Last Saturday I ran the Swampfoot 4 Mile with some friends. I had only signed up a few weeks earlier and I did absolutely nothing extra to train for the obstacles. Any extra upper body strength I had was due to hot yoga at least once a week. And a couple times that I did pushups after a run- when I felt like it, which wasn’t often.
My friend Amanda and I ran a couple of Warrior Dashes several years ago so I wasn’t entirely new to an obstacle course race. I knew to bring towels for the car, wear old shoes, spare contacts just in case, and a change of clothes.
At least in years past, Warrior Dash boasted of tens of thousands of participants spread across heats every half hour over two days. This was different being not just closer to home in St. Clair, Michigan, but also not teeming with bodies everywhere. It must be so much work to put a course like that together. But this really was a well-put together event!
It was hard! The first mile was mostly without obstacles. Okay, with obstacles but they were large tree trunks to go over. I felt tired early. The sun and humidity in the 11:40 am heat didn’t help. The first big obstacle was a set of monkey bars and I AM SO PROUD that I made it across. It helped hearing encouragement from the volunteers. And I could feel how easy it would be to just let go because it was difficult.
Without getting into details on every obstacle, I can summarize it by saying the race was fun and challenging. Harder than the Warrior Dash, without a doubt (but not as muddy). If you couldn’t do the hard obstacle, there was an “easy” route to take; this added a little bit more distance and an easier obstacle to accomplish. And really I’m not sure if other strong and more-fit-for-obstacles-runners noticed the volunteers as much as I did but they were great giving out not just advice on the obstacle but the support to complete it. Like when I thought going down the rope I would just get rope burn from sliding down because I didn’t think I had the strength to actually gradually lower myself to the ground.
When we finished we got beers. Mike’s lemonade is normally too sweet for me but gosh it tasted so good.