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Musings from Warrior Dash

I’m a mere mortal.

Not that I had trouble getting through the 3+ miles of mud-running, obstacle climbing, and questionably-unsafe-smelling-moat wading in Jackson this past weekend. It was all that it was cracked up to be, more challenging and more fun than my first go-around with the Warrior Dash last year.

But my shoulders are dead. They’re aching. It’s not my shoulders, actually, but my bicep tendons (which insert, sadly, into the shoulder joint), which I overworked by going to a climbing wall a couple weeks ago, the day after doing 25 weighted pull-ups and 25 weighted dips (for time, of course).

(Owie.)

But back to Warrior Dash. The Terrorist (my girlfriend, for new readers) and I prepared by running uphill sprints a couple times a week for two weeks, sneaking in a 5K (to my dismay – running is a couple levels better than Pilates on the Circles of Exercise Hell), and the aforementioned climbing wall, all of which came in handy. After the 4-hour drive to Jackson from Birmingham, we walked half of the 3-mile trail from the highway to the park, eating bus exhaust and kicked-up dust until a camouflage Jeep picked us up and drove us the rest of the way.

I think we had two of the best costumes of the day (about 10% of people get dressed up in cheap, amusing costumes that make the dash slightly tougher; props to the 3-4 women we saw in full-length evening gowns). She had on a self-sewed pink tutu with tufts of pink tulle on her shoulders, bright red lipstick, and a Mike-Tyson style face tattoo that I drew on with baseball eye black (photo courtesy of wired.com)

I got out my old Scottish Highlander costume from two Halloweens ago, pairing it with my Vibrams and some old-school WWF Ultimate Warrior face paint. (As we were leaving, I saw another guy with Ultimate Warrior logo face paint and we had a bro moment.)

Once the race started (runners were in heats of 400-500 every half-hour), we forgot about the crisp 58-degree temperature outside. There was a lot of running on dirt and wading through mud pits. The Terrorist thinks some people may have relieved themselves in said pits. Every quarter-mile or so came an obstacle. Running through tires, climbing a rope net, walking across a muddy balance beam, ascending a rock-climbing-style wall, briefly swimming ~100-200 meters across a lake, and most famously, jumping over fire. I got through most of them unscathed, but descending one of the climbing walls, I slipped and hit my, er, inner thigh right on one of the 2×4’s. It’s left quite the nasty bruise/goose-egg.

Great race. Highly recommended. I was most proud that we were able to run through most of it without stopping to walk or getting too gassed, and that we didn’t skip any of the obstacles (an option if you’re a little hesitant or not in good-enough shape.) We celebrated with a big can of beer and a surprisingly-well roasted turkey leg, the animalistic gnawing of which is the most rewarding moment of the entire weekend.

Buuuut the next morning, I was in severe pain. I could barely move my shoulders without my fingers going numb/tingling. I had scrapes and scabs up and down my shins (scars of war, I joked). Partly my fault, since I tended to power myself over and across the obstacles, as opposed to my more flexible and nimble girlfriend, who avoided full contact with the heavy logs and wooden planks and came out relatively bruise-free.

The upshot is that for the next week or two, I can’t rely on crazy powerlifting to balance out my occasional dietary no-no’s. My goal was to be extra-strict with my diet, abandoning potatoes and rice in large amounts, avoiding sugar, and walking everywhere I possibly could. That hasn’t happened by design, except for the walking (I’m averaging 3 miles a day), which I think has saved me from packing on another 5 pounds. That and coffee.

I plan to use these two weeks to cut as much weight as I can before I start lifting again – eating a bit less, running a bit more (maybe even another 2-3 mile jog), spending as much time as I can alternating between napping and doing low-intensity physical activity. My goal is to get below 180 (3 pounds in the next 10 days doesn’t seem particularly drastic) and look a little slimmer before I get back to some heavy lifting. Which I miss desperately, thanks for asking.

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