Unbridled, dirty, fabulous fun

This week’s post comes to you from one of our most loyal Warriors, Brandy. Nearly all of us face obstacles with our body image, overall health, family, and personal relationships at some point in our lives. Sometimes, however, the biggest obstacle we face is within ourself. Brandy found a way to overcome her inner obstacles through Warrior Dash. Read her post below to find out how.

How did Warrior Dash help you along your journey to fitness and weight loss?

Participating in my first Warrior Dash opened my eyes to how much I missed being active and how out of shape I had become. Weighing 298 pounds at 24 years of age, I chose to have a gastric bypass. Within one year of surgery, I lost over 160 pounds and became an avid gym rat. I enjoyed working out, trail running, and pushing myself to my absolute physical limit.

Fast-forward three years later and my husband and I began experiencing typical financial troubles newlyweds face, which quickly led to a cancelled gym membership and a pantry full of ramen noodles. Two years later, I had my first son and fitness and healthy foods took a back seat to juggling daycare and paying for diapers and baby formula.

It wasn’t until my first Warrior Dash that I remembered how important my health had been to me. I remembered that, once upon a time, I enjoyed movement, just for the sake of moving. It brought me back to my trail running days, when I would get an unexplainable giddy feeling to see a fallen tree on the trail and then leap over it. Free. Primal. Unbound. Warrior Dash gave me 5K of that perfection. I wanted more and I wanted to get better at it.

It also helped me realize that I was doing my family a disservice by not taking care of myself. Reclaiming an active lifestyle made me happy, and that spilled over to how I interacted with my family.

What advice do you have for people running a Warrior Dash for the first time?

Aside from the standard “Don’t wear cotton” advice, I would tell people the following:

  • Try every obstacle—even if you don’t think you can do it. Everyone loves the feeling of doing something they didn’t think was possible. Don’t miss out on that opportunity by skipping an obstacle. You will regret it.
  • Don’t get discouraged. If you are being challenged on the course, sometimes it can be disheartening to hear, “On your left.” But just wait for it, because most of the time, “On your left” is immediately followed by, “You got this!” or “Keep it up!” I have never been to an event where the majority of racers haven’t been ready and willing to give an encouraging word or help out at an obstacle.
  • Have fun. It’s really hard to take yourself seriously when you realize that, days after the event, you will still be getting mud out of your ears, toes, and who knows where else!

What prompts you to continue to participate in the Warrior Dash?

Warrior Dash introduced me to a better version of myself that I forgot had even existed. For that, I am eternally grateful. I will continue to participate in Warrior Dash each year as an anniversary gift to my better self.

This year, I have decided to become a St. Jude Warrior to raise money for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. It’s such a wonderful cause and I am honored to be a part of it. To have the opportunity to help others while doing something I love will keep me coming back every year.

My fellow Warriors also keeps me coming back. Obstacle course racers and mud runners are a special kind of crazy! I’ve embraced the crazy and enjoy being around those who have done the same.

Finally, to run, jump, crawl, and roll around in the mud, to claw your way up a hill…it’s reclaiming your childhood. It’s reclaiming movements your ancestors did for survival. Be blessed that you aren’t doing this out of necessity; you have chosen this. What a beautiful gift to give yourself. And it’s fun! Unbridled, dirty, fabulous fun.