About a month ago I was fortunate enough to participate in the Warrior Dash 2013 @ Afton Alps. This is the third year in a row that I was able to compete in this obstacle course. This race is owned and hosted by Red Frog Events, which in my opinion is one of the first companies to commercialize these type of obstacle course style races. Overall a pretty cool company.
Originally it was not in my plans to complete this race as the previous year I truly didn’t enjoy the obstacles as much as some of the other courses out there (i.e. Rugged Maniac, CampTITAN, etc.). However, I was tapped by my friend Patrick as he wanted me to run in place of his wife as she was not 100% good to go, so I took him up on his offer. Once I gave him confirmation, he looked into changing the registration over to me. Do you think that was possible? Well it wasn’t, so therefor, for that day I was to be running as his lady. Oh well whatever I thought. No one ever follows all the rules at those races; sometimes you play it by eat and jump into whatever wave time that works best for you as opposed to your specified time.
When the day came, as tradition calls for, I rode my motorcycle out to Afton bright and early. With my board shorts on, red bull and a granola bar all in my draw-string backpack, I paid for parking (which always annoys me as I feel I deserve a pass for such a small vehicle) and made my way to the busses to meet Patrick and his wife down at the race grounds. After meeting up he was able to get me the bib that I needed and he was able to check his bag in.
With only a minute or so before the race wave for 10:30 to go, Patrick and I decided to jump in. Unfortunately the race shoot was packed with people. Many of which I knew were there for the fun and social aspect of the race. Me on the other hand I had shown up with a goal of beating my time from last year (~30 minutes). Therefore I have my best to Patrick and took off for the front of the pack. The race had already began, so this meant that I had to zig-zag amongst the other participants. Soon I was through the thick of it and onto the obstacles.
You have to love that this years course made all the runners immediately dash to the top of a very steep hill. Now that I have been through several obstacle course races I have learned that it is not worth it to sprint to the top and come out of it completely winded and unable to jog it out once you hit ‘unchallenged’ flat terrain. So instead I will sprint two-thirds the way to the top of majority of the larger hills and then walk the remaining portion until I hit the apex. This allows me to catch my breath a bit during the part of the hill that by the time I would get there running my running would be essentially the same pace of a brisk walk, so it’s essentially a wash.
With mastering the hills my next challenge became the periodic obstacles on the course and then the other participants. I have done my best to be respectful by calling out ‘on the left’ to folks as I pass, but on occasion I folks do not get out of my way in time especially at the obstacles so I have to improvise. Luckily, I am able to think on my feet and get through quickly and without crushing others. One suggestion that I have for the folks at Red Frog Events would be to put in a ‘Fast Lane‘ on each of the obstacles. That way those there for the competition can blaze through while the others can meander at their own modest pace.
This warrior dash had several fun obstacles including: cargo nets, fire to jump over, trestles to climb over and go under, walking planks, and the final mud pit to victory. However, I am somewhat disappointed that the course creators have abandoned the section of donated cars that you would run over; I always liked that!
Upon completing the race which I felt pretty good about, I received my metal and waited for my buddy Patrick to finish. Soon thereafter we went over to the beer tent and got our beer. He had the famous turkey leg and I afforded myself a beef hotdog, lol. We were both victors but overall I was unsure of my overall time, I thought that I was close to beating my last year’s time but needed to wait for the official results. A few days later, Pat sends me a text saying the results are up. This is where it gets funny and somewhat depressing.
My buddy’s wife (Me) placed 47th out of 8311 competitors. Not only that but his ‘wife’ placed 2nd overall for all the women in the race. This they still like to give me a hard time about because essentially it means that I got beat by a girl. I do get a laugh about it, but my official time is noted below!
|47||Heidi Tatro||62333||30||F||2/1550 30-39||27:39.70||8:45/M|
Pretty proud of that time and it will definitely be one for the books! But I think that the real gain for the day was spending it with a fairly new friend and getting to know him better. He is a very good person and is a very smart guy. We probably stand to learn a lot and both benefit from a good friendship. Overall, I am glad I took him up on the offer!
Here is a picture of us all after we had completed the race! Good Friends = Good Times & Many Laughs!