Warrior Dash 2011 Write Up

The day started fairly early for us…we left Louisville, KY at 3:30AM, the girls and eventually my wife all fast asleep in the van. They were sacrificing a whole day to support me, then the LEAST I could do is drive!

We made pretty good time and parked fairly quickly (Red Frog Events runs a VERY organized event, I must say). Then I donned my outfit (hence the “before” pic lol) and we walked to the shuttle which took myself and other would-be warriors and our support teams to the field of battle!

We got there and walked towards the tents and music playing, and I started getting excited!! Immediately, I heard someone yell, “Corey”, and it was Mike from Daily Mile, and his wife Megan. He said he knew to look for the Superman Kilt LOL. Let me say, he and his wife were two of the NICEST people I have ever met! Plus she got to run the Warrior Dash, and my wife and I were so excited for her!! Then, as we headed over to Packet Pick-up, I saw our friend Melodie (also from Daily Mile), and her and her husband and friends were all smiles! We all put our timing chips on and our numbers, and headed over to the starting area.

If you are facing the Starting Line, then directly behind you are two of the obstacles: The 30 foot Cargo Net Wall, and the balance beams (more on them later). This was a great place for spectators, actually the only real spectator view, and then they could head to the finish line to see you finish.

So I watched Mel take off on her heat, then Mike, and then a couple of Daily Mile friends, Melanie and Jeri….it was now my turn to line up for my heat. Megan wanted to be near the front, so after I kissed Damary, Ayanna, Annabelle, and Adrianna (via Damary’s belly), I headed to the front with Megan.

Even though I thought we had plenty of time, 15 minutes seem to FLY by and soon the pyro went off and we were off. So we start out going down and then slightly up, on grass and hay (no big deal), it gave me enough time to slow my pace down. THEN IT BEGAN…over one mile, straight up (seriously, the incline was about at 100 degrees…grab a protractor), IN MUD!! Let me explain, apparently the night before, a HUGE rain storm had come through and dumped water…so the entire ground of this race would now be mud.

Ok, so after climbing in mud for what felt like forever, we leveled out for a bit, and then went uphill some more. Then when we got to downhill, it was just as much of an angle on the decline…so everyone slid on their butt or surfed down…this massive uphill, then slight, sharp downhill continued for a while then the clearing came and there was what was supposed to be 4 foot water with floating logs to get over. Remember the aforementioned storm? Yeah, that added about a foot of water, no exaggeration. Funny thing is, since it was so hot, everyone kind of enjoyed the cold, yet brown water. Then once you did that, you went uphill and curved back to hop over car hoods and trunks, complete with running through tires, and then another set of cars. As a kid who watched PLENTY of “Dukes of Hazard” this brought a HUGE smile to my face to slide across the hoods of the cars!

Then you were off to traverse the woods deep in mud…now yes, it was hot, but with the trees providing “shade” that meant none of the mud had a chance to dry out. So most of the race really showed the spirit of runners…everyone helping everyone else get uphill, downhill, through obstacles, and I was so proud to be amongst these fine human beings. If anyone started to slip, you saw 4 or 5 hands outstretched to help. It was such a wonderful showing of mutual admiration.

Now mind you, I am trying to remember this 48 hours later, so I maybe out of order, or even skip an obstacle.

Ok, then I remember the “spider web” of ropes…mind you they put this on an incline, in the mud…This turned into myself and a couple of others lifting up the ropes and everyone coming through…with some people helping them up the hill. I LOVE being a Runner and apart of this community.

Then I remember the crawl area…or what I like to call the Knee Grater/Shredder. Because of the tarp, it wasn’t mud we were all crawling through (crawl space was about 2 ½ feet high), but all of the sharp rocks were up….the entire crawl was probably about 20, 25 feet, and by the end, it ate my knees up. I see now, that I was cut, scratched and have bruises on my actual knee cap. Later, on the shuttle bus back to parking, I counted 20 people on the shuttle with bloody knees. Yeah, Warriors indeed.

Then I remember the 30 Foot Cargo Net Wall. As I got there, I immediately heard “PAPI!!” And looked over and saw my daughters, and my wife cheering for me. I felt so incredibly blessed. I know they must have been exhausted, and had sat all day in this sun, and my wife is 7 months pregnant, but here they were cheering their hearts out for me! I climbed the wall, posed at the top (I can’t help it), and made it down. Then as I passed them, I blew them kisses and yelled “Thank You!” and went to the balance bars, and then off to the standing water we had to traverse through (this was only knee deep with some drops in it, but nothing like the logs area).

Then we came to a solid wall, where you used the rope to climb up once side and you could either use the rope to repel down, or if you have long legs use the wall itself and climb down…I opted for the latter. At this point, you start hearing the finish line crowds and cheers and music, so you know you are getting close.

Next I remember turning the corner to see the finish line…and I only had two obstacles left: Two rows of Fire Pits and the Mud/Water crawl under the barbed wire. Now, due to some wise advice from Danielle, from Daily Mile, I know to be careful with leaping the fire pits. She ruptured her Achilles Tendon on her landing. I also, at that split second realized two thoughts: 1) Wearing a kilt that hangs to me knees and jumping over fire may not have been my smartest choice, and 2) I am so soaked right now, I am pretty sure I could put the fire out before it could burn me! So I took off, and hurdled one and then the second, then came to the mud/water walk, and crawled for what felt like forever. I had NOTHING left. Each “step” closer to solid land again took every single effort I had to give. One way or another, I was going to leave it all on this field…and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

I crawled under the last wire and came to solid ground and then…well here it gets funny. I never saw (and still don’t know) the Finish Line. My wife took a GREAT shot of me crossing. All I knew/remember was a photographer, and I told myself to keep running to the volunteers handing out the medals…so that’s what I did!

Here is a pic of me after…that cup of water, I couldn’t even drink it I was so spent…I gave the banana to the girls. After getting “cleaned off” (translation to Fire truck hoses…but you had to go through A HUGE mud bog to and from lol) we met back up with Mike and Megan, and turned in our timing chips for our free beer. Ok, I have NEVER understood people who can have a beer right after running a race. I never have…UNTIL NOW/THEN. That Bud Light was the SWEETEST tasting, perfect drink E-V-E-R!!

We took the shuttle back, and then said by to Mile and Megan and then I did some quick changing/free show for those around and we were off!! I am typing this wearing my medal. I kid you not. This was my first race since the Marathon (my first), and I will say this, I was more exhausted immediately after Warrior Dash, than I was immediately after the Marathon...it took that much out of me.

I have noticed that recovery from races is more mental/emotional/spiritual than physical. Physically, I recover quicker….the rest takes me a while. And it is a BRUTAL recovery (going through it now). It is where I question myself and constantly ask myself what right I have to call myself a runner. It is where I see all of my friends finishing times and I get ashamed of myself. I go through this after every race I have done. It takes me (Marathon notwithstanding, because of the longer distance) almost a week to shake that and get back to the Illuminati Runner I am. I just keep looking at my medal and tell myself, that I EARNED this, and I apologize to NO ONE for that.

I will say this, the best parts after the fact, was, when I was getting my change of clothes in the back of the van, Annabelle was in her seat and turns around and says to me, “Papi, I am very proud of you.” I don’t know if a 4 year old is capable of understanding how much that meant to me or not. And the other thing was Damary, mind you, this was as I was drinking my beer, was already talking about me doing this next year. That warmed my heart because that meant/means she accepts this side of me, that has only been around for 14 months!

-Until the Wheels Fall Off (it came close!!)
-Corey, The Illuminati Runner


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