On July 31st I traveled a little bit north of Detroit with some friends to participate in the 2011 Warrior Dash! What a fun and challenging event! The only disappointing part was that Steve and Sharon couldn’t participate due to injuries! They turned themselves into a fantastic race crew though!
So, for those who like the short version. I went. I conquered. I lived to tell about it. I am a Warrior!
Now for those who like the details of my post race reports complete with photos…read on.
I went into this race knowing that I was gonna have to haul my 300 lbs over and under various obstacles, including cars, walls, barbed wire, and cargo nets. But that’s not all.
I also knew that it was a 3.3 mile run.
What I didn’t know was whether I could do it or not. Three days before the race I realized I have not run more than 400 meters at a time(when doing Crossfit workouts) since Nashville. Nashville was in April. I don’t even know if I can run 1 mile right now, let alone 3! I also had no idea what my upper body strength was. I knew I was getting stronger based on what I can lift but still. I didn’t know how all that would translate.
Daniel said I would be fine. He assured me my Crossfit training would have me prepared for this.
In my mind, that is easy for him to say. I worked hard to trust his words while I internally freaked out while looking forward to seeing how right he was. I REALLY wanted him to be right.
As we picked up our race packets and affixed our race numbers, I was also waiting for a Grand Rapids contingent to arrive. Holly was going to be running as Steve (she didn’t register in time) and we all needed to connect so he could give her his bib number and timing chip. Rebecca and Dave were also coming to run this as well!
Just as Steve was about to put on his bib number and run against his Dr’s orders, Holly showed up!
We all took a few pictures then to the starting line we went while Steve and Sharon went off to find a good vantage point.
When it was time to go a huge torch blew out flames and the 10 AM wave started. Holly, bless her heart, stayed with me the whole time, which meant a super slow run for her. The first obstacle wasn’t for just over one mile in. So I got to settle in to what I thought would be my normal heavy breathing run. Which I did, except it felt faster than in the past. My running felt stronger. I began to think about Daniel and how he told me that Crossfit will make me a better runner even if I don’t run all the time. Could it be true? Could 4 days a week of Crossfit be reaping benefits in my running already? I felt stronger, faster, and just overall better in my running. And I totally ran all the way to the first obstacle without stopping.
Obstacle #1- The Junkyard– This was a mess of tires tied together that you had to get through (like a football drill) before you get to the first cars that you have to climb over. Those tires were much harder than I thought. But getting over the cars was a piece of cake. I just sat on the hood and rolled over. There were 3 sets of tires and 3 sets of cars to get over.
When I was finished, we ran again to the next obstacle.
Obstacle #2-Deadweight Drifter– This was trudging through waist-high water and climbing over giant logs. By this point I was so hot I was relieved to get in the water. This was not a difficult one to do other than balancing as you get over the logs. Besides, as I climbed out there was a very nice looking young man there offering me his hand as I scrambled up the bank. Doesn’t get much better than that!
Off we ran again to….
Obstacle #3- Barricade Breakdown- Holy Crap. I think a demon dreamed this obstacle up. It certainly was NOT designed for this 300lb woman to do. This was a series of 3-4 foot walls that you have to go over followed by barbed wire to crawl under. Notice the bruise pictures up above. They ALL came from this obstacle. We approached this obstacle and I began to assess how I was going to get over this thing while Holly just leaps over. As I am standing there trying to figure it out, another girl comes up and declares that she is walking around. I looked at her aghast and said, “seriously? Without even attempting this, you are gonna go around?” Unacceptable. I bent over and told her to step in my hands I would give her a boost over. She balked, declaring herself to be too heavy. I insisted and told her to step in my hand and that I am stronger than I look. She finally did and she got over. Then I looked around and realized I am the only one left on this side of the wall.
Crap. How am I gonna get over?
Holly suggests that I can go around.
Oh hell no! I just need to figure it out. I noticed that one end seemed shorter than the other so I walked over and swung my leg back and forth and then heaved it up on top of the wall…and then I stood there. On one leg. Stuck. Now what? Then my leg cramped up and it had to come down.
Well, if you know me at all…you know I will not be beaten. If I can get my leg up, I can certainly get over. Just a matter of time and since I am racing against myself….I have all day!
I swing my leg up again and instead of pausing, threw my belly up too. At the same time the girl I hoisted up is waiting and grabs my arm and pulls and over I go. Splat! I am on the ground primed to simply roll under the barbed wire.
Stand up and repeat.
I hoist the girl, she hauls my ass over.
We did this 4 times. Holly is cheering. I am cracking jokes to the volunteers. We are doing this together. This was the beginning of a lifelong friendship here. Ok so it was an hour long friendship…but we were BFF’s for that race!
Then we walked. This obstacle took a bit out of me. My leg was bleeding and I knew my inner thigh had just taken a major beating and was gonna be pretty bruised.
We walked and got to know Kate ( I think that was her name…we quickly renamed her as the COnqueror, I became the Beast, and Holly became The Avenger)
Kate was invited to do this with some friends. This was Kate’s first ever physical event. She was feeling pretty self-conscious at her inability to run and what she considered lack of athleticism and told her friends to go on ahead. Stupid people did! I was angry when I found out! You don’t invite someone to try something like this, especially one who doesn’t do athletic things (yet) and then ditch them….even if they tell you to.
So we stayed with Kate. We helped each other get over, under, and around obstacles, cheering each other on and being inspired by each other as we went.
We did some walking and running on to…
Obstacle #4-The Great Warrior Wall- This was a huge wall with giant rungs and a rope to help get yourself up. Kate and I tried. Holly did great! But in the end, Kate and I realized we just didn’t have the upper body strength yet to pull ourselves up this wall…so we went around it.
This whole time, Holly and I are calling each other by our nicknames and trying to come up with something fierce for Kate.
We came to…
Obstacle #5-Chaotic Crossover- This was kind of like trying to cross a horizontal cargo net split into 3 sections. Sooo perhaps 3 giant hammocks? Yes I was tempted to take a nap in them. I jokingly suggested laying down and rolling across, climbing over the wood and rolling again. Holly did just that. Kate did that. I however, was NOT going to do that! I stayed upright(sort of) and held on to the center bar and slowly made my way across.
Suddenly some skinny man is flying past me and I realize that the 10:30 wave not only started but is now passing me! WTF! I shouted to them that they SUCKED and shouldn’t be passing me yet! Then thought, sheesh Kim, that’s not very sportsman like of you…and quickly shouted “Go Warrior GO! Quickly these very agile men were scrambling past me and I wanted to trip them! 🙂 At one point there was two men to my left and one behind me with my butt right in his face. I glanced back, and feeling more than a little self-conscious, decided to make light of the situation. Afterall, when uncomfortable, it is always best to laugh, right. I looked at the man and asked him, ” They didn’t tell you about me did they?” “You weren’t expecting to have this ass in your face, were you? Well, I am the surprise obstacle…if you can make it around me you are a real warrior! And I wiggled my butt from side to side.
I do not know what comes over me in these situations.
The man laughed, applauded my humor and told me I was doing great as he zipped past me.
In fact, everyone laughed. The volunteers were looking at each other, wondering if I really said what they think I said. Holly and Kate were laughing. I could barely hold it together…and I had to pee.
I finally got across and off we went…
Obstacle #6- The Teetering Traverse- This was a balance beam type thing except it was hilly. So we had to go up and down hills on four-inch wide wood. Not too difficult, unless you are afraid of heights….or falling. Which Kate and I are. I managed to slowly get myself off and I turned around to cheer Kate on when I realized Kate was kind of stuck in fear at the top of her last downhill. It was a shaky piece. I grabbed one hand, Holly grabbed the other and down she came. Trembling, but down she came.
At this point, I realized that Kate is afraid of heights. She is doing crazy athletic stuff. She is overcoming fears. She is trying things she never thought she would ever be able to do…she was conquering things left and right. This is when she officially became…The Conqueror!
We moved on, walking and running t…
Obstacle #7- Blackout- I called it the box o’ hot! It was a low to the ground tent made out of black plastic. We had to army crawl through it in the darkness to the other side. It was situated in the blazing sun and was hotter than hell in there. No joke. I lost my sunglasses in here. I was quite bummed and tried to go back in there for them and realized that there was too many people in there for me to get to them…as if I could see them in the dark anyway!
From there, we moved on to…
Obstacle #7-Arachnophobia- This one wasn’t as much tricky as annoying and you really had to be careful not to hurt the men. It was a series of bungee like bands that were strung between trees. You had to get through them. However if you stepped on one and a dude stepped over and then you stepped off before he was fully over, well it was bad news for his boys. I was careful. To the best of my knowledge I did not hurt anyone 🙂
Conqueror is doing great! She is even attempting some short runs! I couldn’t be more proud of someone I have just met!
Obstacle #8- SOmewhere in here is a crazy mud pit! This was NOT like the mud pit that you see in the pictures. This was a thick, sludgy, mud that smelled like sewage. This was clearly NOT a man-made pit. We had to go through it, without losing our shoes then climb out of it up a steep embankment that was also incredibly muddy and slick. There was no attractive young man giving me a hand out. I grabbed tree roots and whatever I could to haul myself up. When I got halfway up I grabbed hold of a tree and wedged myself in front of it and just stood there to breathe for a minute. This was so ridiculously hard. Holly pointed out a rope to my right and I grabbed hold of it and continued hauling myself up.
But it wasn’t over yet. We now had a series of mini mud slick hills to get up and down without killing ourselves. By the end, I was so exhausted, I told Holly I would rather run a Nashville hill than these little muddy things any day!
Finally we made it to…
Obstacle #9-The mystery one- This was a wall about 8 feet high with foot/hand holds kind of like a climbing wall. Conqueror and I decided we should be able to do this one. The foot holds were not as far apart as on the previous wall therefore our leg strength could be used in combination with out arm strength to get us up. So up we went. We got to the top where there was a platform and discovered that the way down was a knotted rope with a hay pit at the bottom. I knew for myself, there was no way. My hands would get torn up as it slid right down and/or I would simply fall to the ground and get hurt. Now, I am a beast, but I also don’t want to get hurt and not be able to play anymore. The kind volunteers told us there was a top-secret ladder on the side we could go down!
Conqueror led the way and over the side she went. The problem is though that you have to go over the edge backwards and blind. The drop to the first rung is about 4 feet down at least. The guys kept telling me I had just a couple more inches to go. Finally, someone grabbed my foot and guided it to the rung and another grabbed my butt as I dropped down, to steady me and keep me from falling!
From there, I could see the rungs and was able to climb down. As I did, I thanked the kind gentleman for grabbing my ass to keep me from falling! That is probably the one and only time I will EVER be grateful for a stranger doing that! Any other time, I would probably slug him!
We got through that, and Holly told me she was tearing up watching me. Conqueror agreed that Holly was indeed crying.
Are you kidding me? Whatever for?
“well, because you just don’t let anything stop you!”
Dude, I am in a race just doing what I gotta do to get through it! No tears! Let’s go!
As we trudged along, I felt like I had put back on those 11 inches I had lost. I was so weighed down with mud, my clothes were soaked and cotton and just heavy. At one point I actually commented that mud is the ultimate body glide! I am sure that is only true until it starts drying.
We kept going. We could hear the band now and knew we were getting close to the end.
Obstacle #10-Cargo Climb- This was a giant cargo net that I had to go straight up and over. I assessed it as I approached and determined that the steadiest spot would be near the beams. So we each took a beam and began our climb. Holly of course got up and over the fastest. Then Conqueror. I got to the top and looked down, and freaked out!
I am about 20 feet in the air. I can hear Steve and Sharon and Dave and Rebecca and Keith and all the others shouting for me. Holly is down below telling me how to get over and I am thinking I made it this far just to plummet to my death. a woman climbing near me offered to help, but really what can she do? I need to figure out how to do this. At the top is a beam. I had to get myself on top of the beam then over it so I can climb down. I kindly tell the woman that really she cant do anything but get out of my way, cuz I am about to swing my leg over and once the momentum starts, well I can’t be held responsible for anything it hits. She climbed down.
I began muttering about whose foolish idea was this to do this race in the first place…(it was mine)
Holly shouts up that I need to keep one hand on either side as I come over, so I do and next thing I know I am laying on top of the beam. One hand and leg on each side, clinging to it for dear life! I am almost over. In an act of bravery and pride I sat up and threw my arms in the air and smiled towards Steve, knowing he had a camera….and maybe he would catch this one-act of bravery. Quickly I fell back down and grabbed hold of that beam.
Carefully, I eased myself over and began my descent.
There, now that both feet are on the ground, that wasn’t so bad after all.
Holly and I began to run…the energy of the crowd was picking up and we could see our next obstacle…
Obstacle #11- The Fire Pits- You really needed a running start to do this. So Holly and I ran and without thinking we were up and over the first line of fire….then the second and before we knew it, we were on our way to the final obstacle…
Obstacle #12- Muddy Mayhem- This was a muddy pit that started out about 3 feet deep and got more and more shallow as you got closer to the barbed wire that you had to crawl under. We got in the pit and crawled through it and by the end I was army crawling/dragging my butt under barbed wire. By the time I got to the last wire I was so done I just laid there in the mud for a minute, catching my breath. Finally, I hauled myself through and I got up and ran to the finish line.
And we were done.
Such a fun race. I would do it again!
The Avenger, The Beast, and The Conqueror...finish strong!