The Warrior dash was two weekends ago and it did not underpromise.  Half-way through this 5K I was already fantasizing about it being over.  But I'm already psyched about doing it next year, and next time in costume.

Here is my group about 15 minutes before the start of the race.  Yes, there was face paint and furry viking hats with tusks involved.  Oddly enough, we were downright conservative when you compared us to the clan of red Avatar characters, clans of Scotsmen, and squad of girls in 80's prom dresses.

The race started with an uphill dash--up a ski slope.  Most people made it only a few hundred meters before having to walk.  I held out for about a quarter mile before realizing that I shouldn't kill myself at the onset of the race.  There would be plenty of obstacles later to blow my energy on.

The first obstacle was a tire run on a plateau halfway up the ski slope.  Then a little further ahead was a series of chest high barricades I had to jump over.  After another third of ski slope uphill (I was mostly walking at this point) there was a crawl through (clean) sewer tubes about 25m long.

The first downhill was a relief--no more walking.  But the problem with going down a ski slope is that it is so steep you couldn't pick up your speed, because then you'd topple over.  At the end of this first taste of downhill was a nasty surprise: a shoulder high pond that was freezing cold.  It's probably 60 degrees, but it was frigid compared to the heat radiating from my body from the uphill runs.  I walked/swam through the length of the pond, about 50m, and emerged victorious on the other side:

The next segment of the race was series of sharp downhills combined with long muddy cuts across and wooded trails between the slopes.  In the middle of this craziness I took a tumble and rolled onto my knee.  I rolled right out of it into a run, but I could feel the scrape on my right knee stinging from the dirt and sweat.

After more downhill/mud/woods there was a short plank bridge to scramble across and then a cargo net.  Before the race I was most afraid of the cargo net obstacle, thinking that I'd lose ridiculous amounts of time on it because I have zero upper body strength.  But when I saw the net, it was all of 20 feet high, and I easily scaled over it to the home sprint.

The last bit of the race (all within a quarter mile) was a series of three obstacles.  After the only downhill where I could actually sprint came the first obstacle: the longest slip n slide you could ever imagine.  I slid belly down through sprays of water on a tarp tunnel for about 25m.  Not only was this tough on my abs and man parts (it felt like the tarp was over gravel!) but after knocking into a girl at the end of the slide I realized that my contacts were all sprayed out of place--and maybe had even fallen out.  

I did a bit of a Frankenstein walk, afraid that I wouldn't be able to see for the last two obstacles.  But after playing around with my eyes a bit my contacts fell back into place.  With my eyes set I got a running start to leap over the next obstacle: two rows of flaming coals.

I flew over both rows of without hesitation (or burnt hair) and dove right into the last and signature obstacle: a crawl through the mud under barbed wire.  It wasn't pretty.  It was totally designed to guarantee that you leave this mud run filthy dirty.  Oh, and how dirty I was:

After emerging from the mud I bolted for the finish line, which was a few short yards away.

Final Numbers (as if this was a serious race):
Net Time: 34:02 (10:32 pace)
Overall place: 409/5020 (top 8% of finishers)
M25-29: 110/751 (top 15%)

Afterward, I took my best victory pose.  Um, not my best work:

Perhaps it would have been better if I was also ripping into a giant roasted turkey leg at the same.

The rest of my group straggled in afterward--I came in second from our group of 10ish.

Victory tasted like...well it tasted like dirt.  Sweet, sweet dirt.



Over the past two weeks (yikes has it really been that long since I've posted?) I've done a couple things out of the ordinary, both of which have had their own detrimental effects on running and that I will now grossly exaggerate.

The Dark Art of Bicycling
I took the Monday before Labor Day off to use up the last of my summer bonus days from work and decided it would be fun to rent a bike for the day and ride around the city.  Knowing my hatred for riders and that I haven't ridden a bike in years, this could only be described a momentary bout of hysteria.

I picked up the bike from one of the bike shops around Central Park and got my bearings by doing a small loop around the park.  Then I rode down along the Hudson to meet Wifey for lunch near her office in Soho.  After a lunch of empanadas and rice and beans I headed back up the Hudson all the way to the George Washington Bridge.  Then crossed the Bridge over to the Jersey Palisades park--where I realized how hard steep uphills are on a bike.  After taking a nap in the park I crossed back over to New York and rode down to Central Park and returned the bike about an hour early (mostly because my ass area was hurting from the seat).

After riding about 25 miles around the New York City area I picked up a couple things.  First off, I was surprised at how easy it was to get around the city with a bike.  Even the parts where there weren't bike lanes and I was riding in traffic, car drivers seemed to be just fine with me riding in their lanes.  Second, I seemed to be the only one on a bike obeying traffic lights--riders were just whizzing about not really paying attention to traffic signals, staying in bike lanes, or going with traffic.  No wonder there is so much angst against them: they act like pedestrians when they're really more like cars.

The last thing I noticed is that I was actually enjoying myself riding around on a bike.  I don't know if I'd be ready to take it on in the exercise/fitness sense, but it is a fun way to get around.

Barefoot Beach Running Part Duex
Fast forward to about a week later, when we're with my family for Labor Day staying at a hotel on Ft. Lauderdale beach.  Looking to spice up my eight mile run I decide I'll do it barefoot in the sand, since I had a good experience back on South Padre Island.

My first footstep in the sand tells me instantly that this was a bad idea.  The sand on the gulf coast was fine and compact, this Ft. Lauderdale sand was the complete opposite: coarse and soft.  Every foot step suck deep into the sand.  Later on I would liken it to a car being stuck in first car: lots of stopping power but no speed.  I tried running on the waterline, but that only felt harder.  I tried running in the tracks of the tractors that come out early to smooth the sand, but it was only minimal improvement.

About a mile in I gave up on the sand and moved on to the sidewalk.  A huge improvement, but it was much more rough on my feet.  After the turnaround (around the 4.5 mile mark) I checked out my feet.  Sure enough there were huge blisters on my toes exactly where they had developed last time I went barefoot running.  But then there were also big round blisters (about the size of a quarter) directly below each of my ring toes.  With the blisters I had an awful time on the sidewalk, so I would weave back and forth from sand to sidewalk.

Eventually, I just gave up and walked the last mile to the hotel in the sand.  Not my proudest moment.  The good thing is that the blisters on my toes I was able to drain that night (oh how much goo was in them!).  The round ones under my ring toes seemed to be much deeper under the skin, so much so that I thought that they were calluses.  But last night I finally got in there with a needle and sure enough an pinkish/grayish goo came out.  Sorry, no pictures.  Definitely will be more picky about my barefoot running in the future.