them a kiss before going off to the tightropes.  There was no hesitation, I just grabbed one and started to cross.  My muddy foot slipped once, but not enough to bring me down.

We were now at the last obstacle.  Muddy Mayhem.  They had flags set up right before the mud pit, and I think the intent was so you would have to get really low to go under them.  I told myself, "just go" and Kelly, Leslie, Che, and I slipped into the muddy water on our bellies.  The muddy water was supringly cold, but it felt really good.  It was easy to glide along the top of the water by using your hands on the gooey soft bottom.  We just pushed ourselves along, and it got a little deeper toward the end.  Unfortunately, I forgot to close my mouth, and with all the waves people were making, I think I got mud in my teeth.  When I got to the end, my tutu weighed a ton! It was so heavy, and I tried to pull it up before getting out.  But I couldn't get out.  It was so slippery, and I just kept falling.  Finally, I had to rip the tutu off.  When I did this, my tiara came off for the second time.  I put it back on my head, and I knee climbed out of the pit.  And then I walked to the finish.  They put the medal around my neck, and I just said, "Thank you!"  I grabbed two cups of water and used one to rinse out my mouth and hopefully clean my teeth. 

We did it!  We all did it, and we had a blast. 

We stayed together for the full race.  It was just a great group.  I was definitely the weakest link, being the slowest at basically everything; but everyone was great and encouraging and it was just a great experience. I can't even describe much fun we all had and how great I felt.  We made our way to the hose-off station which is basically a large hose shooting out water and people standing in a crowd trying to clean off.  You couldn't even see. 

I donated that first pair of shoes, the ones that got me started.  It's hard to believe that I pushed through the pain of those shoes, because I felt it right away; and I missed my Brooks.  I tied them together and threw them in the pile, saying my final goodbye to the new runner I was.

We made our way with our families to the beer station to cash in our chip timers for our promised beer.  The girl asked me what kind I wanted, and I told her it didn't matter because I hated all beer.  But I sure was going to try to drink it.  We got our turkey legs. Oh my gosh, it tasted so good.  I'm sure just about any type of protein would have been delicious, but it was the Warrior Dash, so we got the turkey legs.  I tried to take a bite and sip my beer, hoping the leg would mask the taste.  Alas, I could not finish it.  I gave the rest to Kelly and Angie who were only too happy to help me with it.

We hung out for a while.  We ate our turkey legs.  We danced.  We talked.  And we laughed.  It's a day I would love to live over again.  I had my family. I had my sister.  I had my friends-old and new.  And I had the best time. 

I think I would have to say my favorite obstacle was that wall.  I worried about it, and I stressed about it.  And then I conquered it.  I can do it.  You can do it.  We can do anything we set our minds to.  We are the warriors!

And victory is mine!


  1. Great job Candi! I knew you could do it. It is so much fun, isn't it? Your blog post is terrific and so are the pictures. :)

  2. We don't know each other but I happen to stumble across this blog from my friend Julie's page...Anyway---Great story! I love the last pic...really captures your fulfillment!