Monday, September 17, 2012

How to Prepare for Warrior Dash

I completed the Warrior Dash last Saturday. If you have been following my blog then you know that I went back and forth about wanting to do it.

I think it was clear by Saturday morning that I didn't want to do it, but I felt like I HAD to do it at that point. I'm not a quitter. I had already paid. I told people I was going to do it.

Was I prepared? Not really. But here is what I could have done to prepare myself:

1. First question, where does your Warrior Dash take place? Is it at a ski MOUNTAIN? If the answer is yes, then you should rethink your decision to do Warrior Dash. We went up the mountain and back down the mountain. The entire FIRST MILE was just running up the mountain. There were many obstacles, but I thought the mountain was the toughest obstacle. And if you must go up the mountain, then you must run down. This was really just falling with style. At a few points I really wished for a pair of skis, it would have been much much easier.

2. My race is at a mountain, but I still want to do it!
Okay, we can handle that. First, find your closest mountain hiking trail. Make sure there are parts that are steep enough that you might think about getting on your hands and knees. Found it? Is it at least 3.2 miles to go up and back down? Perfect!  Now run up it as fast as you can and when you get to the top, run back down as fast as you can.  That's how you should train. :)

3. What about the obstacles? I think the best way to handle the obstacles is the following:
Go find a rocky, dirty yard. Roll around in it. Crawl around with your belly on the ground. Make sure you get dirt under your finger nails and scrapes on your knees.  Good job! You are half way there.
Find some walls, climb over them and just fall off the other side, well done! You are now ready for some of the obstacles. Be prepared to jump over fire, crawl under barbwire, over netting and across balance beams as well.

4. What should I wear? About one year before the race, buy a new pair of sneakers to train in. (remember that mountain you are climbing up and down?) After a year of training, you should be ready for a new pair of sneakers. Wear those old yucky sneakers to the race. When you are done, rinse off as best you can, and donate them to the group collecting sneakers for recycling.  Got some old clothes you are thinking about donating? That's what you should wear, you may never want to wear these clothes again.

5.  Oooh, souvenirs! No, no, do NOT buy souvenirs. Are you doing this by yourself? No need for a fancy outfit or Warrior Dash "stuff". Are you running as a team? It's way cooler to come up with your own team outfit, complete with homemade accessories, head gear and makeup. You don't want anything that looks too professional, it's just not cool. Besides that, with your expensive registration fee, you get a viking helmet, t-shirt (nice one too!) and a metal when you finish. That is really all you need for souvenirs. They will also give you a beer if you are over 21. My race had Miller Lite, that made me very happy. :)

6. Anything else? After the race, you will be covered in mud. Lots and lots of mud. There will be people with fire hoses ready to spray you off as best as possible. This water was VERY cold. If my race was in July, this might have felt good. But then again, if my race was in July, I don't think I would have finished, it was hot enough in September. There was an option to do a fundraising thing with St. Jude's and they said something about VIP showers. I probably should have paid more attention and taken advantage of that.

When your race is over, make sure you have the following: 
A second set of clothes that you don't care about. Even after stripping off your first layer of muddy clothes, you yourself are covered in mud. You will need to wear something home, so TWO sets of clothes you don't care about are a good idea.
Two towels. One to rub off as much mud and water as possible, another one to sit on and protect your car seat for the way home.
A pair of flip flops you don't care about. Remember you are donating your sneakers to be recycled. Barefoot is an option, but sandals or flip flops would be good.
Water and food. After the race I was STARVING. They had turkey legs available, but they were very salty. I made Anthony stop at Wendys on the way home. My race was Saturday. It's now Monday, I'm still eating everything in sight.

At home:
Do not go in your house.
Find a place to safely strip off EVERYTHING outside. Using your hose (or power sprayer if you have one) rinse all your clothes. Three times. There will still be mud.
Rinse yourself as best you can, then go take a shower.
You know how those instructions on the shampoo say to lather, rinse and repeat?  Make sure you do the repeat part.
Once you have dried off, take the towels and wash cloths you just used and put them next to the washer to be washed. The next day, take your clothes from outside that you left out overnight (they will still be wet in the morning!) and combine with your towels and wash cloth for a HEAVY DUTY washing.

That night of the dash? Do your best to smile and tell everyone how awesome it was while subtly stretching all your muscles. If you do not stretch you will regret it.

That night? Crash and sleep like you have never slept before.
The next morning? Hopefully you are lucky and someone can bring you breakfast in bed, cuz you probably can't get up anyway. :)

I hope that answers all your questions!  As promised, here are pictures:
So innocent!

And after...why did I do this again?
I definitely earned this.
Clean at last!...and wearing my warrior shirt!
Will I do it again next year?  Only if people do it with me.  And next time I am only signing up the week before, not months before. That way I can change my mind last minute in case no one else signs up. :)  Was it fun? Yeah, it was.
I definitely felt like the old "Dani Do It".  The obstacles were fun and they had funny signs all over the course that said things like "Don't worry, we won't tell if you cry." and "We didn't train for this either." and "This makes up for the other 364 days." :)

Okay, this was a long post. I have been sitting still too long, which means my sore muscles can't move now. to stretch!  Want more pictures? Need more info? Got questions? Leave 'em in the comments!


Anne said...

Well done!! Congrats! I knew you could do it. :-)

LisaJo Grummell said...

Glad you went.. James sounded about the same afterwards, glad he did, had fun but maybe not again unless with a group of prepared people. :)

Chris H said...

Great post! Congrats! :D

Michael Landry said...

Great summary! I couldn't agree more about the mountain. It sucked going both up and down!! My quads are still killing me.
The only other thing that disappointed me was the $20 to park. I couldn't believe I had to pay to park after the registration fee. $5 would have seemed more reasonable to cover expenses, but $20 just seems greedy to me.

Dani said...

Hi Michael - thanks for the comment! I agree about the parking, that seemed like a steep price to pay as well.

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