A couple of months ago, my friend Kira asked me if I wanted to do a Warrior Dash. My only question: How long is the course? She told me 3.2 miles, plus a couple of obstacles along the way.

Either I didn't hear her or simply wasn’t paying attention when she mentioned there would be obstacles. Crawling under barbed wire, swimming through mud, scaling walls, jumping over fire—-yeah, I probably would have never agreed to any of that.

As they say, ignorance is bliss, and good thing too, because I would have missed out on this amazing experience.

I have to admit, though, it was kind of hard. Trail running isn’t really my thing. The extent of my off-road adventures is Central Park’s Bridle path (real trail runners are probably laughing at that statement as we speak), so navigating a mountain (literally, people ski down Windham Mountain during the winter!) laced with rocks, roots, and other debris was enough to throw me off balance more than once—-especially when you add in all that mud!

I did love the dirt though—it was a welcome break for my body, since I am constantly logging miles on the streets of NYC.

Once I made peace with the fact that trail running is a lot slower and more technical, and that I would probably have to do some walking up those super steep hills (Hey,I ran 11 miles the day before and took a spin class, don’t judge me!), I decided to focus on overcoming the obstacles.

Surprisingly, I excelled at these random tests of strength, coordination, and agility. Who knew I could channel my inner Lolo Jones and hurdle across a fire pit? Who knew I could shimmy across a rope? Who knew I could climb a 15-plus foot wall?

For that I specifically have to thank As1 and Equinox’s Titan Method for helping to build my upper body strength because I am almost positive I might still be trying to climb over that darn wall if it wasn’t for them! (FYI: You can go around most obstacles if you so choose, but where’s the fun in that?)

All fun aside, the Warrior Dash and others like it (think Tough Mudder and Spartan Race) are a test of your physical ability and your fortitude. And while you can sign up with a blasé attitude, I advise that you not attempt a race like this without doing some serious training or at least being in somewhat decent shape. Shoot, even I felt like I should have been more prepared!

One last rec: Embrace the mud! It is everywhere! I definitely tried to avoid it in the beginning, but after the first half mile I realized that was pretty much impossible. So, like my fellow warriors, I too splashed around in that thick, brown, murky goo until my heart was content. Hey, sometimes you gotta get a little dirty!