My first Warrior Dash – Mud, Sweat, Fun, and Beer!

1001922_10201764885912258_1989487976_nAs those of you who follow my blog know I had been training to get back in shape to run in the Warrior Dash that occurred this past weekend in New Jersey. Well, I have to say that it was an absolute blast! It was probably the most fun I have had in a long time. Physically demanding, mentally taxing, and I totally loved it! By the time I was crossing the finish line I was banged up, tired, cut, scraped, and bruised. Yet, the feeling of victorious accomplishment had me fully exhilarated. Call me crazy but I wanted to do it again!

The Warrior Dash was everything I hoped it would be. I had read about these mud runs and they have become the hot new thing for those with an adventurous athletic fervor, and taste for something different from the typical fitness regimen. Talk about taking it to the next level! Even though I have been going to the gym for years, lifting weights and jogging the treadmill, I knew I had to prepare with more intensity to get ready for this. I added in actual running outside (and I usually hate running), along with a more advanced weight training plan and proper nutrition over the eight weeks leading up to the dash. Plus, it had been many years since I actually competed in an actual athletic event. I looked at the Warrior Dash as a way to coax my mind and my body back into the athletic arena, and get back into fit shape. I didn’t want to embarrass myself out there!

Back in shape and ready to compete like a warrior!
Back in shape and ready to compete like a warrior!

Also, I had another major reason to do well. I wanted to give back. I decided to put my body on the line as a St Jude Warrior. As many of you know I ran this for charity and raised close to $1,500 for St Jude Children’s Cancer Research Hospital. They are an amazing organization and such a worthwhile cause. I applaud all those who participated as a St Jude Warrior, and also thank those who supported me with donations. It was an honor for me to have run this for them. If interested, donations can still be made to my personal link –

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As I stated before, this was more fun than I could have imagined. It had rained all morning making the course even more muddier and slippery than it already was. As we arrived at the race grounds the festival was in full swing. Music was blasting, contests were going on, people were eating, drinking beer, and partying it up! The race waves had begun at 7:30 and were going on every 15 minutes up until 6pm. It’s basically a 5K combined with a boot camp of obstacles spread throughout. I heard this one was actually closer to 3.5 miles. Thousands of people were here this day. Some in fun costumes. Some ran it seriously to compete. Some as couples and groups of friends. My start time was at 2pm and just as I was about to run the sky cleared up and sun came out. Talk about divine intervention! I just wanted to finish this thing and be in one piece at the end. The thought of broken bones did not amuse me as those images crept into my head as we were about to start. Oh, heck, as the saying goes – “Just Do It”!

There I am right in the middle climbing over dressed in black with white striped shorts.
There I am right in the middle climbing over dressed in black with white striped shorts.

Man, the first obstacle was a huge hill with a tough slope to climb up on, and it was all muddy and slippery as Hell. When finally reaching the top of that then there was a mile or more run, followed by more obstacles, and then more running. The running seemed to go on forever, and much of it was in deep woods over narrow trails, rocks, tree roots, streams, and muddy terrain. It was incredible. The obstacles did help to break up the monotony of running and many of them were challenging but a lot of fun. Some were a bit scary, especially for those afraid of heights, but most just required being a bit physical and determined. All the runners were great, and helped each other out along the way. There is a wonderful communal spirit among the participants of these events. I can now see why so many people enjoy this.


When coming back down the hill to the final three obstacles I got that second wind knowing that the finish line was in sight. The last one was a mud pit that bogged everyone down. It was nuts and almost impossible to swim through. It felt like lead quicksand and smelled like pig slop with barbed wire overhead. After making it through to the other side we were laughing like mud encased crazy people then stepped up to receive our finisher medals. Victory never tasted so muddy!

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I finished with a respectable time for my first ever event and ended up in the middle of the pack. I’ll take that, especially considering most of those around me were much younger. With around 8,300 participants this day I think I did pretty well. It made me feel like a kid again. Well, I am really just a goofy big kid still.

Some tips for the first time mud runner –

Get in some training leading up to the event. Run, run, run. Lift weights to get your upper body strengthened. Even though it’s just a 5K you will need the arm and shoulder strength. Wall climbing and cargo nets are a big part of this.


Run it with a friend, as a couple, or with a group. Support is a big motivator. Have some spectators there to cheer you on and help out a bit if needed. My gal Stacey was there all the way with me as I trained for this and took some killer pics day of event. She’s boss!

Bring towels and a change of clothes. You will be a sweaty muddy mess when done. There are spots to get hosed off and being a bit cleaner helps to enjoy the festival atmosphere a bit more. Believe me, mud gets everywhere, including spots you never imagined. I’m still discovering some!

Warrior Dash 2013 August 3rd NJ 045Wear an old pair of sneakers or ones that you won’t mind chucking after this as they will be unwearable. Bring a pair of flip flops or sandals. The dash here had an option to donate your sneakers so they could be cleaned up and given to those less fortunate.

Pack a small first aid kit in your bag with your after-race supplies. Leave the medical tent for those with more serious injuries. Most cuts and scrapes just need to be cleaned off and a few band-aids usually do the trick on boo-boo’s. My knees looked like chopped meat afterwards!

Warrior Dash 2013 August 3rd NJ 021Bring an ace bandage. The course can cause some minor ankle and wrist injuries. If you already have some discomfort from training it might help to wrap these body parts for extra support.

Include a few protein bars in your bag. Even though there are food and drinks sold at the event it’s a good idea to have something nutritious to re-fuel the machine after finishing the race.

IMG_20130803_131553_793Have a dog? Bring it! We saw many people bring their pets and we made a few furry friends!

Make sure to leave major jewelry and watches at home. There is no need to wear any of this while going through the course, and most of it would get ruined along the way.

Bring extra cash with you. You’ll want to buy beer, food, souvenirs, and event t-shirts to take home. Also, as a St Jude Warrior we received special treatment – access to their tent, bag check, free food, drinks, and hot showers.


Enjoy everything about the day and have fun! Drink a beer from a giant mug! Feast on a big smokey turkey leg! Check out the Warrior contests going on or jump in on one. Play in the mud. There is a lot going on all day long. Plus, you normally get a free beer, shirt and funny hat to wear just for signing up!

Victory feasting Warrior style!
Victory feasting Warrior style!

Everyone should try this at least once in their lives. It’s like a bucket list thing and something I am so glad I did. I’ll always remember this day, and the feeling of success after all the hard work I put in. It makes you believe that you can achieve anything! I might even do another in the future – Tough Mudder, Spartan Race, or one of the many others out there.

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Yup, this old kid still has some crazy in him!

Come get some!

53 thoughts on “My first Warrior Dash – Mud, Sweat, Fun, and Beer!”

  1. Very well done Phil and Stacey (photos and support). It is tiring me out just reading this! It seems like a great physical challenge and a true mud fest at the end.

    Well done on raising such a great amount of money for a great charity too.

  2. Sooooooo…..

    All those tales about brunches and lunches and munchies in NYC were catalogued before you began training for The Warrior Race. Even if you indulged during training, you worked off the gut. Man-oh-man, Phil, you should have attended Romance Writers Nationals. We were testosterone deprived for four days. You could simply have trolled the bar, and women would have paid to touch those pecs.

    Um. That line with your last picture? “Yup. This old kid still has some crazy in him.” A bit redundant, don’t you think, for those of us who follow your blog?

    On a serious note. Yes. I have those. St Jude’s is one of the most worthy charities. I know a teenager who was treated there free when she was diagnosed with an aggressive type of cancer at the ripe-young-age of six months.

    I plan to bop to your link and contribute to your funds raised. Well done, my friend!

    1. Hey Gloria!

      Yes, many of those gluttonous adventures happened before my training for this event, but I did cheat a bit along the way to keep my sanity!

      OMG – if I attended that writers event I might have been seduced into some serious debauchery!

      St Jude is an amazing organization. Danny Thomas had a vision that his family still strives for to this day. Any donation big or small is greatly appreciated.

    1. Hey Kristy!

      There were a lot of pups there to play with!

      You can run this with me next year. I’ll throw you over the walls and obstacles!

  3. What a Fantastic Post Phil! Thanks for sharing the details of the course, and the event which seemed so entertaining as you described it, though not so much for sissies, it clearly takes a little wherewithal, still worthwhile for the exhilaration, and of course, its intended purpose to benefit St. Jude’s! Great Job, and for getting so many folks involved too.

  4. You know you just totally talked me out of trying this right? The whole time I’m reading I was waiting to get to the “hose off” part. I’d be glad to watch as a form of support and hose down your belly button. Congrats on that $1500!

    1. Hey Kenya!

      LOL – I have an “inny” belly button so there was a lot of mud in there. I’ll take a sponge bath though! 😉

      I appreciate the love! It was a fun day and great charity run.

  5. Congrats, Phil!! I’m so proud of you. I knew you’d love WD. I wish I had done it this year. It was an amazing experience. And by the way, you look fantastic! Maybe I will see you at the next one.

    1. Hey Holly!

      Aw, thanks! It was so much fun. Not easy as it was my first ever 5K and mud run obstacle course, but glad I did train for it. Now taking off for a bit to recover. I want to do another one!

  6. Congrats on completing Warrior Dash and doing it for such a good cause! Proud of you. So….when are you taking on Tough Mudder? You know that one’s for the Wounded Warrior project, right? 😉 (Hubby’s doing it again this year…November. He says it’s a blast!)

    1. Hey Kitt!

      I appreciate the love! It was a blast!

      I’m taking some time off to recover. Looking into doing more of these, and Tough Mudder is on the list. I want to get more training in for my next one. Wounded Warrior is another great charity!

    1. Hey GK!

      Thanks so much! It was a great time and something that I think everyone should try at least once. I saw all kinds of people run it.

    1. Hey Lanthie!

      Thanks! It was so much fun and was a great workout. Glad I ran it for St Jude.

      These guns lifted a lot of beer after the race! 🙂

  7. OMG! I can’t believe I am reading this right now. I just registered for Muddrella, which I never did before…shit, I’ve never done anything before. I have 6 weeks to seriously train. I’ve been faithfully working out for 4 weeks, but not at this insane level. I can’t express how much reading this has inspired me! I know this ole girl has fun left in her….but, fear is always holding her back. I am determined now.
    The only thing that makes me nervous is seeing how big your arms are and knowing that things were difficult…yikes! Also, why is it so important to run? Do you have to run from obstacle to obstacle?

    1. Hey Lisa!

      Just make sure you get as much running in as you can. Add on time/distance each running day. You will be running or jogging a lot before, between, and after each obstacle. Your event is 5 – 7 miles and includes 12 – 15 obstacles. Definitely do a lot of upper body and core strength training, and keep up on the running.

      It was so much fun and an amazing day.

      You can do it!

  8. Phil, somehow this slipped past me – congratulations… impressive. I get lightheaded just blowing up an innertube! still up at the lake for ONE MORE NIGHT, then home and reality – a big dose of it.

    1. Hey Clay!

      Thanks so much! It was a terrific day and something I’ll never forget doing. Two months of training and eating right helped!

      Oh, we all hate when vacations end!

  9. Congrats on a great race and kudos for your fundraising efforts for St. Jude’s. It’s great to see how you had fun and made a difference at the same time.

    I’ve done a mud-treading excursion a couple of times — wading neck-deep through a muddy swamp for about 500 meters. You’re right, it’s like quicksand and it takes everything to move one leg forward and not lose your running shoes as they get sucked into the bottom. Luckily, my trek wasn’t a race though; I just did it for the bragging rights. And then I chucked every piece of clothing afterwards.

    1. Hey Suzanne!

      Thanks so much for the kind comments! I was happy to do it for charity, and it was an amazing experience.

      I know what you mean. All my clothes were shot, and sneakers were chucked after this. They had a donation for the sneakers at the Warrior Dash that will clean and refurbish them for those less fortunate. All around it was a great day and so much goodwill involved.

      I want to do another one now.

  10. Phil! This is awesome. Congrats to you for getting back in the swing of things. I had no idea there was a climbing portion to this–you are right about the weight lifting, especially for women as that stuff is harder to do to begin with.

    The pictures really made this one, too. I can tell they are personal photos and really paint a great picture of the day. I have always been too scared to participate in something like this, but for charity, and knowing some people do it for the pure fun/good of it… I might have to give it a shot.

    Great tips! And you are a very cool dude for doing that for St. Jude’s. 🙂

    1. Hey Jean!

      Thanks so much for your kind words. It was a terrific event and so glad I gave it a shot! Loved it.

      Glad you liked my overview of the day and the pictures. Running it for St Jude’s charity was something I felt I needed to do. So worthy. I am sure you can do this too. I saw all types participating.

      Go for it Jean!

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