My family lives near Philadelphia, so my wife and I flew into PHL Tuesday, November 13. It gave me time to see a few friends, family, go food shopping, and even a little dip in the creek behind my parents’ house to see how it felt with the air so cold. It’s hard to get cold weather training done in Las Vegas.
I arrived to Raceway Park around 4:15pm on Friday. My heart was beating so fast. This is it. We are here! There’s the Funky Monkey! I grabbed my bag and headed over to check-in. During the hour we waited in line, Jill got me a map of the course. I knew most of the obstacles, but wasn’t sure of one or two. Something else I noticed, was the Artic Enema was not an obstacle. It was just a penalty. Not having the Insane Bolt was a nice thing to see. We met a few fellow mudders, one of which had a $5 last longer bet with me. What are the odds? If I hit my goal of 60 miles, I should win it. I get my bag, wristbands, and timing chip. Time to pick a spot for my tent.
Walking around the corner to see the huge World’s Toughest Mudder (WTM) banner and then the finish line and pit area…awesome. I wasn’t walking, I was floating. I wondered around for a while in tent city, eventually picking a spot on the right side of the stage. Tent was set up (with posters made from family) in no time. We spent the night at a close friend’s house to have a nice dinner, shave, and get some sleep. I was already lacking sleep the last few nights and really needed a deep sleep.
As we are getting ready to go to bed, Jill was showing me with all the messages she was getting from people, cheering us on. I logged on to fb and felt the love. I was so excited; I don’t think I got 4 hours of sleep. It didn’t matter (at the time). I was ready for that alarm. This is the day. I am ready.
I should have had a Simple Fuel drink, chia seed drink, and some fruit. Instead, I had a Clif Bar, in the car. It was nice to see that there was not much traffic to get into the Raceway. We got there very early to make sure we could park our car near our tent to make break-up/tear down easier.
I had the tent organized and ready to go. Around 8:30am, I put on my 3/2mm wetsuit. I was fortunate enough to meet Paul Buijs, owner of www.mudandadventure.com. Easy to spot in the “Got Mud?” shirt! I was also introduced to Ray Upshaw. He was telling me how he planned to run the first lap in jean shorts and shirtless and then be the first to run the 24 hours without a wetsuit (he pointed out that it might not happen this year, but he will). The temperature was in the upper 40’s to start. He was also stating how he was going to run over any mudder that got in his way.
My family was around checking out the pit area and then it was time for spectators to leave and the participants start heading to the start line.
Sean Corvelle, well-known among TMs across the country, took the stage. He discussed some rules and then got the crowd ready for the start. After thanking the military for their service and the National Anthem, we were ready to go. Van Halen’s “Right Now” came on the speakers. “…3, 2, 1!” The 2012 WTM had officially begun!
I was one of the last 100 or so runners to enter the starting area, so I was one of the first 100 or so to get out. I passed by some family, and was feeling good. After a small run, we had to climb over a white wall (4’) and start running on grass/mud. My sneaker to start the race was the Merrell Mix Masters. I wanted a shoe that would drain well since we were in water so much. I was hoping smartwool socks would be enough to keep them insulated. First puddle. Wow, that was chilly. The course bears to the right and we enter into a dirt bike racing track. Several small hills and a few turns, nothing bad. Our first obstacle, Cliffhanger, was in this section. It was a fairly steep hill, but not very tall. The course then cuts away from the track to the next obstacle, Berlin Walls #1. These walls are 8’ tall with a small foothold. It is also the first penalty obstacle. If you cannot make it over, you must do the Artic Enema (dumpster filled with ice water that you must be fully submerged in). My plan was to conserve energy for later and use other mudders to help me on these obstacles. That didn’t work. I’m tall enough to jump and grab the top of the wall. All I have to do is pull myself up and over. Two walls and I’m back on the track.
The next obstacle was the Kiss of Mud#1. A section that has barbed wire stretched across that you must crawl under. The barbed wire is sharp! It tore a hole in my jacket later without much resistance. I would normally try to bear crawl this very low, but the wires are too low. It had to be crawled or rolled. I tried the rolling method. It is faster, but I was getting dizzy and had to stop 3 or 4 times.
After a few twists and turns we leave the track and cross into another area. It was about 1.75 miles into the course and the first Aid station. They had Sharkies, water, and a first aid tent. This was right at our next obstacle, Rock Out With Your Block Out. The object is to pick up a standard cinderblock and carry it around a designated distance (1/8 mile?). This wasn’t difficult and could easily be done while jogging (for the first few laps). This was the first obstacle that I got to see my spectators. It felt great hearing them cheer for me.
It then heads over to the paved track (we run on the grass next to it) and to the big, dirt hill that has Funky Monkey on the other side. This is always one of my favorite obstacles. I decided to take my gloves off for it because I feel that I have better grip. Getting to the top was not hard, but I was surprised at the distance of the gap of the top two rings. If falling in the water wasn’t bad enough, you have to run a penalty distance. I got across and avoided falling in.
The course does a small loop to do Trench Warfare (a dark tunnel with water that you must crawl through). I come out of the tunnel, turn right, d’oh! We have to cross the Funky Monkey again? The bars are all muddy from previous mudders and there is nothing to dry your hands with. I made it near the top before I lost my grip. The water was chilly, but not too bad. My feet were cold, but nothing unbearable. Fortunately, it is not a penalty obstacle going the other way.
It was around this time that the back brace I was wearing was starting to bother me. I wanted to take it off, but it would have been a pain so I kept on going.
We are led out of the track to another section to the Ladder to Hell. It is a series of horizontal studs that you must climb up and over. I’d say it’s about 25’ tall. I am afraid of heights, but as long as I was focused on my hands and feet, I wouldn’t have a problem. There is not a mat at the bottom. If you fall, you will get hurt. The temperature got low enough that the boards had ice all over them and the top two had been roped off.
Around the 3 mile marker, we enter into another dirt track for distance and for the Devil’s Beard. It’s a downhill section of the track that has a cargo net laid across that you must make your way under it. It is not a difficult obstacle, just annoying having to bend over for a while or if you get something caught in the net.
We continue on to the Log Jamming obstacle. It too, is pretty easy. You are directed to either climb over or under a series of logs. I prefer to roll under them, when it is big enough. Sometimes you have crawl. There is a small loop that brought us to the Boa Constrictor. Climbing into the tubes and getting to the bottom is not hard. You are wet and it is slippery. Once you make your way across the water you must then climb up a tube. This was challenging for me because I was having a difficult time getting a grip to pull myself forward.
Our second aid station has first aid, water, and bananas (so green and hard I couldn’t eat them). Shortly after the aid station is a mud section that has Twinkle Toes on the other side. You have two choices on Twinkle Toes. You can try a single board or a double-board with multiple levels. I choose the single the first lap. It shakes! Because it is thinner, it wobbles easier, especially when you are halfway through. I almost fell, but made it across to prepare for my climb up Walk the Plank. It’s about a 15’ jump into the water below. The jump (for me) is not bad, but knowing how cold the water will feel was the problem. Front flipped into the water and luckily, it wasn’t too bad. We got directed to do Twinkle Toes again. This time, I chose the thicker one with steps. Much better.
Going through another section of dirt track, we do Kiss the Mud#2, Peg Legs, and Smoke Chute. Peg legs was an obstacle I haven’t done before but was looking forward to. It is a series of vertical logs that you must jump from one to the next. If you fall, it is into muddy water. This was a good obstacle. I made it across without much problem. To complete the Smoke Chute, I had to climb to the top of the chute (made from another Everest?) and slide down the tunnel. It is dark and you can’t see where you will land or if there is someone in your landing area. Also, no one is telling you when it is clear. GO! I look up and there is more family that came. What a day!
The 5 mile mark is right as we leave the track and head into the woods for the first time. It is a fairly easy trail for a while. The Spider’s Web is the last obstacle in this section of the woods. There is a cargo net that is tied to two trees for participants to climb over. Here it is good etiquette to pull down on the bottom of the net for a mudder that was there before you. This makes the net more taught and easier to climb up and down. Hopefully, someone will do the same for you. With assistance, it’s not that hard of an obstacle. Again, I had my supporters cheering me on.
The third aid tent is right after we came out of the woods. We are then directed into another section of woods. This one has a lake that we run around. On the far side is the next penalty obstacle, Hanging Tough. There are 6 rings on ropes hanging over water that you must swing across. If you fall, not only do you fall in the water, you must do a 1/8 mile penalty lap. I made it across without a problem. This is one of my favorite obstacles as well. The arrows take us right to another obstacle, the Dong Dangler. A plastic covered cable is stretched across a pond and you must make your way across. I chose the same method as most; Ranger style. I laid on the cable with my right foot on the cable and left leg hanging for balance. I used my arms to pull me across. The first half is easy, but the incline part of the challenge gets tough. Getting across the first time wasn’t too hard. The future laps may be different.
We are running along the lake again for a moment and then we turn back into the woods, hit mile 6 and come up to more cheering family! The next obstacle, Skidmarked, is also waiting. This was one large quarter pipe. One side was used for Skidmarked, the other Everest. On Skidmarked, we had to climb a nylon ladder to the top. Here is another good spot to hold the bottom for a mudder that was there before you. All you have to do is slide down the quarter pipe. No problems.
I’m feeling really good at this point. I am moving pretty quick and having fun. As we run around the course, it takes us to Ladder to Hell to complete again and then back to the quarter pipe for Everest. This, like so many others, is one of my favorites. With so many friends/family watching, of course I wanted to get up without help. After making it up, I offered help to a few mudders behind me who were still attempting Everest. I climbed down the back to the ground and walked over to the next aid station for some bananas (green and solid), water, and to say, “hi” to my friends/family there. A quick break and I was off. I headed back into another section of woods.
This was one of the more fun sections. It was insanely muddy. The Swamp Stomp had mud that was up to our chests. And I am not talking about muddy water. This was swampy mud! The next obstacle was the Log Bog Jog. It was muddy terrain with lots of branches, roots, and trees in the way.
The 7 mile marker brings us out of the woods onto the edge of the parking lot where we are directed to go to our next challenge. Electric Eel is just like the Kiss of Mud, except this one has more water and live (up to 10,000V) wires hanging. When you touch a wire (and you will touch many) you may get shocked. You never know when it’s coming. I went through without getting shocked. Disappointed aren’t you?
We run a small loop to our next penalty obstacle, Hanging Brain. This an 8’ Berlin Wall that is angled toward you (think of an angled climbing wall). I am tall enough to jump up and pull myself over. Again, I was able to avoid the Artic Enema. It was a very short jog to the next challenge. This one crossed a corner of the lake. Island Hoppin is a series of wooden blocks that you must travel across. If you fall in, you must get on that one and keep going. This wasn’t too bad. I made it across without getting wet.
The arrows pointed us to go around another man-made lake to our next obstacle, Pirate’s Booty. This involves the participants crossing the lake (70 yards?) to climb up a 25’ cargo net to a platform and then climb down. The water wasn’t too bad on the first lap. This was really the first time that water had a chance to really get into my wetsuit. It was cold, but not brutal. The climb was not an issue, nor was the climb down (at least during the day).
I continued running along the lake, passing the mile 8 marker, and head back into the lake for the next obstacle, Underwater Barrels. We have to cross the lake again. This time, there is a series of barrels that we must go under. Again, the water was cold, but not too bad.
Not far past this was the last aid tent before the finish. They had Sharkies and water.
As soon as we left the tent we had our next obstacle, Balls to the Wall. This was an estimated 15’wall with a straight rope and horizontal studs every 5’. Once you reach the top, there is an apex to get over. On the other side was a rope with a knot every 3’ and no studs on the wall. It was more difficult getting down than getting up because you have to be very careful so you don’t end up with a preventable injury.
We are on pavement at this point and heading over to a drag strip with lots of tires at one end. This one is Drag King. You have 2 choices. You can take a large and small tire that are tied together with a long rope or 2 smaller tires with a short rope. I took the longer rope for the first round. I saw several others that seemed to be doing ok with it around their waists or shoulders. It was pretty heavy and hard on the quads. It may have been 1/8 mile, but it felt like much longer.
The course takes us behind the end of the main drag strip and then over to the next long obstacle, the Mud Mile. It certainly was not a mile long, but it was the longest one I have done. There must have been 12-15 mounds and pits to climb though. It wasn’t difficult, just time and energy consuming.
We cross over the 4’ white walls again to run past the 9 mile mark sign and right to the next penalty obstacle, Berlin Walls #2. This wall has a small foothold, but the wall is 10’ high. I helped two people over each of the walls and climbed over myself. If you get a few good steps and jump at the right time, you can grab the top. Once you have a hold, put your feet on the boards and help boost you over.
The final obstacle was Electroshock Therapy. You have to run through a small area with live wires hanging. There are also hay bales in the way so you can’t just have a straight line. I was surprised that this was an opt-out obstacle. You could complete an Artic Enema instead. No thanks! Normally, the Electroshock Therapy obstacle is right before the finish line. After this one, we had about a half mile run to the finish area.
I crossed the finish line at 2:16 for my first lap and got my brown bandana. We were given a different color bandana after each lap. This was way too fast. I knew I wanted to go slow and steady, but it was just so much fun on the first lap. I fell into the trap.
Oh well. I went right to my tent for some homemade juice (made from kale, spinach, pineapple, apple, and kiwi), some raisins, and a Simple Fuel that was mixed with almond milk. I was comfortable enough in the wetsuit and all my gear, so I didn’t make any changes in equipment. I was on to my next lap shortly.
The second lap was very similar to the first lap. I made every obstacle, except for the second Funky Monkey. This lap was so much fun. I am pretty sure that I saw every one of my friends/family that were there. Every time I came to an obstacle, I heard them cheering me on. It was such a motivator. After clearing Everest, I stopped to get some water and I got a chance to talk to some of them. It was awesome to have so many people say so many nice things. They came from all over (FL, DE, NY, PA, and my wife from NV). I left that aid station and was overcome with joy. I shed a few tears in those woods.
It was on the second lap that I found out it was safer to go on the far right side of Balls to the Wall. The other side was not as far of a drop. I also tried getting a set of two smaller tires with the short rope. Even though you don’t have many options on how to drag it, it was worth the shorter rope. I took the smaller tires for the rest of the race. I was lapped by Junyong Pak during the Mud Mile. The man is a beast.
The worst part of the second lap was the cramping I was getting in my calves. Every obstacle, my calves seemed to be cramping. I have only experienced cramps similar to that during a 25k RhinO-Course challenge. This was much worse. It was suggested that I take some salt so I did at the Berlin Walls #2. That made a huge difference! I still got cramps, but not as bad.
My second lap took me 2:50. This included the rest time after the first lap.
I took another break for some juice, an apple, and some Gatorade. I wanted to eat more; I just wasn’t hungry at the moment. I knew that would be a problem later. The second lap was a little cooler than the first lap and the sun would be going down. I grabbed my headlamp (w/ additional strobe light) and added a rain jacket to protect me from any winds and to hold my spare batteries and a Clif Bar. I had run the first 2 laps with my 5/3mm scuba hood, but only used it for Underwater Barrels. This time I had it on the whole lap.
It was during the first two miles of the third lap that my feet started to hurt. They were painful on the top and outside of each foot. It got painful enough for me to have to walk a lot more than expected. My feet were getting very cold too. I wasn’t afraid of frostbite yet, but they hurt!
Being cold, in the dark, alone, and in pain just sucks! It was still great to have people cheering for me, but I was losing energy, quickly. It was on my third lap that I got my first penalty obstacle. I made it to the last ring of Hanging Tough and fell in the water. I had to do a 1/8 mile loop and continued on walking. There was not much running in me then. I wanted to. I was freezing. But my feet hurt too much. I did all the obstacles, just had to walk from one to the next. When I crossed the finish line, I got on my knees because my feet hurt so bad. Being exhausted didn’t help.
I was originally hoping to do another lap before a long rest, but I knew I would have a hard time and mentally wasn’t ready for it. I told my group that I needed time to warm up and take a nap. The lack of sleep in the previous days was hurting me. I got a quick, hot shower and went to the med tent for a while to warm up (still in my wetsuit). The hot chocolate was the best I ever tasted. I ended up being in there longer than I should have. It was just so comfy. I eventually got back to my tent, got out of my wetsuit and into warm clothes. I tossed some hand warmers into my sleeping bag, talked to my family, and heated my meal in the one microwave. Luckily, there was not a line. I wanted to eat fast, sleep for 90 minutes, and go.
I never fell asleep. I was so exhausted and wanted to. I just couldn’t. I tried extending it 30 minutes to try more, but gave up and decided to just get ready.
It was COLD! The 3/2mm suit I wore was frozen solid (not that I was going to put it back on). The low was 32o for the night. It took me a while to get in the 6mm Farmer John wetsuit. It is considerably thicker and harder to get on, especially when inside a tent. I actually worked up a sweat getting it on.
Because my feet got so cold and they were painful, I switched sneakers and socks. I chose to wear a thin layer of smartwool socks with a 3mm neoprene sock over it. That combination worked great.
The fourth lap was, by far, the slowest. I think I was able to jog a few times, but that was only because I knew I had supporters around the corner and didn’t want them to know how tired I really was.
I eventually started to walk with two other guys, Rob from Australia, and Ryan from Indiana. This was around the 2 mile mark. We all had our issues and were stuck walking. There were on their 5th lap.
It was cool to be on the course at that time. You might go a half hour and not see another mudder. It is almost empty. But, they had spectators, too. They had 4 people and I had 2-10 at a given obstacle. They would walk with us, cheer us on, and tell us jokes.
It wasn’t too long after sunrise that questions started to arise. There was some confusion as to if you could receive a DNF if you crossed the finish line before 10:00am and did not complete another lap. Two of us had feet that would not allow another lap. We considered spending time in the med tents warming up and drinking chicken broth to make sure we cross after 10:00am. After asking two different TMHQ employees, not volunteers, we were told that we were considered finishers if we were on the course at 10:00am, regardless of where.
We decided to finish the lap right away. We could get warm, dressed, take our tents down, and be good to go at 10:00am to get our headbands and T-shirts (and someone said they gave kettlebells out to people that were leaving after midnight). As a three-some, we decided we should drop and do push-ups at the finish line. Not a problem!
We crossed the line at 8:22am. It was quite a feeling. They put the last bandana (white) on me and medical asked me if I was ok. At this time we still thought we couldn’t be touched by spectators, so we waited to exchange hugs. We took a bunch of pictures and enjoyed the moment.
I was extremely happy to complete the last lap without any penalties. I completed every obstacle. When I crossed Hanging Tough and the other two guys fell in, I did the 1/8 mile loop with them to show we were a team then. We helped each other out a lot along the way. I am also pleased that I made it up Everest every time, without help, on the first try. I never had to get in the Artic Enema and only had to do 2 penalty laps (one Funky Monkey and one Hanging Tough, both on the 3rd lap).
The shower was nice and hot! I got dressed and packed my gear. It was during this time that one of the guys from TMHQ was walking around so I asked him if I would get DQ’d for having my spectators help carry out my equipment before 10:00am. He giggled and said that if we were done running, we were finishers. They could come into the pit and help. This was one issue I had with TMHQ; the lack of knowledge within its employees. Two other TMHQ staff members told us we had to be on the course at 10:00am. So, I found Jill, then my friends/family gathered in the pit area to help carry my bags to the car. We walked down to the tent to get my black headband and WTM participant shirt. Having my wife put the headband on me was sweet. She has been my biggest supporter in all of this. She put it on and gave me a huge kiss. A few pictures were taken of this moment. My free Dos XX was downed in 4 seconds. We hung out for a while in the parking lot and everyone went on their way.
Congratulations to the winners of the 2012 World’s Toughest Mudder.
Male: Junyong Pak. Beverly, MA. 25:21:58 (9 Laps Completed)
Female: Amelia Boone. Chicago, IL. 25:30:54 (9 Laps Completed)
Team: Nine Inch Males. Stanhope, PA. 23:15:35 (6 Laps Completed)
Well, I didn’t sleep well leading up to the event. I was not properly hydrating myself the previous days and paid for it in the form of dehydration and reoccurring cramps. Eating properly was difficult. I wanted to eat as many bananas as I could on the course and then eat heavier in the tent. However, the bananas were gross at every station and I wasn’t hungry for the food I had. I also didn’t stick to the strategy of using the help of others more often. I would also change the sneakers I started in. All of these combined were the reasons I didn’t make my goal of top 10% and 60 miles. I got 248/1097 (top 23%) and 40 miles.
I am actually very satisfied with my performance. I made mistakes, but I worked hard. Despite being freezing cold, in pain, and exhausted, quitting was never an option. When I changed my training strategy (to focus on leg endurance), I feel it allowed me to be successful. Aside from the cold temperatures and pain in my feet, I feel this training is the best strategy to ensure longevity in WTM.
I have been a part of a few online groups of WTMers. We exchanged tips, strategies, and offered advice. I felt a little different in regards to training than some. It seemed that others weren’t running enough and doing too much strength training. I have more about my strategy here.
How could the WTM experience be improved? I, like many others, was frustrated with various aspects of the experience.
My biggest issue leading up to the event was not that we had to wait for the Participant Package to be available (it came via email 4 days before the event) but that there was no information for the spectators. I emailed them several questions. They only responded to one of the questions in the email.
About a week before WTM, there was a rumor that you could get in as a spectator for free if you wore a TM headband. Once this was confirmed, we emailed TMHQ to see if we could get a refund. We had purchased the Spectator Pass for my wife months ago (actually ordered 2 by accident). We knew they would refund the one of the passes, without question. We were hoping they would refund the second because she ran in two TMs this year (Tahoe and Las Vegas) and earned 3 headbands. Oh yeah, she qualified for WTM in Tahoe! TMHQ refunded us for one of the passes. This is trivial, and not really a big issue. I didn’t expect a refund on both, but thought they might look out for a WTM qualifier.
Waiting in line at the TM registration is always frustrating. They have a line of tables, under tents, where you stand “in line” by your last name. It is always a mass of people that just wedge their way to their sign. They never have ropes or some sort of line dividers to make the lines distinguishable. Again, not a big deal, but when I got there, I wanted to check everything out, not wait in an unorganized mass of people (I mean “line”) for an hour.
Apparently, one of the tents was giving out WTM kettlebells to participants that were done racing and going home around midnight. This has many participants upset, but not me. There have been emails sent and there have been two copy and paste responses. One stating that it was “first come first serve basis, but not as a prize, but for those who wanted one and came to get it. We had extras and wanted to give them out to anyone rather than keep them in our warehouse.” Someone else posted their reply that read, “These were reserve for those who lasted 24 hours. I believe some people got them unintentionally, but only those who lasted 24 hours were supposed to get these.” Who knows?
At the end of each lap, we were given a colored bandana with the WTM logo on it, to designate the lap we were on. After a few laps, some participants (myself included) starting getting bandanas that were torn in to smaller shreds. Apparently they didn’t have enough bandanas so they started ripping them into pieces for more. We saw a yellow t-shirt was also shredded into “bandanas”.
I would have liked to see more staff members at night. There were some obstacles, Berlin Wall #1, for example, that did not have a single staff member attending when I went through overnight. This was supposed to be a penalty obstacle. There is a need to have a lot of staff for the day because there are so many people, but you still need them at 4:00am! Participants are tired, in pain, and mentally fatigued, they need to be monitored even closer.
I was under the impression that there would be a spectator village, where they could get food/drinks and get warm. There was food and drinks available, but there was not a tent for them to get warm in. Even for those that stayed all 24 hours! A few of my spectators were able to come into the aid tents on the course during our last lap to get warm, but I am pretty sure they were not supposed to. Luckily, there are not many people in the tents overnight.
The tents had heaters, coffee and hot chicken broth. I was disappointed to see that it was chicken broth and not vegetable broth. I have a plant-based diet and would have chosen that, if it were available. Maybe next year. The bananas at the stands were barely edible.
The information packet said there would be microwaves available for the 1300 participants. Rumor has it, there was only one working microwave. I don’t know if this is true. My side of the pit (~650 participants) had one microwave. I was lucky that no one needed it at 2:30am when I did. I am not sure if the other side had a microwave or not. It would have been better not to advertise that they would provide microwaves.
My biggest issue was with the lack of communication from TMHQ. We asked two employees about the rules for DNF and they both gave us the same wrong information. A friend of mine was told when a team mate of his had to drop out; they were all done and could not continue. Another team had a guy drop out and the other 3 continued.
Looking back at the rules, after the race, it makes more sense now. I, like many others, thought this was a 24 hour obstacle course. You finished, if you lasted 24 hours. This was not the case. WTM 2012 was a 10 mile obstacle course that you could attempt as many times as you wanted for 24 hours. If you were still on the course at 10:00am, you had 4 hours to finish, if you wanted to. If you wanted to leave at 12:00am, pick up your headband, t-shirt and go home, you were done. A one lap completion minimum was all that was necessary to be a “finisher”. I feel that TMHQ wasn’t really effective in describing the difference. They stated that the “finisher” status was gone, but we still felt like it was a 24 hour race. I also take blame. I read the rules and swore it said we “have” to finish the lap we are on at 10:00am, but the rules handed out state we “may” finish the lap we are on. I guess I was putting too much focus on the 24 hours.
I am pretty sure that TMHQ will be receiving a lot of emails about WTM and they will be more prepared and organized next year. They have become a huge business and if they want to maintain what they have, or expand, they need better customer service.
I listed a few reasons why I was disappointed with TMHQ, but I will also say that I had a blast! My mission was to train for a year and test my body in this event. The course was a little harder than a typical TM. It has 32 obstacles listed with 3 obstacles being done twice (Funky Monkey, Twinkle Toes, and Ladder to Hell). It was just lacking in the change of elevation. It did have more water obstacles than other TMs. That made gear selection crucial. TMHQ did a good job on the course.
The atmosphere among the mudders was what you’d come to expect from TM events. Most of us are going to help each other out at the obstacles, cheer for each other when we get up Everest, and move over when someone new comes in the aid tent for some air from the heater. The mud was awesome, the electric shocks were almost non-existent, and there were a lot of photographers on the course.
Would I do it again?
As soon as it was over, I was sure that I didn’t need to do it again. I had spent a year focusing on this. My wife and I are ready to move on to new things. That is, until we started talking about the experience and having people there cheering us on. It was such an incredible feeling. We discussed my strategies, strengths/weaknesses, and emotions. Jill was not too interested in this event because of the cold temperatures. A few hours later, she says, “You know, there is not much cold weather training in Las Vegas. Maybe I should try on some wetsuits while it’s still cold out.” I’m not committing to it, but I’m not saying we won’t. I am sure on one thing. If she doesn’t do it, I won’t either. That’s not a decision that we need to make anytime soon.
Many thanks to all the volunteers, military, spectators (especially mine!), EMTs, behind the scenes people, and to my awesome supporters. It’s been one heck of a year!