“If you have everything under control, you’re not moving fast enough” Mario Andretti
I departed my house mid-afternoon last Friday, destined for Parsippany, New Jersey, where my accommodations for the next two nights awaited. The reason: my second Warrior Dash, being held in Morristown, New Jersey on Saturday. My Warriors-in-Waiting, aka my fellow Connecticut peeps who were traveling separately, hit a lot of traffic and weather delays, but nuh-uh, none of those for this Warrior (cause I know the Super Secret Road Warrior Path), and I made great time!
Saturday Morning: My ride (Super Friend Wendy) picked me up around 10:30, and my fellow Warriors followed behind so we could endure a ridiculous amount of traffic (getting to skip a lot of it thanks to Wendy and her knowledge of local back roads) and get herded into a field for parking. As we stepped out of the truck, Wendy and I started spontaneously playing, “Look, horse poop!”, because obviously we were parked in a field usually occupied by, yes, horses. We walked to the back of the shuttle line which was at least 1,000 people deep and growing by the minute.
Surprisingly, the line moved quickly and we soon found ourselves within what could be the next two busloads. And then we waited. And waited. And it started to get hot. And then we waited some more. I have no way of validating this claim, but I overheard amidst the grumblings, that there was a change in parking venue from previous years. Previously, people had been able to park in and be bused from an office campus parking lot. The issue this year was that with all the traffic traveling to this field, along with the shuttle buses trying to get through, plus normal Saturday traffic, these secondary and tertiary roads were completely congested. Adding to the chaos were frustrated participants who decided to walk the couple of miles from the parking area to the race venue, some of whom were walking three abreast along the nearly non-existent shoulders on both sides of the road.
The next wave of buses finally showed up and we crept our way through the traffic to the race venue. Check in, ID check and bag check…Check! We wandered over to the start line to wait for our heat to begin. When the time came, we were instructed to run through the red flags into the woods. And we were off!
My least favorite obstacles: the flipping hills! There were three big ones, two of them practically vertical, but luckily there were ropes available to pull yourself along. My allergies had me wheezing at first, but eventually my lungs opened up and I was able to keep up with my cohorts.
My favorite obstacles: ALL OF THEM except for those mentioned above (i.e., the flipping hills). There was the lake obstacle, which had you wading or swimming out to a raft with a hole in the middle of it, and climbing ropes to get to it, over one side, through the middle and back over the other side, and then swimming to shore. Climbing up a huge rope web, then crossing over a giant pool of water on a wet, muddy and unsteady 2×4, with water spraying in your face, and THEN going down this huge slide into a muddy pond. Scaling giant wooden walls, climbing nimbly across rope webs, under barbed wire, through mud pits and finally reaching the finish line, bruised, a little bloody, and READY FOR BEER!
So the huge downside to this particular event was the awful, horrible, very bad wait times. We waited longer to get on the bus than we spent on the entire race course! And then after the race, we had to wait in line to retrieve our belongings, which was almost another hour. The bag check/pickup area was completely disorganized, and the bags themselves were piled without any kind of organization, so I estimate the average wait time for the volunteers to retrieve a bag was about 5 minutes. I was standing next to a guy who had been waiting for over an hour for them to retrieve his bag. Granted, the idiot told them that his bag was black with red handles, and when they placed in on the table in front of him, it was clearly faded to grey with pink handles. But still…
After all that line waiting, all we wanted to do was leave. So we did. The good news was that they must have gotten the traffic situation figured out by then, because we had no wait to get on the shuttle back to the parking lot.
And then we had our own after-party, and I got to enjoy a good meal and a glass of wine (okay, several glasses of wine) and the company of some of my favorite people in the entire universe, and when I was dropped off at my hotel, I passed out face down, fully clothed and across my bed.
The next morning, I sprung out of bed, which my achy back and bruised legs immediately scolded me for doing, but I was wicked excited about heading home to share my adventures with my two little Warriors!
Bonus points: The organizers of the Warrior Dash, recognizing that this particular even was a complete organizational disaster, were kind enough to send out vouchers to all of the participants for free entry into another one of their races. I appreciate the fact that participants’ frustration did not go unheeded, and I will definitely take part in another event!