Obstacle runs seem to have taken the country, and the world for that matter, by storm, and I’m not immune to their allure. As a matter of fact, I’m kind of hooked on them. I few months ago I did the Merrell Down and Dirty and I caught the bug. The Down and Dirty was actually very easy, not at all challenging and that I did not like. It’s fine, I suppose, just not what I was looking for in a military style obstacle run. I knew I wanted more so when I found out the Warrior Dash was coming to South Florida, I registered right then and there. To be honest, it was the fire that first attracted me to these runs and the Down and Dirty didn’t have a fire obstacle. Rope climbing is fine, running through tires is fine, the mud pit is fun, but there is something inherently badass about running through fire. Maybe it’s the proverb, “playing with fire,” that gives this obstacle it’s allure for me. Who knows. Let’s just say that I like playing with fire, the uncertainty of whether I’ll get burned gives me a rush…interpret that as you will.
So, the Warrior Dash was held at Quiet Waters Park in Deerfield Beach, about an hour and ten minutes north of where I live. I picked the first non competitive wave, 9:30AM, because I didn’t want to do this in the middle of the day with the sun beating down on me. It was actually quite nice, overcast with the sun peeking through every now and then. When I first looked at the course online, I was pretty exited about all the obstacles. Turns out, they lied on the website. The obstacles on the course were not the same as the obstacles the website said there were supposed to be. For example, there was no Tipsy Tightrope and no Storming Normandy. Instead, we had to wimpy ass water obstacles, one of which you could walk around and not get wet. The second water obstacle was right before the Warrior Roast (fire). Cunning, as the water would prevent you catching fire accidentally while jumping over the fire. The obstacles, as far as I can remember, went like this:
Rubber Ricochet: At this point in the race, the first obstacle, the crowd was still pretty thick but people were able to walk fast though the hanging tires. Some asshole grabbed a tire, pulled it as he walked, and then let it go. It almost hit me in the face, I then proceeded to “accidentally” elbow him in the gut when I ran past him.
Road Rage: Here there were tires on the ground and you were supposed to run through them and then jump on a car, run over the car, back down onto tires, then another car, then more tires. However, there was no running. Everyone had to walk as there were so many people.
Deadman’s Drop: I think this was the name of next obstacle but I’m not sure. We had to climb to the top of a hurdle using planks. The hurdle was much taller than my straddling height so I had to push myself up with my forearm and throw a leg over the hurdle and straddle it that way. I thought that there would be planks on the other side to climb down but not…..ROPES! Yup. Ropes. So, I grabbed the rope and slid down. Ouch! I got rope burns. Note: wear gloves next time!
From here on I can’t remember the order of the obstacles, until the last four, so I’m just going to describe them out of order.
Cargo Climb: Basically a really tall tent made of cargo nets so we had to climb it on all fours and then get down on the other side. Not as tough on the hands as sliding down the rope but gloves would have been nice.
First water crossing. I’m pretty sure this was an afterthought. You could either go in the water, knee deep, or just walk on the edge and not get wet. The water was cold, or so I heard, so I chose to stay dry. The water was enough to make you wet but not really enough to be fun or challenging. I would have loved the Tipsy Tightrope.
Vertical Limit: Climb to the top of a wall using stepping blocks, much like rock climbing walls. This was easy. I thought the way down would be the same but no…..I got the to top, looked down the other side and guess what I saw…fireman poles! Yup, poles like the ones at the fire stations. FUN! Really. I was freaking out cause I could not get the Bridget Jones scene out of my head. So I just stood there at the top, and waited until someone else went down. I did what they did and next thing I knew I was on the ground again, intact and with my dignity intact too.
Chaotic Crossover: Cargo nets again but this time they were horizontal and about ten feet off the ground. I figured the best strategy was to get down on my hands and feet and cross it that way. Some people chose to walk over and invariably ended up falling and getting a crotchful of rope along with some lovely rope burns on their legs. I just hoped I wouldn’t fart in anyone’s face and no one would fart in mine!
Great Warrior Wall: Solid vertical wall with very shallow slats nailed on and ropes hanging. You could either use one of the ropes to pull yourself up while your feet were on the slats or you could you just pull yourself up with your hands while pushing with your legs. I chose the latter because rope hurts. I can’t remember for sure how getting down was but I think it was the same way.
One of the obstacles that were not on the website was the tunnels to crawl through. They were plastic and hard, like actual pipes. There was also a water hose in each, making them slick. Instead of crawling I chose to belly slide to the other side. I had to push myself with my hands a few times but it was easy. On the other side though they had strung low netting on the entrance and we had to crawl though it. That was the end of the clean hair.
Giant Cliffhanger: Solid wall at an incline with ropes to get up. This was the fourth to last obstacle and I was losing steam. I walked up to the wall, grabbed a rope and proceeded to hoist myself up. This one was hard. I kept swinging from side to side and someone asked me jokingly if I was already drunk. When I finally managed to get up, I just had to sit and laugh hard because I really looked like I was drunk. I got down the slats and kept going. I came to realize these Warrior Dash people really like ropes…kinky.
The next obstacle was the little water crossing. I was sure I was going to walk out with leeches hanging off my legs. I walked out with muddy legs instead.
Warrior Roast: Finally, the obstacle I had been waiting for! By this point the crowd had been thin for a long time, people just fell back or ran fast so the obstacles were basically empty. I’m glad because I wanted a good fire picture of just me. I let the girl I had been running with for a while go ahead so she could have good pictures and then I took off running. I excited and apprehensive at the same time. Rush! I just ran and jumped, landed, took another step and jumped again over the second fire. It was exhilarating. I could feel the heat under me, my heart was beating a million times per second and I had a huge smile on my face. It was my favorite obstacle and the quickest to complete. It really was amazing.
Muddy Mayhem: The last obstacle was the mud pit. This pit was big and deep. It also had barbed wire about a foot off the surface so you had to go low. I had been dainty at the Down and Dirty and didn’t really get that muddy (relative speaking) but I was so high on adrenaline and having so much fun that I decided I needed to end it on a high. I didn’t dive, it was not allowed, but as soon as I got in, I got on my belly and did a belly crawl. As the pictures show, I was muddy everywhere except parts of my face. It felt so good. Cleaning up, however, wasn’t so good.
It took me 50 minute and some seconds but I wasn’t pushing myself, I was having fun and enjoying the experience. I do wish their cleaning facilities had been better, they sucked. The Down and Dirty had an area with a few dozen high pressure hoses that you could use to hose yourself down and they had two changing tents, one for men and one for women. This one didn’t have that. They had TWO people spraying people with soap and then one big water tank with a pressure hose and a guy hosing people down and no changing tents at all. Utterly inadequate. Also, they did not have free food for the racers! We had to buy the food if we wanted to eat. C’mon, a burger isn’t that expensive to provide and these races are not cheap! Every racer over 21 did get one free beer but I couldn’t have cared less. This is where the Warrior Dash falls short.
I absolutely loved this race and I liked the challenge. I was so sore for the next two days that it wasn’t even funny. My entire body hurt. The only things that weren’t mad at me where my ego and my pride; those two felt pretty damned good!
I am hooked on obstacle races and I will do as many as I can, they are exhilarating, empowering and downright fun, even if it’s a painful kinda fun. I can’t wait until the Super Spartan Race in February, which I hear makes the Warrior Dash look like child’s play!