|Taking a post race pic with all the Tough Mudder employees. They were all so nice.|
Self belief, confidence, and cockiness shouldn't be confused. I had 100% focus coming into this event, 100% belief in myself, and although there was a ton of uncertainty, I had come for a purpose.
We drove the 8 hours down on Friday, and ate at the Olive Garden. I had raviolis, and pumpkin cheesecake. Even though I had rested for 1 full day, and had a very low-key week leading up to the event, I was super hungry, and just mowed down. We got 2 for 1 meals, and I decided I would take my extra meal for the race. After we got to the Hotel, me and my friends all fell asleep.
|Just after the first lap. I look like|
i'm in a Powerade poster!
The first lap was foolish. I ran it pretty fast. I pulled through the pit after doing the first 5 miles in 30:20. This was a little bit reckless, but I was only running at about 70%, and really trying to dial the excitement down. After this, I pitted for about 30 seconds, grabbed a drink, and headed out for lap 2. I think this one was 42 minutes. I really tried to "feel" the pace, on the pavement, and dial it in, to a speed that I would be able to maintain for the next 23 hours, and 29 minutes.
After this I just kept going. I got to run with Knut. He seemed really nice, once I finally got him to talk to me (which took a few laps). The one thing that I wasn't impressed with, was his lack of "Mudder" mentality. To me, it seemed like was just "in it to win it". I kept catching him on all the running sections, then he would push by other Mudders, when going through obstacles, never helping out, and butting in line, in front of others. I knew it was a long race, and I couldn't keep this yo-yo-ing all day long, so I let the gap go on lap 7. I believe it was on lap 9 that I learned that he had hurt himself. As bad as it seemed, I felt like there was some Mudder karma being dished out, but I felt terrible for his misfortune. I think I was down about 5-10 minutes when he pulled out, and from then on, I would sit in first place.
I think it was also on lap 7, that I was interviewed by Matt Davis, from Obstacle Racing Media. He asked me if I knew that I was in second. I said yes. He hinted that I was going too fast. I said that I was running "my pace" and that I felt "really good". It honestly felt like I was running on a cloud. Each step was pure pleasure, and I was in that place where everything flows. He asked if I knew the caliber of the athletes that were behind me. I did. I had one person on my mind the whole time... Junyong Pak. I had prepared myself for the logistics, and physical requirements, by watching videos, and reading all about Junyong, so I had put up on a pretty high pedestal. He is an obstacle racing demi-god. He is an amazing athlete, and I knew this. But somehow, I still believed in myself. It seemed like the only other 3 people who also believed in me, in all of New Jersey, were my three friends. That was all that I needed. It made me feel like I wasn't crazy, for thinking I could possibly out pace this Tough Mudder machine.
From then on, my laps slowly got slower. I took breaks of approximately 2-4 minutes each lap, and then I would follow this, by walking the next 1/4 mile. After that, I would always run. Run to the obstacles. Run between them. Run after. Run through the woods. Just keep running. I kept thinking of "Finding Nemo"... where the blue fish sings "just keep swimming". Starting on lap 4 almost every lap was about 1 minute slower than the previous, and this trend held almost perfectly true, until my last lap of 1:15. I kept getting splits, and I kept running. My friends ran around the spectator route, and gave me cheers all night long. Once the sun came up, I knew I had it. My lap had grown to 2 laps, and I still felt good enough to keep running. I finally got to meet Mr. Pak. I told him that I had so much respect for him, and his performances. I also felt like he was a ninja, because I only saw him on my 18th lap. It was about time! He must have been in stealth mode all race long.
Overall, Worlds Toughest Mudder was a great experience. I would like to thank my Girlfriend, Lindsay Webster, and my two roommates/best friends Kelsey Krushel, and Matt Farquharson. Everyone was super nice, and the whole event was run so smoothly, and well, that I was really blown away. Tough Mudder Staff was AWESOME! Also, all the volunteers were incredible. Junyong Pak, and Olaf Dallner were really well spoken, great guys, and it was a privilege to race with them, and meet them. If anyone wants to learn about my training, leave a comment.
take care, and HOO-RAH!