Sunday, April 14, 2019
This post is mostly intended for those who are considering throwing their hat into the obstacle event game - especially those, who are hesitating because of their moderate fitness levels. While, with my five fitness classes a week, it might seem I should just breeze through these, that is not entirely true. The crawling, ground-bound obstacles are indeed easier for me than for most - I can crawl on all fours where most people have to slide. My performance on balance-focused obstacles had improved significantly since I'd upped the code and balance work while attending Zumba, POUND, Barre, and belly dance classes. The tall obstacles involving climbing and getting over things are still a challenge for me due to my rather rampant fear of heights. I am getting there, but there is still a lot of work to do. Having merged with Red Frog, Warrior Dash had expanded its event options and now offers a 1-mile, 5k, and 10k events. Some of the obstacles have been altered, although the trusty old favorites, like Mud Mounds, Warrior Roast, and Muddy Mayhem, are still alive and well. Obstacles vary by the event depending on the location. Also, the time of year and location matter, because temperature, humidity, precipitation, and terrain can and do present obstacles within their own right. So here is the breakdown for the latest event. Click on the name of each obstacle to see photos and 3D models and get a better idea what you are dealing with. Covington, GA is not a bad place to do a mud run in April. The temps are usually pretty comfortable, especially if you do an earlier wave - say, a 9 or 9:30 am. That said, it being the vicinity of Georgia mountains in spring, the water is COLD. Much to my disappointment, the main water obstacle Alcatraz was closed due to the absence of a life guard. Despite the super-chilly water, it's always been my favorite. As long as you can swim, you can scale this one fairly easily - just make sure you don't get your feet tangled in the net stretched across the platform. Oscar the Ouch This is a new obstacle but a combination of two old ones. The slopes to climb the wooden structures are not well-suited for people with short legs. There is only one plank in the middle to rest your feet on, so you may need a boost from a taller friend. The climb down is much easier - the rungs are reasonably spaced. The crawl is nice and dirty, but not sloppy. Just keep your back and butt low enough to avoid the barbed wire. The Devil's Crack A variation on some of the older obstacles, it's another fairly reasonable crawl, but possibly with squishier mud. Be prepared to start getting dirty. Also, watch out for the rocks while underground, as well as for the wooden crosspieces keeping the tarp in place. The Warden's Wall This one was new to me and defeated me because of my acrophobia. If you don't have that kind of a hangup, it shouldn't be too bad. The challenge during the climb is the wobbly and flexible net, especially once you get to the top and have to somehow hoist yourself over the wooden bar at the top. This one is best traverse with some friends to cheer you on and help you over. Upslide Down Piece of cake. Just stretch out on your back, grab onto the rope net and push with your legs. Mrs. Muddington's Mounds Also known as the Mud Mounds in the past. This is where you start getting seriously dirty. The depth of the pits between the mounds varies between locations, especially if you've had some rain shortly before. If you have short legs, go closer to the side - it's easier to get a foothold there. The Damn Dam This one is new. I wonder whether Warrior Dash obstacle designers were inspired by a similar obstacle at Tough Mudder, but made it a little shorter and more manageable, since the dash is designed to be traversed solo, whereas the mudder is tailored for teams. If you have good strong legs, wide step, good jump, and serious upper body strength, try the run and jump approach to reach the top. If not, do what I did and use the planks. The wider gap is not as wide as it looks because the planks are set on a curve. Use the easy reach to the next plank to pull yourself up and get your feet under you. And be a good neighbor - stay at the top and give a hand to the next person. Splitsville There are two versions of this obstacle, I've done both and I can't decide, which one is more challenging. They are both fun, but they definitely test your balance and core strength. The version we did last year included the plastic pallets suspended on chains at different levels, and you had to go across - up and down - holding on to the chains. This year, Splitsville had planks, also suspended from chains. So, the level remained the same, but the plank bucked and tried to roll every time I moved. So, staying on it was tricky. This one is to be handled with your best judgment - there is really no way anyone can help you here. El Capitan This. Was. WORK. 25 feet tall. Really three obstacles rolled into one. First, you climb up a wooden ladder to the height of about 15 feet. Then you climb 10 feet more up an inclined net, which traverses a gap between two portions of the structure (each built from industrial-size cargo containers). Then you sit on your butt and slide down from the height of a 3-4-story building into a pile of hay. Did I mention I was afraid of heights. This took a lot of focus and just putting one foot in front of the other. But getting over it is a huge rush. Warrior Roast An old favorite - just run and jump. Pick up your feet. Fo-Shizzle-My-Drizzle Another new obstacle assembled from bits and pieces of the old one. The balancing planks are not bad - they are wide BUT muddy and wet, and therefor slippery. The water is cold - prepare to be startled. The sloping climb is similar to the one for Oscar the Ouch - so push off well with your foot to get up and over. Muddy Mayhem Oldie but goodie. Just crawl. Hold on to your shoes. Help a friend or a stranger - that mud is STICKY.