Dazed and confused? Not me. I’m just Lost in the Cheese Aisle.

Saturday, September 24, 2011


Eric and Yours Truly, begrimed and besplattered, after surviving the Tennessee Warrior Dash.

Every once in a while, something impels me to do something completely ridiculous.

You, my Esteemed Readers, already know this. How else to describe the act of wearing a colander upon one’s head... or of planking... or of wearing matzoh-patterned underwear... and then posting photographs of said activities on the Internet for all and sundry to see?

For that matter, anyone who writes over 4,400 posts on personal Online Journals over the course of seven years, purely for the purpose of self aggrandizement and time-wastage, is more than capable of Teh Silly.

All of which goes a long way toward explaining why I elected to journey to Manchester, Tennessee this past weekend, there to participate in what can best be described as a gathering of Masochistic Whackos. I speak, of course, of the Warrior Dash.

The organizers of the Dash advertise it as “The Craziest Frickin’ Day of Your Life!” Well, I dunno. I’ve had quite a few crazy frickin’ days in my life... but I will concede that I’ve never before had one that involved running a five-kilometer obstacle course, a course that culminated in leaping over burning coals and then slithering through a trough of mud, head kept low in order to avoid strategically placed strands of barbed wire.

It’s quite a business, this Warrior Dash. The Tennessee event had over 10,900 participants. Given that it has already been held in twenty-seven locations (including Australia) this year with six more left to go, you’re looking at roughly 360,000 Warriors, which at $50 a pop translates to a cool $1.8 million. That pays for a lot of mud, beer, and propane.

The Tennessee Dash was held on a 700-acre farm in Manchester, coincidentally the same location that hosts the annual Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival, just off Interstate 24 roughly halfway between Chattanooga and Nashville. It’s also the exit you’d take to get to Lynchburg, home of Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Whiskey - but, alas, we had no time for such diversions. We were Warriors, and we had a race to run.

It was, of course, Eric that first broached the idea of doing the Warrior Dash. I’m not quite sure what attracted him in the first place. Was it the sweet Warrior swag - the über-cool hornèd chapeau, the T-shirt, the “I Survived Warrior Dash” medal? Was it the free beer after the race? The thrash-metal concert? The fireworks? Or was it simply the notion of doing something both ridiculous and messy, something that would also pose a certain physical challenge? I know not. All I know is that the Tennessee Renaissance Man asked me to go along in order to provide moral support... and to participate if I cared to. How could I resist?

As it turns out, Eric sprained his ankle a scant ten days before the Dash. Iron-willed, stout-hearted idiot Mountain Man that he is, he nevertheless refused to bail, managing to limp his way though the entire five kilometers... and to conquer every single obstacle along the way.

Down and Dirty
Hey - this is even more fun than Chocolate Pudding Wrestling!

The obstacles? None of them were too difficult for a veteran of Marine boot camp... or even for me, for that matter. Heights do not bother me, nor does fire, darkness, or piles of junked cars. The only real physical challenge - aside from the fact that me running the entire 3.2 miles flat out is simply never going to happen - involved crawling over a long horizontal skein of cargo netting, and even that wasn’t at all unmanageable.

This is not to say that some people didn’t have problems.

One person failed to successfully negotiate the Warrior Roast, which required leaping over a couple of troughs of fiery burning coals, landing in said coals. Toasty. Another leaped into the mud pit - the final obstacle - and suffered a spinal injury, necessitating an evacuation by helicopter. (There is, in fact, a line on the participant waiver that states, “I agree to not dive into or enter the mud pit head first.”)

Muddy Shoes
These shoes have run their last: A pile of mud-encrusted running shoes awaits cleanup and eventual donation to charity.

I will state right up front that I have never been as filthy in my life as I was after the Dash. But I would do it again in a heartbeat.

She Who Must Be Obeyed may have other thoughts on the matter.


Wilma said...

I have a feeling that SWMBO will definitely have something to say about you running through mud, barbed wire and over burning coals again. Speaking as a wife I would say once is enough. LOL

Anonymous said...

.... what an interesting weekend, eh?...... to be honest, it felt GOOD to be climbing those walls again...... of course, the actual distance between obstacles was a bit of a pain in the ass when you have a sprained ankle.....


marcus said...

Wow! Was the headdress mandatory, or y'all's idea? Good show!

Richmond said...

I think it's FABULOUS!! And you two were terrific. Warriors indeed!! (I am thinking about participating in one next year. Time for adventures!!)

Claude said...

I would like to say that you are dashing warriors, deserving high honours. A bit like the Shakespearian heroes, following Henry V, on the muddy field of Agincourt. But, frankly, you both look more like two grown-up little boys who splashed in the mud to spite Mummy. I'm sure it took courage and determination to have so much fun. Thank you for laughter.