I Survived, along with 24,912 others.

The Warrior Dash www.warriordash.com came to Michigan last Saturday and it was an event that brought tears of joy to my face, and tears of pain as well. I had been waiting (and training) for the event since May, and it was worth every hot mid-afternoon mile that I ran this summer.  The race itself made me feel like a kid again at Cedar Point, climbing over the nets that they used to have back by the Aquarium, and stomping over tires that used to be our hopscotch in a field by my parents’ house.  It also made me happy that I had trained because it really was a challenge.  The trail went through the woods, but for the most part, seemed very open during our 1:00pm start time. And it was hot.  With only one water station, I felt pretty dehydrated the whole race, but the cool, wooded trail seemed to come pretty quickly.  That’s when the mud also made its way into our shoes, hands, and for some, bodies.  I am not going to divulge all the tips we received, the pros and cons, or the course strategy I used, but instead want to comment on the best thing about the race (besides the beer at the finish).  This race equalizes pretty much everyone.  Sure there are hard core runners that train all year for marathons and just fly through stuff like this, but what I enjoyed the most about this event was the fact that it is made to be accomplished. The creators make sure  every person who signs up can feasibly finish. The time doesn’t matter, unless it is a personal goal to you.  People of all shapes revert back to childhood, when running was fun and getting dirty was a part of the every day activities.  People of all sizes are encouraged to dress up, and have a fun time, whether that means sprinting or jogging at the fiery start.  People of all ages cheered each other on.  I have never been a part of something that is called a competition, but is full of so much camaraderie.  When I finished I felt like everyone was cheering for me, even though I did not recognize a soul at the finish line. People of all ethnicities are encouraged to help each other, and be patient with one another.  The patience for me was quite a lesson as this is what I truly struggle with every day in life.  And I had a finish-time goal, too.  But at one point, on the last ‘real’ obstacle, there was this woman on top of the last wall  and she was absolutely terrified.  So I just gave her encouragement, and waited. I could make up the time running, I thought. And she made it. She conquered a fear that day while teaching me a lesson. I wish I would have thanked her.  After that I ran hard over fire and swan dived into the mud pit.  Then I realized that my time didn’t really matter at all.  I swam for a few in the mud and enjoyed the freedom (until I tried to open my eyes anyway) of being childlike again. I am going to thank the Warrior Dash for that, and a few more things. Sure you guys made a boat load of money, but you also brought positive light to an area that really needs it.  You brought people together from 40 states to a location only minutes away from the ‘deadliest city’ in America.  You really gave us something to cheer for: each other.  Thank you for allowing us all the chance to survive.

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3 Responses to I Survived, along with 24,912 others.

  1. Jenifer Nolen says:

    I was at the Dash on Saturday too and it sure was one heck of a ride! I didn’t train or run but I finished and that is all the mattered to me. We are already planning on doing the WD in Ohio in June 2012.

    Congrats to you on finishing! You are a WARRIOR!

  2. Larry Shay says:

    Carrie Mattern is my daughter. Since she was little, she strived to be her best. She also had to work very hard to get what she wanted. Heck, her feet and her hands didn’t want to get along but with training and hard work, she learned to control her body and her mind and what makes her more than special is her ability to see this in others and help them along the way. She may have just run her first Warrior Dash but she has been a Warrior since she was a kid. Maybe that’s why she felt so much at home playing in the mud and fire……….. Congrats to you Carrie Mattern!

  3. Bill Khan says:

    I loved the camaraderie and encouragement out on the course. Kudos to you for putting your own race on hold to help get someone over a tough obstacle. I personally had a moment of minor panic near the top of that obstacle, as I am terrified of heights, so I had a tremendous feeling of accomplishment in completing each of the challenges. I just signed up tonight for Warrior Dash 2012!

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