On April 30 I endured through the Spartan Race in Conyers, GA, and when I say endured I mean I barely made it out alive. There were moments of weakness, pain, exhaustion and several times when I thought to myself, "I just cannot do this." But somehow I pulled my leg over the wall, I dragged my body through the mud and I ran up and down the hills through the woods.
After becoming a Spartan I thought I would challenge myself to the "Craziest Frickin' Day of Your Life" and enter the Warrior Dash. The obstacles were available for preview online and I had several friends who had "dashed" the year before, all saying it was "a joke" of a course, so I wasn't too scared. Any race that involves mud and hills is going to be difficult no matter what your physical capability is, it was just a matter of how hard in comparison to Spartan Race would it be? Would I end up in the hospital like I did at the Spartan Race? Would I still be covered in bruises and scratches two weeks after the race? I wondered if my body could physically handle both of these races in less than 15 days. Could I be a Spartan and a Warrior? Which title did I have to work harder for?
On May 14 I got my answer: Spartans are way more bad ass than Warriors.
Yes, both Warrior Dash and Spartan Race involved hills, and mud, and wading through water, and cargo nets and climbing over walls. However, there was something about the two courses that differed so drastically in physical and mental toughness that made Warriors look like pussies and Spartans look like Gods.
First of all, there's no way Warrior Dash was "3.1 miles" because people finished in under 25 minutes. Either they are sprinters and avoided all of the obstacles, or the race was really only a couple of miles long. I have a feeling Spartan Race was more at 4 miles than 3 miles as well because it took me more than 1:30 to get through the race and I ran a majority of the course (don't judge me for walking, those hills sucked). Also, the hills and trails were covered in mud to a degree that you were completely unable to run on a majority of the terrain. It wasn't just a little bit wet or a little bit muddy, it was completely "lose your shoe in the mud" thick and at times I slipped just walking along the edge. What was the point? I thought this was a DASH, not a "take your time" kind of race.
I guess the true "First of All" would be the race came to a standstill in the first 100 feet when all of the racers had to squeeze on to a sidewalk to begin the course. People yelled in mockery, "Yay I did it!" or "Wow that was so hard!" after running a few seconds before coming to a standstill and waiting their turn to walk. If the racer in front of you decided to start walking, you were subsequently forced to start walking until the opportunity arose that you could pass them. Back-ups occurred frequently during the course and at certain obstacles.
I'll give Warrior Dash the water element: you had to swim across a lake to get to your next obstacle. During Spartan Race you were maybe 50 percent wet during the hose-off, the mud crawl (if you chose the wet side) and wading through the water. During Warrior Dash you had no other choice than to get your whole body soaked as you doggy-paddled across. Why doggy-paddle? There are people all around you so you can't necessarily butterfly or breaststroke your way across the lake.
Climbing over abandoned cars was kind of cool as well, except you also had the option to crawl across the front seat and not have to climb on top of anything. Did the Spartan Race offer an "easier" way to do something? Nope. Unless you count the really hot guy who boosted me up the 8-foot wall, but that was more embarrassing than "taking the easy way out."
I don't want to hate all over Warrior Dash just because it is physically subservient to Spartan Race (even though it really is). There is one element to Warrior Dash that I admire, and that's making the course easy and fun so anyone can enjoy racing. I saw old men in tutus climbing up the cargo net, I saw gaggles of overweight women maneuvering through the bungee-cord maze and I saw children racing alongside their parents. Most people were in a jovial mood and weren't taking the race too seriously. Some people even began the race with a beer in their hand. Costumes were more plentiful and more elaborate, including the group of men in bridal gowns... with trains and veils and everything. For a majority of the racers the event was more about having fun with your friends than getting your ass handed to you by Mother Nature. Enjoy the food, the booze, the live music and everything else involved with the festival instead of being concerned with your shin splints and bleeding all over your clothes.
In summary: the Spartan Race tests you - mentally and physically. The course will break you down, scratch you up and spit you out. You're going to prove to yourself that you can get over that wall no matter how hard you think you can't and you come out of the race with a smile on your face and bragging rights in your heart. After the Warrior Dash? It just gets you ready for your Turkey Leg and a shower.
Will I do Warrior Dash again? Yeah probably. Will I do Spartan Race again? Abso-f'ing-lutely.Only I hope next time to make Conyers, GA my bitch.