Wow. If you click on that photo collage up there, you can almost see the optimism shining in our eyes. We look so pretty. We had no idea what was about to happen to us.
I did the Tennessee Warrior Dash last year and I’m in better running shape now than I have ever been (I mean, that bar was set LOW), so I was feeling pretty good about this! I even dragged some newbies along for the ride.
It will be fun, I said.
The hardest part is just running that first mile to the first obstacle, I said.
We will take awesome pictures, I said.
Look, I did it last year and I’m a total wuss, I said.
It will take about as long as a 5K plus about 20 minutes, I said (to be generous on time and not scare them).
I WAS SO VERY WRONG about a few of those things.
But skip to the end, LOOK! Still friends at the close of the day…at least so far.
I’m not sure why this keeps happening, but the organizers changed the race location again fairly last-minute. We headed out bright and early to Pulaski, TN which I’m pretty sure is only known for the KKK. Perfect.
Chuck (one of my Nolensville Running Club buddies) showed up looking like this:
I mean, how can you possibly have a conversation with that? I immediately sent his wife a text (she was on kiddie soccer mom duty) and asked something to the effect of “What am I looking at here?” Her (censored) reply: “Oh, did he shave something stupid into his face again? Great.” So there you go.
The website said the new course was (AND I QUOTE) “Moderately Hilly.” Okay, we are used to that, cool.
We got all lined up and ready in a group of four. My other friends were following in the next wave. We had noticed that most of the people from the first few waves were barely even dirty, so that was…interesting. Little did we know.
We started off straight downhill. Like—the kind of downhill that makes you feel like you might fall forward and not be able to stop rolling.
Then back uphill—no idea how much elevation change, but a LOT.
And back down.
And then straight back up.
And we were about 1/2 mile in (actually, probably not even that) and we were DYING. We tried to run those first two hills/climbs, which was a mistake for me! I was winded pretty quick, and we hadn’t even made it to the first obstacle! The first obstacle was sort of precarious (wet, angled balance boards) but easy enough. Then uphill more, no end in sight. THEN we got to the first water stop and there was no actual water ready. The poor, frazzled volunteer girls were scrambling to get the water jugs up and neither of them could lift the jugs. Great planning. So my crew stopped, got the jugs up, and passed out water for a few minutes as a GREAT EXCUSE to also rest for a few extra minutes! No complaints here.
I don’t even remember everything else—more obstacles…more hills…no downhills…wading through chest-high water (nice!)…and feeling really strong on the stupid over/under walls that left me with massive bruises last year!
I’ve already forgotten so much. Three distinct moments, though:
1. I don’t know how I became the perky, annoying cheerleader of the group, but I did. At one of the water stops, I jogged over to them and said, “Come on, friends, time to run again.” Leanne yelled, “You are NOT MY FRIEND.” I was scared, not going to lie. She could take me down, right? But, hey, she did run. Everyone behind us really enjoyed that little outburst. Glad we could entertain.
2. We could hear the next wave cheering right before they started, and we were already in pretty deep. Leanne muttered all sad and philosophically, “Oh…they don’t EVEN KNOW. Why are they cheering? It’s so bad…” and then she just trailed off. Did I mention this race was my idea?
Don’t worry, she got me back in full force the next weekend.
3. Brandon, who is (let’s see) my best high school friend’s brother-in-law in the right-hand corner down there? He freakin’ LAPPED US on the toughest back part of the course. It felt like hiking. If I hadn’t seen it, I’d never have believed it. I’m torn between being very incredibly impressed and the heavy knowledge that now I get to HEAR ABOUT IT FOR THE REST OF MY NATURAL LIFE. Brandon, not so much a humble guy. So yes, all the years, I will be hearing about that!
It was BRUTAL and still so much fun to accomplish. I was so proud of Amanda and her sister Brittany—and relieved that they were not, in fact, after my head when we met up afterward. They were SO jazzed up and excited, and they should have been. Dude, that course was no joke. Amanda even bled, so she gets bonus points for that.
Time REALLY didn’t matter here, but we finished together in 1 hr, 20 minutes working HARD. To put that in perspective, Andrew and I finished in under an hour last year (50 minutes, maybe?) in really lazy physical shape.
Muddy medals, free terrible beer, and one more odd friendship-cementing experience in the books!
Here’s to a flat course next year, Warrior Dash people!