Monday, May 21, 2012

Amber's Silly Race II (Warrior Dash): Recap

The Warrior Dash (explained here) is complete! And Amber - and everyone else who came with us - finished! Hooray! That's her on the left, after the race.

So, you get kind of messy running this thing. But you don't really get that messy until the very end. This is the "mud pit" that you have to crawl through at the very end, right before the finish line:

The mud pit seemed kind of cheap to me. Let's just get everyone incredibly dirty right at the very end so that everyone who completed the race looks like they did something! (And feels obligated to donate their nearly ruined shoes, too!)

Right before the mud pit, there's this little fire that you have to jump over:

If you ask me, the last two obstacles weren't really that challenging; I think they were all about marketing. The leap over the fire makes for the perfect photo op (there were official people there taking pictures there, after all). And then, let's get everyone really dirty so that everyone who completed the race looks impressive. "Hey, look at me, I'm all muddy, I'm a WARRIOR!" Great marketing, if you ask me. The Warrior Dash has been doing great business - over 7,000 people participated over the weekend - so they obviously know what they're doing. (Note: up to 500 people started at a time, separated by 30 minute intervals.)

So to talk of the challenge of the race itself, you can throw out the last two obstacles and focus on the other 12. I didn't see much of it from my spectator's perch, but there were a few "climbing" obstacles that I, personally, would have had some trouble with. Many of those who finished the race ended up with at least one cut or scrape. Amber says I wouldn't have enjoyed it, and she's probably right. So, congratulations to those of you who did finish it. Among our group, one (Joe) broke away from the pack and finished the three-mile course in 42:54; five (including Amber) finished together in around 1:17:40; and three more finished in the 1:45:00 to 1:46:00 range. (Full results here). But unlike, say, a 5K run, this wasn't so much about the finishing time as it was about simply finishing. I don't think they were all too concerned about their ranking.

I need to clear something up that I mentioned during my live-tweet. Rumor was spreading on Twitter that NASCAR driver Kasey Kahne would be running in the Sunday 10:30 wave Warrior Dash (same as us), and that was sort of confirmed via loudspeaker...or so I thought. Did they ever actually say that Kasey was running the Warrior Dash, or just that he would be here at 10:30? It would have been awesome if Kasey were actually running the thing at the same time as the rest of us, He was just here for a sponsor promotion, and not running the race. Lame. Can't really say how guilty the Warrior Dash folks are of "misleading marketing", because I wasn't listening to the loudspeaker that closely, due to being preoccupied more with other things like watching Marla (who behaved very well all weekend, I should mention).

I don't know how long these have been around, but there are all kinds of alternative running races out there now, with obstacles and/or mud and/or something quirky that makes this something other than a boring old 5K. I think this is great! We all need to get outside and exercise. I, personally, prefer my exercise to come via bicycle (and kickball, I suppose) and with as little mud and personal injury as possible, so you won't see me in any of these races any time soon.

"But Chris, don't you realize how dangerous road bicycling is? The Warrior Dash might make you bleed a little bit, but if something goes wrong on one of your bike rides, you could DIE." Thanks for the reminder! Here's how I justify this. 99.9% of the time, you won't hurt yourself on a bike ride, and I'm not going to let my life be dictated by something that has a 0.1% chance of happening. As they say, "you only live once". That said...yeah, I do worry sometimes. But so far, so good. And I'd like to think I bike more safely than many. On the other hand, the odds that I would not have enjoyed running the Warrior Dash myself are well over 50%. I did have fun spectating, though, and I'm as proud of Amber as can be!

And because I have to...statistical notes from the weekend: no new counties for Marla, but this was her fourth night away from home so far this year, and first since the Alabama trip at the end of April. And, Hickory Tavern of Charlotte have us this year's 9th restaurant serving time, clocking in at 20:03. Nine restaurants through mid-May doesn't sound like a lot, but it's not that far off from where we were at this point each of the last two years (10 restaurants in 2011, 12 in 2010).

1 comment:

Laura said...

Just one comment: about halfway through we went through a really deep mud pit (thick, gross mud) that came up to about chest level. We stayed pretty muddy throughout, but one of the obstacles after that was a swimming obstacle, so some of it washed off before the last mud pit and fire jump. The mud in the middle of the course was WAY worse because it made all the ropes, shoes, and footings really slippery. :-)