America’s Toughest Mudder Northeast: I love you Endurance OCR, but Gosh Darn it I’m Tired!

“THIS IS MY RIFLE, THERE ARE MANY LIKE IT BUT THIS ONE IS MINE. MY RIFLE IS MY BEST FRIEND. IT IS MY LIFE. I MUST MASTER IT AS I MASTER MY LIFE. WITHOUT ME IT IS USELESS, WITHOUT MY RIFLE I AM USELESS.” -Full Metal Jacket

I was thinking about this quote the other day as I reflected on my journey through Obstacle Racing. I remember my first Tough Mudder like a distant fading memory. The rush was exhilarating and I wanted more…. right away. I wanted to mainline adrenaline. A funny thing happened, though….. the second wasn’t the same… nor the third. So thing’s escalated to bigger, badder and longer (Michael Scott) events. I fell into the Endurance OCR trap. Specifically World’s Toughest Mudder.

World’s Toughest Mudder consumed me. The training, planning, budgeting, talking, and social media-ing consumed me. So much so that it began to define me. I wore it like a badge of honor leading up to my first WTM and I was most likely an asshole about it. Oh, you ran a Spartan Sprint up a mountain and got 5th in your age group? That sounds really fun and all but I’m here to train for a 24 HOUR event (pats self on back), you should try it too it’s super mega ultra elite badass! I even distance shamed my fake internet HVAC nemesis Hobie Call about it, as if in some magical place me competing in a 24 Hour Tough Mudder elevated me anywhere near his athletic ability. The good news is that I eventually got over it. After actually doing the event it “literally” took me to the brink of the most cliche thing that I could type here. I didn’t find “myself” but I definitely found something within myself and I will always remember walking alone in the dark up a hill talking to myself and repeating my wife and children’s names so I could continue to push on.  I did that for two more years, and much like my first Tough Mudder, my second and third World’s Toughest Mudders didn’t quite feel the same. After 2016 I figured I might actually take the advice that Sean Corvelle gives at the start of every Tough Mudder and “try something for the first time” and maybe even escape the ordinary. This year, instead of chasing something I’d like to experience something new and help a first time World’s Toughest Mudder by being his pit (what’s up Garfield). I’ve heard great things from previous competitors like Yancy Culp, Miguel Medina and Joshua Gustin Grant about pitting and would like to experience the event from a different perspective. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it. Oh by the way, Tough Mudder then decided to announce an 8 hour Toughest Series with multiple locations. I guess we will see if I’m full of shit or not….

Truth be told, I almost didn’t make it to the highway to drive up to Toughest last week. I took a new job in New York roughly 2 months ago and have been working there and traveling back to see my wife and children in Virginia every weekend. When I committed to the event I hadn’t even interviewed for the New York job yet so needless to say we were making it work. I am averaging around 16 hours of driving between Friday and Sunday and last weekend was only slightly different. I made it down earlier than usual Friday and left 4 hours before the kid’s bedtime on Saturday so I could arrive with some time to rest in Philadelphia before the midnight start of Toughest. Enter my son, Chase. A few hours before my departure I took him for a ride with me to The Home Depot to buy some wood. I told him how much I missed him and he responded, “Daddy, if you miss me so much just stay.” Shocked, I responded, “you will all be moving to New York as soon as your school ends in a few weeks, buddy. I promise.” Now, Chase was referring to our current living situation but it struck a chord with me and made it much harder to leave this weekend than each weekend before. Did I make the wrong call leaving earlier to do an event? I don’t know, but it sure felt that way. Dunkin Donuts Iced Coffee in hand I was on to Philadelphia.

America’s Toughest Mudder Northeast ran like a well oiled machine. I think it was actually more organized than WTM with like 400 less participants. Here are some examples:

  1. I got to parking earlier than I was supposed to and instead of being turned away they let me in. That never happens. Score!
  2. Registration was set up alphabetically and they let us line up early for that as well. It was a good opportunity to get some socializing out of the way and see everyone before it was go time. Once they opened up it went quick and smooth. Smoother than a regular Tough Mudder.
  3. I found the pit set up to be simplistic and effective. While there were a few stragglers trying to sneak into my spot, for the most part everyone was cool. I haven’t heard about anyone having anything stolen, so I’d say it was a success!
  4. There was grass to take a knee on instead of sand and rocks. This made taking a knee during Sean’s speech much more enjoyable
  5. Kris Mendoza.
  6. Matt B. Davis was in China (seriously).
  7. Hang time was a blast
  8. The design of these Bibs is super dope.
  9. While one 5 mile Loop and one sprint lap instead of two reduced some mileage it was nice not having to think and run a different course.
  10. Tough Mudder has really good big obstacles.
  11. Friends

Operationally, my only real critique is that there was no Coffee vendor at the end of this thing. I had to drive 16 minutes to a Starbucks like an hour after I finished. Please add a Coffee vendor. It may be early, but they will clean up selling Coffee to 700 people that have been up since midnight, I promise.

So what did I think of the event? I thought it was great. I really enjoyed myself for the first 3-4 hours but as the temperatures started to drop and I stubbornly refused to add any wetsuit layers I began to question why the hell I came. I didn’t question it because the event wasn’t good, but because mentally I have so much other shit going on right now that suffering and pushing through at obstacle races has taken a backseat. I miss my kids. I miss my wife. I miss my dogs. I kind of miss my cat. I’m also going to really miss my house, which holds a lifetime of memories in 7 short years. This is what I was thinking about at 4:00am. At 8:00am I wasn’t thinking about how I now suddenly wanted to do WTM, but I confirmed that I need to take some time off from endurance OCR. I am tired. I want to have fun. One day I will feel the need to push my limits again and I will certainly hop back on the pain train, but for now I just want to run a 2 hour race with my wife and get home to my kids after lunch as if we snuck out to brunch and a movie. For long enough I’ve let OCR define too much of who I am and all I want to prove right now are that There Are No Strings On Me.

 

 

Toughest Mudder South Race Review

In today’s OCR landscape, there is a plethora of events featuring numerous different course lengths and difficulties to suit every taste.  However, the more hardcore crowd who enjoys pushing themselves for multiple hours through endless obstacles was dealt a tough blow last year when BattleFrog shuttered operations.  Their BattleFrog Extreme (BFX) option allowed racers to complete as many laps of the standard 5 mile circuit from 8 am to 3 pm and were a favorite among the ultra OCR enthusiast crowd.  Tough Mudder clearly saw this opportunity to seize that market segment and announced the first ever Toughest Mudder Series.  These events would be 8 hours taking place from 12-8 am, competitive with prize money, broadcast on CBS, and feature a 2 course layout with unique obstacles.  The inaugural event in Los Angeles last month was hailed a smashing success by competitors and media alike.  Therefore, I was keen to check out if Tough Mudder Head Quarters (TMHQ) could duplicate the same triumph at the second stop in Atlanta – let’s hope for Godfather Part 2 and not 2 Fast 2 Furious.

As with any great sequel, the setting is critical and Bouckaert Farms seemed to fit the bill.  This 8,000 acre equestrian park is teeming with gentle pastures, lakes, and woodlands along a 12 mile stretch of the Chattahoochee River.  The road leading up to the event site was well marked and an electronic road construction sign was placed at the site entrance.  Two options were offered for parking – premium for $30 (could only be purchased in advance) right beside Mudder village and standard for $20 ($10 in advance).  Standard parking required a decent 15 minute walk which was quite a task when toting all the gear and nutrition needed for an 8 hour event.  Mudder Village was set up inside the equestrian competition venue with registration setup at the main gate.  Drop zones for pit stops left a lot to be desired though as they were located inside the equestrian horse stalls.   While TMHQ did make good on their promise to provide a 2 by 4 foot covered area, these stalls were narrow and had a very tight entrance.  Undeterred, participants eventually crowded into the starting corral to receive their final briefing.

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TMHQ officials covered primary rules and course specifics before handing over the mic to their hype man, Sean Corvelle.  The Tough Mudder pledge was recited, a few chants were uttered, and the official start was issued promptly at 12:00 am.  Channeling the spirits of the thoroughbreds which normally graced the grounds, participants charged out of the corral onto the first loop.  The first lap is described as a “Sprint Lap” with only some of the 12 obstacles being open.  This allows the field to thin and prevent back logging on obstacles.  There is also a standalone award for the first male and female to complete the first lap.  However, it seemed a large portion of the field went out at a pace more suited for a 2 hour race and would come to regret that decision later in the night.

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The first mile of loop number one led away from Mudder Village and directly into the surrounding forest for a nice technical section of trail running.  Nestled amidst the Georgia pines was the first obstacle, Berlin Walls, which would showcase a devious twist from the race directors – a double obstacle.  There are normally two flat 8 foot walls participants must scale, but the course was doubled back after successful completion to conquer two more (total of 4 walls).  Even better still, the second set had an added horizontal shelf at the top which made that set much more difficult and strength intensive.  Little did we know, TMHQ would utilize this sneaky technique on other upcoming obstacles throughout the event.

After some more trail running, the forest opened up to Pyramid Scheme which was tweaked for this individual event into a slippery (water pit at the base), slanted wall with a rope assist.  Shortly after, mudders encountered the first decent hill at 1.5 miles into the course that gained approximately 100 feet at a 20% incline.  The path turned at the summit and would meander along the river front for the next 2.5 miles.  Along the way, some of the more mundane obstacles would be met including Devil’s Beard (cargo net crawl), Hold Your Wood (log carry), Lumberjacked (horizontal logs to jump over), and Bale Bonds (hay bale climb).  The relaxing jaunt through the foggy meadow abruptly came to an end with the emergence of a beast, the Block Ness Monster!  Teamwork was a necessity because these slick, rotating barriers were heavy and situated in deep water.

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With heart rates raised and muscles pumped, the path would only get harder from here.  Skidmarked, an 8 foot slanted wall (towards athlete), was hiding only a few hundred yards around the corner.  This lead directly into Kiss the Mud 2.0 (barb wire crawl) and Mud Mile 2.0.  Muddy mounds are not normally an obstacle people fear with most barely remembering them post race, but this is Toughest Mudder!  Mud Mile 2.0 was by far the hardest and most energy consuming obstacle on loop one.  These mounds were tall with no hand / foot holds and the water pits were deep with no ability to launch upwards.  Competitors united to push and pull each other over the 10 slick mounds at a brutally sluggish rate.  The hard work was rewarded with two additional obstacles before the finish – Pitfall (variable depth water crossing) and Everest 2.0 (half pipe with rope assist).

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Challengers would complete this same course as many times as they could until between 3:45 – 4:00 am when TMHQ would begin routing people to the second loop for the remaining 4 hours.  Obstacles on the first loop all closed around 3:30 am to usher all runners to the second loop as quickly as possible.  Loop one could definitely be summarized as teamwork based with no single obstacle causing a high rate of failure and was aimed at sapping leg strength.  Loop two, on the other hand, would be much more individual focused and require upper body / grip strength plus obstacle proficiency.

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Waiting conveniently atop the first hill was Balls to the Wall, the 16 foot vertical wall with a rope attached at its peak.  No time to rest though because down the other side of the hill ran you into Augustus Gloop.  This was comprised of wading thru a water pit and directly up a vertical tube as more water rushed in from above.  After being thoroughly soaked, TMHQ decided to be funny and place the shockingly (pun intended) tricky Operation.  Similar to the children’s game of old, a metal pole had to be placed thru an electrified opening to grab a small ring hanging flush against a backstop.  Successful completion moved you directly into another double obstacle section, Stage 5 Clinger and Reach Around.  If you were not feeling the burn by now, a modified King of Swingers (no bell, replaced with cargo net to Tyrolean traverse over the water pit) was a short distance away to push your muscles to the limit.  All of this came before the 2 mile mark of loop two!

Tough-Mudder-South-2017-006

Fortunately, the obstacle density was scaled back after this point with longer running sections.  Arctic Enema the Rebirth would be next up after a half mile jog to cool any burning forearms and really shock the system.  Another half mile stretch was waiting to warm participants’ core temperature just in time for another log carry, Hold Your Wood Dos, and Funky Monkey the Revolution.  The first half was the same upward sloping monkey bars as previous years, but the remainder had been revamped to include a series of revolving wheels.  Thick fog from the humid Southern air provided a nice coating of dew for added enjoyment.  The remaining two miles of the course was fairly subdued with a 200 foot hill climb, Ladder to Hell (simple up and over), Quagmire (thick mud pit), double obstacle – Birth Canal and Black Hole (low crawls under fluid filled canvas), and lastly Kong (5 gym rings suspended 30 feet in the air).

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No new laps could be started after 7:45 am and a 30 minute grace period was provided to finish any current lap.  Any athletes still not finished at 8:30 am were pulled from the course and transported back to Mudder Village.  This would not count as a DNF, just no partial credit would be given for that last lap.  When it was all said and done, your top men were Ryan Atkins (1st – 50 miles), Ryan Woods (2nd – 45 miles), and Luke Bosek (3rd – 45 miles).  On the women’s side, the top performers were Lindsay Webster (1st – 45 miles), Allison Tai (2nd – 40 miles), and Alex Roudayna (3rd – 35 miles).  Currently in the lead for annual mileage are Ryan Atkins (100 miles) and Lindsay Webster (85 miles).  The next stop for Toughest will be across the pond in the United Kingdom.

So did Tough Mudder successfully pull off their Godfather sequel?  Based off the 500 maniacs (this author included) who paid hard earned money to torture themselves for 8 hours, it would seem TMHQ made us an offer we couldn’t refuse.  The courses were comprised of technical running with enough hills to keep it interesting, but not daunting.  Obstacles were well placed, challenging, and contained surprising alterations like doubled versions.  It was a very polished event as one would expect from one of the most well established OCR companies.  Perhaps the only unanswered question will be how these events translate into the CBS broadcast later this summer.  To paraphrase Michael Corleone, “We know it’s you, Tough Mudder.  So don’t break our hearts!”

Spartan Race Tri-State New Jersey Ultra Beast 2017 – Too Easy?

As it got closer to the 2016 Tri-State New Jersey Ultra Beast at Mountain Creek Resort, participants found out that the course had been rerouted from the previous year to include an additional 1,000 ft climb. Although this year, complaints filled the air that the course included less elevation gain and was too easy. In 2016, Francis DiSomma finished the Beast course in 2 hours 55 minutes with a whopping 21 minute lead on second place. However, this year the first 16 finishers of the Beast course beat his time. Could this have something to do with Norm Koch leaving Spartan Race? Possibly, but it does seem indicative of an easier course. It was a true Ultra Beast nevertheless: 2 laps of the Beast course covering over 26 miles with 60 obstacles on rugged New Jersey terrain. For those who had been attempting an Ultra Beast for the first time, it was plenty challenging; but for Ultra Beast veterans, there was no comparison… except for the brutal bucket carry right at the finish.

The first heat of the day was delayed 30 minutes and immediately I was having flashbacks to Killington. As soon as we were given the go, racers took off, running up the mountain for the first of many times that day. I jogged for about a minute and dialed it back to a power hike knowing it wasn’t worth wasting the energy. Throughout the entirety of the first lap, I was jockeying back and forth with a few people who insisted on running the climbs, but I wasn’t worried. I kept telling myself that the first lap was the warm-up and that the race didn’t begin until the second lap. I spent a lot of miles distracting myself by meeting other racers, talking about our past experiences and how the obstacles were going that day. Since it rained briefly before the start of the race, the monkey bars were pretty wet when we got to them, causing many racers to slip and start the race off with 30 burpees. For many, it was also the first time we encountered Olympus and Bender.

NJ-UB-2017-Olympus

All of this made for good conversation and I soon realized that I was actually enjoying my time spent on the mountain, rather than just grinding it out and psyching myself out. On the steep climbs, I took it slow and steady and began passing a lot of people, apparently more than I realized. I was having a fantastic race. The tyrolean traverse and herc hoist, amongst others, had never felt easier. I even made it over the 8 ft wall on my first try with no assistance – a new best for me!

By the time I came down the mountain to the final 3 obstacles – the bucket carry, twister and rope climb – I was one of the first 20 females. The bucket carry was the longest and steepest one I’ve ever done and in my opinion, it was the most challenging obstacle on the course. Completing it was quite the task in of itself, but I had also developed a splitting headache over the previous hour.

Spartan-NJ-UB-2017-Bucket-Carry-1 Spartan-NJ-UB-2017-Bucket-Carry-2

By the time I finally got to the twister, my headache had grown to the point where it hurt to look up into the sun to see the handles. I quickly fell and that’s when it really hit me. I was in so much pain that it took me about 20 minutes to do my 30 burpees, occasionally laying on the ground for a few minutes. Needless to say, I was no longer in the top 20, but by some miracle, I completed the rope climb and still finished my first lap in under 4 hours.

Once I got to the drop bin area, I just wanted to lay down and close my eyes for a moment. This quickly attracted the attention of the medics and I thought it was all over… again. I was about to be med-dropped. They brought me to the medical tent and gave me water and medicine, but nothing helped. They determined I wasn’t dehydrated and that it was just a migraine. All I could do was wait it out, but they urged me to pull myself from the race. I was beyond frustrated that this had happened. I’ve never felt so fresh coming off of a Spartan course as I did that day. My body felt amazing but I could barely open my eyes. TWO AND A HALF HOURS LATER, it finally started to ease up a little. In a rage that a mere headache was holding me back from completing this race, I decided to just go back out and see what happened. I ate some chips, filled my hydration pack, grabbed my headlamp, and went back out on course for lap two.

Within minutes, I felt amazing again. The fact that I was back out on the course re-energized me. I was quickly passing other Ultra Beast racers who said that their legs felt dead. I even began passing Beast racers who had just begun their first lap. Not long after, I had even caught up to some people I was running with in my first lap. I was cruising! The obstacles went exactly the same as they did in the first lap, although I probably did the bucket carry faster the second time. I failed the Multi-Rig, Olympus, & the Spear, which were all in a row, as well as the Twister, both laps for a grand total of 240 penalty burpees. All in all, I still finished the second lap in about 5 hours.

Spartan-NJ-UB-2017-Twister

I could have actually put up a decent time if it weren’t for the amount of time in between laps, and that bothers me, but in comparison to what happened in Killington, I was just glad to finish. Although I am now the proud owner of a Spartan Ultra Beast belt buckle, and many have congratulated me on earning my redemption, I’m still planning on getting back out to Vermont to give it another shot. In all honesty, the courses do not compare; and in my mind, the medals do not bear the same value. The 2017 Tri-State New Jersey Ultra Beast had 1,046 finishers whereas the 2016 Killington Ultra Beast only had 204. Which medal would you rather own?

Spartan U.S. Championship Series 2017: Emerald City Open

Seattle is home to coffee, grunge, and the Pike Place Market. This weekend it was home to the first race in the 2017 Spartan U.S. Championship Series. Not only was it the first race in the series, it was also live streamed. A playback video link can be found at the end of this article.

It was surprisingly dry and relatively warm on race day with just a few showers and temperatures in the low 60’s. Storms rolled through earlier in the week, ensuring there was no shortage of mud. The race would incorporate this natural obstacle in so many ways.

This is my hometown, so the race is extra special. Our team, BeastsOCR, received the biggest team award! They are an amazing group of people!

 

The Elites lined up and were underway. Hobie Call was back and placed 2nd, with Ryan Atkins placing 1st, and Robert Killian 3rd. Alyssa Hawley, Lindsay Webster, and Nicole Mericle rounded out the top three elite women. They are so fast and just amaze me every time I see them.

It was time for us to jump the wall and enter the corral. We took off and started with a pretty long run through corn fields and a trail that followed the river. We kept our pace moderate as it was going to be a fairly long super today at approximately 9.7 miles. We came to the hurdles and the O-U-T (over, under, through).

 

We made our way to the back section of the race venue and the mud hit with a vengeance! It seemed as though it was about a mile of solid mud. Probably wasn’t quite that far, but it sure did make the legs cry for mercy. There was one section that was particularly sticky and it looked like people were sinking in quicksand.

 

The double sandbag carry was up next! It was probably a quarter mile or more, with rolling hills and mud on the upper portion.

 

The new obstacle, Bender, was hard for me the first time I tried it, but I found it was all mental as I was able to go right up and over without a problem this time. Guess it’s a good lesson to not be intimidated by new obstacles and just jump in there and try it.

 

We trekked back through the mud and up some pretty steep hills towards the festival area. Seattle is known for a relatively flat course, but there are some sections that are definite challenges. We came to a second carry with wreck bags and then the spear throw. Missed and did the required burpees, along with several others. I believe these Spartans all made it.

 

Back up the trails and through the forest. The mud was thick and sticky again. We tried to do controlled slides going down, but they weren’t always successful. We found the inverted wall and then the Bucket Carry! It was a little unusual in that it went downhill first. The trail was muddy and uneven, making it very difficult to navigate. Several people fell and dropped their buckets. They had to get all of the gravel back in or start over. We rounded the bottom and made our way back up. Once the end was in sight, we realized this wasn’t the end at all! We had to go back down and up one more time! It was mentally defeating, but we gritted it out and got it done.

 

The dunk wall and slip wall were next, followed by the atlas carry. They had the big tires here today, 200 lbs for women and 400 lbs for men. They are very flat on the bottom, making them hard to get under. They were also being held to the sand with suction from the water. Flipped one way and then the next and we were off, to what we dubbed, “burpee hill”. The new obstacle, twister, was perched on top of a short hill. With exhaustion setting in, in addition to wet muddy hands, I didn’t stand a chance. Gave it a shot and dropped right off. 30 burpees!

Only a few more obstacles and we would be approaching the finish line. There was a waterway with cording, similar to barbed wire that we floated under. Then, we came to the Herc Hoist and the classic Multi-Rig. The Herc Hoist felt a little heavier than usual as the bags were wet from the rain the night before.

Finally, we jumped over the fire and received our well-earned medals!

 

Photo credit: Kim Collings, Adam Birgenheier, Jenn Reed, Spartan Race

Spartan Race was live streaming at this event and can be replayed here:

How I got 50 miles at World’s Toughest Mudder

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Lap: 1 (Sprint Lap – No Obstacles) Miles 1-5

Gear
ORM MudGear Shirt
Merrell Buff
Shoes: 
Hydration: 
Start: Geigerrig 500 (2L) filled with H20
Halfway Water Station: 1 cups water 2 cups Cellucor
Issues: Rocks in the shoes
Obstacles Failed: N/A
Time: 1:06:07   (Lap complete at around 1:15pm)
Bonus Fun Fact: Number of Eminem/Slim Shady/PonyBoy Comments: 10
Pit Food prior to next lap: Banana
______________________________________________

Lap: 2 (1st full obstacle lap) Miles 6-10

Gear
Same as previous lap
Shoes: 
Hydration: 
Start: Geigerrig 500 (2L) filled with H20
Halfway Water Station: 1 cups water 2 cups Cellucor
Issues: More rocks in shoes
Obstacles Failed: Funky Monkey Revolution, Kong
Time: 1:52:46   (Lap complete at about 3:10pm)
Pit Food prior to next lap: 1 PB&J
______________________________________________

 Lap: 3  Miles 11-15

 Gear
(Change to) Neptune System Top
Merrell Buff
Shoes: 
Hydration: 
Start: Geigerrig 500 (2L) filled with H20 and a little Gatorade
Halfway Water Station: 2 cups water 1 cup Cellucor
Issues: Slight occasional heartburn
Obstacles Failed: Operation, Funky Monkey Revolution, Double Rainbow, Kong
Time: 2:02:02   (Lap complete around 5:30pm)
Pit Food and Hydration prior to next lap: 1 can of Chicken Noodle Soup,  3 Tums
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Carrying sandbags on one (of many) penalty loops

______________________________________________

Lap: 4 Miles 16-20

Gear
Same as previous lap
Shoes: 
Same as previous lap
Hydration: 
Start: Geigerrig 500 (2L) filled with H20 and a little Gatorade
Halfway Water Station: 1 cups water 1 cup Cellucor
Issues: Slight occasional heartburn, chafing near right arm pit
Obstacles Failed: Operation, Double Rainbow, Funky Monkey Revolution, Kong
Time: 2:08:33   (Lap Complete around 7:45pm)
Pit Food prior to next lap: 1 PB&J, some cookies , Walmart Peanut Butter Trail Mix, 3 Tums
______________________________________________
Hydration: 
Start: Geigerrig 500 (2L) filled with H20 and a little Gatorade
Halfway Water Station: 2 cups water 1 cups Cellucor
Issues: None
Obstacles Failed: Operation, Double Rainbow, Funky Monkey Revolution, Kong
Time: 2:22:18   (Lap complete around 10pm)
Bonus Fun Fact: 4/4 on Twinkle Toes including this lap. Sadly, they closed this obstacle moving forward.
Pit Food prior to next lap: 1 can of ravioli
______________________________________________

Lap: 6 Miles 26-30

Gear

Same as previous lap plus

Shoes: 
Same as previous lap
Hydration: 
Start: Geigerrig 500 (2L) filled with H20 and a little Gatorade
Halfway Water Station: 1 cup water 1 cup Cellucor
Issues: None
Obstacles Failed: Operation, Double Rainbow, Kong
Time: 2:38:41   (Lap complete around 1am)
Bonus Fun Fact: Cliff is Open!
Pit Food prior to next lap: PB&J
______________________________________________

Lap: 7 Miles 31-35

Gear

Same as previous lap plus

BleggMitts

Shoes: 
Same as previous lap
Hydration: 
Start: Geigerrig 500 (2L) filled with H20 and a little Gatorade
Halfway Water Station: 2 cups water
Issues: Sleepwalking
Obstacles Failed:  Grappler, Funky Monkey Revolution, Double Rainbow, Kong
Time: 2:14:41   (Lap complete around 3:30am)
Pit Food prior to next lap: Walmart Peanut Butter Trail Mix
______________________________________________

Lap: 8 Miles 36-40

Gear

Same as previous lap

Shoes: 
Same as previous lap
Hydration: 
Start: Geigerrig 500 (2L) filled with H20 and a little Gatorade
Halfway Water Station: 2 cups water 1 cup Cellucor
Issues: None
Obstacles Failed:  Grappler, Funky Monkey Revolution, Double Rainbow, Kong
Time: 2:24:24  (Lap complete around 6:00am)
Bonus Fun Fact: Number of times peed in wetsuit on this lap : 3 
Pit Food prior to next lap: Honey Stinger Waffle, Walmart Peanut Butter Trail Mix
worlds-toughest-mudder-lap-8

______________________________________________

Lap: 9 Miles 40-45

Gear

Same as previous lap

Shoes: 
Same as previous lap
Hydration: 
Start: Geigerrig 500 (2L) filled with H20 and a little Gatorade
Halfway Water Station: 2 cups water
Issues: Everything Hurts And I Want To Die.
Obstacles Failed:  Operation, Grappler, Funky Monkey Revolution, Double Rainbow, Kong
Time: 2:50:02   (Lap complete around 9:30am)
Pit Food prior to next lap: PB&J, Walmart Peanut Butter Trail Mix
______________________________________________

Lap: 10 Miles 46-50

Gear

Took off BlegMitts, Cap, and took down wetsuit to waist mid lap due to heat.

Shoes: 
Same as previous lap
Hydration: 
Start: Geigerrig 500 (2L) filled with H20 and a little Gatorade
Halfway Water Station: 2 cups water, 1 cup Cellucor
Issues: I am so glad it’s almost over, all pain is irrelevant.
Obstacles Failed:  Funky Monkey Revolution, Double Rainbow, Kong
Time: 2:58:17   (Lap complete around 12:40pm)
Bonus Fun Facts:
  • I had more than enough of everything including: I purchased $60 worth of food and $30 worth of gus/gels/bars, I ate about 25% of it. I had an additional Hyperflex wetsuit layer I never had to use.
  • I jumped off The Cliff 4 times total (Laps 6-9).
  • I thankfully avoided my biggest fear, which was suddenly having to poop and going in my wetsuit.
  • My Garmin Fenix 3 battery in UltraTrac mode lasted the entire time.
  • The first place we went after the event was Capriotti’s Sandwich Shop. Visit Capriotti’s while in Henderson, tell them I sent you.
theres-no-crying-in-ocr

Thank Yous: My partner who was, then wasn’t, yet always is: J.D. Allen. My new bestest lesbian buddy Ashley Conti.  A pit crew of Josh Grant, Yvette Tetreault and several more that took care of me. Kyoul Cha and Jay Bode who did a fantastic job on social media covering for Obstacle Racing Media.

Additional Thank Yous: The following companies provided items specifically for this event Olight, Wetsuit Wearhouse, BleggMitts, Athletics 8/Marena Sport.

Photo Credits:

Featured Photo – Dario Cantatore/Bob Mulholland.

Lap 1 – Ryan Meade GoPro Still.

Lap 3 -Tyra Gruzinga.

Laps 8 and 10 – Kyoul Cha

Should I bring my young children to spectate at an obstacle course race?

Rugged Kids

Why hello there. If you have clicked on this then odds are someone in your immediate family is trying to trick you into bringing your children to spectate at an Obstacle Course Race. Or maybe you’ve tried to do this to your husband or wife before. I know I have. The pitch is simple:

There is a festival area with fun stuff to do! It won’t take me long! The kids will love seeing me do the obstacles!!! It’s family friendly!

Don’t listen to a word that is coming out of that filthy liars mouth. It’s mostly a hopeful half truth. Shame on them.  How do I know this, you ask? Well, I recently decided to sit out and spectate my first race as my wife took on her first elite heat. I was excited to bring the kids and watch her. Yes, this was actually my own idea and I’ve had my wife do the same for me in the past on multiple occasions. Boy, was I an asshole. Thank you you for being supportive, honey, you are a real trooper! Kisses!

Ok, well we all know people are going to bring their kids. Since this is basically a given, I guess I will give you some helpful tips to make having your young children at an event slightly tolerable. Here goes.

  1. Bring shoes you don’t mind getting wet and prepare to walk– Your husband or wife has been prepping for this event by running in the rain, mud, and any puddle they can find. Maybe they bought special shoes and clothes after googling “what to wear at a mud run?“. The course will be muddy, but the spectator routes will surely be paved to enhance the spectator experience! Yeah, fat chance….. Little did you know as you walk through farm land, Motorsports Raceway minefield or any other unkempt grassy knoll you will be stepping in your fair share of mud and logging your fair share of miles. For reference, I GPS’d my festival walking today and logged 3.1 miles, which is basically the distance my wife ran during the event.  I’d recommend being prepared for this by wearing shoes you are comfortable getting Stinky and Dirty (love you Amazon Prime) and bringing a change of footwear and socks for the ride home. This also means your children will be getting muddy and wet as well, so bring a change of clothes for them too. Also, bring plastic bags to put your muddy shoes and socks in. TL;DR…. leave your Jordans at home and bring some flip flops and changes of clothes!
  2. Rugged Dirty Feet

  3. “The best-laid plans of mice and men often go awry”– Whatever your best case scenario for this experiment is lower your expectations immediately. I mean, it could work out and your kid could handle everything like a champ but why set yourself up for disappointment? Just assume they will be actual Rugged Maniacs and do everything in their arsenal of child doom to embarrass you and make the next 2 hours of your life a living hell. You want an apple? Here! You threw it in the feces laced mud after 2 bites and still want it? This is going to be a long day. Come to think of it, bring snacks. Lots. Of. Snacks. Don’t trust that your kid who loves Oreos won’t have a nervous breakdown when you try to feed him a delicious Deep Fried Oreo covered in powdered sugar. Have regular Oreos ready. It’s also way cheaper.Actual Rugged Maniac
  4. Find the loud music and stand by it– This elite tip is brought to you by screaming toddlers everywhere. The beauty of this tactic is that as your children scream bloody murder, songs like “This Is How You Remind Me” and “Hotline Bling” completely drown out the screams of death that were unleashed after your children saw their mom or dad run by after completing an obstacle and not stopping to chat. This tip is even more effective when the DJ plays music that is actually worse than children crying. This is not a given, but when it occurs people won’t even realize how bad your kids are behaving.
  5. Check to see if they have a kid’s race or a Bouncy Castle– This one is tricky because the ages for the Kid’s Races vary from company to company and I’ve only seen a bouncy castle at Rugged Maniac. Aside from the kids crying that they wanted to go in the bouncy castle right as their mom approached the last 5 obstacles of the race, they finally calmed the hell down and had some good old fashion fun in muddy puddles. Considering obstacle races are basically adults trying to relive being a kid for a few hours on the weekend it is pretty cool getting to watch kids be kids on things like bouncy castles in the mud. My daughter is clearly ready for World’s Toughest Mudder as she did 3 laps of the bouncy castle obstacle course. #UltraEliteBeastSydneyRugged

Conclusion:

At the end of the day even though my kids weren’t on their best behavior I still had a really good time watching and supporting my wife during her race. It was certainly messy with all of the rain and mud, but what fun would it be without it? By bringing a change of shoes, socks and clothes for everyone involved and being aware that we would be getting dirty it made the act of getting dirty easier to swallow. So go ahead and bring your kids! Unless of course you can secure a babysitter during the event…. totally do that instead.

Rugged Fun

Editor’s Note – The author’s wife, Kelly Allen, was the 3rd fastest female in this race. Keith was too distracted watching the kids and preparing this review to make note. Sorry Kelly, and congratulations!