Saturday, July 9, 2011

Once were Warriors

A little late, but better that than never: 

Nik & I did our first Warrior Dash on June 26 in Amesbury, Mass. It was an unusual challenge, because neither of us is much of a fan of trail running. Give me solid ground any day.

The event was huger than I'd expected. Over the two days of Warrior Dashing, about 15,000 people tromped through the woods, got messy, slopped mud all over the obstacles, and stunk up the joint.

It's technically a run, although we couldn't do much running at all because the trail was ankle-deep through mud for most of it, and the rest was mud past your knees. 

Nik wore her new Brooks Cascadias and said they held her footing like a champ. She could actually move in those. If she hadn't had me dragging her behind, she could've actually done some running. 

I wore an old pair of Brooks Addictions with worn-out treads, which was a mistake. I slipped the whole way and fell about four times. I walked almost the entire course.

Though mostly I got stuck in mud.

The obstacles were somewhat intimidating because they were slopped by the muddy shoes of thousands of people before us. Nik walked up this balance beam and took her time with it. I walked onto it and saw the whole beam, maybe 5 inches wide, was caked in mud, like frosted over with pudding. I suspected that since I'm a major league klutz I would fall and crack my head open, so I jumped down.

I did most of the obstacles, like this series of walls and barbed wire. A couple, I skipped because I either wasn't confident enough (the cargo net) or fit enough (the Warrior Wall).

No question: We ended up pretty damn filthy by the end.

Which is why we mostly left our good clothes at home.

But it was worth it. Nik got to prove that she's strong like bull.

I mostly got muddy. There was mud in my eyes, beard, mustache, and in that cup of water I'm drinking. Also, I'm almost positive there was a little poop in the mud. You could smell it.

They offer some rather rudimentary cleaning services, which in our case involved high-powered snow-making machines misting cold water into your face at gale force. It's like trying to take a shower with a hurricane. We couldn't stand to be in front of it for more than a minute at a time, and it didn't really work all that well.

But we ended up getting cleaned off rather well.

From the front, anyway.

Nik's Brooks Cascadias performed admirably under the pressure. This kind of thing is what they were made for. They got a little mussed, but they washed off just fine.

Afterward, we were pretty hungry, so Nik bought one of those giant turkey legs. It tasted more like pork. In fact, a lot like pork. So much so that we're about 99.999% sure it was pork. It was also salty as hell -- tasted like a big heaping bowl of salt.

Meanwhile, I did unspeakable things to the hole in a giant inflatable bouncy ball.

Later on, in the parking lot, we changed into a fresher set of clothes. I left most of mine in a trash can -- couldn't bear to bring the stuff home. 

Overall, we both had a great time and it was a unique experience. We were both trashed afterward. Nik found a nice large bruise on her butt from this long, steep mudslide at the end of the race, but otherwise fared OK. I was less lucky. My hands and legs were cut up and bruised, and I sprained my left hand sliding down that mudslide -- which still has not yet fully healed. Oh, and a week later I discovered I got a dose of poison ivy rash on my left arm and both my legs. Nik's immune -- it's her one advantage over me, allergy-wise. But I'm not sorry I did it.

It wouldn't be the Warrior Dash without jumping-over-fire pictures, right? That's the whole reason why we did this. So here we go. Please excuse the giant watermark -- the actual photos are $20 each. Here's me jumping over the fire. It was quite easy and not very intimidating once you're next to it.

Check out the lift on Nik. Her Crossfit training served her well.

Check out our race reports on Daily Mile (Nik and Dan).

Friday, June 10, 2011

Video: Speedwork with Stanley

I tried to take Stanley on a quick 2-mile run. Stanley had other ideas. This is why we shouldn't run him the day after a rainstorm.

Blackstone Valley Half-Marathon

Sorry this is a little late: on May 21, Nik & I ran the Blackstone Valley Half-Marathon, part of the Cherry Tree Running Festival in Pawtucket, R.I.  Pawtucket isn't the nicest place on Earth, but this was the first year for this run so we figured we'd give it a shot. (Besides, most of the run isn't in Pawtucket.)

They put on a pretty good show for a small-sized half-marathon, complete with Chinese dragon dancers for some reason. What the hell, they make a nice addition to any event.

Not to be outdone by the dragons, they also had butterflies.   

Nik didn't have such a swell race -- she felt kind of fatigued throughout, and the weather was humid. The course was actually quite pretty in parts. We'll have to go back there someday. But the run itself was tough.

Not a great half, but another half under her belt, anyway, and another medal for her collection.

I was more tired. In fact, I think I'm all done trying to race half-marathons for a while. I'm all set, thanks.

It wasn't the greatest half we've ever run, but we did see some humongous inflatable things that look like female bits. So there's that.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Run Photo of the Day 5.13.11: New Brooks gear

Nik & I got some new footwear.  

At left we've got the Brooks Ghost 3 for me, which are a neutral shoe and lighter than the collosamundo Frankensteinian Addictions I normally use. I'm a motion-control shoe guy but I'm trying to put some lighter shoes into the rotation for shorter speedwork runs. I've tried Ghosts in the store and they're light, cushiony, and roll very nicely. I'm going to try my hardest not to injure myself.

At right you'll see Nik's new Cascadias, which are a trail running shoe. She was looking for a shoe she could hike in and possibly do some light trail running in, something sturdy and waterproof. They're extremely nice and lighter than I would've thought. They feel lighter than my Addictions. Jeez.
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