Additional Challenge complete 5/15/2011: Run a 5K. And I did it with obstacles!
There are few things I find as grueling as running. I mean, why? I know some people talk about an inner-peace, and others talk about the health benefits, and the crazies talk about how they love to feel the burn that comes with the exercise…but I’ve never really understood them.
But when my friends completed the Warrior Dash last year, I couldn’t help the twinge of jealousy which clouded my judgment, thus causing me to agree to run with them the following year. And, like an idiot, I purchased my ticket early, thus obligating me to run it even when my friends dropped out to physical and financial difficulties.
But never fear! The Atlanta Dancers signed up last minute, and I tagged along with that group! I ran with Bela and her husband Leandro, Nick, Lisa, and a smattering of people who I did not know. And man, we had a blast.
Before the Warrior Dash, I’d never run more than two miles in one go — and that was only the last two or three times of my measly attempts at training before the Dash.
The first mile or so was relatively easy, despite my mild butterflies. I kept pace with the group, falling in step behind Nick up to the first obstacle: swimming / walking a few hundred yards through the mud and water. Then the medium hurdles, and some running before the tires and the junk yard. I’d lost Nick and Lisa in the crowd, but I was keeping pace with Bela and Leandro.
The wall was the challenge I was most intimidated by — as my brother put it: “Cari versus a wall? [Intense Laughter].” But I made that wall my bitch. That’s right, I’ll say it again. My bitch.
The most challenging part was the running which followed soon after the wall — it was almost entirely uphill, and while I knew that there were going to be hills…well, damn. I wasn’t sure I was ever going to come back down. Around here, I lost Bela and Leandro, as I started to pace my walking and jogging.
In reality, the challenges allowed me to catch my breath. While they were physically taxing in other ways — arm / core strength, coordination, and balance — it allowed me to slow down a tiny bit and rest my lungs.
In the home stretch, I wont hide that I was worried about the fire. While watching a previous heat, I’d seen someone trip and fall into it. I mean, it was real fire. But I did little Mario leap, pumping my fist in the air, and cleared the obstacle to run downhill and finish the race, arms in the air with the glory of success.
My final time was 32:35:60, making for a 9:19 mile (though, this has been debated my many people who do not believe the course is a full 5k — because honestly, it probably isn’t). But in more comparative measures, I finished 2246 out of 6585 overall, and I finished 124 out of 548 people in my age group (girls age 20 – 24). Considering my distaste for running, I expected something much more “middle of the line” — not top third overall, and top quarter of my age group. In all, I am very proud of that success: and, in reality, I blame it on dancing, which has kept me relatively in shape.
I would like to mention that the Warrior Dash doesn’t spare danger. While they are realistic about what the average person can manage — low hurdles, for example, were challenging but by no means impossible — they did not cushion you from the possibility of injury. The high wall had no cushions in case of a fall, and the fire was burning high and hot. I really appreciated that the obstacles were real — because honestly, we’re claiming to be warriors here.
While I still don’t love running, I do see its potential, and hope to have a single, vaguely regular schedule by fall so that I might find some good time to try out running regularly.
A special thanks to the following for their undying support in my attempts to gain any modicum of success when it comes to running: Jon, Breanna, and Sue Mi, for liking my status whenever I posted my running times. Bela, Nick, and Lisa, for being my dancer friends for running and cheering when I ran down the hill to the finish line. And most importantly, thank you Beth, for being my inspiration to run the Dash in the first place, and then celebrating my little successes with pelvic thrusts and hugs of awesome, even when you’re far away in Nashville.
PS — yes, I know this post is late. Get over it. No internet, remember?