Monday, August 23, 2010
Warrior Dash Rockies!!!
This past weekend a brave team of vet students (and their significant others) chose to spend their last weekend of summer break, not quietly sipping margaritas or wine at home, but making the seven hour drive to Denver, CO to participate in one of the most fabulous, gut wrenching and masochistic races in the history of mankind! That's right Warrior Dash!!! If you haven't heard about it you should really check it out, especially if you love to run, climb, wade through mud pits/rivers, and jump over fire. This was without a doubt the best day of my summer, and I can't wait for the next Warrior Dash.
The day started at 9:30. We went to a diner called Sam No. 3 for breakfast. They were highly recommended by the hotel for their delicious breakfast burritos, and if the crowd of locals didn't convince you the food was good, I don't know what would. They were packed! The hostess was nice enough to seat our group of 9 together, and we feasted on giant pancakes, french toast, and of course burritos. The only problem we had was that we couldn't take our leftovers home, and many of us left a considerable amount of our giant portions on our plates.
After breakfast we walked around downtown Denver. There were a ton of interesting restaurants, bakeries, and shops. We went to The Tattered Cover Book Store, and I never wanted to leave! They had a huge selection covering anything and everything, including a section on how to grow marijuana. Which was rather funny. My roomates asked if they had a section on growing plants indoors, as most of our houseplants were a bit worse for wear after summer. A hop, skip and a jump later they were presented with the....ahem...wrong section. After correcting the shopkeeper they were escorted to the less criminal of the botanical how to's, and began researching remedies for yellowed leaves and drooping foliage. Meanwhile I was wandering around the store in awe. I did manage to find two books I wanted to buy. The first being The Tower, The Zoo and The Tortoise, which was a lovely and whimsical book (I read it on the way back to Kansas), that I would suggest to anyone. The second was The Elegance of the Hedgehog, which I have not read yet, but must be good, as 1) it has the word Hedgehog in the title and 2) at least 3/4 of the employees in the store seemed to have read the book and highly recommended it. It was a great place to visit, and maybe someday I can go back and take a little more time to look around.
Finally we set out for Copper Mountain, the resort where Warrior Dash was being held. Our wave started at 4:00, and it only took us an hour to get there so on the way we stopped at a beautiful lake and hiked/relaxed for an hour. Eventually we got to our final destination, and the excitement began to build up to epic proportions! As we walked to the main camp we saw all sorts of people dressed as vikings, warriors, and Roman soldiers. There was also a guy in a gorilla suit, a guy dressed in a regular suit, an oompa loompa, and quail man (TV show: Doug on Nickelodeon). Many of us were just in our work out clothes, but Brittany, being on the ball, provided us all with pink stick on mustaches to lend us an air of masculinity. Everyone took their place in line, and as flames shot up from the starting line we took off. Our first obstacle was to jump over some cars that were blocking the road. This was followed quickly by a giant wall of hay we had to scale. To save time and energy I slid down the other side, and headed for the steep hill that we had to climb up, hand over hand, with a rope. After that it was up the mountain. Slowly but surely we trudged up, running long forgotten. After finally reaching the top I began to run again down the mountain. Here I made up some time, and I went as fast as I dared until I reached the next obstacle, tires that we had to go through via knee highs. More running followed until we got to the mud pit. This was the worst obstacle of all. The pit was about a foot and a half deep with barbed wire running over it. We plunged in, but quickly discovered that the mud was full of sharp little rocks! Every time a knee or a hand went down for the next slog forward flesh would grind against stone, and I had to grit my teeth to get through. Immediately after this there were tunnels sloping uphill we had to crawl through. I thought my knees hurt before! The tunnels were slippery with mud from others who had gone before us, and they were smooth inside, with nothing to grip. Luckily the tunnels were comprised of three tubes linked together and every time two tubes met there was a lip that I could get my fingers around and haul myself forward. My knees, covered with mud, continued to be assaulted by the sharp bits of gravel that had clung on from the mud pit, and were in a shocking state when I finally emerged from the tunnel.
To tired and heavy with mud to jog Brian and I walked for several more minutes until we regained our strength. We then jogged to the warrior walls and hoisted ourselves over, followed by the cargo nets, and the balance beams. Finally we got to the river crossing. We waded in and took a moment to clean some of the mud from our hands and arms, then it was up the other side and jogging again. At this point we knew we were close to the end. Suddenly, ahead of us, we could see two of the people from our group walking. We cheered for them as we ran up, and Bryan decided to walk with them awhile. I chose to keep running, and as I moved past them Bryan changed his mind and we kept on jogging! One hundred and fifty yards later we were closing in on the last obstacle, the warrior roast. Two 2 ft. tall lines of fuel and ember that were on fire. Picking up speed we vaulted over the first and then the second, and finally ran across the finish line!!! There we were met by our medals, friends, and water! Brian got a big kiss from Brady, as everyone cheered in the rest of our group. After many pictures we headed off to get cleaned up...but we still had one more challenge ahead.
Although there were showers at warrior dash, they consisted of cold water. We were therefore advised to jump in the pond at the resort to clean off. As I tottered in over uneven rocks the frigid water robbed me of any breath I had caught after the run. Finally I tightened my jaw and plunged into the murky, icy depths. Coming up, I quickly regained my footing and began scrubbing at my arms and legs to remove the mud. I also tried to get as much out of my shirt as possible and was very thankful that I wore shorts that were not very absorbent and easily cleaned of the mud. By this time I had gotten quite numb and was really warm standing in the water, so I dunked my head under to clean the mud out of my hair and off my face. Eventually we all got out, dripping and frigid. We went up the hill and I indulged in the purchase of a sweatshirt. In the bathroom I removed the cold heav shirt I had on and replaced it with the warm, dry one. I then headed to the food tent for some corn on the cob, as being from Indiana I had to get my fix. Finally I returned to my friends and we all gathered to drink our complimentary beer together. The sun came out, music played and there were happy people everywhere. After enjoying our drinks we decided to head home and get cleaned up.
Back at the hotel the shower was glorious. Of course my knees took issue with all the mud coming off, and bled freely to express their distaste. Finally clean, and relatively clotted (Everyones knees were scratched, scraped and bleeding), we headed out to enjoy, you guessed it, more drinking. We went to a very nice restaurant and sat on the patio to enjoy a glass of wine (me and Ann) or cocktails (everyone else). It was a beautiful night and there were all sorts of interesting people out. At 12:30 we paid our bill and walked to a dueling piano bar called Wild Ivories. It was request night so we heard many of our favorites from high school and undergrad. The piano players were hilarious but I think we were all a bit relieved when we left at closing time (1:00 am). Back at the hotel we all gathered in one of the rooms to talk and play clue. It was wonderful, but soon it was 3:30, so we said goodnight, put on our pj's and finally collapsed into bed.
Overall it was fantastic! I had a great time with my friends, I bought some great books, and I got to see Denver a little more. I definitely want to go back and take some time to enjoy the city. My time for the Warrior Dash was 48 minutes and 5 seconds. I plan to keep training so that I can beat my time the next Dash I go to. I am trying to convince Max to go with me to Texas or Ohio for the next one, I think he would have a blast!