Let me first start by saying this ain't my first rodeo.  When I heard that we would have a Warrior Dash in Huntersville, NC this year it took me all of .002 seconds to sign up, then talk it up to anyone that would listen.  As a seasoned veteran of last year's Warrior Dash in Mountain City, GA, I kind of knew what to expect from this year's edition.  Some mud, some fire, some obstacles, and the coolest, most refreshing adult beverage waiting for you at the finish line.

Before we get to the finish, let's rewind a few months to the recruitment period.  For me, this event is not competitive.  At all.  It's most fun to run with a group of folks, preferably in a costume, and just have fun with it.  As such, I cast a wide net to bring people along for the fun and got a pretty solid group from work, along with some friends from Charlotte, signed up for some muddy fun.  I mean, anybody could do what we did last year.  Maybe you run a few times, or tackle a couch to 5k program to prepare, but remember, this is a fun, slightly challenging event.  No big whoop, right?

Wrong.  Since last year, they upped the ante a bit.  None of the obstacles on the course were really difficult, per se, but they did get your heart racing, and with the heat of the day, it was a bit more challenging to keep up a reasonable pace.  My choice of costume did not help a single bit with the heat/heart rate situation.  Surprisingly, the finest threads that $11 at a Goodwill store will buy you do not breathe well.

It's business, it's business tiiiiiiiiiiime

This year's course loaded most of the running at the beginning, and by the time we got through first obstacle, I knew that a) I needed to back off the pace or risk a major meltdown (thanks to the Daves for hanging back with me), and b) All of my friends that I convinced to participate under the guise of "this is fun!" were probably going to want to drown me in the mud pit (sorry Ginger, and thanks again for not punching me in the face at the end of the race).

Now am I knocking this race?  Heck no, it is friggin' awesome and I'll definitely be doing it again next year.  Well organized, efficient, and yes, tons of fun.  Will I rethink my choice of costume?  Absolutely, although I'm proud to say I stayed true to the suit and kept everything on until we finished (it was a nice consolation to get a little Twitter shout-out from the Warrior Dash folks complimenting my attire).  To all you potential Warriors out there, you need to do this event.  And you need to have fun with it, preferably in a creative, breathable costume that covers your knees (you'll know what I mean after you traverse the mud pit).

Until next year, enjoy these photos from the Carolinas Dash.  See you on the battlefield...