The Backstage Beat Team had the pleasure of participating in Warrior Dash 2011, in Mountain City, Georgia. I was the only one from our Tough Mudder team who was crazy enough to have another go at muddy torture. I can’t say I blame them for being over it after that. I thought the 3 mile Warrior Dash would be a piece of cake after slogging through the grueling 14 miles of Tough Mudder.

I wanted to beat my time from last year for Warrior Dash, but little did I know, they upped the ante this year. The course set-up didn’t allow for much recovery between obstacles. The road run in the beginning allows for runners to find their place in the pack, before the obstacles begin. Next we had to go through water that was varying depths. Chest high called for a bit of swimming, but there were shallow spots throughout, which made it hard to come up with any consistent method of getting across…swim, crawl, run through water…it was tiring after running on the pavement. Now that we were weighed down by water, it was time for the dreaded tires obstacle. They kicked my butt last year, and this year had the added difficulty of junk cars to scale, between 2 tire courses. I wiped out coming down off of a car onto the tires, but hopped up and kept going. Instead of the series of short walls next, this year they had an over/under obstacle—alternating walls to climb, with barbed wire to go under between the walls. More running followed, giving us a short break from obstacles. Next up was a 20 foot vertical wall with a rope to climb, immediately followed by another tire course to climb up a steep embankment. Man, I was winded at this point! A nice trail run for a bit, then 3 obstacles in the woods…a horizontal cargo net, 30 feet long, elevated 5 feet in the air. Next up was a wide, dark tunnel to crawl through. I managed to bonk my head on the way through. A black tarp curtain made it impossible to see anything. More trail running followed, then a spiderweb made of bungees to navigate through. This one slowed me down more than it should have. It became a community effort, otherwise it would have been just plain rude. More running, then finally a fun part! The water slide was the highlight of the course. Whee! :) 3 more obstacles to go, back to back. Crawl through the mud under barbed wire (thankfully deeper and less gravel than last year), rinse off some mud while going over logs and barrels in the water, and then the end was in sight! Leap over 2 sets of flames and sprint(ha!) to the finish. The announcer cheered me on ( Come on princess, finish strong! ) and I managed just enough energy to get over the flames(some coals were kicked, I must admit… a dramatic shower of sparks, thanks to fatigue.) and I mustered my last bit of energy to run across the finish line.

After I ran in the 8:30 wave, then my hubby and friends ran at 9:30. I was so proud of all of them! They all made it injury free and finished strong. Congrats to Clif Wilson, Torrey Waterson, and the Shannon Clan (Jon, Mel, Jason, and Kathleen Shannon).Our group did well, but I will train harder for next year. I had hoped to place in the top 3 within my age group…49th out of 690 women in my age group still isn’t too shabby. There were over 3000 women from all age groups, and I placed 272 among them. There were a total of 7,842 participants on Saturday.

So now that you’ve heard about the course and the run, let’s move on to the
good stuff…Party Time, Warriors!

The people are what really make this event so much fun. There was such a spirit of camaraderie and support for fellow Warriors. Admiring the chiseled Adonises and the goddesses as well, proved to be as enjoyable as rooting for the underdogs who might have started the Couch to 5K program that very day. I spoke with one girl who confirmed that last year’s event was the catalyst for weight loss and a change of lifestyle for her. We swapped transformation stories and it reaffirmed my belief that challenging yourself is essential to getting out of a rut. I need those things to make me feel alive, and I’m sure I’m not the only one. Thousands of people stated that in their participation this weekend. We are Warriors, and we can do anything!

The costumes were the icing on the cake. Everywhere I looked, it brought a smile to my face. Add some beer for the crowd, and it was Christmas and Mardi Gras rolled into one. Everyone was there to have a good time, and that mission was accomplished, I do believe. We came, we saw, we conquered…and we had a fantastic time doing so. We conquered our fears, our self-imposed limitations, we got out there, and we saw some carnivalesque sights thanks to some clever, unique individuals. We are a rare breed. We kick butt, know how to party, and have a sense of community…we shrugged off the rat race for a day, and it was glorious!