Event & Location:
The Dirty Dash @ Bogus Basin, Idaho – 5mile obstacle mud run.
Base Elevation at Bogus: 5790ft
Summit Elevation: 7582ft
My training grounds: Nampa, Idaho – Elevation: 2516ft
On Saturday, 08/02/2014, Kenobi & Co. acended the mountain and took on The Dirty Dash. It was my second time taking on this obstacle mud-run and I had a great time doing it. This time it was even more of a family affair than last year. In 2013 Mrs. Kenobi and our youngest two: Flash and Thor cheered me on from the sidelines, which mainly consisted of them watching me run out of sight, then waiting for about an hour and a half and seeing me covered in mud at the finish line but still, they were there supporting me and that’s all that mattered. As far as getting kids involved and active, seeing a parent do something challenging and new can also be a great way to set an example and encourage them as they are growing. Actions have a value all their own. This year not only did Mrs. Kenobi run with me, but Daredevil and Flash participated in the “Piglet Plunge”, a smaller version of the Dirty Dash roughly one mile long. Trinity, our oldest, and Thor the youngest didn’t do the Dash or the Plunge so they chilled out down near the start and finish lines along with another older youth we had brought along to help watch over the kids while Mrs. Kenobi and I ran the Dash. We brought ample snacks, water and fixins for lunch, so part of them time they were going back and forth to the cooler in the van getting refreshments.
The “plan” was for Mrs. Kenobi and I to run the Dash and then take Daredevil and Flash on the Plunge since the website said the kid run would be about 60-80 minutes after the final adult run. When we arrived, I checked with some volunteers to see if they knew the official time and I was told 12:20. Being that our run was at 11:00, I was shocked initially at this “new” time, but we made the decision that while we were running if the Piglet Plunge was called up, it would be O.K. for the two kiddos to go participate without us, as long as they looked out for one another. More on that later.
Below, I’d like to compare/contrast last year’s Dirty Dash “after action report” with this year’s. 2013’s AAR will have bold/italic notes in parenthesis that I added this year to correct certain assumptions I had made about the track. Forgive the length of this post. It’s the longest to date, I know. The “AAR” for 2013 will be a little more detailed than 2014’s, mainly because 2013’s gives you the reference point for the differences in 2014’s run.
Training Regimen April – August 2013
April & May
- Squats, Pull Ups, Push Ups, Planks (Full Body Workout # 1)
- Lunges, Chin Ups, Pushups, Reverse Crunches (Full Body Workout # 2)
- Lunges & Squats were weighted with 55lbs (minimal supply of iron at home).
May, June & July
- Full Body Workout # 1 once/ week
- Mountain Bike 7mile circuit every saturday.
- GTGing (Greasing the Groove) push ups and pull ups when I couldn’t get a full body workout in (which seemed like A LOT of the time).
July & August
- Road Work – 2.5mile (later on I used my ipod pedometer and it told me it was a 2.25 mile circuit) road run that included two bridges, one hill and a nice steady incline at the finish.
- Elliptical Machine Runs w/added weight.
- Light body weight work – mainly pushes and pulls.
The Dirty Dash 08/10/2013
This was the first time I had ever participated in any sort of obstacle/mud run and my race was at 1200. The majority of the run was on what looked to be old logging trails, or old ATV trails (I paid attention to the signs this year and found out they are Nordic skiing, mountain bike and horse trails). I forgot to set my watch right at the start, thankfully realizing this about 15 – 20 seconds in, but for the sake of humility and intellectual honesty, I am going to round it up to an even 30seconds. I stayed with the first 1/4 of the pack and noticed that a large separation happened between the remaining 3/4 who were basically walking and “us”, those who were running or jogging at a faster pace – this happened at about 1/4 to 1/2 mile in.
The first mile was a lot of up and down elevation changes on the trail plus obstacles. The first set of obstacles on mile 1 were large hay/straw bails which came up almost 3ft in height spread out across the trail. These started to come into play about 1/4 mile in. There were about six or seven of these along the trail with a couple areas where the bails would be two in a row about 15yds apart. Obviously, you had to crawl or jump on them to continue to trail, some just walked around them. At crossing the mile one marker, I glanced at my watch and noticed 7:30! Not too bad! So, including the 30sec, I ran a mile in 8min with differing elevation, terrain and obstacles. Kinda felt like a badass, especially considering I was pacing myself on the first mile and walked down a few of the down grades because of how steep the trail was. On the majority, about 90% of my “walking” was a really brisk marching pace.
The first mud obstacle was right after mile 1. A large, hard plastic tube lay across the trail, about waist-high, after that were three small, hard plastic tunnels in a thick mud pit. It felt a bit claustrophobic, as I crawled on hands and knees through thick, course mud. Mile 2 had more up and downs, but way more inclines than declines. From my road training and mountain biking, I pushed much harder on all the inclines (except for one…we’ll get to that), running/jogging them, setting goals at the top to reach before i slowed down, etc. I don’t recall many obstacles on mile 2 except for the monkey bars, which were right at the end of mile 2, beginning mile 3. Pull Up strength definitely helped my grip there. Throughout the course there are water stations at each mile marker. So, right before the monkey bars, I had grabbed a small cup of water, and also used it for my hands. 50yds down the road was the monkey bars…crap! A good part of my shirt and pants were already muddied from the first crawl in the tunnel, so I did what I could to dry off my already wet hands from the water and mud and hit the bars. I was able to cross without slipping, so again, I felt like a badass with my ninja monkey strength. I was honestly surprised that I was able to hold on as well as I did with barely dry hands.
Enter mile 3…. HO-LEE…CRAP!
The third mile was a constant incline up what I believe was Shafer Butte, a few switch backs and then a devilishly designed trail that appeared to go straight up the spine of that sucker! It was HERE that I forsook running and went straight into marching mode. I passed a lot of people and I know I caught up with many stragglers from the 1130 and maybe even a few 1100 heat participants. At the top of the major part of the incline there was a small plateau, cleared out and mostly gravel. Obstacles shaped in a large U running away from and then back to the trail.
The first two of these obstacles were mud & water pits (mixed fairly well so it was a challenge to crawl through), each pit began with a large bail of hay you got over and then dropped into the pit, and another one you had to get over to get out of the pit. The pits had four or five fixed and low hanging pipe that forced you to crawl under or try to hop over – most people who tried to go over were given a hard time by the volunteers and sprayed with a firehose. I crawled under them and was surprised at the speed I was able to get through them. I did a spider-man/ Gollum – like crawl through both pits and stood up at the final bail and let the firehose guy spray me down a little. The next set of obstacles in this U were three walls to climb over with rope. They were maybe 15ft tall. The ropes were knotted, the wall was not fully vertical and had a few foot holds, caked with mud. Up and over each I went. By this time, my sunglasses were almost worthless – glad I wore my cheap lawn mowing ones!
Mile three completed, a water station and a port-a-potty – WOOHOO! I let the clock keep going on my watch (couldn’t really see it anyway) and quickly relieved myself. Back to the trail I went after hitting the water station for a small cup/shot of h2o. I ran and marched this up more of the trail to another clearing. Here there were four obstacles, three close together – mud pits with walls to climb over or under – and one right before the path down (a large cargo net). The walls each had two versions, one that was about 3.5 – 4ft in height, and one that was about chin/face height. Basically, you grip the wall, jump and push yourself up over. I hit the higher wall and thankfully the body weight routines I was doing paid off here as I was able to get over each wall without a struggle. It took a little effort as I was weighed down with mud and water, but I got over them, first try on each.
The remaining part of the trail brought me up close to the summit, I don’t believe where we were at was the summit. Here there was a large cargo net and the beer chug challenge. The cargo net had a line…so I waited my turn, only took about a minute or two to get to the net, but i had to wait for people to get OVER and DOWN too…. what should be a nice brisk ascent and descent was slower, but I got over it. During registration I had opted out of the beer chug. I didn’t want to risk a) spewing all over the trail or 2) getting dizzy and hurting myself on the trial. Es No Bueno. I noticed the “beer chug challenge” was basically a resting point. There was really no slamming of beers and taking off. Everybody there was leisurely sipping and enjoying their beer. I wasn’t going to wait around, so I bypassed the group and began running down the trail. For the most part, I ran the remainder of miles 4 and entering mile 5 as I wound down the hill. I did walk/march down at a few points as my legs and feet would send signals of “HEY! Stop that!”, well, that and I almost lost control running downhill at one point and thought I was going to fly off to certain death. Running downhill definitely has a large impact on the legs and feet.
Nearer the bottom, when the path was leveling out, one “obstacle” was basically metal planks that you ran up, across and down, looks like it was over some drainage creek. Vader said it best: “All too easy.” There weren’t very many obstacles after this, there was a mud pit to run through which literally SHOT mud at you from air compressed pipes on your left. And there was an inflatible obstacle…really not worth mentioning, was more there for fun than anything it wasn’t a “challenge”. In the last 1/4mile there were car & truck tires on the ground for about 30ft or so. I haven’t done that type of obstacle in a while, so that was fun. My legs were almost fried by this point, but I was able to keep my legs up and get through it without falling or stopping. The last “obstacle” was a large inflatible slip and slide to go down. To get there you had to go up about a 100 yard incline. There was a large line for some reason that I had noticed halfway down the mountain, apparently there was a SNAFU with the slip n slide and someone had damaged it. A Bunch of people were crossing over the trail and just going to the finish line. I ran up the incline, around the group of people crossing over and got to the top of the slip – n – slide and then just went down the side path with everyone else. I didn’t want to cut the run short, so that’s why I went to the top even if the obstacle was out of commission.
The final obstacle was just a very, very large mud pit to get through. I jumped in and slowly waded my way through (a lot of people were in there) many of these were definitely the 1130 and 1100 participants.
I checked my watch after the finish line: 1hr 14min. With all the waiting I did for some of the obstacles, plus the 30sec differential with starting the clock., I think that I completed the course at 1hr 10min…but that’s just me. I definitely want to do this next year. Mrs. Kenobi plans on doing it with me, so hopefully we can bring a few more with us!
I must admit, in spite of being a little tender and sore in a few places, I still feel like a bad-ass. I learned a handful of things for how to adjust my training going forward and what to change or tweak for the Dash next year. But you’ve read enough for now. As usual, I’ll be either joining challenges or making battle logs with goals and working towards them
The Dirty Dash 08/02/2014
April & May
- Box Jumps, Squats (Goblet Squats w/Kettlebells), Lunges (w/Kettle or Dumbbells), Dumbbell Bench, Car Drivers, Planks
- Dead Lift, Bench w/bar, Pulls/Negatives, Cable Rows, Lat Pull Downs, (later in the month I replaced the Rows & Pull downs with just Pulls/Chins/Negs) Planks (alternating these two workouts every other time)
- Ruck Walks w/weighted backpack (May)
- Road Run (May)
June & July
- Squat, Bench Press, Dead Lift, Pulls/Negs (Lifts using Barbell & plates)
- Squat, Overhead Press, Dead Lift, Chins/Negs
- Mile Runs at gym 1/week after my workout
- Weighted Ruck Walks (mostly in June & part of July)
Compare and contrast-wise, I definitely hit the cardio a lot harder last year than this year. I didn’t hit the road as often as I wanted to, nor did I get on my bike at all. This year my goal was to develop more overall strength and learn how to throw the iron around so I focused more on weights than just body weight routines, however, I did keep the pulls and chins in there.
This year, I believe the Dash was planned a little better than last year but that’s just the impression I got. Coming from the view of a customer/participant, it just seemed to run a lot smoother. So, on to the race, shall we?
At the beginning of the race, we ran by construction-type water trucks that gave us a good soaking. The first obstacles this year came before the hay/straw bails that were placed along the trail. The first obstacle was a small cargo net climb approximately 7 or 8 foot high, followed by the mud tunnel crawl about twenty-five yards from the cargo net. This is the same mud tunnel that greeted me just after the first mile marker last year. Then came the hay/straw bails throughout the rest of the first mile. Since Mrs. Kenobi had been robbed of a good portion of her training sessions (due to Thor deciding it was O.K. to fight tooth and nail at not sleeping all night. Maybe I should make his call-sign Loki…) I wanted to go at her pace throughout the run.
I do not recall any obstacles other than the trail itself on mile 2 this time around since the mud tunnels were moved to the beginning portion of mile 1. Mainly, mile two consisted of a handful of elevation changes in the trail.
At the beginning of mile 3, I expected to see the monkey bars again but they were not there, they had been replaced by a large, heavy-duty inflatable water slide. It wasn’t water park quality, obviously, just enough water trickling on that puppy to make it slick and enjoyable. The remainder of mile 3 was the ascent on the back-side of the mountain followed by the two cleared out areas with obstacles spread out in a “U” formation. Both of them were the same as last year, however, on the first set I did not crawl under both sets of pipes. Due to the crowd, I went over the first set and under the second. On the second “U” of obstacles they had added a third and higher wall than last year roughly six and a half feet, maybe a few inches more. This year, they were not in mud pits either. So I hit the high wall on the first set, the middle wall (the high version last year) on the second and hit the high wall again on the third set. The third wall was the hardest because it was covered in mud from people attempting it. On my attempt, I thought I might not get over it and have to do a second attempt, but I was able to get over and get it done. Thank you strength training and pull ups! Mile 3 was the hardest for Mrs. Kenobi, but we went at her pace and she made it all the way up the mountain. She opted out of the obstacles during mile 3 (except for the large slide) which I don’t blame her for, at all. It was a great chance to catch her breath as I ran through those obstacles.
At the top of the mountain, the large cargo net from last year was missing and it its place was the large inflatable “obstacle” that I mentioned in the 2013 AAR. After this was the beer chug, which Mrs. Kenobi and I skipped out on and headed straight down the mountain. The rest of mile 4 was pretty much down hill and no obstacles until we reached the lower point where we head back towards the finish line. At this point, the mud mine field was present again. Casually winding down the path we approached the large cargo net (yay! they didn’t take it away!). We were within about 500 yards (as the crow flies) from the finish line and checking the time with a spectator we were told it was about 12:45pm. Both Mrs. Kenobi and I figured that we had missed the younger ones taking on the Plunge but as we headed towards the cargo net, we noticed a group of kids running along a path that intersects with ours about twenty yards behind us. So we stopped and watched them, wondering if maybe this is where the Piglet Plunge merges with the Dash trail and looked for our kiddos. Sure enough Mrs. Kenobi spotted them first, Flash and Daredevil, running hand in hand and as cute as can be. With Kenobi and Co. reunited, they told us that they had just started the race a little bit ago (later we found out their race began at 12:40). They had been sprayed with some water, but mainly had run along a marked out path from a parking lot to the trail they were on when we saw them. The final obstacles ahead would be their time to get muddy. Both Mrs. Kenobi and I were very happy to be able to finish our race along with our kiddos.
The large cargo net was mainly a waste of time for me. It was flooded with people and some smaller kiddos who really shouldn’t have been climbing it. The majority of the kids were running under it, Flash & Daredevil later said that’s what they were told to do. I probably spent a good five minutes near the top waiting for a mom and her kid to get over. Anywho, good for them that they did it though!
Right before the tire obstacle (just like 2013) they had a couple of water trucks parked there spraying everyone. We got a good soaking and hit the tires like the bosses we are. Daredevil was with me, Flash was with Mrs. Kenobi and we got through it well enough. The slip and slide was in good repair this year and we successfully went through it and then on the to mud pit for the finish. Flash didn’t like the mud pit very much, being quick and Flash-like, Flash didn’t like the muddy bottom being “squishy”. Basically it made Flash feel like it was quicksand sucking her down. But, we all made it through!
My legs are a little tender, my feet/ankles are the most sore. I believe this is due to wearing really, really crappy shoes and taking all the impact of walking and jumping around. The shoes I wore were the ones I trained in and ran in last year, these are my lawn mowing shoes this year. Something is to be said about taking care of your feet when running, hiking and jumping!
Well, there you have it! No photos, as they are still being processed by the company that takes them at the Dash. Hopefully I’ll put some up in the weeks to come.
Let me hear from you! Have you ever ran an obstacle/mud course like the Dirty Dash, Spartan Race or Tough Mudder?