World’s Toughest Mudder… Pre-Race
I will try to tell the story of this weekend as well as possible. The last couple of days have been a complete daze and anything before the race seems like it was months ago. I sit here staring at the computer wondering how to put down into words emotions that I have not been able to fully process myself yet. I will do my best in describing what transpired over the weekend. It may take me a few days to write up and will surely be broken up into many parts. Many things happened to me before, during and after this race, some good, some bad and some ugly. I saw both some of my highest moments in life as well as some of my lowest in the last couple of days. As I begin to write this my head is still in a daze and my body is in a state of shock not able to regulate it’s heat properly. But since we need to start somewhere lets start at the beginning.
Todd Sedlak, my hero, came to the school on Friday morning, we packed up my car with enough stuff for an army and started our journey South. Todd I consider a good friend but in reality we had only met in person for about 5 minutes in Texas two weeks ago, otherwise all our interactions had been via the internet. As we drove down we literally got to know one another. I learned about his family, his wife whom I had met in Texas and his daughter. We talked about the race, and the season and all things obstacle racing. After a few interesting parts of our drive we arrived in Englishtown, NJ after the sun had set.
|Our Neighbor, Bryan|
We drove up to the race site, picked up our race packets and bibs, 724 and 735 and proceeded to walk to our pit area. The pit area was set up on a grassy section in the middle of the track. The bib numbers were assigned by last name and the pit spaces by number. Schlachter and Sedlak meant we were way towards the end. Little did we know that meant a schlep of over a 1/4 mile to get to our assigned spaces. We had planned on all along sharing a space and luckily our assigned spaces were so close to each other that we were able to basically occupy two spaces. As we unloaded our stuff we ran into Yitzy Sontag, a Death Racer I had met in June when I gave him a ride off Joe’s mountain and again in August at the Spartan Beast. Yitzy offered to help us unload our stuff. We were also met by my friend Scott who had come to cheer on his friend Bryan Selm, Eric Delahaye, and myself. Scott met us and helped carry all the stuff as well. We set up a pit area that could be best described as a tent condo. In fact we had an 8 person tent in a little space. Todd and I each had our side, with a chair and room for our stuff. We divided the space with a folding table and we were set. As the pit was closing at 8pm we were finishing up unpacking and moving into our home for the next two days.
|My half of the Tent Condo|
Todd and Yitzy headed to the WTM House set up by a few of the racers, while Scott and I headed for some pizza, as all I wanted to do was eat and sleep. After some pizza and relaxing I got what can be best described as a restless sleep. The alarm at 6am felt early and I was tired. I got in the shower and it was time to be awake for the day. Scott and I met up with Todd at our tent and our friend Bryan was in the space right next to us. The hours I had for prep before the race melted away as I saw old friends/new friends and much of the morning felt like a homecoming and a whose who in the Spartan Race and Tough Mudder world. As I walked down what I liked to call tent city or Occupy Englishtown, as I walked from tent to tent I saw more and more friends. It wasn’t until this weekend I realized how many of these people who are mainstays in my life now were complete strangers only a few months ago.
As I did my last preps at the tent, Yitzy was kind enough to take my wetsuit to the wetsuit tent near the pond. A wetsuit that would prove to be the best investment of my life. I slowly walked to the starting line with Bryan and was surrounded by several other friends as we stood in the start. This in many ways felt like the start of the BEAST. I was surrounded by people I knew. As the medical personal gave us a speech and we listened to the national anthem the realization hit, it was time to do this thing. It was time to race the race I had waited for for months. This was the race that changed my path and started this journey, and now toeing the line it was time to cross the start hear my chip buzz and race.