With World’s Toughest Mudder in it’s 4th iteration of the event and me heading back to it for the 3rd time there is a different feeling in the air, at least the air I breathe. It’s been a journey for me with World’s Toughest Mudder and one that has not only been smooth sailing.
In 2011, I did the Tough Mudder on Cinco de Mayo weekend on Mt. Snow, Vermont after the now famous banner waved over the Amesbury, MA Spartan Race in 2010 that initially caught my eye. I signed up for the event, thinking it was a race, oops! My heat was the first of the day on the Sunday race and was the longest race I had ever done (at the time). As I crossed the finish line with a sense of excitement and joy, a kind woman from TM said – “you just qualified for World’s Toughest Mudder”.
Little did I know that simple statement would be the beginning of major change in my life. It was that simple statement that led me to sign up for the initial WTM, a newb, fool hearted, inexperienced but excited 20-something. Days after signing up I created a little blog named “Dirt in Your Skirt” to track my journey to WTM, which started a course correct on my life. The first and original post of Dirt in Your Skirt.
Training for WTM in 2011 turned me into a runner and also into an ultra runner. It unlocked a sense within me I didn’t know I had. It coupled with Spartan Race together brought me to a new vibration and opened my eyes to alternative paths for adulthood. That’s all before the race even started.
2011 – The Beginning and the Outcome
That first year everything was on track until the wetsuit announcement. For those who don’t remember or were not around OCR yet, a couple weeks before the race TMHQ changed the required packing list then changed it again when people were outraged or at least I was at the time looking back at an old post. My faith in WTM had greatly diminished but I was going to finish what I started and headed to the race.
Well simply the race was the hardest thing I had ever done in my life. It broke me, and broke me in so many ways. Mentally, it proved to be more than I was ready for. I cried into a phone in the middle of the night with my training partner on the other end of the line when I was shaking uncontrolably from hypothermia. I raced until I saw and heard things that turned out to only be in my mind. Fatigue overtook my body. Physically, it took me months to recover fully. It was almost a full week before I could sit in a room without starting to shake from the hypothermia. But at the same time it was an amazing experience, friendships formed and I have bonds for life with others.
Those accounts from 2011
2012 – No Way in Hell
After the 2011 World’s Toughest Mudder there was no way in hell I was going back. Nope, never!! I truly thought this to be true, and it was for 2012. I threw myself fully into Spartan Race and ran away literally from Tough Mudder for a little while. The thought of the race for almost a year brought back mostly thoughts of the dark moments. Something I never wanted to repeat again. So I stepped away from Tough Mudder for a while.
2013 – Coming Back on a Team
Juliana Sproles pitched me the idea of going back to WTM in 2013 on a team in late 2012 in Malibu, California to a luke warm reception. It wasn’t until more prodding and Temecula, California in January 2013 that I would commit to going back to WTM. That race and I had baggage and it took me a year to be able to even start to think about going back. But when Juliana wants something she is persistent and she saw my unfinished business with WTM and urged me to come back to it.
So I committed once again to WTM. A year plagued with injury and ups and downs. But as race day approached I was excited and nervous to head back. I was ready to finish what I started in 2011 in Vermont. The race happened and for the first time I really learned what teamwork and Tough Mudder is all about. The race was not without pain and suffering but it brought me back and left me on a positive note.
Accounts of 2013 WTM
2014 World’s Toughest Mudder
Over time my feeling and relationships with different race companies have changed and (I hope) matured some. For the first time I feel like I am entering into a race truly untethered to any particular race organization. I am here as me and here to learn about the people more and race not to prove anything or to avenge anything. I am here to just be and just have fun.
I realize now looking back that what was missing was the fun. Sure I had fun in the moments but the pressure from internal and external forces were always weighing down on me. Finally for the first year I am going into this race pressure free. I have a plan that will be shared later after the race. I don’t know how many miles I am going to do and I don’t care. Bibs and awards are not my focus, it’s the people.
I don’t know what will happen on race day but I have a feeling that Las Vegas will be special. It’s a coming together of the past 3 years, the people, the community, and the course is proving to be the most epic yet! Whatever happens on Saturday and Sunday it will be different than before and it will be good.