From the Muddy Banks of Forney, Slipping and Sliding Through the Warrior Dash

We begin this week where we spent most of last week: at the Warrior Dash in Forney, where my fellow warriors and I spent the weekend traversing 14 obstacles from hell. We worried about parking, since that seemed to be an ongoing issue, but once we arrived it wasn't a problem at all. There was plenty in an open field next to Cousin's Paintball, where the Warrior Dash was being held. In fact, the whole thing was well organized; everything ran smoothly (except for the turkey leg line). From packet pick-up to finish line to free beer -- no sweat, just plenty of mud.

We were in line stretching and putting on our game faces for the 4 p.m. Saturday heat when we saw the group that ran in the 3:30 slot crossing the finish line. They were soaked head to toe in mud; they grinned from ear to ear. We knew then that ours would be an adventurous 3.5-mile journey. And we could. Not. Wait.

The first obstacle was the Texas Tornado, a contraption that made it feel as though we were running in place for about 30 seconds -- an apt metaphor for last week's holding pattern. Then we had to walk over a gully on a wooden plank -- much ado about nothing. Bring on the challenges! And that's when it happened.

That's when they introduced the mud. We had to dash down a muddy river, which wasn't too easy -- it was a slip-n-slide-n-fall down to the bitter end. Then we had to slide down a mud hill into another river, run through another muddy river with a few drop-offs, then climb up another mud hill. It's not as easy as it sounds.

The mud climb was probably the most difficult obstacle -- for me, at least. You had to rely on holes made in the mud by previous runners, and even then it wasn't guaranteed you were going to make it to the top. You would climb up halfway, then slide back down to the bottom. I finally made it to the middle of the mud hill, then decided to use the rope to pull myself to the very top.

At which point, everything becomes a little fuzzy. I vaguely remember climbing up and down a rope wall, jumping over a wooden a medium-size spool, swimming in a lake (which helped me find my second wind), climbing a wall made of hay, jumping over two rows of fire and climbing under barbed wire in a mud pit to finally make it to the finish line. The second you cross the finish line, they have staffers putting a medal around your neck, and they hand out water, Gatorade, granola bars and bananas. I used my water to get the mud out of my eyes. We then waited in another line for around 30 minutes so we could get hosed down.

After some of us decided to change out of our muddy clothes (others decided the mud was a good look for them), we decided to partake in the Viking-helmeted warrior celebration -- where, as if my magic, the one free beer promised to runners turned into three, perhaps as a reward for enduring the nonsense of last week's will-it-or-won't-it. The beer line was no problem -- 10 seconds, in and out.

The turkey leg line, however, was a total bust: People waited in line for an hour, only to be told they'd run out -- and, sorry, but there's only corn left. In other words, the Warrior Dash party scene seemed like any other outdoor festival that involved food and beer and mud and a cover band playing Weezer and Poison. In other words, worth the wait.

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