Two stoners, two very different results at this weekend's Warrior Dash near Conroe.
The event, a three-mile obstacle course/run that Red Frog stages across the country, encourages participants to unleash a kind of inner viking while climbing cargo nets, sliding down muddy hills and jumping over small fires. Whether your inner viking is more Conan the Barbarian or Conan O'Brien, you register and pay the $55 and you get the fuzzy made-in-China horned helmet and the words of encouragement from the race staff regardless.
About the stoners -- Hair Balls ran with a few friends and watched the two who were closest in terms of physical shape and lifestyle to see who would finish first. Both smoke pot like they suffer severe phobias of producing functioning sperm. Neither are regular runners. Both engaged in playful shit-talk while we lined up waiting for the 11:30 a.m. wave to begin. (Not that uncommon -- the main point of the event is to have fun, as evidenced by the silly costumes and the post-race beer drinking.)
The first mile or so was relatively obstacle-free, and most of our heat was bunched together. Once out of earshot of the overly enthusiastic cover band playing in the festival area that the track wraps around, it felt like a relaxing dirt-road jog. Then we reached a hill with a big hose on top and were instructed to slide down the muddy side. At this point, Stoner No. 1 starts pulling ahead. This obstacle resulted in a good lesson: Avoid running in wet shoes at all costs, because it sucks.
Second, wearing tiny jean shorts during any activity that involves climbing through rope or under barbed wire or across submerged logs is like the post-race turkey leg that we're still trying to floss out of our teeth: looks awesome, ends up regrettable.
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Third, it's all mental. Nearly 40 minutes after starting, Stoner No. 1 was there waiting at the finish line when we reached the last leg with two others from our group, caked with crud and sunburned. He was eating a complimentary banana like a smug asshole on the sideline when we dove into the final obstacle, a sludge-water pit crowned with devil's rope in a way that required low-crawling and ensured a face full of jungle diseases. (Yes, you pay money for this. Yes, it's a lot of fun.)
The only thing that Stoner No. 2 learned when he finished several minutes after us, though, is that Monster energy drink is just as pretty a shade of electric blue coming up as it is going down.
Of course, competition isn't required. Some use the race as an excuse to dress up in Batman underwear with girlfriends or construct a suit of armor made of empty Bud Light cases and cans and take a lazy lap around an obstacle course to avoid puking and acquire (relative) dignity.
Final lesson: if you run in the Warrior Dash and you don't drop your muddy sneakers on the charity pile at the end of the race, do not leave them inside your house, because the smell will be awful.