A few months ago, my buddy Steven Rowland told me about the Warrior Dash, a 3-mile run/obstacle course. They set it up a few different places around the country, and they were scheduled to stop an hour north of San Diego.
Not only did it look cool, but everyone who signs up gets a bitchin free hat!
That was all the motivation I needed. Except I forgot about it for a while. I only just signed up last week, 8 days before the actual race. With just a week to train, I figured I should maybe run a little, y’know, to get kind of in shape. So I jogged halfway down my street one morning. And that was the extent of training.
Very similar to my training regimen for a hike up Mt Whitney- tallest peak in the lower 48- a few years back. We had read online that the hike is good for a 2-day trip, but that fit individuals could do it in one. Anyway, about a week before that, I hadn’t done much to get in shape so I decided to ride an exercise bike for 30 minutes. Once. Training concluded, I made a successful hike. 9 hours up, 5 hours down. Wearing shorts and Tevas.
That experience basically taught me that I can get by without training, in much the same way high school taught me I could get by without studying or starting projects early. Yay procrastination!
Realistically, though, I knew that training would be helpful. My cardio is for shit. Honestly. I get winded walking up a few flights of stairs. But I do have a couple things going for me- one, I am actually strong for my scrawny frame. I never exercise. Ever (hence the bad cardio). But I could probably knock out 45 push-ups in under a minute. Secondly, and perhaps more importantly, I am stubborn as fuck. Not just stubborn; Irish stubborn. Tell me I can’t do something, and I’ll do it out of spite. Well, 50-50 if I ACTUALLY do it, I’m also lazy. But back to the stubbornness- it has gotten me through a lot. Like the aforementioned Mt Whitney.
Saturday was my day to run at 5PM. But before I got to do it, I had to cruise up to LA with Sherri to see some friends that were in town for the weekend. The plan: leave at 1PM, make a 2 hour dive to LA, 1 hour drive to Warrior Dash so I have an hour to hang out beforehand, one hour drive back home, then tomorrow reprise the 2-hour LA drive to pick Sherri up and relax for the rest of Sunday.
The reality: 3 ½ hour drive to LA. Fucking traffic! On a Saturday?!? Followed by a 2-hour drive to the Dash. So I missed my time. I was so angry sitting in that traffic, there are not words angry enough to describe it. At one point I was clenching my fist so tightly I thought I was going to snap one of my metacarpals. I was almost an hour late, and my run was the last one of the day. Luckily, they told me I could run Sunday instead. Crisis averted.
So after spending almost 7 hours to drive 250 miles on Saturday, I was sooooo fucking sick of driving. And I would have to do another 220-mile LA trip before driving the 50 miles to the race Sunday. I didn’t know if I could do it. This from a guy who used to love road trips more than anything. I’ve driven from Detroit to NYC to watch the ball drop on New Years Eve, then turned around and drove home. I’ve also driven to Long Island to take my sister to dinner for her birthday, and drove home after. I’ve driven from Detroit to New Orleans, DC, San Jose, Minneapolis, and Denver. And from D-town to San Diego maybe 6 or 7 times (including once in 45 hours- take THAT Cannonball Run).
Back to the task at hand- I hate running. I consider it to be one of the 2 greatest evils in the world. And yes, the other one is traffic. Great weekend for me, no? The entire time I was getting ready for the run, I never really considered that 3 miles isn’t really a short distance. At least not to someone who never exercises. Ever.
On top of that, I only just saw the obstacles Saturday morning, too. Jumping over fire? Why not.
It hit me after maybe the first half-mile. I was starting to get tired already. By mile 1 I thought I might puke. Keep in mind here we’re pretty much all jogging. Nobody is really embracing the ‘race’ aspect of this, it’s more fun for the obstacles. When I finally got to the water table at the halfway point, I was crushed that I was only half done. By mile 2, my lungs felt like they would explode. Most of the obstacles were in the second half of the race though, which actually helped. Breaks up the monotony and pain of running.
But I made it! Success! Warrior Dash conquered, obstacles bested, fire leapt. And in a respectable (to me at least) time of about 35 minutes.
Here are some video highlights