A silence falls over the car as it leaves Chicago’s South Loop, on its way to Somewhere Illinois. It’s 5:30 on a Saturday morning. Let’s just say this isn’t our typical hang out time.
Finally one of the four of us says it: “I’m not sure I like this sort of thing. You know. Mud and crawling around.”
“This sort of thing” is the Warrior Dash— a muddy 5k through an Illinois farm outfitted with about 12 imposing obstacles.
We’d signed up in a heady rush a few months ago, and just now it’s dawning on us that it might not be our thing. In our layers of protective spandex, armed with wet wipes and HazMat suits for the muddy ride home, there is no turning back now.
The early morning scene at the course is jarring at first. Hundreds of people milling around wearing everything from Viking Hats to tu-tus to serious sports gear while they wait in line for their beer bracelets, Van Halen blasting from the main stage.
We’re so distracted between our anxious complaining and half-hearted cheerleader attempts that we miss the gate cut off for our 8:00AM start. Oh. Well. An excruciating 15 minutes goes by while we solidify our plans not to really run this one. And walk around the obstacles. Justification includes K’s ankle brace and some serious hangovers being dealt with. BRRRRAAAAWWWWW — suddenly the horn blasts and we’re off with hundreds of our fellow Warriors. Running. Running like our lives depended on it, through mud and rain and the occasional douchebag dude.
And it’s stupid fun. Hilarious, really. I can’t stop laughing. I think I laugh the entire way. It’s just so weird. And hilarious. Punctuated with real moments of fear.
Before an hour is up we all soar across the finish line. Some of us are afraid of heights. There’s that bad ankle. Some questioned their upper body strength. But somehow here we are, each one scaling walls and leaping fire like it was no big deal.
Afterwards we get our complimentary Miller Lite product and high-fived a bit. Surprised at how much fun we’ve just had.
“So. Guys. When’s the next one?”