GUEST BLOG POST BY: DANIELLE DOOLEN
Danielle Doolen from Charlotte, NC is the Content Marketing Manager at Work For Your Beer. Work For Your Beer is the ultimate guide to beer fitness. Their mission is to provide an up-to-date directory of all beer fitness events across the U.S. and to rapidly grow the beer fitness community. Using their passion for fitness and craft beer, they aim to provide engaging content, unique events, and branded merchandise to those who want to enjoy their workouts, drink good beer, and make new friends. Learn more about Work For Your Beer at www.workforyourbeer.com.
When I signed up for the North Carolina Warrior Dash, I wasn’t sure what to expect. While I’m an avid runner, this was going to be my first obstacle course race, and I had no idea how to prepare myself for what awaited me at the starting line. So in order to be better prepared for race day, I did my research to find out more about the 5k run and twelve obstacles that made up this unique event.
My first thought was that the running part of it would be a piece of cake. The obstacles, on the other hand, I wasn’t so sure about.
Whether I crushed this obstacle course race or totally bombed, I knew that the experience would be more fun with friends, so I recruited my husband and Work For Your Beer co-founder Mel Fox to join me.
Come race day, I started feeling nervous. Nervous about where the obstacles would be along the course, and what the obstacles would be. Nervous about getting stuck in the mud (and getting the dirtiest I’ve ever been in my life). Nervous that I wouldn’t be strong enough.
What if I can’t make it through the obstacles? I worried. I knew I’d need some moral support, so the three of us agreed to stick together on the course.
As we were heading to the start line, I couldn’t help but instinctively tip-toed around the giant mud puddle at the gate. Right away, the volunteer who would kick off our heat poked fun at the fact that I was afraid to get dirty, despite the fact that I was about to trudge through giant pools of mud. (He made a valid point).
Just as I came to terms with the fact that I was about to be as dirty as a pig rolling in mud, the flames went up, and we were off!
Prior to starting, I really thought the running component would be the easiest part for me, but boy was I wrong. Running to the first obstacle felt like it took forever. Maybe it was the anticipation of the first obstacle. Or maybe it was trying not to slip on the wet grass because it had been raining an unusual amount in North Carolina that week, and the conditions on the course were expected to be wetter and muddier than normal.
When we finally reached No Man’s Land, I almost felt relieved. One obstacle down, eleven more to go… and there was already sweat dripping in my eyes.
At this point, my husband had broken off from the pack (traitor!), so Mel and I continued to run and conquer Summit Plummet before we came to the Mud Mounds. The time had come to get truly dirty, I realized as I took the plunge feet first into the mud pit. I have to admit that despite how gross the mud felt and how unpleasant it smelled, it was a lot of fun.
By this time, our running pace had slowed — partially because we were tired, but mostly because we were covered in mud and trying not to slip on the muddy terrain. We made our way to the Warrior Summit, which we each climbed on our own before stopping to high-five each other at the top.
For the next two obstacles, Pallet Jacked and Rock Slide, we decided we’d tackle them together. For Pallet Jacked, one of us stepped up onto the pallet and got our bearings, then the other followed. And for Rock Slide, we each grabbed a side of the slide to maintain balance. Somewhere in between Pallet Jacked and Rock Slide, I took an anything-but-graceful fall right on my butt. (Shoutout to the friendly stranger who was there to help me back up).
After we made our way through Super Soaker, we reached the muddiest obstacle yet, Down To Earth. I’m not going to lie: this obstacle, while one of the easiest, was easily the grossest of all. We had to crawl through a tunnel that was filled with squishy and smelly mud. As I was trudging through the 40-foot tunnel, I did everything I could not to gag. But thankfully, that obstacle was followed by Upslide Down XL, which was a blast (and not gross at all).
We then reached the best photo-op on the course, Warrior Roast. By this time, my husband circled back up with Mel and myself, and the three of us excitedly jumped over the burning flames together. We finished up the race with what the hardest obstacle of all, The Filth Element, and then the muddiest obstacle on the course, Muddy Mayhem.
I was thrilled to get out of the mud pit and cross the finish line. So much so that I gave the volunteer who handed me my medal a great big hug. And others must have felt the same way, because apparently I wasn’t the first (or last) to do so. In fact, numerous volunteers were mud-covered, and they never even set foot on the course!
As soon as we finished, we couldn’t wait to take photos clad in our newly muddy outfits — and of course, get our hands on our complimentary Dogfish Head beer. Because here at Work For Your Beer, we’re always ready for a cold one once we cross the finish line.
The Warrior Dash was hands-down the most fun I’ve ever had running a race — and I’ve ran plenty of them! While both the obstacles and the running were difficult, they challenged my mind and body in a way no other race had before.
The teamwork and comradery I felt on the course definitely kept me motivated and excited to tackle whatever came next. And despite the occasional ickiness, the mud helped ensure we had a good time by keeping the mood light, so we didn’t take ourselves too seriously.
I’m so glad I had people to share in the fun, because it felt like the Warrior Dash was made to be completed with family and friends. The more, the merrier (and the muddier)!