News flash: I might have a death wish. Or I might be having a midlife crisis.
Either way, when a Groupon showed up in my inbox for a $35 price for the Devil Dash, another mud run obstacle course in nearby Lyons, Colorado, I bought it and signed up. WTF is wrong with me? After running the Warrior Dash this summer, I came out to the parking lot to find a $5 coupon on my windshield for the Devil Dash. Ha, I thought, no way was I going to do another crazy 5k.
And then I did. Again, WTF?
I was pretty pumped to run a race for $30 cheaper than the registration fee, thanks to Groupon. Emily, my camping buddy and Warrior Dash comrade, also signed up. My only goal for the Devil Dash was a shot at redemption: to beat my Warrior Dash time (and not get wicked sick again with dehydration after the race. Ooops.).
But once again, things started to unravel in my master plan to 1. have fun and 2. not die. The Ex couldn’t watch The Kid for me on race day like I had hoped, and I didn’t have the heart to ask favors AGAIN of any fellow parents, so I sucked it up and got a sitter. Who’s really great, by the way, Moms and Dads of Longmont/Boulder/St. Vrain Valley communities. Then the weather turned ugly in the 24 hours before the race. Last week, it was in the mid 80s, sunny and glorious. Race day was in the high 30s with rain/sleet. Hello, October in Colorado!
Emily and I originally wanted to do costumes (Angry Birds, perhaps?), but bailed last minute due to lack of time, money, creativity and sewing skills. However, she showed up with SWEET $5 fishhead hats — she got blue and I took green. As we waited for the race to start, we were giddy with stupidity and nerves. I dressed in a pair of nylon shorts, sports bra, nylon undershirt, and nylon white long sleeve running shirt, and an old pair of running shoes. I felt like a carrot in the produce section of a grocery store, with how the sky was misting over Bohn Park where the race was held. A live band played sweet 80s tunes. “Don’t Stop Believin’” echoed in my brain. And then we were off.
Despite the inclement weather, I liked my experience at the Devil Dash more than my experience at the Warrior Dash. First, I think I prepared better: I hydrated before and after the race with Gatorade and water. I practiced running more for this dash. Second, I think the elevation made a big difference. And the Devil Dash course was, for the most part, flat which made it easier than the Warrior Dash (which had switchbacks up the mountains AND had obstacles so you were running uphill gradually for most of the race). The Devil Dash was a smaller, more intimate community event than the larger, much flashier Warrior Dash, so pick your poison. Also, the chilly wet weather prevented me from overheating like I felt I had during the Warrior Dash, which had been a beautiful summer day. As long as I was running, I felt comfortable cruising along the Devil Dash, even though I could see my breath, my legs were pink with cold, and I was soaked with rain and mud splatter even before arriving at the water obstacles. The journalist in me wondered how safe these kinds of races are, though, of course, as I was at the apex of a wooden structure surrounded by other runners; images from an episode of the TV show ER flashed before me, the one where the wooden patio at an apartment collapsed under the weight of all the people on it. Eeeep. Hurry, hurry, get off this thing. I also preferred the layout of this course race much more than the Warrior Dash. While there were more obstacles (I think), they were spaced otu just right and the messy ones — mud, water, blood bath — were in quick succession at the end.
I felt amazing at the finish line (unlike at the Warrior Dash, in which I felt like throwing up, crying, fainting). We were giddy with relief and achievement. Emily is a great running buddy for me because I tend to want to sprint out of the gate, only to crash and burn later. Emily is a slow and steady runner, thanks to her cross country running days, and together we gave each other pep talks, high fives, and advice through the course.
“Is this what I do now? Am I a runner? Do I run now?” I asked hypothetically. Despite it all — the rain/sleet, freezing temps, paying more in the end with a Groupon + sitter, and lack of costume bravado (though the fish hats were popular with the crowd who urged us to “Go, fishies! Go!”) — I had an awesome time, and we beat our Warrior Dash times by three full minutes. I also scored a medal (which also serves as a beer bottle opener), a ticket for a free beer (which I gave to a U.S. serviceman who had just finished dashing), and a shimmery devil mullet wig thingy (which I tried to give to The Kid who instead ran away. Her loss.) We had fun. We didn’t die. Success! Boo to the yah. See how easy that is?
Confession: More proof of my death wish/midlife crisis. Earlier this week I signed up with a bunch of college friends of mine to run the Living History Farms race in Iowa, a 7-mile off road race for “runners with questionable sense” on the Saturday before Thanksgiving. I’m assured I will have have fun and not die. Read this Running Times Magazine article about it.
Say it with me now: WTF?!