I’m Keeping the Name: Warrior Girl Returns

The Path to Greatness….or something


It began innocuously enough. An email from my step-daughter to my husband containing a single link and nothing else: Warrior Dash.

My husband forwarded this link to myself, our daughters and sons-in-law. He added a cryptic and subtly challenging message:

“I am game if anyone else goes then count me in.”

Warrior. Dash. You’d think that might have given me some pause. But no. No pause whatsoever.

“I’m in. Better start training dear,” I wrote back, tartly.

“I will go in it just to watch you wiggle through the mud,” he replied. “Start training indeed!”

My Warrior Husband, aged 62, then challenged his childhood best friend who wisely begged off with a bum knee. His son took up the challenge though, as did a few other naïve members of our family. By the end of the email rounds, six of us had been caught in the Warrior web, as my husband thrillingly announced: “I have just registered the following victims for the race…”

Let me back up and explain. The Warrior Dash is (as best I can discern from the online description) a 5 km run dotted with obstacles: cargo nets, tangled ropes, uncharted forest, mysterious trenches, tires, vehicles and hay stacks, all of which must be clambered over, swung through or otherwise defeated. There is also Warrior Fire to be leapt over and a mud bath to be slithered through (don’t raise your head or you’ll meet the barbed wire!)

A walk in the park, no?

Oh, and did I mention that this little adventure takes place at a ski resort? That would explain “Hell’s Hill” on the course map, followed by “Petrifying Plunge”. Okay, it is an Ontario ski resort, I grant you, not a real ski resort. This is not the Rocky Mountains that we are talking about here. Still.

Fool that I am, I boldly challenged the men: “Jenny and I, representing Team Warrior Girl, will duly kick your butts (age-adjusted, of course). PS – Jenny: at this point I am just trying to run around the block once without croaking...”

That was at the end of April, fully ten weeks before the race. I know this precisely because I made a “Warrior Dash Training Log” complete with horned warrior helmets and columns titled “Date” and “Training Details”. I brashly posted it on the fridge, the week-by-week countdown highlighted in yellow. And, I had a foolproof training plan: I would start slowly and build up: just a one-mile lap around our block to begin. Then, I would add chin-ups or push-ups, or a home-made obstacle. Then another and another, another lap, another obstacle, week-by-week, culminating on Race Day when I would be revealed in a blaze of glory as the Unstoppable Woman Warrior. In a fit of enthusiasm, I even rounded up some old tires so that we could practice our tire-running technique.

Only problem was I didn’t show up for training.

To wit:

Day 1: one block run & stretching.

Day 2: one block run + five chin-ups + ten mountain climbers.

Then four rest days in a row.

Day 7:  One block run + forest run + tires + picked up sticks, then accidentally wandered off into garden to weed.

The six rest days in a row. In the blank spaces on my training log, there is a fierce admonition scribbled in black marker: “MOM!!!” followed by a penciled in response: “But I’ve been working on the house. Doesn’t moving furniture count?”

Day 14: 1 ½ blocks + chin ups + tires.

Then nothing for two weeks.

Day 31: 5 lap bike + 1 mile run.

Then blank slots marching down the page. Until today. Day 50. I biked and ran. 50 days and I showed up six times. Ouch. Ouch is what I`m going to get in three weeks if I don`t get my butt in gear. At forty-three years old, I can`t exactly rely on the old chestnut about how I used to do track in high school.

What got in the way? Oh, the usual. Work. Laundry. Repainting the office. Sleep. A certain ill-advised cockiness that comes with my lean shape, a product of my constant “running”: I sprint up stairs, I speed walk through errands, I lift many heavy bins of groceries each week. But this does not a Warrior make. I must run up a ski hill. Leap over fire. Clamber over cars and hay bales and who knows what else. Perhaps Sasquatch will show up.

And so I appear before you here, humbled, and ready to work. And no, my fingers are not crossed behind my back:

Day 50: Four 1-mile laps on the bike to warm up. 1 mile run, where I bailed at ¾ due to a mega-cramp. Sigh. This does not bode well. I did start running again when I realized I’d forgotten to pick up my daughter from school. I sprinted actually…

For the next 26 days, this will not just be my blog, I will be posting my training log, too.

Wish me luck.

PS – I am keeping the name, Warrior Girl. Long before I had heard of this race I had taken the name as a computer moniker. Not because I have a black belt (I do). Not because I am particularly tough (my kids will tell you that I am afraid of cotton balls). I like it because of its connotation: bodhisattva, the spiritual warrior. Always struggling to do the right thing, to be patient, to find compassion for others and for myself. It may be the toughest fight of all. Oh and this, of course: the struggle to Observe the Sacred Pause. Don’t sign up to do things unless you’re prepared to put in the work.