Thursday, February 28, 2013

Warrior Dash 2013 Race Report

The Warrior Dash returned to Hawaii last weekend, and with it came thousands of muddy crazies ready to run, climb, crawl, and jump through a 5k obstacle course. And I was right there with them, alongside friends Diesel and the Grey (but not really the Grey). We participated in the "craziest fricken' day of (our) lives" last year and had a great time, so as soon as registration opened for the 2013 iteration of the Dash we were in like Flynn. The price is right for early registration at these events, and along with the actual race the swag is great. A fuzzy horn hat, a shirt, a medal, and a beer? The only event I've ever done with better swag is the Honu.

Better shirt than last year

Couldn't find facepaint this far from Halloween. This is lipstick. Grrrr
Traffic to and from the event last year was a bear because the course is down a two-lane road. So, like last year, rather than drive and pay to park we stopped a mile away from the entrance and rode our bikes in. So very much better. Along with Diesel and the Grey was Fore, a friend of Diesel's who is not really about the fitness but was down for the fun. And the Warrior Dash is all about fun. Yeah, they give you a chip and you can find your time, but anyone who puts a lot of stock in their Warrior Dash time is probably a douche. The Grey was registered to run but didn't, because the day before he'd gone for a bike ride in the wet and slipped. Fresh road rash should not be submerged in duck ponds and mud pits. He came for moral support and to take pictures. We rode in, picked up our numbers, chips, and fuzzy hats, checked our bags, and got ready to rock.
The Grey the Clean

Seems safe
I went with the kilt and old VFFs like last year. Unlike last year I also decided to add some face paint. The pattern I choose is a nerd joke. You win 15 Dirtbag Points* for naming why I chose the paint I did in the comments. (*Dirtbag Points not redeemable for actual goods or services, onlu bragging rights.) There are a ton of great costumes at the race. We saw guys in short shorts and suspenders with afro wigs, pirates, ninjas, and whatever other manner of silliness you can think of. I know I wouldn't want to run 5k with a Darth Vader mask on, but someone did and more power to them.
Lipstick lasts surprisingly well

Who am I? (Scowl is part of the cosplay)
We signed up for the first start, 9am. The first start is the best start. You get in early, before heavy traffoc. You get out on the course before thousands of feet have trampled it. The mud pit isn't too full of other people's whatever when you go crawling through it. Early is better.
The course location was different than last year, and I don't think any part of the 3.1 miles covered the same ground. They did start similarly though, with about a mile of single track running. Correction- They started exactly the same- with FIRE. Every race should start with FIRE. But there were no obstacles for the first mile or so. Only narrow, muddy, slippery trail. Like I said, if you super duper care about your Warrior Dash time you're probably a douche, and you probably went out of your way to pass those of us out for a fun jog. There was lots of walking in that first bit. Why not? Passing was a pain. And some of those mud slicks were awfully slippery. That wasn't even the plan of the Warrior Dash designers. It had been raining days before. I expected to do the whole run in the rain, but day of the skies cleared and we had beautiful weather.
The list of obstacles to follow is probably out of order, and I'm sure I forget a few, but you get the idea.
On the War path
We bear crawled under barbed wire strung on cross-beams. We went up and down dug-out dirt (mud) hills which got progressively bigger. There was balance beams over water hazards, with chest-high walls in the middle you have to carefully climb over. Over-under barriers where you vault over one then duck under a string of barbed wire. Plenty of climbing up wooden walls with uneven, irregular handholds. Down and into a trench I went, having to crawl infantry-style to avoid even more barbed wire. And the duck pond, where you stop, look at it, try not to think about what tiny, molecular organisms might be living there, and then wade into the water, which has an blockage of floating barrels to climb over (don't put my head under don't put my head under mouth closed mouth closed). After that is the shower climb, where water is piped into a Hollywood-style rain which falls down on you as you climb another wooden wall, rappelling down the other side. And into the final three obstacles- the Big Giant Cargo Net climb, making you (me) feel all the more like a pirate. I may have sung. Then the fire jump, perhaps the most famous of Warrior Dash obstacles. I swear the flames were higher and hotter than last year. And the final Mud Crawl. If you're a badass then you get down and get into it, staying low under the barbed wire and getting nice and covered in mud. If you're not (and why wouldn't you be) then you bend and dip and try not to get your precious self too dirty. Wuss.

Balance beams over water hazard

Dude in the speedo pre-partied too hard
Through the water and over the barrels
Climb in the rain
Cargo net climb! (Higher than it looks)

Yo ho yo ho...


Wooo, seemed higher than last year
Mud crawl!


 And across the line.
Kilt was red...

Diesel, Fore, Beer

Right after the finish
The obstacles are only part of the awesome that is a Warrior Dash. The people are great too. I spent much of the run chatting with the warriors around me. You call out encouragement. You compliment costumes. If you're a kilt-wearing warrior then as you climb you say things like, "I'm not saying I'm not wearing anything under my kilt, I'm just saying you might want to give me a little head start up this and not follow too close." You say the same thing crawling on your hands and knees. You stand at the finish and cheer as people throw themselves with abandon into the mud pit, and boo when thy delicately tip-toe through. And afterwards you grab a beer (or grab a beer and hand it to your friend), hang out for a bit, watch the band play a Black Key's cover halfway decently, and enjoy the day. There is a shower area that takes way too long to use because people stand there with the hose trying to get all the mud off, even though hey the rest of us are slowly hardening into human statues could you move it along please you're fine!
After we were done and ready to go we rode, not back to the cars, but across the street to the beach. My kilt was caked with mud because I didn't wait for the hose and I dove straight into the ocean. FOOSH, mud cloud. Ruined my little area of Hawaii's famous clear blue water. Sure does make laundry easier later though.
I never try to sell people on races. What you want to do is your business. But I really think everyone should do a Warrior Dash. Fore has bad knees and isn't in the best shape so he walked the whole thing. Who cares? Seriously, find one near you, register, and have a great damn time. Of course you should train, but you don't have to train hard. The range of body-types and fitness levels at this event is wider than any other endurance event I've ever done. It's so so much fun.


  1. Replies
    1. Fifteen Dirtbag Points for you! Plus an extra five for using his nickname. Well done, Spartan.

  2. My friends here and I are planning to do the 2014 one. I just need to get into shape. :D From your report this year and last, it looks super fun. Plus fuzzy hats!