Warriors, Come Out and Play (Ep. 2)

Warrior Dash 2011 just wrapped up in North Texas this past weekend and I was a part of it once again. Last year’s event was held in Forney, TX and from what I can remember and had been told, it was the first time the event had taken place in North Texas. Since it was the first time last year, it felt a little disorganized so I wasn’t too excited to do it again for 2011. My friend Chad had coaxed me into running it with him and his girlfriend (and apparently half of the people that work at Targetbase (my former employer)). I put up the cash and decided #WHYNOT.

Upon arrival at the DFW Adventure Park in Roanoke, TX, I could already tell that it was going to be better than last year. Things were more organized, lines were more controllable and it seemed as if there were more workers to tell you what to do and how to do it. We arrived around 1:15 or so and our wave wasn’t until 2:30 so we just hung out for a while checking in our bags and talking about how excited we were to get intoxicated afterward. 2:30 quickly approached and we made our way to the starting line. This is where the real fun began.

The start was crowded.. I’d say about 300-400 people lined up. We kind of pushed our way closer to the front because we had a few in our crew that were going to race it rather than just go out there and mosey (sp?) around. The gun sounded and the flames burst into the sky… true story… and we were off. I took off down this gravel road passing people with Chad right behind me. Made our way to the front of the pack and came to our first obstacle, a river crossing, Oregon Trail style. We forded across it and began down this trail that was rather muddy because of the water. There were still a few people in front of me but as the trail became less muddy, I began to pass those folks. The 2nd obstacle wasn’t much of one, just a bunch of stuff in your way that you had to pick the best path to go around. Then on down the trail, you came to a bunch of beat up cars that you had to run across the top of and then through a bunch of tires on the ground, high-stepping your way through. Next came the wall jump, going up over 4 foot walls and under 3 foot beams. At this point, there was only 1 person in front of me that I knew of and the people behind me weren’t gaining any ground. The Warrior Wall was next, having to climb a rope over the wall and down the other side. The following obstacles included a blacked out crawl, a balance beam crossing, a cargo net to climb across and a cargo net to climb up. Then you had to climb over a stack of hay bales, swim over floating logs (though I chose to go under them) and finally you approached the fire pit jump and the crawl through 2 feet of mud under barbed wire. Only thing left to do was to cross the finish line.

I finished second in my wave, but didn’t exactly know where I was in terms of overall performance. Last year, it took a while for our times to be posted on the video board and because there are so many people that do this event, it takes a good 20 minutes just get through all the times. Every time I went to look for my time, I either had just missed it and was no where close to where I thought my time was. Turns out I finished 3rd in my age group with a time of 22:58.50 which was also good for 18th overall for Saturday’s races. They actually hand out “trophies” to the Top 3 Finishers in each age group. Had we stuck around for the awards ceremony at 7pm, I would have been given a Steel Warrior Helmet which would have been pretty cool to add to my running trophies (none).

Warrior Dash 2011 got me really excited to either come back to North Texas to do it next year or do another one somewhere that’s close by. They have one in Tulsa in September, but I think I have to pass on participating in that one because it is 2 weeks before the Chicago Marathon and I would really really hate to hurt myself before a big marathon, one where I am shooting for 3:45. So with all that said, look for me to take home a steel helmet in 2012!

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