Monday, May 21, 2012

Race Report: Warrior Dash Georgia 2012

holy amazingness.

Warrior Dash Georgia - May 19, 2012

In two words, the entire race. Holy amazingness! So much fun! I will be blabbing about the whole weekend, because that really contributes to the soreness I feel today as I'm typing this! Trust me, it'll all make sense.

Friday was moving day -- I'm moving from one of my complex to the other (long story short). I'm blessed to have a great friend like Heather drive up from Atlanta and help me make this happen. So after a 75 minute $20 rental truck from Lowe's and throwing my mattress and couch off my balcony (yes, you read that right), all my big furniture got moved on Friday night. And then we carb-loaded as I thanked HP for all her help... and then we went on a cupcake quest. We finished the night at the old apartment (where there was still cable and internet), eating a cupcake a piece, and lounging on the couch cushions we left behind while watching Say Yes to the Dress: Bridesmaids and VH1's Top 100 Songs of the 90s (at which point we decided we need to add at least half of the songs to our running playlists).
Whole-wheat chicken penne; HP and me!; cinnamon roll cupcake, strawberry margarita cupcake (Gigi's Cupcakes), nutty chocolate cupcake and vanilla twilight cupcake (Silver Lining Co.). Gig's won. Yum!
Saturday was race day! Excitement! Thankfully our heat wasn't until 2:30, so even with the hour and a half drive, we still had the opportunity to sleep in and chill before we hit the road. After rolling out of bed around 8 (yeah, that's still sleeping in), slowly getting our stuff together, we made our way out of town around 10:30 to get to Mountain City. (Side note: so close to North Carolina! And we didn't make it. Sad face).

Parking lot... and therefore, still clean!
We made it to Mountain City about 12:20, just about on time. The directions we were provided via email took us to parking at city hall, which is an old abandoned school (that apparently is turned into a haunted house at Halloween, because we were greeted down a hallway that had MURDER and hand-prints in red paint all along the wall. Creepy, no thank you). Pretty annoying that parking was $10 though - couldn't that have been included in race registration? From there, we were bused to the actual course about 15 minutes away - where there was closer parking, also for $10! But how were you supposed to know about that? (Turns out most of the folks who ran it last year knew of said parking lot only because they were returners. Noted.)

Once we got to the main plaza, we met up with Heather's kickball friends, Terry, Rob, Rob, and Terry's cousin Nicole and her husband, Chris. Loved having a group to run with; definitely makes the experience a lot more entertaining! Though I didn't know any of them except Heather of course, we all clicked pretty easily and got super excited about the adventure to come! Terry had done Warrior Dash last year, so prepped us a little bit for some of the obstacles and challenges up ahead. Though we gotta say, some of the obstacles that were there last year didn't make an appearance this year!

All of us, ready to go! Chris, Nicole, me, Terry, HP, Rob.
Once the last Rob arrived, we got face painted and ready to roll! We headed towards the start line, which was also adjacent to the first two obstacles, so we watched for a bit, got pumped, and then headed into our wave start line. We spent a while gawking and cheering on those who came in costume, and decided that next year (because at this point we already knew there'd be a next year for us!), we must be decked in costume of some variety. Folks in matching outfits, Smurfs, Purple Drank (oh yes!), and our least favorite... Borat, complete in lime green bikini-thing (you know what reference I'm making). But all in all, people sure made this a show and some sights to be seen!
Lady Warriors!
Love this lady!

And then it was time! The fire guns apparently stopped working when our heat took off, so that was pretty disappointing, considering I'd been pretty entertained by them the entire afternoon (womp). The first quarter-mile was all road and then partially dirt/rocky trail until we got to the first obstacle: the lake! I was amazed that we went straight into water without any other obstacles first!

Lake Swim - the water felt amazing. Not too cold, but a perfect leisure swim that just happened to be a little harder with soaked running shoes.
Storming Normandy - this sucked, only because it wasn't even mud yet, but hard, coarse, gritty sand that really only served to cut up your knees. Mine are pretty sand-burned!
Under-Overs - under the barbed wire, over the 3-foot (?) walls. About ten of these in total. Easy!
The WALL - This is honestly the obstacle that worried me most. I've got little to no upper body strength, admittedly, and was worried about scaling a 15-foot wall with nothing more than some rope and bars to help hoist me up. It wasn't actually terrible! The worst was straddling the wall, trying to figure out how to get down and feeling it teeter a bit - that was nerve-wracking.
Deep Water Swim - This featured some seriously deep water (where I first jumped, maybe 8-9 feet?) and floating islands you had to hoist yourself up on  and either climb over or get back in the water to hoist up again, finish the swim and climb back out.
Net Crawl - clammer up the net slope, over and back down again. Not super challenging, but definitely took some work!

At this point, we started the run up the mountain. Maybe a quarter mile later was the next obstacle:

The Stripper Pole! - No, just kidding. But that's what we'll eternally refer to it as. Anyway, you climbed up maybe 6 feet on what felt like rock climbing on wooden boards with some too-far-spaced-out wooden blocks to hoist you up. And then slid down on a 10-foot pole - really, probably should be called the Firemen's Pole, but... that's just no fun. The pole was actually tricky; it was half my body's length out from the wood platform, so you had to lean your chest in first, then very quickly wrap your legs around it and squeeze your thighs; the poles were already so wet there was no sliding down! I heard later that day that some girl had broken her ankle from hitting the ground too fast and too hard. Yipes.
Horizontal Net Climb - climb up nets, climb across nets, climb down nets. I hate nets! But really, not too complicated! 

After this, we ran probably another mile or so. I must say, the race's mile markers seemed a little off. Maybe because I was so distracted, but I sure didn't feel like I had ran a mile between the 1.5 and 2.5 markers. But maybe I was all off. Anyway, after the second net climbing, it was a lot of trail running from there - mostly up, but eventually found our way heading downwards.

The Slide! - Definitely wouldn't call this an obstacle, but so much fun! The short hillside was covered in gray tarps and sprinklers, with hay (and consequently, mud) at the bottom. The best way was to just take this straight on, so I jumped right in! 
The Junkyard- Also land of tires and junk cars. Not a fan of climbing through and over cars, and was terrified of messing up my ankles and knees in the tires. I was way up front, Nicole right behind me, and the others behind her, when I heard Nicole yell that she had cut herself. I looked back, saw a cut and then saw the whole cut; she had gashed her leg wide open in probably a 5-inch cut across her upper thigh. I started sprinting ahead, and asked the cameraman to radio for medics, and then asked the sprinter who whizzed by me to do the same. Thankfully, at this point, Terry (a nurse, to our sheer luck) had gotten Chris' shirt and used it as a tourniquet on her leg - this explains my sudden disappearance of a tank top in following photos; I wasn't sure there was anything being used yet so I worked my way out of my own tank before seeing Chris' shirt already wrapped around her leg); medics finally arrived as Terry told us she probably got through tissue and muscle (squirming ensues). After medics got her gauzed up and on the truck, she yelled at us to keep going so hesitantly, we did. 
Warrior Roast - Warrior Dash's probably most recognized obstacle, three rows of fiery logs to hurdle yourself over - not going to lie, I'm really excited for those professional photos to post! Straight from the roast into the.. 
Mud Pit! - Of course, the namesake. The announcer for the race was walking up and down the banks for the length of the pit, calling out people for not being muddy enough. Hilarious and amazing. Deep enough to swim or crawl in and a fantastic way to end! 
Getting in!
In chin-deep. Some guy kicked back and splashed my entire face, too.
And the end. Aside from the huge wall, I didn't feel like any obstacle was so challenging most folks couldn't do it. All in all, a fantastic time and something I'll totally do again! 
At the end, minus our Wounded Warrior (& her hubby).
 Chris ran off to go get his and Nicole's bag so the medic tent could get all her information and get her to the hospital in Clayton. After we finished, we ran off to meet up with them at the medic tent, gave her her (earned!) medal, where they were getting ready to drive her back to their car so Chris could take her to the ER. Poor thing! 

We went to clean up, get our free beers and turkey legs (we'd been craving them since we got there three hours earlier!).
Muddy, muddy warriors.
Aaaaah, clean. 
Donate your shoes afterwards - a cool touch. And the reason I saved my Color Run shoes to do WD, so I could donate them at the end.
Mmm... turkey. And fuzzy warrior hats.
We hung around til about 5:30 and decided it was time to go - we still had a long drive home after all! The other obnoxious part was that by the time we got out to shuttle pick-up, there was not a bus in sight (while at the school there'd been at least 10 of them) but at least 100 people in line ahead of us. And when we got back to the school, there were still at least 4 more sitting there! There needs to be some more coordination there, WD folks, FYI! 

We found out when we got home that Nicole, our beloved Wounded Warrior, got two rows of stiches under the skin and a row of stitches above to fix her up -- what a trooper! She and Chris were super fun to get to know and I'm only sad they didn't get to finish and enjoy the post party with us. Thinking of you Nicole, hope you're feeling better!

Nothing stitches-worthy, but some good bruises and sand burns!
Sunday Molly and I hung around for a little while. I did some more moving, despite the incredible soreness I felt all over. Mid-afternoon we took a break (and by we, I mean I. She hung around you know... and did dog things) and went to Ben Burton park for some cooler water and pretty views. Can't beat it! 
Happy kid!
 Today, I am not nearly as sore, but have a few aches here and there, and a few more bruises to show. Not looking forward to finishing moving, but it must be done! 

Cheers from your favorite Warrior,


  1. Looks like fun! I've never done one but I would love to try! I love that you can donate your shoes after the race, what a great idea.

    Thanks for visiting my blog!

    1. SO much fun -- definitely a workout, but I really didn't think it was TOO much of a challenge overall. But fun, for sure! And yes, loved the shoe donations. I only knew about it because a friend posted about it after her Phoenix race, so I was excited my shoes had somewhere good to go! :)

      Thanks for visiting in return!

  2. It looks like we had the same thoughts! A very entertaining read. It was a lot of fun, and I'm proud of my kids. This was an "outside the box" experience for them both, a great self-confidence boost for anyone, I think.

    Best wishes on the flat marathon!

    1. There were a lot more kids there than I had expected, and some who definitely worked the course. I don't think I would have had the guts at 15-17... no way! Glad we shared the same thoughts -- makes me feel validated!

      And thank you!

  3. OMGosh, I have never plucked up the courage to do an obstacle race. You rock!

  4. your course was sooo different! sounds like way more fun and i cant believe your friend ended up with that many stitches :( so glad you were able to finish and was it not the most fun ever!

  5. This looks amazeballs! We have a couple similar runs around the area, I've just never braved any of them. And now I really want a turkey leg.

  6. I have just installed iStripper, so I can watch the hottest virtual strippers on my desktop.