Have you ever wondered how you would have fared as a Viking? Ever since Sarah showed me this link six months ago, I knew this was something I needed to be a part of. Luckily, I have a few friends who are game for ridiculous (by which I clearly mean awesome) ideas, so we all got to experience it together.
The Northeast region race was held at a ski resort in the Catskills last weekend, so 12 of us (8 racers, 4 cheerleaders/photographers) drove up on Saturday morning for a 3.25 mile race. On a mountain. With obstacles.
Yes, I realize I'm making the "I love you" sign, not bull horns as I had intended. It was corrected later.
The place was insane--packed with upwards of 8000 racers plus spectators. It was awesome, though, and there was an immediate sense of camaraderie because let's face it, this is kind of a strange and crazy thing to do. Tons of people wore costumes, some more elaborate than others. People kept shouting "TUTUUUUUU!" at us and we became instant friends.
The initial ascent.
Our wave started at 1:30, and I was giddy with adrenaline. We were joking about how I should push to the front, and then our group started chanting, "LAURA'S GONNA WIN! LAURA'S GONNA WIN!" Spoiler alert: I did not win. Anyway, off went the gun (and by gun, I mean giant FLAME-THROWERS) and off we ran. For like 2 minutes, until it became very clear that the crazy uphill climb was not ending anytime soon and we decided to walk for a bit. At one point as we were all gasping for breath, a girl near me told her friend, "At least we can say that we're true warriors. None of our friends can say that!" The other girl simply replied, "Our friends are JERKS!"
For the next 3 miles, we ran (sometimes trudged) through forests and across ski slopes, hopped over walls, crawled through tunnels, ran through tires, waded waist-high ponds, climbed cargo nets, careened down a giant Slip N' Slide, leaped over fire, and dragged ourselves through mud (under barbed wire) to the finish line. It was awesome.
After we finished and got our medals, we hung out by the mud pit to wait for the others and watch the racers come through. Some guys were absolutely fearless--diving or flipping straight into the mud, some even clearing the first line of barbed wire. They got huge cheers from the spectators, while people who stepped gingerly into the pit were met with resounding boos.
Who wants a hug?
Afterward we headed for the showers, which were basically power hoses set up on a grassy area. The water was ice cold and I totally shrieked like a crazy person while I tried to wash off as much mud as possible. After that, it was back to the car to change. I ditched my shoes in the donation pile but cleverly forgot to bring an extra pair, so I spent the rest of the day barefoot.
We were all starving after the race, so we stopped at a random diner for sustenance. I ordered a huge 1/2 pound cheeseburger with fries and completely cleaned my plate, and still felt awesome afterward. Because I am a true warrior.
It was an absolute blast, and I can't wait to do it again next year.