Sunday, September 29, 2013

Warrior Dash Michigan II 2013 Report

I know I'm way behind my report of the Warrior Dash Michigan II (Grand Rapids) which took place on September 21!  But here it is at last.

Due to a sore Achilles, the hubby did not run the race with me this year.  But I went on my own to have a fun 3.3 mile obstacle run.

In past years, we have parked our car at local parks or other nearby parking lots and walked into Millennium park.  This year, the roads to every possible parking area within a mile of the park were closed by the police.  I was forced to park in the race-provided parking lot, which cost me $10 and which took an excessively long time to exit after I ran.

The race registration and bag check, however, were well organized.  Since the hubby was not able to attend, I asked the registration desk for his race shirt and warrior hat.  I was a little annoyed that they would not give it to me without speaking to him on the phone to verify his registration information.  But I did eventually get the hubby's stuff after waiting in a second line and handing them my phone.  I also purchased a long sleeved hooded t-shirt for myself because it was actually a cute piece and only $10.

But on to the important stuff...the dash!

I would have to say that the course this year was just OK.  I think it did improve over last year.  There were some new obstacles that were interesting such as the heavy cargo net that you had to crawl under while climbing a hill and the arched ladder climb.  But I was disappointed by a few aspects of the course:

1. There were 2 or 3 very long stretches of running with no obstacles.  How this can happen in a race that his only 3 miles long is unclear, but I would have liked to see the obstacles more spread out.

2. I missed the really cool water obstacle from last year in which you got in the lake and had to pull yourself onto and over floating rafts.  In fact, there were no obstacles that took advantage of the lake at Millennium Park at all.

3. You never got dirty until the very end of the race.  There were a couple obstacles that sprayed water on you, but there was only one obstacle that got you into the mud at all.  My best memories of Warrior Dashes past are off getting absolutely filthy.  That did not happen this year.

I am excited that the Iron Warrior Dash came to GR this year.  This is much longer distance version of the race, which I believe they started to compete with events like the Tough Mudder.  I saw a few markers for turns on the Iron race course, but it was not clear where that race started.  It appears that it was going on at the same time as the many waves of the regular distance Warrior Dash.  I ran past several obstacles that our course never led us to do, which was actually kind of sad because they looked fun.  Maybe I'll have to try the Iron distance next year.  Though, if it is anything like the 3 mile course, I'd rather do the Tough Mudder again.

After finishing the race, I found a friend who had also finished just ahead of me and we indulged in our free post-race tall can of Miller Lite together.  I was sad to see that the bananas and granola bars that have been offered in the past were only being given to the Iron runners.  The only other food available was for purchase.  I also never found a shower setup on the race grounds and never saw another runner who looked like they had been able to rinse off.  Maybe I just missed the hoses, but if that's the case, they were not made very accessible.

I did really like the finisher medal.  It is one of the better medals that I've gotten for a run.  Medal/bottle opener.  Not to bad!

This post sounds like I'm criticizing the Warrior Dash pretty hard, but I did have a good time.  It's always a fun run and I think they are improving this new WD location each year.  It's hard to be awesome on your first few tries at a new site.  But I was disappointed by the absence of things that I have enjoyed at WD's in the past.

I certainly plan to do the event again next year, but I will plan ahead for some of the inconveniences.

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