R7D30-35 – Warriors In Sickness And In Health

The week leading up to the Warrior Dash was not great. I coached Wednesday despite having a fever and after spiking over 40 degrees I was off work on Thursday and Friday with only some gentle walking on the treadmill and outside to count as exercise on Friday. My throat was extremely sore, and to me that is a serious issue, but Nicole apparently thought I meant I had a “tickle” in my throat because when she finally saw the white lesions back there she immediately suggested I go to the clinic. It’s been so bad that I can hardly eat, because swallowing anything is like inserting a stick blender into my throat. The clinic doc tells me it’s not Strep but it is a viral infection and it is both contagious and incurable. Great. Despite being weak from fever and feeling like my head is connected to my shoulders by a lit sparkler I wasn’t about to miss the Warrior Dash due to start 930am Saturday. Oh and one more thing that I neglected to mention, I burned the roof of my mouth on Friday so badly that I can’t actually bite into anything because the roof of my mouth HAS NO SKIN LEFT!

Of course I can’t sleep, so by the time 5am rolled around on Saturday I didn’t feel like I had rested at all in preparation for what was billed as “The Craziest Day Of Your Life” by the Warrior Dash peeps. We dropped off the baby and drove up to Horseshoe Resort in Barrie. The fact that this race was set to be hosted at a ski resort should have been my first indicator that it was going to take more than a couple of days running “hills” to train properly for this. It was too late for regret, and I would have to lean on my every day training to get me through. In reality, the course ran up and down ski hills with alarming regularity, and for at least 2 of the ascents we were on black diamonds I am sure (at least it felt, and looked that way). We were all pretty excited to get started, the feeling of the park was not unlike being a soph in university, all of the enjoyment, none of the drunken froshness. The place was flooded with participants even though we were some of the earliest waves to go (I would suggest doing that!) and even as we lined up to drop off our gear, there were plenty of people already finishing, caked in mud with a banana and a huge smile. I have to say that there were all kinds of people participating. It wasn’t just a bunch of crossfit and bootcamp knuckleheads, it was basically the same kind of crowd you would see at a 5 or 10k fun run, most look like they belong, some look lost and some look like they maybe should have thought this through a little better but kudos to everyone for coming out and giving it a shot!

We dropped our gear, took one last drink and headed to the start line and with the crowd buzzing, and cracking jokes it felt lke we were in line for a concert, not about to have our asses handed to us by a mean spirited and ugly 5k of hell. But we were blissfully unaware and as the countdown finally came and the flames leaped from the start gantry we were off! Naturally, the first few hundred yards were a laugh, everybody was talking and having fun, jumping over a small creek thinking that was a measure of what was to come. Funny thing is, there were people trying to get around the little creek not realizing that the first obstacle is knee deep mud from which there is no escape. By the time we got through the mud, there was a definite air of annoyance mixed with frustration and more than a couple of lost shoes. The fun run continued and for me that was the tough part, not being a runner, and also having a lingering malady to carry with me. Nevertheless I carried on with the hills getting steeper and longer (through woods at the start) and the pace being fairly respectable for an old guy! Second came the dark crawl, basically like going through someone’s tent at night, being too drunk to see and crawling out the other end. There were beams inside so you had to stay on your knees and since the ground was mostly gravel and rock it was a wonderfully refreshing experience! With knees smarting and heart screaming we continued on.

More to come…

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