Which is Harder: Warrior Dash or the Carving of the Pumpkins?

This is a long one, folks. I’m trying to catch up before we start a big project tomorrow.

Way back on October 15 Greg and I ran Warrior Dash.

We were totally going to train together and everything, but unfortunately Greg started fighting tendinitis right out of the gate, so he just up and quit on me.

So the day before I was feeling like a Grade A, Number One, U.S. Choice asshole because I fully intended to leave him behind as I went dashing through the course. That wasn’t what a wife was supposed to do. Was I really going to leave my husband behind in battle? Gasp!

Then I thought about it for about five minutes and decided that I wasn’t the asshole. I’d trained! He was the one who breached our contract! So there!

In his defense, he was in a lot of pain and I understand pain, seeing as how I can’t stop injuring myself seriously enough for Urgent Care about once per year. I’m just thankful to have avoided hospital admittance.


So we decided to camp and run Warrior Dash, and we did. 3.17 miles of trail running over supremely rutted fields, field stubble, downed logs, and obstacles.

Oh, did I mention we managed to lock our keys in the truck right before the race? WE SURE DID! It was totally awesome, we got to find a locksmith in Troy, MO, who would come and help us. Fortunately, he charged a pittance compared to our experience near Mt. Rushmore ($50, about a third of what it costs up there in the Dakotas), so if anybody needs a locksmith, let us know. We’re experts!

So anyway, we managed to make our wave, and away we went. Honestly, the obstacles were the easy part for me. It was the trail running that nearly murdered me. I was so worried about hitting one of those ruts wrong and going down. At that point I’d probably have just asked to be put out of my  misery, like a horse.

But lo, I made it to the end. I even passed a bunch of buff fellas in kilts along the way. Those boys were struggling, let me tell you, and it must have been a little humiliating to see an old woman go chugging by like a steam engine. Honestly, taking them down a few notches helped keep me going. I finished with a time right around 46:05, which makes me proud, especially considering the copious amounts of beer and candy corn I ingested the night before even though I knew better. We were at the back of our wave, so we got off to a slow start and I was trapped behind people in front of me who were walking long before I was ready to walk…I was frustrated and probably would have shaved 4 minutes or so off my time if it weren’t for that, but I still hold my head high.

Here’s the aftermath:

warrior dash

Oh, yeah. One of the obstacles was a mud pit, if you couldn’t tell. Another was jumping over flame, which consisted of Duraflame logs. If you’ve ever used Duraflame (I haven’t), it turns out they produce lots and lots of black smoke which feels absolutely divine in your lungs when you jump them while sucking wind like John Henry’s hammer. I think I’m still coughing up straight creosote from that little incident.

And after it was all done, we went back to camp and washed it off in the showers (sorry, State of Missouri, I cleaned up after myself as best I could).


I’m not sure that even Warrior Dash can hold up to the ordeal that is carving pumpkins.

I haven’t liked carving pumpkins since I was a kid and my pumpkins always SUCKED SUCKED SUCKED and NEVER looked like the COOL pumpkins in the magazines (because that’s right, youngsters, we didn’t have the internet then). We carved our pumpkins with a butcher knife. Just like the guy in Psycho. And Michael Myers. Take THAT, kids! We were hardcore au-then-tic!

But now, technology reigns, and we have these little hand saw kits that you can buy for, like, three bucks and change at Walmart. Or maybe more. Inflation and all.

Even so, I hate carving my pumpkin because – guess what? – it still doesn’t look cool. Greg couldn’t even recognize mine. Grrr. Photo later.

Ethan, he’s a whiz kid about this kind of thing I guess, because I turned him loose with his pumpkin and away he went, studiously avoiding the protective newspaper spread all over the living room floor.

carving - with ultimate concentration

Laurel, too, though she bitched about the saw and pumpkin until Ethan told her it was just operator error and I told her to just can it and have a good time, goddammit, it’s not like we’re professional pumpkin carvers and we were going to chuck them off the deck in about 3 days anyway.

hehe. Kidding, Laurel. Kinda. You know how it went down.

barefoot hippie

As you can see, Laurel has an A+ in Avoiding the Protective Newspaper.

But in the end, we ended up with three Very Fine Pumpkins, if I do say so myself, and I damn well DO say so myself because hi, it took a full 3 hours to complete them all, and longer than that to clean up. We are very intense that way.

So! Here are our pumpkins. Laurel’s, on the left, is a freehand Frankenstein. She started with a pattern that included bats but got so frustrated she turned it into Frankenstein and did a damn good job. Amazing, really. I’d have just given up. She should go into business fixing people’s drunken tattoo mistakes.

Ethan’s is in the middle. I have to take a minute to tell you about Ethan’s. The only work I did was cutting the lid out. He cleaned it all himself and did all the cutting completely by himself. Yes, I helped him punch out one eye and the freehand nose he added because they were stuck in the pumpkin, but that was after he cut them on his own. That kid is destined to build great things, the way he uses tools at 6.

And my pumpkin is on the right. See if you know what it is. Ethan thinks Greg is mentally incapacitated for failing to recognize it.

Laurel, Ethan, Michelle


It’s one of the Angry Birds, yo! This is the first time I’ve tried the whole ‘carving just a little bit without cutting all the way through and making a simple jack-o’-lantern into a froufrou 3-hour ordeal’ method.

So there you have it. It’s almost Halloween, and that’s just the very beginning of the holiday season.


(P.S., I should mention we also went camping with very awesome friends last weekend. Greg even got into trouble for violating quiet hours. It was awesome. Shout-outs to Paul, Cynthia, and Madison, who are partying in Orlando this weekend!)