Friday, February 17, 2017

Warrior Dash - February 11, 2017




Huge Festival Area!
February 11, 2017, also known as the beginning of Obstacle Course Racing (OCR) in the Florida region, was a day filled with fun, laughs, mud, and friends.  I’ve lived in Florida for 4 years, and have been dedicated to OCRs for the past two.  These 2 years, Warrior Dash has managed to become my season kick off race and an opportunity for me to reunite with my long lost OCR brothers and sisters.  For the second year in a row Warrior Dash was held at Revolution Off Road in Clermont, Fl. Revolution Off Road is a beautiful property in Central Florida with plenty of off road trails, water, and mud to make any OCR a success.  Warrior Dash has always held a special place in my heart.  It was the first OCR/MudRun I ever did.  It was the beginning of an addiction that I had no idea I had.  My first Warrior Dash was in Charles City, Virginia in 2012.  My best friend Kristie and I ran that race by ourselves, challenged each other, and had an amazing time.  That day we realized that together as a team we could accomplish anything.  OCRs then were so new to me, and scary at first.  I was under the assumption that only professional athletes should be competing in them and doing them and since I was never up to that caliber I better not even attempt them.  After conquering my first Warrior Dash I realized this was a myth.  Sure, you had to be in decent shape to complete 3.1 miles, but as far as obstacles were concerned, they are about having fun and challenging yourself.  If you can’t do an obstacle because of fear, that’s okay.  If you can’t do an obstacle because of lack of strength, that’s okay too.  The one thing that surprised me when I did this the first time was that total strangers were helping us get through the race.  People we had never met, and still till this day, have no idea who they were.  Strangers motivated us, pulled us up walls, and gave us tips on how to conquer the next obstacle.  It’s because of these people we were able to climb the walls we were once scared of, and because of them we became part of Warrior Nation in 2012.

Me and Kristie
A few weeks prior to the 2017 Warrior Dash in Florida, the same friend who asked me to do my first ever OCR, told me she wanted to do this year’s Warrior Dash with her as well.  I jumped at the opportunity to re-live our shenanigans which got me eternally hooked on OCR’s in the first place.  This would be our first OCR back together as a team, and it was only fitting that it should be the same race which we bonded so well at in 2012.  This time, Kristie had brought her 13 year old daughter Bella to tag along and be a spectator.  The moment I found out she was going to be there I knew we had to get her to run the Warrior Dash.  You see, Bella is an amazing girl but more talented artistically and not so much an athlete.  She cringes at the thought of doing anything physical, which is okay.  I’m a true believer that as long as a child can find something they love, they should stick with that.  Bella had never ran a mud run before yet always supported me and her mom when we chose to participate in these events.  I desperately wanted her to do this event with us so immediately I made sure every excuse she came up with to not run was remedied.  No registration, no problem, I fixed that. (Registration is available on site)  No clothes to run in, I just so happened to have extra.  (Merchandise tent has t-shirts and shorts)  No shoes, I found some her size.  Before you knew it she couldn’t say no anymore and we were at the start line.

I have to be honest, my initial intent this day was to casually run the race, take a few pictures, write a review of my thoughts, and talk to people about their experience but in an instant it turned into so much more.  When the stream of fire was lit off, signaling the wave to start running, I noticed the excitement in this little girls eyes.  I was reminded of my own excitement the very first Warrior Dash I had ran in 2012.  I had no idea what to expect, the crowd around me was pumped, and there was so much excitement and adrenaline running through my veins I could barely stand it.  The same was happening right in front of me with Bella.  As we began running she was doing incredible.  She turned around to her mom and myself saying “Wow, this is the furthest I’ve ever run!” 

Bella, a little nervous to jump
over the fire!  But she did it!
Once we hit the first obstacle, Alcatraz, Bella's face cringed.  She knew she had to jump into some fairly cold water, over an obstacle and swim to the shore.  Bella, who is not the best swimmer in the world, took a deep breath and ran straight into the lake.  She made it over the obstacle by herself and courageously swam to the other side making it safely on land.  Her mom and I looked at her and then at each other, shrugged our shoulders in amazement and kept going.  We continued glancing at each other throughout the entire 3.1 miles as Bella accomplished and finished each obstacle.  She was doing great and was loving every minute we were out there!  When we hit the obstacle Warrior Summit I knew I was going to have my hands full.  This is a very tall obstacle which you must climb a slanted wall with a rope, and once on top, you climb down easily using foot holds.  In the first Warrior Dash we ever did, both Kristie and I skipped this obstacle.  We weren’t confident that we had the upper body strength to complete it and honestly didn’t want to fall and hurt ourselves.  Since then, I have personally gained the ability to complete it and have assisted others in overcoming their fears, but it’s still an obstacle that my friend won’t do.  This obstacle has notoriously been one that Kristie will still walk by, take pictures, and cheer on others while she respectfully sits herself out.  As we ran up to the obstacle I looked at Bella and gave her some encouragement to just try it.  Without hesitation she ran on the wall, grabbed the rope and without any problems completed it within a blink of an eye.  My friend and I were completely shocked.  Then before I knew it, Kristie says “well, I guess I can’t let my daughter show me off” and jumped on the wall and worked her way up and over the obstacle!  I was so proud of both of them!  Not only had Kristie conquered on of her fears but she did it with her daughter cheering her on.

As we finished the race and received our medals the smile and excitement that Bella had on her face was intoxicating.  This little girl had accomplished something she never thought she would had previously been able to do.  People were giving her high fives, runners who had seen her struggle with some obstacles along the course were congratulating her for finishing, and my group of running friends MudRunFun and IronAnt Fitness were asking how she liked it and if she would come to another one.  Her response was “Yes, definitely!”  As the day progressed and they left the event I received a text message from my Kristie.  It simply said “You just gained TWO mud runners.”  The happiness in my spirit couldn’t be contained.  I was so proud of my friend running and completing the one obstacle she always avoided, and her daughter completing the race after she had no interest what so ever to run one.  Not only did Bella complete it she loved it.  She also walked away with a pep in her step, and so much more confidence in herself than I had ever seen.

Warrior Nation isn’t about coming out to Warrior Dash solo or being an extreme competitor for yourself and no one else.  Warrior Nation is about becoming a part of a family full of positive people, encouraging others, accomplishing things you didn’t think you could, and most of all finding the little child within yourself who likes to play in mud and jump in puddles.

A few things to remember about Warrior Dash Central Florida:

1)      Parking is a bit of a hike, so be prepared to walk. 
2)      Arrive early.  I suggest getting to the event at least an hour before your wave is scheduled. 
3)      Pack light.  Leave anything heavy or bulky in your car.
4)      Bring a towel, change of clothes, and sunscreen.
5)      Bring your ID and credit card.  Warrior Dash is a cashless event.
6)      Invite your friends and family, the festival area is awesome to hang out in.
7)      Be prepared to have fun!

Register for your next Warrior Dash:  Click Here
Visit Kritie's Blog about Warrior Dash:  Click Here
Learn More About IronANT Fitness:  Click Here













1 comment:

  1. OMG! I love you so much! I can't even! It made me cry super hard!

    ReplyDelete