My beginning actually starts with a race.
Yesterday, I went with two friends of mine, Julie and Gwen, to the Warrior Dash in Pennsylvania. I hadn't really trained for it AT ALL. Some walking here and there, and not much else. I didn't go into it expecting anything other than finishing.
We started the day quite clean:
We got there about two hours before our scheduled wave, so we registered, hung out, soaked up the atmosphere, and decided that we were going to get into the wave a half-hour before scheduled. I have to admit, I started to panic a little. What had I gotten myself into? I wasn't a runner. I wasn't in shape at all. How could I possibly do this? The atmosphere was awesome though, and it was obvious that it was more of a fun run than a competitive run.
Ten-thirty arrived, and we were off! I managed to stick with Julie and Gwen for the first half-mile, and I was pretty pleased with that, considering they are both runners and I'm not. After that, I needed to slow down a bit. I waved goodbye to them, and told them I'd meet them at the end. The first obstacle came up about a quarter-mile later - the balance beam. Up and over, not too bad. Right after that was the tire run and the first barbed wire crawl. Again, nothing too frightening.
After the one mile mark, I admit, I had to walk. Couldn't be helped. I decided after that I was going to walk to the two-mile mark, run the next half-mile, walk to mile three, then run the rest of the way. Proud to say that I managed to keep to that schedule.
Moving on, the first wall climb was the next obstacle. It was also the first one I had real trouble with. It was a sloped wall with a rope to help you up. I was fine until I got to the top, when I ran out of rope and couldn't quite get up and over the top. Some struggling and a nice bruise on my thigh later, I got over and climbed down. Got some applause from people watching and some high-fives, as well as a ton of encouragement. It kept me going to the next obstacle, more crawling - this time, in sand under sticks and logs. Again, pretty easy. Then came the first water obstacle. It really only consisted of slogging through calf-deep water for no other reason than to go through water. At the end of it, I was pretty sure I had an entire ecosystem living in my shoe.
The next obstacle was an arch that you climbed up, over, and down. During it, I do remember thinking that the running was the hardest part of the entire race, as I was having a good time getting through the obstacles. The next up was these V-shaped walls that you had to climb through horizontally. Again, I was surprised by how I didn't have a lot of trouble with it.
The wall called Deadman's Drop was next. You climbed up a ladder on one side, then had to drop down the backside. Once one of the spotters told me where the footholds were and explained the easiest way to drop, I was off to the next challenge.
It was about this time that I met up with Jim, a nice man that was going about the same pace as me. We kept each other company the rest of the way to the finish line.
Okay, a lot can be said about the next wall. I'll just say that it was fifteen feet high, and there may have been a rope, but that sucker was vertical, and I got stuck before I managed to make my way over.
The easiest obstacle for me was next, a sideways shimmy thing with rock climbing handholds. Breezed through that, no problem. Some horizontal and vertical cargo nets were next up, and I didn't really have a problem unless someone climbing next to me pulled on the net.
Then came the two I was looking forward to the most: the fire jump and the mud crawl. My adrenaline kicked in, and after I crawled out of the mud, I ran through the finish line, where Julie and Gwen were waiting.
(I love this pic!)
Final time: 55m, 31.1s.
Distance: 3.38mi (which is actually about 5.4 kilometres)
I was only 15 minutes behind Julie and Gwen, which makes me kinda happy. After all, these two are experienced runners, and here I am, just hoping to finish. Well, finish I did, and I didn't skip any of the obstacles. So a huge yay me! for me!
And now, I get to begin actual conditioning for a real 5k. Hoping for maybe the end of August. Is that doable? I guess we'll have to wait and see.