Monday, October 29, 2012

I Survived the Zombie Dash (But I Didn't "Survive" It)

A while back, I wrote that I had signed up for a zombie themed obstacle 5k. That run was this weekend. The event itself was a little disorganized. It was a pricey run ($75/person) and promised a lot: an after party, live music, costume contests, zombie-themed games. Most of those "extras" weren't set up and were poorly run. People aren't too pleased with shelling out that kind of cash for an event that didn't deliver, and they've taken to complaining--fairly constructively--on the event's Facebook page.

But I'm assuming that most of you reading about this weren't actually there and so care less about the details of the execution than the experience itself. While I was disappointed with some of the organization, the event itself was a blast, and I would definitely consider doing it again.

My husband and I signed up to run this together, and we got up bright and early to drive an hour into the middle of nowhere in order to register for our 10am wave. It's pretty chilly here in Missouri right now, so we did some warm-up and then hung out in the car until it was closer to our start time. While we were waiting, we saw lines of zombies headed out to take their places on the course. It was a  creepy sight.

Watching the zombies file into the woods from the car.
In real life, that would probably be a sign to stay out of the woods.
We put on our three flags and got ready. (The zombies grab your flags. If you have one left at the end, you're a "survivor").
My flags, before we parted ways.
When it was time to go, we were released in groups of about 30. We took off across an open field and ended up on a wooded trail almost immediately. Within the first five minutes, we were faced with zombies. There were several kinds of zombies, but there was no way of knowing which ones we were facing. Some were slow and confined to their own little space. Some were fast and could chase after you. Some didn't move but only grabbed flags as you ran past them.


Before the race--smiling and clean!
I cost my husband one of his flags right away because I went up over a hill and got my foot caught on a tree. He stalled behind me and a zombie grabbed his flag. I kept running with a limb hanging off of my shoe for a good ten feet. I managed to keep all three of my flags for the first ten minutes or so, but then a quick-moving zombie caught one at the top of a hill. My husband lost a second flag somewhere along the way, and we moved out of the first danger wave. He had one flag; I had two, and then we were in a clearing.

I tore my calf muscle a few months ago and wasn't able to run for almost two months. I've run a few races since then, so I was hoping it would be good to go, but all the lateral movement had it acting up, and I was afraid it was going to tear again. While there weren't any zombies around, we walked for part of the path.

But we didn't have long before we entered another "infected" zone. We also started to encounter some obstacles. We ran through tires, around barrels, and up hills. There was a series of a zombies in a row and I managed to get past the first four, but the fifth one--a guy in military gear--grabbed my second flag.

I was pretty sure I was going to lose my last flag as I approached a pile of tires with two zombies on it. I started to run past and the zombie (a "pregnant" (not really) zombie with a fake baby in one arm) blocked me completely. I pulled back and re-evaluated how to get over the hill, but my husband was on the other side and I didn't want him to lose while he was waiting for me. So I just went for it, thinking I wasn't going to make it. But I did! The zombie lunged for me but lost her balance and tripped over the tires. I kept running but hit a patch of mud and slid for about six feet like I was on a skateboard. Amazed that I'd stayed upright, I had no time to celebrate my fancy footwork as the next fifty feet were jam-packed with zombies. My husband and I were side by side and facing a line of zombies in the middle of the path. He went left, and I went right. The zombies parted trying to leap for us on either side and we both made it through with our single flags!

My empty flag belt after the race
Then we turned the corner and there was a steep hill of tires starting at the base of a hill at a creek bed filled with muddy water. There were four zombies across the top of the hill, two zombies standing in the tires, and one hiding along the bank of the creek. The crowd started to bottleneck as all of us stood with our jaws dropped trying to figure out how to get past this atrocity. My husband dove for the tires in the water, pulling himself up the tires that were tied together. A man to my left tried to leap across the creek and climb the hill without getting on the tires. The two zombies in the tires split and went after each of them, so I decided to try to make it down the middle. I did, but when I got to the top, the four zombies waiting there had an easy shot at me, and they grabbed my flag. I turned to see if my husband had made it, hoping to block for him if he still had a flag, but they'd gotten him, too.

I guess I can take some solace in knowing that we became zombies simultaneously, fighting together 'til the end!

He's more stoic about his defeat.
The rest of the race was definitely less fun. Knowing that we weren't "survivors" gave us a lot less to fight for. There were some major obstacles in the last hundred yards of the race, and we went ahead and did them even though we were "infected." We climbed over some giant barrels, up and over a house made of two-by-fours, and crawled through a mud pit.

Even though I didn't "survive," I survived! This was the first obstacle course race I'd ever run, and I was very intimidated going into it. I don't run very fast, and there were definitely a lot of younger, fitter people around me.

But this race taught me that my body is--to put it frankly--pretty amazing. I dodged zombies, climbed tires, dove through mud, and felt pretty damn impressive. This particular race was kind of a mess, organization-wise, but I'll definitely be looking for some more themed obstacle runs in the future.

1 comment:

  1. Congrats for doing it at all! Your account was very exciting. I'm glad you had a good time.

    ReplyDelete

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