I signed up for Longhorn Run last May to motivate myself to work out harder, thinking I had little chance of actually completing it, or at least completing it without walking some part of the course. I surprised myself by succeeding, and of course, I immediately stopped working out and lost most of my fitness and endurance.
So I signed up for Warrior Dash to motivate myself to work out harder. I seriously underestimated how tough it would be, though. I thought, "It's just a 5K; I've already done a 10K. How hard could it be?" and I didn't train nearly as hard for this one as I did for the Longhorn Run.
Here I am approaching the finish, trying to look like I still have some spring in my step, but I was seriously dragging:
The difference was the terrain and the obstacles. Somehow I'd convinced myself that there were only 3 or 4 obstacles, and that they were mostly for entertainment value, since the event seems largely about the silly costumes many participants wear and the beer and turkey legs to be had on the other side of the finish line. It turns out that some of those obstacles, like high-stepping through a field of tires and climbing a pyramid of hay bales and scaling cargo nets, were downright tough. There weren't any long hills, but there were lots of little ones, as well as some slick, steep creek beds to navigate.
I trained mostly by running on the treadmill, with some weights thrown in here and there and an occasional outdoor run. My running strategy has been to find a nice, steady, sustainable pace and focus on my breathing. On this course, though, with all of the up-and-down, and the broken ground, and the 11 obstacles interspersed throughout, I couldn't find my pace. I couldn't steady my breathing. I was winded all the way and did much more walking than I anticipated.
My oldest brother ran the course with me. He said that he's never been much of a runner, preferring biking and softball. When I talked about running a 35-minute 5K, he acted like I was nuts if I thought he was going to be able to keep up with a pace like that. But throughout the course, he was well ahead of me, and while he got winded here and there, I think most of the time he spent walking was for my benefit. Here he is waiting for me to finish the third-to-last obstacle:
In the end, I wasn't as proud of my performance (though at the time I'm writing this, official results have not yet been released) as I was after the Longhorn Run. But I feel more motivated moving forward than I did then. Both of my brothers, several friends, and Aerie are all talking about running another one in the Dallas area in April, and there is no doubt in my mind that I'm going to have to step up my training significantly over the next 5 months if I'm going to be proud of myself when I stagger up out of the mud the next time.
The other great thing about Warrior Dash was the after party. Thumper had a blast. He and his cousin danced their butts off and charmed all of the ladies within a 50-foot radius. They did the Cupid Shuffle:
And the Macarena:
And, uh, whatever this is:
And with everyone else showing off their bodies:
He just couldn't resist showing off a little himself:
It doesn't snow in the Greater Austin Metropolitan Area very often, so when it does, you by-god make your kid get out there and play in it. Actually, he's the one who said, "I wanna go outside and see the snow." So we did.
He stood inside the open garage and watched me quickly make a snow man. He did not want to participate in the process, and he was thoroughly unimpressed with the result:
Finally he decided to try his scooter in the snow, but the cons quickly outweighed the pros, so we went inside:
Then we had this conversation:
"I don't like the snow."
"Because I don't. It makes me wet."
He watched my sad little snowman from the front window for awhile and soon reported that it fell over. But when we weren't looking, the snowman fairies came and built us another one, which I thought was right neighborly of them:
Running: Best 5K: 26:56 on 1/21/12 (New Year's Resolution Run) Best 5K Obstacle: 34:11 on 4/16/11 (Warrior Dash) Best 10K: 57:57 on 10/2/11 (IBM Uptown Classic) Best Half Marathon: 2:09:30 on 1/29/12 (3M) Best Sprint Triathlon: 2:19:31 on 9/3/12 (TriRock, 700 m/12mi/3mi)