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World’s Toughest Mudder 2013 – Part 1 – Getting Here

Posted on November 20, 2013 by Margaret Schlachter

wtm-logo-317x492After 2011, I publicly stated I would not be returning to World’s Toughest Mudder. It was my first real test in endurance racing and it broke me. I left the race, physically and emotionally broken and spent months after the race pulling myself back together. For the next year I did no Tough Mudders staying away from the series. It was in January of 2013 in Temecula that I was invited onto Team Shark School by Juliana Sproles, she knew I had some unfinished business with that race, after much hemming and hawing I finally accepted and then changed my whole season to build up to WTM.

Margaret Pack1

IMG_3565Silently throughout the year our team trained in our various ways with our eye on the prize in November. I signed myself up for longer and longer events to increase my endurance attempting my first 100-miler. It was in the middle of June my plan was derailed while at Alpha Warrior suffering a major ankle injury. It is now I can saw how severe it really was, not only did I sprain the outside of the ankle but also the inside both were graded independently as grade 2+ out of 3. For the rest of June and much of July I spent my time on crutches barely able to do much. I wasn’t able to run at all until August and then it was labored. Early September I started acupuncture, upon the recommendation of my sister/very good massage therapist. For the next two months I would occupy the recliner at the acupuncturist 3-4 times a week, taking herbal supplements, and doing rehab exercises to heal as much as possible for WTM.




IMG_4709My first test was in September at the Ultra Beast where quickly into the race I realized my ankle wasn’t about yet to withstand the rigors of an obstacle race. I quit and DNF’d one of my favorite races. A couple weeks later I headed to Texas and completed the Hunter Gatherer 50K with almost no training and walked the entire race with friends Maria and Dawn. Without them I could not have finished the race. It was a day of time on my feet, we finished the race in the slowest 50K pretty much ever taking 14:30 hours for just over 31 miles. I finished that race but felt very out of shape. Two weeks later I ran another 50K with friend Kevin. This race was much easier and we took a leisurely pace but actually ran part of it, finishing in under 7 hours.


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For the last two weeks before WTM I hit the gym and really pushed hard to do a last ditch effort in order to build on the limited strength I had. It was not the way I had envisioned entering into this race. Cumulatively I probably had less than 150 miles on my feet from mid-June to race day and an average amount of time in the gym. However, my brain was ready for the race.



The week leading up to the race I packed my bags, ate massive amounts of food, drank tons of water, and slept like a champion. That was until Wednesday evening. While I was in Vermont less than two months earlier we had to put down one of our dogs at 15 years old. Now the evening before my flight to New Jersey our other dog Jasmine at 12 1/2 years old was having labored breathing after dinner time. She hadn’t been eating much but otherwise had no signs of stress or distress. It all changed Wednesday night, as she was pain, we knew her time on earth was numbered. My boyfriend and I spent the night next to her trying to comfort her. As we lay by her side the three of us feel asleep and just after 1am she woke both of us up. She used the last bit of energy she had to say her goodbyes to us both and just before 1:30am she took her last breath.


1390559_10200702014378317_326332810_nI have never loved a dog before, and actually never really liked dogs until her. She was my buddy and we would spend the days together since moving to Utah. As we carried her out to the backyard in the middle of the night to bury her, I was devastated. We finished burying her in the morning right before I had to get on the airplane. I held back tears I as left the house and wept several times while in the airport and on my flight. It was terrible to leave home after such a sad thing happened. We lost part of our family and went from a two dog household to none in less than two months.


I got off the plane in New Jersey and tried to focus on the task at hand, World’s Toughest Mudder. As I settled myself into my friend Heather’s house I cried as I headed to bed but knew at the same time it was time to focus. It had been a bumpy road but I was finally here and it was time to race World’s Toughest Mudder once again. With that I took the emotions, hardships and the last year with me as the next day I headed to the race venue to begin the 2013 WTM journey.