Sunday, July 15, 2012

Warrior Dash 2012 race review


Knowing that I'm usually up for anything new, one of the girls in office Grace asked if I wanted to do a mud run.  She originally wanted to do the Rebel Race on July 21 and camp overnight in upstate NY.  But my birthday was the night before so I veto that one.  I searched around the internet and found the Warrior Dash in Morristown, NJ.  The race was held on July 14.  I had a birthday party I had to go to later that night but I figured we could do an early wave and I would still be able to make it back to Queens in time.  We quickly convinced a few other girls in the office and had a team together.  

The Warrior Dash is put on by Big Frog Events.  We signed up via their website  They encourage donations for the St Jude Children's Fund so I made a donation while signing up.  You have to sign up for a wave start.  They had waves of 500 people scheduled every half hour.  The schedule went from 8am until 5pm.  The earliest wave they had available by the time we signed up was 2 pm.

It is a mud run so of course we had find clothes that we would not miss when we threw it away after the race.  I knew Target usually has inexpensive workout clothing so I recommend that everyone check there.  I had an old running top that I did not wear, a pair of retired running sneakers, and I bought a pair of $12 shorts from Target.  I thought shorts would be a good idea because mud washes off skin easier than clothing.  But in retrospect, it was not a good decision.  The mud pits were a bit rocky.  I would recommend capris.  You don't want to have to drag around muddy pants but at least capris cover your knees.  My knees were torn up after crawling through the mud pits and scrapping them on rocks.

Getting to the Start:
They recommended getting there about an hour early to leave time to take the shuttle from the parking lot to the start and do packet pick-up before your wave.  They charge $20 per car to park which I thought was a bit ridiculous.  So we met up early and car pooled.  The race was held at Lewis Morris County Park, in Morristown, NJ.

We got there 1 hour early.  The line for the shuttle was about a mile long.  They clearly did not have enough shuttle buses for the amount of people scheduled.  I think the problem was that a lot of people showed up for earlier waves then they were signed up and they got backed up.  We waited for over an hour just to get to the start area and missed our start time.

Packet Pick-up:
At least the packet pick-up was on site and pretty organized.  They had a big tent with lines divided by the first letter of your last name.  Everyone spread out, got there packets, and then we regrouped a few minutes later.  Everyone got a t-shirt and warrior hat with horns with their bibs.  The t-shirts were cotton but they were a burn-out material and they were actually pretty cute.  The timing chip was also a token good for one free beer.

They have baggage check.  So we all brought a change of shoes and towels and checked them at baggage drop.  We put on our bibs and got a quick picture with our hats before checking our bags.  

Since we missed our wave, we walked over to the start and waited for the next wave to start.  They were not strict about who actually ended up in which wave.  I think we finally ended up starting around 4 or 4:30.  While we waited the girls decided to do some stretches to warm-up.  I have to say I got a kick out watching them.  I am not sure which muscles they were stretching but they looked cute.   Right next to the start they had a lot of port-a potties with portal sinks which was nice so there was not a long wait.  Everyone made sure to take a potty break before we started.

Our "gang sign" M for Marquis Dental Spa.  Don't we look tough?

They had a DJ pumping up the crowd.  Final they started counting down for our wave to start.  They set off flame throwers as the wave starts.  And we were off.  Everyone just started running.  The first obstacle was a pretty big hill.  We lost most of the group right off the bat.  We looked back and saw that Channei was power walking.  Grace felt bad.  She held back and waited for her.  Mayra was trying to drag her sister up the hill but she was not having it.  So Mayra ditched her and took off running.  I lost everyone within the first mile.   

There was a about a mile or so of running through the woods.   The path was soaked because it had  rained the night before.  I have to admit that running a mile with your feet sinking into mud up to your ankles was not fun.  Also I buy my running shoe 2 sizes too big so there is room when my feet swell during marathons and I don't have to worry about black toe nails.  But I do not recommend running a mud run with shoes that are too big for you.  That just leaves more room for mud to pool in your shoes.  It was like running with ankle weights on because the mud added a pound or so to my shoes.  

The first group of real obstacles was a series of barricades to climb over, barbed wire to climb under, tires to run through, and hanging tires to run through.  Most of the tires were thrown to the side from the earlier waves running through, so you could not really run through them.   

After another short run and crawling through some mud there was a water station.  Everyone was trying to wash the mud off there hands because there was a series of walls to climb over coming up.  The first was probably about 10-12 ft high and had a series of wood slats to climb.  The second wall was a few feet higher and you had to pull yourself up a rope.  The ropes were covered in mud so I was slipping a bit.  That combined with the fact I do not like heights, after one quick attempt,  I decided to skip this one and walk around. 
Nathalie and Mayra killed the rope walls and climbed right over

Up next you had to jump in the lake.  After wading across a bit, there was a barge floating in the middle of the lake.  You had pull yourself up on it, then do a over/under barrel challenge.  It was at least nice to get the mud washed off.  

The final set of obstacles were a crawl across a cargo net, then a climb up a cargo net, a jump over fire, a final crawl under barbed wire through the mud pit and dash to the finish.  

Nathalie, Mayra and I meet up at the cargo net and jumped over the fire together.  Nathalie finished first in 49:44.  I crossed the finish line a few seconds later at 49:59.  Mayra came in a half step behind me at 50:00.

We got our stuff out of gear check and got a nice muddy picture.   We waited at the finish for a while and finally saw Mayra's sister coming over the cargo net. 

Yohaida finished 1:02:44.  She was not too happy with Mayra.  She made a face and was a bit pouty because Mayra had left her and she had to run by herself.  But they managed to put on a smile for a photo together.  

We waited around for a few more minutes.  I have to say waiting while the mud was drying on me was not too much fun.  But was wanted to get a nice, muddy finish line picture of all of us.  Finally, we  saw Grace on the cargo net. 

Grace finished at 1:13:19.  Channei was right behind her at 1:14:16.

Everyone proudly sported their finisher medals and their muddy sneakers.  

They had concessions selling food and a beer garden to get your free beer.  We were hoping to get one of the giant turkey legs they were selling.  But they were sold out of turkeys legs and the line for beer was a bit long.  I had to get back to shower the rest of the mud off me and make myself look somewhat presentable for the party.  So we decided to just hand our chips back in.  But a girl saw me with all of our chips and asked if her and her friends could have them.  I said sure and gave her 6 free beers.  That totally made her day!

After the race they had a few guys with fire hoses that blast you with water to get the mud off.  A bit chilly but it was great to get the mud off.  

Pile of discarded muddy sneakers.

After getting washed off, we headed to shuttle buses.  Fortunately the line was not as long as it was at the start and we made it back to the car in about a 30-40 minutes.  

It was a fun day to share with my staff.  I'm not huge fan of mud races and I prefer to stick to half marathons.  It was good to check mud run off my bucket list.  But I do not see myself running this race again.  I think I would have liked more if there was more obstacles and less running through woods.  

My friend Amit's 30th birthday started at 8pm in Queens.  I did not get home until around 7pm.  I quickly jumped in the shower and tried my best to wash the mud off.  I managed to get my hair and makeup done flawlessly.  But I definitely could have used a manicure.  No time to wait for polish to dry.  I settled for vigorous scrubbing with a nail brush.  Did I mention the dress code was traditional India party wear?  So I watched a youtube video to refresh my memory on how to fold a sari.  I did my best wrapping myself up in the 9 yards of fabric.  I hopped in the car and headed to the party.  I ended up being a little bit more than fashionable late.  I did not roll into the party until around 10pm. 

 I was glad to have managed to squeeze both events in the same day.  I had thrown a few pics of the mud run up on Facebook before I left.  Everyone at the party was laughing and were shocked that the pictures were from earlier that day.  No one could believe I had been covered in mud earlier that day.  Thankfully, that at least meant I did not look like a hot mess at the party :)

The wrap-up:
Pre-race info- A
Packet Pickup- A
Overall organization- C+
Course- C+
Swag/post-race food- A
Medal- B
Theme- A
Surrounding area- N/A