• The tortoises, the hares and zombies

    by Carolyn Wyler

    Blood, slime, mud, obstacles, and… oh yeah… ZOMBIES! When they build it up like that, how could I possibly resist? I was totally in for getting bloody, slimy, dirty, and being chased by the undead. Sign me up!

    Of course, I had to call up a few friends and drag them (some kicking and screaming) in on the fun too. We created “Team Cannibal” and set off last Saturday to Gibson Ranch Park in Northern California in a valiant attempt to survive a Zombie apocalypse.

    We planned our strategies. A couple in my team said they were going to take it slow and just walk the entire course.

    One of the other guys suggested the remaining three of us stick together and establish a steady run/jog. We would make it through the race together, as a team. However, all the while as he was talking, all I was thinking was, “Yeah, yeah, blah, blah, blah. This is a race right? The first time a Zombie attacks, I would use either one of you as a human shield to prevent my flags (aka lifelines) from being taken.”

    After all, what are good friends for?

    In a surprise twist, I was left flabbergasted and sucking in the dust that he and his daughter kicked up as the horn blew, signifying the start of the race. Hmmm, so this is how it feels to be thrown under a metaphorical bus.

    Yeah, sure, I would have done the same to them (and I was admittedly slightly impressed), but I was irritated that they got to screw me over first.

    I had already set myself apart from the rest of the team as I had decided prior to the race that part of my strategy would be to dress up as a Zombie. My thinking was that the walking dead would certainly think I was one of them and wouldn’t attack me or try to take my flags.

    Unfortunately though, these were not your typical Zombies. They were smart and could run. Not a normal run pace either, but a “WTF, you’re a Zombie and you shouldn’t be running at all, let alone faster than I can,” type of run.

    I lost one of just two lifelines within minutes of starting the race. What the hell? “Who Wants to be a Millionaire” contestants got more lifelines than this and they didn’t have to risk getting their brains eaten! This was not going well.

    I kept going and soon came across my other two “teammates” who had tuckered out from their initial sprint and were now walking. We jumped into a mud pit together and splashed around a bit (after all, this is a big part of why we came here). I climbed out before they did though, right as a scary blood soaked creature started coming at me. I took off and didn’t look back.

    After climbing a 15-foot high tower, sliding down a water slide, walking through two more mud piles, climbing over a few hurdles and getting shot by a blood gun, I arrived at the finish line way ahead of my other team members. However, I had lost my last flag in the process and my prognosis was “probably fatal.” My other friends arrived between 10 to 50 minutes later. The ones who had decided in the beginning to walk the entire race arrived, both still with one of their flags intact.

    So, what did I learn from this race?

    1. You can’t always trust your friends to look after you, but you can decide to have a good time with them anyway.
    2. What you hear and know about Zombies from TV or movies isn’t always what they are in “real” life.
    3. Never trust a couple of cheerleaders, especially ones covered in blood.
    4. I found Waldo (actually five of them who could very well have been imposters, but looked exactly like him, glasses and all running along beside me).
    5. If you’re in a race full of obstacles and mud pits, take time to play in the mud.
    6. Slow and steady sometimes does end up winning races and staying alive, especially in a Zombie Apocalypse. (Note taken for next time there is a Zombie attack. and one I fully plan on being involved in again.)

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