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10 October 2010

Warriors... Dash!

Wow.  That is all I have to say.  Warrior dash was fun!  And muddy.

Mostly muddy.

How muddy you ask?  Well, before we even begin, let me direct you to our event photographer, who will probably be posting some of the photos here.  Also, see below.

We started off the morning bright and early, with enough time to walk the mutts, chow down a bowl of cereal, and head out the door.  We picked the Sixes up around quarter to nine, and headed off.  

Everyone was all smiles...
...especially Matt.

After a brief detour to the house of Chik-Fil-A (the pre-5K breakfast of champions, and breakfast #2), we got to the site - the whole trip took a little more than two hours.  We arrived in Quarryville PA - Amish country.  Beards, buggies, the whole works.  Volunteers directed cars into long lines in a plowed-down corn field, and we could already see survivors straggling back to their vehicles: muddy, wet, and/or costumed.  We met up with PJ, Margarita, and the Muellers and hopped on a bus to the race site.

After we met the Burnetts and got our packets (yeah fuzzy hat!!), we made our way to the celebration area.  There was a bag check, we were happy to note.  Local fire fighters were also spraying finishers down.  Two questions answered!  We wandered around until it was time to line up behind the start.  FYI... the starting line spews fire, and it's hot!  Cool!

A view of the Starting Line (Photo: Vivian)
Have you ever seen so many smiles at the start of a race? (Photo: Vivian)

There was a good deal of running before we hit any obstacles, but it was on nice cushy grass and trails.  A couple of places, I really had to watch my footing!  I was kind of wishing I didn't have to worry about races scheduled after the Dash.  Something to think about for Tough Mudder next year.  However, we arrived at the first set of obstacles with no problem.  The first obstacle was the Tunnels of Terror, which was actually just a crawl through black tubes - maybe 25 feet total.  No problem.  The next challenge was way more interesting...

The truck climb! (Photo: Cindy)

We had to climb over a series of trucks, with the help of ropes.  The tricky part of this was actually the descent: the ground was uneven on the other side of several of the trucks.  Four trucks in all, and then we were done!  This obstacle actually left my upper body a little sore on Sunday. From there, we proceeded to a series of mounds, which were exactly like they sound: little hills of dirt heaped 3-6 feet high.  I found these to be the scariest obstacle, because the footing was not so great.  I would have much preferred hill repeats or something.

Hay Fever was a step pyramid of hay bales which were easy to climb up and over, though several team members felt a little woozy from the dust.  The run at this point looped through a field, bright with the aroma of... things you would expect to find in fields.  We shook it off and conquered the cargo net!  This obstacle was not nearly as worrisome as I thought, since it was at an angle.  The descent was still a little nerve-wracking though.  

Mo and Matt on the Cargo Climb. (Photo: Cindy)
Even though we'd covered just a little more than a mile, we were getting tired, but fortunately, we hit a water stop.  After that, we wove through a series of ropes or "webs" which was made easy with team work. (this replaced the Mossy Maze, I imagine - this was a great obstacle!).  A quick trot took me across the 'gully', which was just a three-foot ditch.  There weren't even crocodiles.  Lame.  I was then instructed to bear-crawl through a structure wrapped in black plastic.  This obstacle wasn't difficult, but it was kind of hot and sticky in there. (Matt totally cheated on this one, by the way.)  Once free of the Blackout, we hit the serious stuff.

Yes.  It was cold.  And gross.  Some got in my mouth.  Ew. (Photo: Cindy)
Matt dove head first over the logs, but I wasn't as brave.  We slipped and slid out of the water, noticing that we felt much less tired.  Which was good, because next, we hit the wall.  

The Warrior Wall!  We easily vaulted over a series of about four walls, which were 3-4 feet high.  No problem, just had to watch the footing.  From there, we splashed through the Slithering Swamp, which was a mud hole with about three feet of water.  There was a rope to help us out, but the subsequent downhill-uphill scramble was treacherous: saturated with run-off-water from the Warriors who came before us, slipping and sliding up this hill was a challenge.  I had to find little stumps and rocks that I could anchor on before I was able to move up.  However, I knew we were almost done!  There were just two more obstacles.

Yes.  That is fire you see in the distance. (Photo: Cindy)
I would like you to pay attention to Exhibit A (that's the photo above).  See Mo, plunging into the mud because she didn't want to hang back.  About twelve and a half seconds after this shoot, both the dude in the red shirt and Matt dove head first and started thrashing their way through the mud (about a foot deep and sloshy, full of grit).  Oh, the splashing.  Oh the mud got in my mouth and eyes.  This must be the taste of victory!  Seriously, though, if you could actually see, it was pretty easy to avoid the barbed wire.  These two obstacles made me feel tough!

A few hurdle-jumps, and I was over the fire and through the finish!  There was even a gentleman there hosing off finishers, though it was largely ineffective.  Dirt got in the water and bananas anyway. (No Gatorade to be seen. Sadface.)  Mud got everywhere.  Everywhere.

Group Finish picture!  It looks like an Orbitz commercial. (Photo: Vivian)
Hey, you missed a spot. (Photo: Vivian)
We took some time to enjoy the after-party, which included turkey legs, beer, and local bands. We also made sure to visit the fire-hose so we could at least pretend we were clean. 
Look, now I'm soaked so you can't see all the dirt!
Hey.. this pool looks different from the other one. (Photo: Cindy)
Mo and Cindy at the finish. (Photo: Jeff)
Thank you Cindy for carrying a camera during the whole race,
and thank you to both her and Vivian for sharing the pics!
Go visit Cindy's blog to hear about her race.  GO! :)  Six Swims

We wrapped up the day with a delicious breakfast (#3!) at Cracker Barrel.  As good as those pancakes were, however, nothing could compare to the long hot shower waiting at home.  Once the water finally ran clean, that is.

Verdict:  What a great event!  I loved having the obstacles to break up the miles.  And I liked doing this race with Matt.  He totally kicked my butt on the obstacles, getting through each one much faster than I did.  Looks like I'll have to train up.  Warrior Dash has really gotten me excited for Tough Mudder in 2011!