10.83 – Mud Hero Toronto 2012

The morning arrived with an ominous forecast of 31 degrees with a humidex of 36+, but at least I was vindicated in my decision to make sure we were in the second earliest group to go. The setup was pretty easy, the parking was close to the event so no buses this year like last time at Warrior Dash (You can read about the Warrior Dash HERE and HERE)We were pretty early but since I was paranoid about my shins I spent about 45 minutes warming them up and asking them to please behave during the hell that was to come. The overall event was much smaller than Warrior Dash but I think was more suitable for us especially given those who were participating, I am not sure even I would have been up for running up ski hills again this year, I wanted more obstacles and less running where possible. In fact, the course delivered exactly that, there was plenty of running up through woods and small hills and over streams mixed in with the “official” obstacles. Even the first part from the start to the first obstacle which I was dreading due to my lack of running practice wasn’t so bad. Probably the adrenaline and the crowds helped though. Speaking of running, I really wish I had practiced at least a couple of times. What made me slow was not the fact that I can’t run, I already know I am not the greatest runner but that due to my lack of practice in my vibrams with actual running my mechanics were terrible. That meant I was working probably twice as hard as I needed to in order to produce the lava like speed with which I was running. Had I practiced and got my mechanical stride in shape, I am sure I would have had a much easier time of it. Not only that, you would think after last time I would have learned to wear shorter, less absorbent shorts, by the time we were past 3 or 4 obstacles my shorts were filled with mud and it was like carrying a backpack strapped to my butt. I did however remember not to let my knees touch the ground in the mud pits because just as I had recalled the bottom of the mud pit is in fact littered with sharp stones and rocks which can really tear up your knees.

The obstacles themselves were far more entertaining than last year, probably because I was not as tired when I got to them, several walls, hay bales, parked cars, cargo nets and so on made it very similar in difficulty and enjoyment. The haunted house was a fun addition and the fact that they had put out actual water slides and not just a tarp over a rock bed made that part far better for me. The people we went with all did great, I have to admit, probably better than I did which was a little disappointing but I know what my issues were and I won’t let them happen again. Fact is that we all managed to stay together pretty much to the end which made the whole experience that much better.

This was about half way through, as you can see my choice of shorts was ill advised. Bruce, one of our participants wore a GoPro camera on his head, the footage of which I can’t wait to see. My favourite part? I am not sure, getting sprayed with water as you are dying from the heat was great, and for sure the hardest part for me was the horizontal cargo net ( I should have walked over not bear walked) but I think my favourite part was the hay bales, being able to throw yourself around on them was a blast, that and the vertical cargo net, for some reason I just love to climb those things.

In all it probably took just over an hour to finish with 19 obstacles covering 6km. The fastest time was around 25 minutes I think but that is just insane.

I am really happy we did it, I am disappointed that all my girls didn’t decide to do it but I have to tip my hat to my one athlete who chose to run with us, her determination, drive and willingness to push through her obvious pains was a real inspiration.

All in all, a really successful day and I hope inspiration to others to come out and join us next year!!


And no, no Usain Bolt poses!

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…