Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Warrior Dash! (or why I should definitely run in a costume)

Last Saturday, my fellow "warriors" and I departed for Florence, AZ to compete with other equally insane "warriors" in a 3.4 mile obstacle course race that promised to be "the craziest freakin day of your life".

Warrior Dash 2011.  Just check out the footage on their website and the video above:    and you'll see why.   I think what made it truly "crazy" was the environment--the crowds of people in ridiculous costumes (we saw a whole group of people dressed up like Pat Simmons and another group dressed in tutus) some not particularly looking as though they were in any shape at all to run 3.4 miles, much less climb a cargo net or jump over fire.  In fact, the scene was more like a giant outdoor concert or party with live bands, lots of beer, turkey legs, and drunk people in costumes dancing around, high fiving and chest bumping each other while covered in mud from the course.  Wild.

My group looked pretty tame as we lined up at the start of our 12:30 wave. The event would be held over two days with waves starting at 8:00am and running every half hour until 4:00pm.  We're talking THOUSANDS of people getting their warrior on!   Once the fire torches blew to signal the start of the race, it was a ridiculous attempt to push through the shoot through all the tutus and capes and kilts to get any kind of normal running stride.  But that was part of the fun and if I ever thought I'd be competitive that day, I should have positioned myself in front, not smack dab in the middle.   It was entertaining anyway and I realized, as I passed hooting and hollering men and women in neon tights, tutus, and dresses, that this whole thing was pretty reminiscent of the couple of times that I ran Bay to Breakers in San Francisco.  Only this time, there were no naked people.  Bummer.

My brother pushed out of the crowds pretty early on, and I decided I felt good enough to follow him.  This made it much, much easier to get through the obstacles up ahead without too many people stopping or slowing us down.  First obstacle was jumping over and under several walls about four feet high.  Next up, we had some small dirt hills to climb up and down.  Then a junkyard of cars and tires, a big cargo net, a tower of hay bales, balance beams, more cargo nets, another wall, and finally...the firelogs and mud pit!  I had planned on doing something ridiculous, since I wasn't wearing a cool costume, and maybe cartwheel or flip into the mud pit, but in the end, I would probably have landed on the guy in front of me and drowned him, so I opted for a bit of a belly flop instead.

The mud was pretty awesome and a great way to end this insane event.  Once our group was in, we immediately went to the beer tent for our free beer and then headed off to the "showers"--a concrete slab about 8x8 feet where we stood, like cattle, while crew members stood on water trucks hosing us down.  Hilarious!

In the end, I decided that this was a perfect event for me after the seriousness of the week before.  It was even better that I got to do it with family and friends!  I did decently too--32nd out of an insane number of nearly 800 and was pretty happy I didn't die out there or fall headfirst into the fire.  We are already planning for next year's Warrior Dash, will be recruiting several more of our family members and friends and yeah...we'll be designing our costumes way ahead of time!

I HIGHLY recommend this event to everyone!  It's just a fun, crazy, challenging day that you'll surely remember forever and at the very least, you'll definitely get some awesome pictures!


  1. I should probably mention that my brother and I did NOT in fact, run together in the end. He out ran me very early on and killed the course!

  2. Awesome! I ran Spartan Race a few weeks before with my sister and that was killer. This looks like it was so much fun! Great photos! Great to see another Tucson blogger runner!