warrior dash midwest race report

When Babyface first suggested we do a Warrior Dash last winter, I shrugged it off as one of his crazy ideas. But the more I thought about it, the more I thought it sounded terrifying, but awesome. Finally in January, I told Babyface to sign us up and we were officially on our way to being warriors!

I had all these grand plans before my Warrior Dash. I was going to strength train. I was going to build my upper body strength. I was going to keep my cardio up-to-shape after my half marathon. None of those things happened. On Sunday, the Warrior Dash was the first time I’d run in a month, with barely any muscle tone oh, and on top of it, I got another cold (stay tuned for another post on my immune system has been crap lately).

So, things didn’t go perfectly. But I still had SO much fun! And I highly recommend everyone does an obstacle course run at some point in their life. The people, the atmosphere, everything was an absolute blast. Even if I never run one again, I definitely want to go to just hang out with all the awesome warriors.

Race day started with the alarm going off at 6am. Which was definitely a nice bit of sleeping in comparison to a normal race day. While it is awesome that you get to pick your start time in a Warrior Dash, try to still go early. The course deteriorates as the day goes on and there is a fine line between muddy and impossible. After getting dressed and eating a bit of breakfast, Babyface and I went downstairs to wait for our warrior companions and then hit the road. Our fellow warriors-to-be (Russ and Lacey) were in the 8:30am heat while Babyface and I were in the 9am heat. We got there in plenty of time for R&Ls heat, but decided we’d all rather do it together, so they waited until 9am to go with us.

We took a little time to get our packets, watch the finishers from the 8am heat and very, very, very securely strap in our timing/free beer chips. Did not want to lose these.

We headed over to the start line to get ready for our heat. There were about 500 people in each heat and they had music and an MC there to pump each heat up. We took a few last-minute “before” pictures…

And then it was time to roll. Honestly, the first 3/4 mile or so was a total bore. Almost entirely running. I really, really struggled with the running. I was definitely not trained to trail run up hills and the such, but we took it easy and had fun. We hit our first mud spot in the woods.

We had to run down some very muddy hills, splash through a river and then claw (literally) our way back up the other side. We were all having so much fun! The entire heat was giggling wildly as we all slid down the hill together. There was pretty much no way to stay upright it was so slippery. Came out the other side muddy and totally excited about the rest of the race.

And then that excitement quickly faded when we had to run about another 1/2 mile before we hit another obstacle. They crammed all the obstacles in the last mile, so the first two were a lot of running. Or actually, walking. We did a lot of walking. The muddy spots weren’t considered “real” obstacles, but these signs were in front of the real ones.

Our first obstacle was easy peasy. Good ole football drill through a field of tires.

And then climbing over some cars. True story: jumping on the roof of a car is fun times.

Next obstacle came soon after. A bunch of varying height platforms that you had to jump between. I totally rocked the jumping/climbing/leg muscle obstacles.

And then was the only water station. Normally, for a 5K, I’d say one water station is okay, but doing all these obstacles and running through all the terrain made me so thirsty. I would have liked to see at least two stations. Post-water break, we wound down some crazy hillsides (I totally bit it on a muddy curve at one point). And then made our way up to this demon spawn:

The Warrior Dash folks posted a photo of this on their Facebook page last week and I immediately thought, there is no way I’ll be able to pull myself up that. I had pretty much resigned that I was going to have to skip it. But I was at least going to try.

So I started my way up and it was actually pretty easy. I climbed to the top with barely any effort. And then I got stuck. How in the hell could I get myself over the top? I couldn’t get it to work, so I slid back down and decided to watch other people and try again. I went at it again, got all the way to the top, and then did not have the upper body strength to pull myself over the top to the other side. Satisfied I’d at least tried the damn thing (twice), I slid back down again. Only this time, I scraped the hell out of my arms the whole way down. Warrior Dash injury #1.

Right after this one, was a horizontal rope ladder. So not easy. But I conquered it (complete with stinging and bleeding arms).

After that was a pretty easy climbing obstacle (stealing a few of the official photos).

And then there was yet another, pull yourself up and flip over the top obstacle (I was actually disappointed with how many obstacles were similar). I went ahead and decided to skip this one considering my arms were already unhappy.

Right after that is where I pretty much stopped taking pictures. There were three obstacles right in a row that required both hands and the camera stayed put away. The first two were more climbing obstacles. One the opposite of the first one I skipped—you climb up a ladder and the slide down the other side. The second a super high climbing structure where I thought for the first time, “Wow, if I fall, I could totally break my neck and die.”

And then the third one happened.

The third one you climbed up and bunch of stairs and then took a fireman’s pole down. It all went good until I landed at the bottom of the fireman’s pole in a crumbled ball because my ankle gave out. I knew it was busted, but I got up, shook it off and we continued down to a river which we stomped through. My ankle was not happy, but not bad enough to quit. Warrior Dash injury #2. At the end of the river, we had to pull ourselves up a steep and very muddy hill to get to the final few obstacles.

First up, more rope nets…

I thought seriously about doing this one, but decided to just stay back and photograph the other three tackle it. Honestly, by this point, I was pretty beat up and ready to be done.

Next up were the two obstacles I was looking forward to the most—fire and mud!

I love this picture so much, it might be worth the $20 to buy it. Maybe.

And then. MUD.

The pit started off with about three feet of mud and then got more and more shallow as your crawled under barbed wire. The end was the finish line were we got our medals and tried to drink some water without getting more mud in our mouths. We all emerged looking like this:

Then we headed off to get sprayed off. They were ushering people through quickly so we only really got to rinse off our faces. This was after being rinsed off with a fire hose.

Hey look, the shameless plug stayed relatively clean!

My legs, however, did not.

We bagged up our dirty clothes, put on some clean(ish) ones and headed out to drop off our shoes into the every growing recycling pile.

First task post-race? Put on Warrior Helmets.

And then, food and water. I was so hungry and so dehydrated that I was getting all dizzy and light-headed. You know the answer to that don’t you?

Beer and a turkey leg! Don’t worry, I slammed an entire bottle of water before jumping into my Warrior Stein. That turkey leg was simultaneously the most amazing and disgusting thing I’ve ever eaten. The beer made my ankle feel brand new.

After eating, we decided to walk around and enjoy the atmosphere a bit. We ended up back in the spectator section of the mud pit and spent almost an hour heckling people and cheering them on as the went into the mud. It was so much fun getting people to do cannon balls and flips into the mud pool. Some people weren’t into us cheering and purposely splashed us with more mud.

Before heading out, we made one last trip to the shoe pile because Lacey was desperate to climb on top. Babyface joined her. Epic. Dirty. Shoes.

We made our way out of the “battleground” and back to the hotel. Where I showered and started to administer first aid to all of our scrapes, bumps and bruises.

I have no idea how it happened, but I came out of the race with two huge knots on both of my shins. I must have slammed into something, but can’t for the life of me figure out what. Warrior Dash injury #3. I spent the next few hours like this:

My ankle is swollen and tender, but I’ve had much worse sprains and am thankful that is all that happened with how I fell off that obstacle.

The Warrior Dash was so much fun that I really want to do another. But after I work on some serious strength training.

Stay tuned tomorrow for my tips for anyone competing in a Warrior Dash or similar event.



  1. Anthony Price says

    I feel like someone should point-out to you that your advice will most likely be ignored. You always end-up being extremely lazy and yet you write as if you’re somehow an expert on things. (I know, that reads back as if it’s a really harsh thing to state.) If you don’t take anything seriously then you won’t improve and you certainly won’t be taken seriously.

    Don’t get me wrong–it’s nice that you want to get into shape and I support you in your goals and efforts. The only problem is that your efforts seem to be non-existent lately. You set a lot of goals and then you don’t follow through with them. You don’t really have a place to give any advice right after finishing a “race” in which you just walk and take pictures of the course, which is what always happens.

    I understand that people might get angry and I could get some backlash for this comment, but it’s the truth and any criticism toward me is unwarranted. Sometimes the truth seems harsh and there’s no nice way to put it without sugar-coating it with lies.

    • Cassie says

      Thanks for your feedback Anthony! I’m the first to admit that I’ve been struggling with my own fitness goals recently (check out this post). I have never stated that I am a personal trainer, personal motivator or nutritionist. I am just a regular person struggling to go from a life of excess and laziness to a life of health. I know a lot of people out there appreciate my honesty when it comes to my struggles.

      I understand how it can seem that I am “extremely lazy” but I urge you to remember that by reading my blog, you only see a small part of what makes up “me”. That being said, I put myself out there to criticism inherently by writing this blog and I appreciate you caring enough to give me some. I hope you stick around! My journey isn’t perfect, but I promise it is real.

      • says

        Thank you for being honest and for getting stuck in. It makes me enjoy reading your blog and inspires me to set goals for myself. I strive to become a better person, I might not always get ‘there’ but getting almost there is better than being stagnate.

        Amy x

      • says

        i’m not sure how you had the grace to reply to such an ignorant comment–true testament to the beautiful, mature, STRONG person you are.

        and just to be real, by criticizing a complete stranger, anthony, criticism toward you is completely warranted. don’t be mean. it’s so middle school.

    • Kristen says

      wow, what an ignorant person to write such a thing…. Lazy? You’re responding to a post that is subjecting the WARRIOR DASH and you’re calling that person lazy for taking pictures. Bitch, pahlease. how about YOU get off your ass from typing such pessimistic stuff and by all means, sign yourself up to a warrior dash. I’m sure you’d like to take pictures the first time too… :)

  2. Anonymous says

    I just wanted to let you know that whether you hit your goals or not, you are incredibly inspiring. We all fall down, we all hit ruts, we all find walls, even in the midwest where everything is supposed to be flat, and it’s you who always has the right attitude and the right words to say and this amazing ability to look inside and out, analyze the situation, and figure out a way to blow past it all.

    The way we look at life, the way we look at ourselves, the way we approach life’s trials and tribulations, the people we interact with along the way, it all changes, it all grows, it all evolves, and sometimes we all need to slow down to let that evolution run its course.

    There is absolutely nothing lazy about figuring yourself out and finding the things you like and the things you don’t and what works for you and what doesn’t because the simple fact that you’re searching, something so many people don’t even bother to do, is what is most powerful about all of this and what keeps the majority of your readers coming back.

    The reality is that you’re living. You’re experiencing. You’re writing stories during the day and dissecting them and putting them down on virtual paper at night and you’re offering your audience advice based on your own experience because, let’s face it, we’re all experts at living because it’s what we do day in and day out.

    You’re just one of the ones who are brave enough to illustrate to the world who you are, how you feel, what life means to you and you paint this portrait of someone who is fighting not only for a healthier, better you, but also a healthier generation of individuals that you have inspired to carry your words around and share them with the people they interact with.

    People will have opinions and exclaim their “harsh truth.” Whether it’s actually true or not is for you to decide. As far as I’m concerned, you’re doing exactly what you should be doing the way you should be doing it and I have an inkling that the things you have to say and the advice you give is far from being ignored.

  3. says

    Well, I definitely can’t beat the comment that Anonymous left – but I must say, you certainly are a very inspiring gal Cassie. Life isn’t about always achieving everything we set out to do – it’s about the process…setting goals for ourselves and working towards them. You’ve always made it perfectly clear that you’re doing what’s right for you – and Cassie, that’s all that matters.

    And if you ask me, that picture is most definitely worth the $20!

  4. Tori says

    I kinda want to punch this Anthony dude, and I have no idea how you responded so calmly. He has absolutely no right to judge you; this is YOUR BLOG, and he only knows a part of you– what you put on here. How he can call you LAZY astounds me?!?! What a giant dbag.

  5. Kristen says

    And on a final note… :) I’m proud of you :) Keep up the good work and I am glad that you enjoyed the warrior dash. I am about to embark on my first this weekend and just so happened to stumble across your blog. :)

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