My alarm went off at 4:30 a.m. on a Sunday. What the hell?? Then it hit me… Don’t wake the wife, grab my duffle, and get out of the house. My GPS was set to get me up to the Catskills for a 10:30 a.m. to start my first Warrior Dash. When I got to the race I was one of the first to arrive. Being prepared has always been my thing, but getting there three hours prior to my wave was ridiculous. I made the most of it, getting my second cup of coffee, three bananas, and a cinnamon raisin bagel. Then I checked in.
The harsh reality of my three hour trip set in soon after. It was $65 entry fee after six hours of driving. The race was won the day before in only 25 minutes. Am I losing my flippin’ mind? Most men would be four hours out on a golf course with good friends at this point. Me.? I needed to get my fix on an obstacle course, by challenging my mental and physical efforts, surrounded by thousands of strangers.
The race was 15 minutes up a ski mountain to start at Windham Mountain, in the Catskills. The 15 minutes ended up being half running and half leaning with a power walk. I conserved my energy and it paid off. I caught up to most of the runners at the top after hopping over three walls 6′ in height. The obstacles then came one by one. First, a 50 foot tunnel to crawl through, then a frigid pond to wade through, after that, more running as we traversed down the mountain. More obstacles…cargo net climbing, plank walking, and a 75 foot water slide.
I saw a bunch of competitors bunching up on the left, so I took the slide full speed on the right. I must have hit the bale of hay at 50 mph at the bottom. Then, a little more running and jumped over a fire wall…sick organizers! Then, a mud pit under barbed wire. Finished in 34 minutes coming in 21st out of 239 competitors in my age group. Wiped myself down. Cleaned the mud out of my ears, got in the car, and drove myself three hours to meet my 3 p.m. athlete at Yale. made it with five minutes to spare. You can say I’m a busy man…I would have loved to enjoy the free beer and bands after the race with those complete strangers. Oh, well.