Saturday was the Warrior Dash on the ski slopes of Windham. I participated. My apologies if you jumped to this site after reading the post over at the forum, but I haven’t had a chance to write much else since then. If you’re not here from the forum, then you might not know that the ski slopes of Windham are actually on two mountains called Cave and West Cave – not Windham High Peak. Here’s the post over at the forum, if you want to read the other members busting my chops in the comment thread.
I didn’t climb them. But I sure did spend all day looking at their summits and wishing I could. I spent this past Saturday on the ski slopes of Windham at the Northeast edition of the Warrior Dash.3.23 miles up, over and down the ski slopes (part of it was, I believe, on the mountain bike trail) with 12 “obstacles”. I think it qualifies as a 5k, but I’m not a runner because running sucks.
My heat/wave/whatever was at 1PM. I arrived around 10:30 or so, picked up my packet, wandered around for a bit and sat in the adirondack chairs next to some slightly toasted dude who didn’t shut up for the fifteen minutes I was there. M*sshole – go figure. The whole setup was as much a festival as it was a race. Actually, probably more so. There was a big stage with a band and a bungee jumping thingee and giant turkey legs and weirdos in costumes and all kinds of other cool stuff designed to make a drunk college kid wet himself in public.
So anyway, I watched a couple of waves go out ahead of me (on the half-hour from 8AM to 5PM) and decided that I definitely did NOT want to start in the middle of the pack (and people started lining up in the “chute” just after the last heat left). So at 12:15 I took a jog down to the bottom of the parking lot and back (because I wanted to be sweating at the starting line) and headed into the chute, threading myself up toward the front.
When the fireballs flew to send our wave off up the mountain, I hit it at a brisk pace – for the first 1/4 to 1/2 mile or so, I was probably the number 4 or 5 guy up there (there were chicks racing too, but they hadn’t started to pass me yet). The first mile and a half is up the ski slope. I think my jog only lasted for about 1/2 a mile (and yes, I might be embellishing right now, but I’m allowed to do this, as it’s MY TR ) before my chest simply couldn’t contain the awesome power of my lungs as they bellowed in and out in an effort to provide my meat suit with enough oxygen to not expire.
So yeah, I hiked the rest of the uphill part. BECAUSE THAT’S WHAT I DO (hike) AND I’M AWESOME AT IT. Maybe 15 or so people passed me on my hike. It was actually kind of nice, because I pretended (in my head) that I was old like mudhook and Halia & Flammeus and called everyone ‘whippersnappers’ (in my head) as they went by. Of course, because I’m such an awesome hiker (way awesomer than manofaltitude, btw), not that many people passed me, and I even passed one or two people who were ‘running’ up the hill.
The first obstacle was the tire run: maybe a dozen or fifteen tires by a dozen or fifteen tires (bungeed together). I ran over the top of them. I learned back in HS how bad that high-stepping crap sucks, so I wasn’t about to do it here. After that, it was a bit more uphill and we had to jump over a couple of wooden barriers that were about chest high (for me). Easy enough. Then we went uphill some more (shocker) before we had to crawl through these big plastic tubes. Nothing special.
Then began the downhill. I was pretty happy with the pair of trailrunners I bought for this occasion: they really held the ground well. And the ground was mainly wet grass, mud and wet rocks. I bought a pair of the Montrail Masochist model. I asked the girl at Campmor if they had the Sadist model too, but she just looked at me funny and asked for my number. We have a date at the goth club in Newark on Thursday night. I passed quite a few nervous-looking people on the downhill sections. I also credit the long hours I’ve spent in the Catskills, trying to keep up with FatVegan’s nutjob way of flying down the mountains like sticks and stones won’t break his bones. Passing those effers really felt good.
More running after that. Did I mention that running sucks? And then we had to wade through this 20-yard long pool of freezing cold water. My testicles STILL won’t talk to me. I think they’re going to be nestled among my small intestine for the rest of the winter. The water was waist-high, then chest-high, then I couldn’t touch the bottom. Freaky. I took a couple of breast-strokes (not that kind, pervert) and frog-kicked a few times, but swimming this thing really wasn’t an option. So I did that floaty-hop thing to the side, where the water was only as deep as a little bit over my waist. I did the rest of it that way. It was about 75/80 degrees outside that day and I was kind of down on myself for wearing the Under Armour cold weather spandex stuff (top and bottom), but when I got out of that water, I realized (once again) that I might possibly be the smartest human being in this miserable little solar system of yours.
After that it was more running (downhill, thankfully) and guess what – they gave us cups of water after that. Belie-dat-sh*t. I drank two. Parenthetically, and relating back to the earlier self-wetting remark, I remember thinking that either the water section or the part just after would be the perfect time to pee myself, but I didn’t really have to go and I don’t know that I could anyway, because I was running. Making it harder to pee yourself: yet another reason why running sucks.
So after that, there was a sh*tload of sidehilling (which ALSO sucks) and a couple of other obstacles not really worth mentioning – we ran over some planks across a ditch (easier than a log across a stream) and up and down some stuff. I took the short way up and down the cargo net thing because it’s a RACE, not recess. At the very end, we slid (face first) down this big slip ‘n slide, ran a couple more yards downhill, jumped over two rows of duraflames (this is where our pics got taken, so I hammed it up for the cameras I couldn’t see, per my drunk Bostonian friend’s suggestion), and then we crawled in the mud under barbed wire for 20 or so yards. There was definitely mud there, but I didn’t see any damned barbed wire – and there was no tracer fire over our heads or marines getting their heads blown off next to me, so I was nonplussed overall with this particular obstacle.
Anyway, at this point we were deemed muddy enough and only had to run another fifteen or so steps to the finish line where they handed out ‘finisher’ medals. I think I lost mine. It’s probably in my car somewhere. They gave us free water and bananas afterward, of which I partook.
My time was 36:26.10 (that’s an 11 minute mile, folks), and I placed #836 overall (out of 6,202), 139/753 in my age bracket (men 30-34), and 725/3677 of all the men competing.
Definitely not a stellar time, but I also hate running. Because it sucks. I’m happy with my performance, though. I did what I set out to do, which was burn it as hard as I could from beginning to end. I also think I managed the course pretty well, which was due in large part to my hiking experiences and the support of you good people here on the forum, without whom I never would have looked longingly at Cave and West Cave mountains and think how badass I would be if I were to climb those after having run this race.
Sadly, that was not to happen, as I got a wicked bad cramp in my left calf (which subsequently turned into a muscle pull) about 20 minutes after the whole thing was done. Still, I would have loved to have climbed those mountains on Saturday. Oh well, another time.
So yeah, running still sucks. You don’t have to go out and do the R&D – I’ve already done it for you.
Grid: 86/420 (3/35 for September)