This was a race that I almost withdrew from. I wasn’t sure that I wanted to spend the money to get a hotel room, pay the gas, parking, etc. However, I wanted to experience a Warrior Dash, and really get in three of the four major events this year (Tough Mudder is the only OCR that I haven’t competed in yet). However, I knew that there was probably an outside shot that if I ran well, I could qualify for the Warrior Dash World Championship and the independent OCR World Championship. I decided to go for it, and was paid off!
My wife, Amanda, and I set out to Charlotte, North Carolina on Friday evening. We had a really pleasant drive. Checked in to the hotel shortly before 9:00 PM, and got ourselves ready to battle!
One of the things that I appreciated most about the Warrior Dash was that there was plenty of room to run. Perhaps it is because I am getting in increasingly better shape and have prepared myself more effectively for the OCRs, I felt like I was actually racing in between the obstacles and was not just trying to sludge through the event.
Got off to a pretty great start. Went off and found myself flirting between 15th and 17th place. Definitely felt fantastic about where I was. I’ve noticed that I often lost places on the obstacles and gain places where I have the ability to run. A lot of grass, some trail, and some hills and I was able to continue to move up. Found myself in approximately 13th place as we hit the first major obstacles, which were an 8’, 10’, and tunnel obstacles. Lost a couple of places here. Throughout the race, though, I was letting a couple of people pass throughout the event.
Nothing of major note the rest of the way until I get to Goliath. I’m feeling fantastic and have just passed a number of people. I’ve been thinking to myself that I can perhaps crack the top 20 with a great kick. Scramble up Goliath and get to the slide portion. Go down quickly, hit the water, and I’m shot. I have trouble getting out of the water/mud pit. I look in front of me, and I’m very quickly 20 meters behind the next guy. Look behind and there is no one there. I walk 20 yards to the next obstacle. Barbed wire crawl in mud. I look again behind me. No one is there. I take my time going through the barbed wire and hit the mud pit again. I see Amanda taking pictures of me. I walk through this, but since I didn’t see anyone in front of me, I fall pretty hard when it goes from being 2 feet deep to 4 or 5 feet deep. Look behind me. No one is there. Get out of the mud pit, again after having trouble, and walk to the finish.
I grab my medal, unsure of exactly where I finished. I think that I’m in the top 25, but I’m not sure. I get in the line where they are writing down numbers and names, and hear in front of me that a guy got 21st. Count the next two, and I’m in 23rd. So excited! At this point, Amanda had run to the car to put her belongings in the car and to get ready for her race. She had wanted to stay and ask me but I told her to go so she could get ready!
I am ecstatic. While I haven’t been working particularly hard (this is a theme with this blog), I know that this justifies that I can be good at this sport. I qualified for TWO world championships in the same race. Fantastic. I see Amanda, jog to her, and tell her the news! She’s insanely excited for me.
We line up for the 9:00 heat and we’re off. Nothing major to note with Amanda’s race, other than I felt she ran really well. We ended up running the first two miles on and off with a family all racing in tie-die shirts. We would pass them on the obstacles and they would pass us on the running portions. We finally lost them around the 2 mile mark, and didn’t look back. As has been the case, Amanda ended up beating me on a couple of the obstacles, especially the crawling ones.
Amanda ends up having the exact opposite issue in regards to when she passes people. Often, she passes people on the obstacles and loses positions on the runs. Really interesting. This was definitely the case with our tie-die friends.
After finishing in a little under 48 minutes, I definitely think that Amanda could do much better with some pretty serious training. We have set a goal for her to qualify for a World Championship as well. I definitely think that she can do it and we have begun altering training in order for her to get there and accomplish this goal.
The festival area was awesome. A live band playing old rock and roll greats highlighted the festivities. Further, Shock Top was fantastic as they provided four different varieties to choose from. Amanda picked up the Belgian Ale while I grabbed the Pretzel Wheat. We both loved our beers and definitely have one that we will be trying again in the future. The atmosphere was a ton of fun and we truly enjoyed the festival area.
Overall, I had a fantastic first Warrior Dash experience. Amanda and I will definitely be back, and this time we will be bringing friends. We arrived early enough that the check-in lines didn’t affect us or our experience, I didn’t care about my time as I only wanted placement information, and I timed Amanda’s race. She wasn’t interested in seeing how she stacked up and only wanted to know what her time was. The festival area was the best we’ve experienced yet and Shock Top is a great sponsor. The Warrior Dash is definitely one that we will be coming back to.
For those that are interested, here are the links for the World Championships
Warrior Dash Championships – https://www.warriordash.com/world-championship/
OCR Championships – http://ocrworldchampionships.com/
Until next time, keep running.