Friday 11th November was an early morning as we headed off to the airport to get started on the journey to Henderson NV where the World’s Toughest Mudder was being held again at Lake Las Vegas. Friday was registration and the way they set it up works on previous years, what
they call “life time miles”, which puts me at the early 8am registration allowing me to access the pit area early and claim a good spot for setting up my tent since I had done a total of 185 miles in my 3 previous WTM events. Unfortunately with all the travel, we only got to the pit area around 11:30am however still managed to find a pretty decent spot to set up shop.
A little lunch at the hotel pool filled some hungry bellies and some last minute shopping got done, with all the gear and food ready to go for the next day, decided since my Mom and my Wife had never been to Las Vegas before we headed on down to the Las Vegas Strip to do a little sight seeing and people watching then moved on to Fremont Street where we wondered about taking in the craziness. But before long the flashing lights and loud noise got to much and we headed back to the quiet of the Westin Lake Las Vegas in Henderson for a good nights sleep.
Saturday 12th and slept in as much as we could which wasn’t that late anyways finally just got going. Mom and Monica strapped me up per Dr Greg at Upright Health Muscle & Joint Care‘s instruction, breakfast was found, car loaded and off to tent city we went. Gear and food was all packed out, team got a brief on how I had done things before and what the game plan was to get the pit stops as efficient as possible before they went off to Subway and I just lay around in the tent trying to stay cool as the desert started to get hotter.
11:20am and all the contenders were filling into the start area where I tried to get as close to the front as possible. Race build up from the man Sean Corvelle, some rules reviewed by race directors and finally after Sean’s favorite, take a knee for what feels like the longest time ever noon came and the moment we had all been waiting for WTM 2016 was underway. Couldn’t have asked for better conditions…too good in fact, way hotter than normal.
The first hour is a sprint lap which serves a few purposes, the fastest runner through the first lap gets awarded a green bib, you get to see the 5 mile course and 20 obstacles you are going to befriend and probably hate over the next 24 hours and finally it just helps spread out the 1300 contenders so that there isn’t a massive holdup on the obstacles.
I managed to get a lap and a half in before the hour was up and gave myself a good head start on my average of one hour thirty per lap (including pit stops) that would be on pace to do 80 miles.
The course was solid, obstacles were well thought out, there were a few of the regulars that showed up.
Everest 2.0, Humpchuck, statue of liberty, the grappler, kiss of mud, the gambler, ladder to hell, backstabber, abseil, blockness monster and the dreaded operations, which last year I opted for the penalty but this year I decided to do it every round and out of my 15 laps only got zapped three times,yes its an electrified obstacle that shocks you, not a bad record at all! Midnight saw the 35 foot cliff jump open too.
They had a few old obstacles with new twists. Funky Monkey was super charged and this was the only obstacle I failed once in my 15 laps, wet hands and didn’t grab the last wheel right, so had to do a quarter mile sandbag carry as a penalty. Double Rainbow was last years king of swingers on steroids.
They also threw in some new obstacles. Kong was pretty fun and big, Stage 5 Clinger which required you to monkey bar out to the edge the muscle up at the end and go over the top of the obstacle, Turducken, Augustus Gloop (coldest water ever somehow) Giant Wedgie as a massive A frame cargo net, Pyramid Scheme and Twinkle Toes
Three laps in and all was going well, as the sun started disappearing we were met by the most amazing sunset I have ever seen at a WTM event, sky was just glowing and so beautiful. I put on a warmer base layer and kept moving. As soon as night time rules kicked in at 5pm, from previous years experience the temperature drops rapidly, I decided to get into my wet-suit and this is where things started to go a little south. Since I don’t have a thinner wet-suit I went straight into a 5/7 and on the lake side with the wind and all the water it was amazing but on the back side of the course and up the pretty big hill to Stairway to Hell I was burning up and overheating, those perfect weather conditions were not suiting me I needed some more extreme temperatures like we had experianced in the past, my pace slowed and my pit stops weren’t as smooth on my part as I had planned, feeling fatigued and battling to keep my eyes open. This is where my Mom and my Wife did a fantastic job of getting me out on course again. Once midnight came and Cliff Jump opened, temps dropped the tiniest bit and I started feeling a little better, when my knee started giving me
gears, the same thing that hampered me the previous years.
The night was definitely an uphill battle for me and then getting in my head that I would only get 65 miles, I was struggling, fatigue, over
heating, sore knee, then on top of that the thought of feeling like I might be letting everybody down that was routing for me to get my 80 miles this year and those that contributed to me
getting here….I reminded myself to just keep moving, run where you can, walk if you must, don’t fail obstacles, but what ever you do JUST KEEP GOING! There were a few things that did boost the spirits was randomly coming across my Mom and Wife out on the course and then just how fantastic they were in the pit, the most awesome team to have in my corner ever and they did a perfect job.
As darkness started lifting the sun slowly making its way up out from behind the distant hills, it was as if I had found new life, a second wind.I suddenly realized 70 miles was doable and got going. More running (knee pain had subsided) just driven and my second to last lap for 70 miles I took three minutes off my average mile pace, crushing it with determination to give myself enough time to complete my 15th lap and finally after three years get that elusive little 75 mile silver bib.
My feet by this stage were killing me, I had decided to take out my insoles of my Inov8 X-Tallon 212, which created more room for my 3mm dive socks I use but I definitely won’t be doing that again as it created too much room once the shoes got wet and my toes were sliding all the way to the front on the downhills they were throbbing and I know the feeling of when
I’m going to loose my nails(I’ll spare you the picture, but they all going to fall off nice and black). I could also feel every stone and the studs of the soles of my shoes with every step, the bottom of my feet were just beat up. But as the saying goes and I remember Jon Jarosch left me a message of encouragement ‘Pain it temporary, Glory last forever’ so I just kept pushing on.
The final Cliff Jump and realizing I had done it crossing the line 75 miles, 300 obstacles, 24:35:40 hours later, with my Mom and Wife there to witness was a pretty amazing feeling.
To MyMom and Wife, Thank you so much for sticking it out, being the best Pit/Support crew a man could ask for. Not only did they help me but they were helping other contenders where they could too, just two incredible women.
Massive Thank You to Dr. Greg and Dr. Gill at Upright Health Muscle & Joint Care for all the work, time and effort done getting
me all the info I need to help me loosen up and repair my body to get me as ready as possible.
All the words in the world wouldn’t be able to show how much I truly appreciate everybody that contributed to my makeachamp and helping me
and my pit crew getting to this costly event. Crosswinds Crossfit not only made an incredible contribution but got behind matching other donations for a week which really helped my campaign tremendously, Thank You Dan & Kristy. JP got the highest bid on the sweatshirt, Miranda Butler made an amazing contribution Thank you greatly hope you enjoy the sweatpants that are on their way to you. No matter how small your contribution it means so much to me and I really truly appreciate everyone for parting ways with their hard earned dollars to help me out.
BIGGEST Thank you to the following:
Brenda Oelfke, Chris Schatz, Matt Reed, Dale Lee Ann James, Peter Thurnau, Nancy Pedersen, Jon Jarosch, Joseph Lipske, Regina Lipske, John Machaby, Michelle Celebucki, Angela Vogel, Laura Brovold, Shelly Moe, KELLY TOMSCHE, Lee Mussehl, Leif Berg, Cathy Ihle, Jeffrey Vogel, Mike Bothma. There were also a handful of people who didn’t want to be be made public, Thank You Very Much to you silent warriors. Thank you to the businesses that got on-board and helped me out too; Jerseys Bar & Grill and Loves PBR. I would also like to thank Jessie at Threads & Inks for firstly putting up with me and then getting the amazing kit put together for us last minute, it didn’t just look fantastic but it’s great quality and just so comfy to wear, love it thank you.
Next years WTM is at a new venue which nobody knows where yet, can’t wait for them to release that information. things I need to work on though would be my running, 75 miles is by no means bad but when I saw those top guys coming past and how easy they were running it was obvious that was my weakness not to mention I don’t obviously function at peak performance in the hotter conditions so a thinner wetsuit is also a needed item.
To check out more pictures go to my Facebook page That Beard Guy. Don’t forget to like it too.