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Tough Mudder Arizona

Tough Mudder logo

If you ask me, Tough Mudder is the pinnacle event of the mud running season in Arizona. There are tons of mud runs popping up all over, each promising a challenging course that will push you to your limit. This may be true for some, but there are only a few out there that truly deliver on that promise. Tough Mudder is one of them. At ~12 miles in length and  21 obstacles, the course will challenge…everyone.

Here is what Tough Mudder says about their event:

Tough Mudder events are hardcore 10-12 mile obstacle courses designed by British Special Forces to test your all around strength, stamina, mental grit, and camaraderie. With the most innovative courses, 700,000 inspiring participants worldwide to date, and more than $5 million raised for the Wounded Warrior Project, Tough Mudder is the premier adventure challenge series in the world.

We arrive at the Mesa Proving Grounds early in the morning, even though our heat wasn’t until 11am.  I like hanging out, watching the other competitors, and just soaking up the atmosphere.  As usual, registration was a breeze, with basically no wait in line, and girls armed with black markers eager to tag you with your race number.  We find some of our group in the pre-arranged meeting area and watch some of the big guys toss a beer keg.  Some of the first runners are starting to come in, and we head over to the last obstacle to watch the dramatic finish.  It’s just as brutal as I remember it from last year.  10,000 volts is not kind to people, and that is exactly what Electro Shock Therapy delivers as you make your final dash for the finish line.

Tough_Mudder_StartAs our starting time approaches, we leave our gear at the bag drop, and make our way over to the staging area. Once over the 7 foot wall, it’s competitors only, and this is usually where reality sets in. The MC starts his roll and yet again delivers an amazing speech and really gets the crowd pumped. He instills in you that this is not a race, but an event. This is not about course time, but about camaraderie. We are one big team pushing through obstacles, some physical, some mental. After a few rounds of a guttural “OORAH!” the count down begins and before we know it, we are running through a cloud of orange smoke, knowing that we will be tested and pushed for the next 4 hours.

Tough_Mudder_Artic_EnemaAfter a pretty good run, the pack of several hundred thinned out, as it usually does.  The first main obstacle we come to is the Arctic Enema, a huge trough of ice water. Watching people’s faces contort as they hit the cold water was priceless.  Halfway through this obstacle is a large beam that forces you to submerge your head in order to continue to the other side. The trough was packed with enough ice that you have to push your way through it and pull yourself out. Jumping up and down we force ourselves to move in order to shake off the stinging cold. Another mile down the course, I am still finding ice cubes in my pocket!

Tough_Mudder_Artic_Enema Tough_Mudder_Berlin_Walls

Tough_Mudder_Cliff_Hanger We scale walls, crawl through the mud and run and run, as you would expect. This year there were two mud hills that are insanely slippery, and it takes some ingenuity to get to the top. Where do you get mud like this? There is absolutely zero traction, and we saw lots of human ladders and teammates crawling over one another. The best hill has a sweet mudslide down the back.  Don’t tell anyone, but I did this one twice.

Walk the Plank is a 15-20 foot leap into a deep mud-hole and comes much earlier on the course than last year. We had a few in our group that were not looking forward to this jump and even thought they might skip it.  After a quick free-fall we plunge into the cold, muddy water and swim for shore. Very proud to say everyone on our team faced their fears and conquered them. The only problem was out of the 4 GoPros on our team, we lost one. It sank to the bottom in full record mode. The water is too deep and murky to find anything, and we have to leave it and keep going.  We decide to try to retrieve it after the event.

Tough_Mudder_Walk_the_Plank

Tough_Mudder_Fire_Walker Seeing a column of smoke, I knew we were approaching the fire obstacle, and it was more intimidating than most.  Jumping over the line of burning logs sent you into a muddy hole about 5 feet below, and several runners stopped short only to back up for a second attempt.  It was one of the best fire obstacles I’d seen. Not sure what it is about running and jumping through fire and smoke, but people dig it.

Tough_Mudder_Fire_Walke

The Electric Eel was a new one for us–well, just different from last year–the difference being that it was turned on!  The Electric Eel is a 20 yard belly crawl though a foot of water and–oh, yeah!–electric wires overhead.  Pretty sure everyone got nailed at least 3 or 4 times before sliding out the other end.

Tough_Mudder_Eletric_eel

Tough_Mudder_Boa_ConstrictorThe Boa Constrictor can be mentally challenging for some, and physically for others, as you squeeze through a long tube and get dumped into yet another mud-hole.  That usually goes as planned, if you are not afraid of confined spaces, and our team seemed to handle this well.  The second tube is where it gets tough, as it is slightly angled up and all the mud and water makes for a slippery climb. One of our teammates is working his butt off, but the progress is slow.  The whole point of this event is to work together, and so I crawled back into the dark tube with just my feet sticking out. I am able to just barely reach Larry, and we clasp hands while Robert takes hold of my feet.  With one big pull, Robert yanks the both us out of that tube like a pro.  Pretty sure I’m 2 inches taller now.

Tough_Mudder_Water_Fence

The Tough Mudder crew really put together some great obstacles, and you can tell this is not their first rodeo. A lot of thought and time go into the build process for some of the obstacles, like the Funky Monkey and Hanging Tough. The biggest constructed obstacle has to be Everest, which is a 50 foot wide, 12 foot tall half-pipe, and it can be a struggle to reach its “summit.” A lot of team work comes into play as we scramble to pull one another up to the top.

Tough_Mudder_Hanging_Tough

Tough_Mudder_Everest

Tough_Mudder_Electro_Shock_TherapyAs always, the final obstacle is Tough Mudder’s most infamous. Electro-Shock Therapy is anything but therapeutic as you sprint though knee deep muddy water, jumping over hay bales, dodging dangling electrified wires that are impossible to avoid. It is hands down the most dreaded, the most feared thing out there. This obstacle is no joke, and when you get hit with the full 10,000 volts, it’s pretty much lights out. We all got together once we reached this final stage.  I could see the finish line through the tangle of wires, and tried to think of a plan for coming out on the other side, alive. Unbeknownst to me, the plan was to sprint through as fast as possible as our group takes off at top speed, and I follow. I enter the obstacle at top speed and clear the first hurdle and then…it all goes dark. In my mind, it is quiet and I am running… but not here, somewhere else. The best way to describe it, would be an out-of-body-experience. It feels like I was there, in my happy place, for several minute before the rush of sound and pure chaos floods over me. I am completely disoriented and survival instincts must have kicked in, because I am somehow on my feet again and running though, what feels like to me, a battlefield. I get the full brunt of it once more before spilling out the back end. What takes only 20 seconds to get through, feels like 20 minutes in my head. The first thing I realize was that I have lost my GoPro during my unconscious face-plant into the muddy water. I tell the staff member, and with a sly smile on his face, he invites me to go back in and get it. In my mind I say “No thank you, sir,” but what actually comes out of my mouth was language that should not be repeated here. Luckily, I see the strap float up near the side and he gives me  3 seconds to grab it before he turns the juice back on.

Tough_Mudder_Electro_Shock_Therapy

I receive my coveted orange TM headband, my free T-shirt,  find my team and take our finish line picture. Someone points out that I have an 8 inch piece of the braided wire hanging out of me.  It must have punctured my shirt and broke off and is most likely the reason I got nailed so hard.  I have to say, it’s the best souvenir I’ve ever gotten from one of these events, and one I’ll be keeping for a long time.

Tough_Mudder_Wounded_WarriorThis is truly a team event.  We were all pushed hard and overcame individual challenges as a team.  We have fun every year, because we build our team with good people and good friends, and we will continue to do it year after year.  People always ask why we do this.  It’s difficult to explain so we just tell them it’s Type Two Fun… it’s fun when it’s done.

-TTF

 

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Race Feedback:

Things that SUCKED!

Crazy, but I can’t recall one thing that I didn’t like.  After Electro-Shock Therapy it’s all a bit fuzzy.

Things that ROCKED!

  • Parking was great with zero wait in line.  Free parking if you had 4 or more in your carpool.
  • Registration was simple and quick.
  • Plenty of Porta-Jons.
  • FREE bag drop!!! Seriously!!! (other events should take note)
  • Starting line MC was awesome and very motivating.
  • Obstacles were everything I expected and more.
  • Music on the course, that was kinda cool.
  • Headband and t-shirt are both UnderArmor and good quality.
  • Everything seemed well organized and efficient.
  • A diver was able to recover Robert’s GoPro!  We have 90 minutes of  HD 1080P blackness to prove it.
Conclusion:  Tough Mudder is a well run event that does exactly what it said it would do…challenge you.  We’ll be back next year.  I just need to find a better way through that last obstacle.

 

 

Spartan Race – Arizona

Spartan ChickThe Arizona Spartan Race has come and gone. The bumps, bruises and scrapes have faded away, but the memory is still fresh. The best part of this Spartan Race was running with my youngest sister. Turns out, she was born to be an obstacle racer! She may disagree, but Janell rocked that course like she’d been doing OCRs for years. It was her first one. The only thing I enjoy more than mud runs, is running with the “first timers.” Maybe it’s because of the nervous energy brought on by the unknown. Whatever it is, it makes it a bit more exciting.

A few weeks before the race, the officials moved the course to McDowell Mountain Park, about 30 minutes outside of town. I was kinda glad for the switch, as I had run the event last year and a change of scenery was nice. The 2012 Spartan course was pretty flat terrain, and I hoped the venue change would bring, well… a mountain.

We parked in the designated area and boarded the buses for our 20 min ride to battle grounds. At first I didn’t like being shuttled in away from my car and found it a bit inconvenient, but as we went along, it was cool to hear all the nervous chatter. Some of the people talking about obstacles they feared, while others talked about other OCRs they had completed. As we approached, we caught a glimpse of the course and some of the competitors who had already started their heat. For some, the reality of what they were in for seemed to set in as the nervous chatter increased. I loved it.

Spartan-MikeAs usual, the registration process was quick and easy, as we had already signed our waivers and just needed our race packets. I always enjoy walking through the crowds and seeing the diversity of people. This year didn’t disappoint. Many competitors had already completed the course and looked as though they had come straight from a battlefield–which they had.

Once we met up with the rest of our crew, we headed to the starting gate. We briefly talked about a game plan and if we should stick together as a team or was it every man for himself. I knew the competition was “on” when Robert said he was running for time. We’ll save the team work for the next event, as this time it was every man (and girl) for themselves!

Not sure why it’s so cool to run through smoke, but it is, and that’s how we started out.  Keeping tabs on Janell, we headed out with the pack.  I noticed Robert jockey for position early and made a mental note to keep an eye out for him. Didn’t want him to get too far out where I couldn’t reel him in.  The trail quickly narrowed to a single lane, which was very frustrating.  At times we would get stuck behind slower traffic and either walk or bolt out into the dessert to pass, jumping cactus and sage brush. This happened a few times on the course but was worst at the beginning.

Spartan Race obstacle Over UnderWe went for a good half-mile before the first obstacle. Our group was…no longer a group, as we had spread out, each running at a different pace.  Janell, Randy, and I stuck together for the first several obstacles, and I kept my eye out for Robert who was out in front with Aaron.  Wasn’t sure how far.

Spartan Race Monkey BarsWe all breezed through the monkey bars with no issue. I think the last time I did monkey bars was at last year’s Spartan Race. This was the first penalty obstacle, meaning that if you fell (couldn’t do it) you had to complete 30 burpees before continuing on the course.

Spartan Race WallJanell went over the walls like it was a prison break, wasting no time getting over. Some of the obstacles had a “girl” option which Janell did, as she didn’t want us guys to feel bad. Positive she could have done either with no issues.

Spartan Race Atlas CarryThe Atlas Carry was next and consisted of picking up a sizable chunk of concrete, carrying it  approximately 10 yards, completing 10 burpees and then bringing the concrete back.

Spartan Race log hop

After a bit more running we came to the log hop. I remember telling Janell to take a second to to catch our breath and to make it count. One bad step and you would be penalized with 30 burpees. I found it easier to keep my balance if I had my feet on two stumps instead of matching feet on a single. We made it with out incident and headed out.

 



I usually don’t have many pictures of myself as I’m always wearing the camera. This time I got a good one with Janell sprinting up the trail behind.
I got my wish, kinda. It wasn’t really a mountain but more of a hill, which got fairly steep, and the loose gravel made it a bit sketchy. It wasn’t too bad, except it narrowed down to a single track, which made it difficult to pass slower Spartans. I still hadn’t seen Robert at this point, and it was starting to worry me. He must have been kicking some butt, because I felt we were moving at a good clip and had no penalties so far.
After climbing to the top of the hill, twice, we came to the sand bag carry. Nothing fancy, just carry it. Good chance to catch your breath, as it was too narrow to pass anyone. I think this is where I first saw Robert… on the climbing wall, a whole obstacle ahead of me. Wow! He was cruising.
Spartan Wall
After a quick loop we were back to the climbing wall ourselves. Like the rest of the obstacles, Janell dominated the traverse with no issue, ringing the bell at the end. Several people were doing burpees, but we headed out with little hesitation.
Spartan Rope climb
Finally!  We caught Robert at the the rope climb.  I think he stepped off the climbing wall, and got called to burpee duty.  Rotten luck!  And to make it worse, the guy behind him at the rope climb didn’t hold the rope for him.  This makes it really difficult, as the rope swings wildly, and you can’t get your feet on it.  He was halfway through his burpees when we finished and were heading out.  Very impressed with Janell’s climbing skills, and I think she was relieved once was passed that obstacle.
Spartan Spear ThrowI was determined to stick this stupid hay bale!  I picked a nice strait “spear” and got some quick tips from Janell, who actually threw the javelin in college.  I gave it a good heave and hit it dead center…only to watch it fall out.  UGH!!!  I also realized that javelin throwers go for distance, not accuracy, as Janell sent her spear clean over the top!  Robert arrived and gave his best shot, and in the end, we all did our burpees together. They about killed me, and Robert was on his third set.  Not sure how he was able to do it, but he did!  Very impressed.
Spartan Barbed Wire
This was the home stretch, with a little over a half mile to go. We climbed over a big cargo net and went under a couple of fences before we came to the final few obstacles.  First up was the the low crawl under the barbed wire.  This isn’t so much a crawl as it is a “roll”. Everyone has figured out that it is easier, faster and less painful if you just roll.  The problem is that it’s a LONG ways and you get pretty dizzy.
Spartan Slippery_WallWe went directly from the low roll to the Slippery Wall. Lot of fun watching people trying to get up this thing. The end is in sight, and we waste no time getting up and over this thing.  Almost There!
Spartan Fire JumpThe fire jump isn’t so much of an obstacle as it is just fun to jump over fire.  I mean who doesn’t wanna do that?  Jeff and Mike from our crew come jumping through fire and flames!
Spartan GladiatorsThe last obstacle is to make it through the gauntlet of gladiators to the finish line. Don’t try to skirt around these guys, they will take you out. Best to take it like a man and blast through the middle. Robert is demonstrating perfect form as he completes the course in true Spartan fashion! ( I never would have caught him if it weren’t for his extra burpees.  He was pure grit all the way to the end.)
Spartan Gladiator
Spartan Gladiator
Spartan Race CrewWe all finished in the upright position, with a smile on our face, and I think most of us are looking forward to the next one.  This is always our goal in pretty much everything we do.  Good times with good friends. Can’t ask for much more than that.
-TTF
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Race Feedback:

Things that  SUCKED!
  • The showers.  I wouldn’t even call them that.  They had little pressure and NO water would come out if you raised the hose a foot off the ground.  Raise the main pipe to 5 or 6 feet.  Should be an easy fix.
  • Shuttle ride back to the car.  Had to wait in line for 45 minutes (some reported an hour) waiting for a bus back to the car.  Add more transportation or better scheduling.  We don’t mind the shuttles and understand the parking limitation at the site.  Just don’t hold us hostage.  Heard a lot of complaints about this.
  • Narrow, single track race route.  Nearly impossible to pass slower racers during the first part of the race without tearing up the desert, running off trail, etc.  This is a timed event and other competitors shouldn’t be your main obstacle.
Things that ROCKED!
  • The overall atmosphere was great.
  • Registration was super quick and easy.
  • The obstacles never disappoint.
  • Venue and varied terrain.  Great Arizona desert scenery.
  • It was fairly cold (for Arizona) and the fire pits were awesome!
  • I didn’t use the changing area but all the girls raved about it.  I was told they were heated.
  • Heard from a few spectators that it was nice to be able to see more of the event (even though it was a bit of a walk).
  • Couple days after the event I received a email with a link to photos and videos.

Conclusion:  With a few inconveniences,  Spartan Race Arizona was awesome!  It’s a great event that I look forward to every year.

Spartan Race coupon code:

What are you waiting for?  Sign up!

Get $10 off a Reebok Spartan Race, Use Code: SPEAR10

World’s Toughest Mudder

Josh is, well, an animal. Not only did he complete the Arizona Tough Mudder, but he did well enough to qualify for the Worlds Toughest Mudder! This event is no joke. It’s a full Tough Mudder course with all the obstacles that extends just over 9 miles.  No big deal, right? Wrong! This is an endurance event where you complete as many laps as you can in 24 hours. It takes a special breed of person with the guts and grit to take on this course.  Josh Woods is one of those people.  Read his experience as he competes in the World’s Toughest Mudder:

While serving as a Technical Sergeant in the Air Force, every day seemed to be the same–wake up, go to work, do your job and go home. So after a few months of being home from deployment, I needed something to turn the “press-to test” light on again. Things were going just a bit too slow. Working out 3 times a day and getting paid for it might appear to be a dream job, but I was constantly trying to come up with new and more innovative ways to keep things exciting. I was ready for a new challenge, and that’s when I saw it. The answer was clear–a mud run. I was captivated, scared, intrigued and amazed by the idea of it. I decided that on my 38th birthday, I would compete in what was labeled “Probably the Toughest Event on the Planet.” I would run my first ever Arizona Tough Mudder obstacle race.

World's Toughest MudderNow forget everything you ever learned about fitness. Forget all the PE classes. Forget how to run for the military. This was a whole new animal in the fitness world. This challenge was for fun. It was also the longest ,hardest and most challenging run I would ever pay money to do.

I started reading the blogs and researching what a “mud runner” would need. I scoured the internet for clues–YouTube, Facebook, anything I could find. I looked up shoes, clothing and routines that might get me ready, and on Jan 15th at 10:20 am, I tried my luck at surviving–12.6 miles of over , under, around or through, and 2 hrs and 26 minutes of torture on my legs. Finally, I crossed through 10,000 volts to finish my adventure.

I was smoked.

I was proud and in awe of what I had accomplished. Every time I retold the story to my friends and family, I would get chills.


After the race, on a whim and curious to see how my time stacked up against the other competitors, I entered my finish time via Tough Mudder’s weblink. Surely I was wasting my time, right? Two weeks go by, and I received my notification–G-mail delivered from the gods. “Holy Crap!  I was invited to the World Finale.”

I knew I would be competing against elite athletes. Some of these guys do this for a living! So what does a pro do to stay pro? I was consumed with the details–what to eat, what to wear, how to train. I “friended” the champs and read their meticulous notes. Once I was as mentally as prepared as I could be, I was off to train my body. “Have you ever stayed up 24 hrs? Have you ever jumped in a pool of ice water after running the mile? Have you ever climbed the most unsafe structure you could find? Did you dive face first in every mud pit within 5 miles?” These thoughts consumed me, and I knew this training would be like no other.

Finally, it was race day. You know those butterflies you got as a kid when it was report card day? Yeah,  amplify that by a million. Walking down the starting line for the first time is something you won’t ever forget. You have ARRIVED! You realize that the world’s ELITE runners, gym owners, shoe companies, athletic apparel sponsors–EVERYONE–is watching.  And then, the countdown begins….

I woke at 6 a.m. on the day of the World’s Toughest Mudder. I swore I would sleep in to better acclimate for the next 24 hours, but that didn’t happen. I ate a light breakfast and suited up in “minimal gear.” With butterflies teasing my stomach, we piled into the car. It was a “warm” 29 degrees. Once we got to the site, I made my way to the ice covered abode that I had set up the day before. I wore level 3 fleece lined compression leggings,  2 mm wool socks to the knee, level 1 long sleeve compression top, 2/3 mm triathlon wet suit–extra stretchy–Salomon cross country trail shoes with speed laces, 2mm neoprene gloves with wrist cuff Velcro, 3 mm neoprene hood gaiter over a level 3 thermal head warmer, an assembled chest loaded pocket vest with utility lights and refuel kit under the bib of my new 1884 chest piece (race bib), and lastly my trusty ole faithful–my hard-earned original Tough Mudder headband.  Naked and dry, I’m 160 lbs. I was weighing in at about 175 lbs. loaded. It was a perfect transition from the 20lb vest I trained in.

At 8 a.m. all the “greats” started showing up–Pak-man..the previous year’s champion, Ray Upshaw–the guy is a walking tribute to the sport, and people I recognized only from Facebook and Obstacle magazines. Everyone was there, and the tension was so thick you could cut it with a knife.

All spectators are asked to exit at 9 a.m. We were then on our own, as our support structure for the next 24 hours had to remain 100 yards out of the way. I realized with sudden clarity that in the crowd of 1800-2000 people, I am alone. The mental game had begun, and the clock was winding down. In just a few short minutes, the gates of hell would be opened and a year’s worth of fury and preparation for a title would be unleashed. My only thought was, “I have to pee!”

At 10 a.m., we are off. Orange smoke cans peppered the track. The pitter patter of athletic shoes resounded in my ears, as screams of pride (and fear) permeated the air. I was calmly losing ground to the anxious. As I jogged pass the stands, I saw my wife and waved. When I realized that she had seen me as well, my heart was overjoyed and I felt not quite so alone. My race started, and my stride settled in. Only 9.7 miles to go for lap 1.

The first 3 miles  felt easy. I was fresh, strong, and quick. A lot of fails occurred, but I was warm and dry. My shoes worked great. I wasn’t wet. My grip was firm and sure. About halfway through,  I noticed the walkers starting.  It suddenly dawned on everyone that the leader was long gone, and 23 hrs were left to go. Better to get a strategy and survive, than to run another man’s race.

This is when Tough Mudder spirit kicks in. You see, not everyone is prepared. Some of the obstacles that are easy for some are impossible for others. You need help, and you offer help. That is how this group of competitors differs. We accept that we likely will not win,  but our confidence in our fellow athletes won’t allow us to leave them to end the day because they hit a wall–so, you help each other. That was how I ran into “my” running partner. I’ll spare the name for privacy reasons, but it’s who he is that is important. He is a previous Tough Mudder athlete. He knew the drill as well as I did. He knew the sacrifices and was prepared, yet a thing like a cramp in the calf can destroy everything. So we slowed our pace and did what people who run together do. We talked, and walked, and ran. We tackled every obstacle as a team and bitched and griped and complained, but we never whined. We finished that lap together. Success is not measured by the distance, but by the stride in which you achieve it. I last saw him heading for his pit. We split up for new ideas on our gear selection to tackle the next lap. I took 25 minutes rest and went back out for lap 2. I haven’t seen him since. We will meet again–sooner or later–someday.

      Worlds_toughest_Mudder-fence

At midnight, I was on lap 3, and 25 miles into a loooong race. I was tired, saturated to the bone with cold. The water at every turn has frozen over. The thought  of jumping into cold water terrified you. My grip was not as strong, and everything was muddy. Everything stunk. I failed more than I succeeded at this point, my mind replaying every step from the last time I ran this course, 4 hours earlier. “This wasn’t this hard last time,” I thought. I was tired of mud in my eyes. My hands didn’t work, and my toes were numb. My headlamp was cutting a path into the fog made by every breath of hot air I expelled. Cautiously, into the waist-deep black mud, I tread, knowing that the next step will likely toss me upside down. “The next obstacle is just ahead,” I think, “Keep going. No one likes a quitter. Keep going.  This isn’t so bad. Next obstacle.”  Then it was all just a blur.

About 12:45 a.m., somewhere around mile 6 or 7 on lap 3, I was faced with the fact that I couldn’t complete the obstacle in front of me, so by choice I opted for the ice water. In I went, without thinking. Out I came, without thinking. I was not steering anymore. It was all left, right, left… left, right, left… and I ended up in the medical tent.

I swaggered in to see about 20 guys all huddled around a heater vent–DRY. I was dripping wet, and no one was moving. I know why now. We were all delirious. I saw a guy pass out dead asleep in the standing position.

A rescue swimmer EMT walks up and says, “You okay?”

“Uh huh,” I answer.

He looks me in the eye and says ” If it’s the choice between smart and hero, choose smart.”  I knew he was right.  I was done.

He congratulated me on the hard effort and said he would call me a ride back in. I was ashamed, so I declined. I chose to walk in–off the course. At 14 hrs and 22 minutes, my World’s Toughest Mudder race ended. I walked into the pit area at 1 a.m. There were no crowds to welcome me. No applause. No one to wave adios to. I had run my own race.

I called my wife, and she returned to pick me up and gather my things. Hypothermia had me mumbling and drooling, but all I could think about after running for 14 hrs was, “Did I beat anyone else?” I looked around, and half the course pits were empty. I made it half way, and only half of the competitors were left. We packed my things, and I left the track for warmer weather.

In the end, I finished 951 of all entries, 132 in my age division, and completed a marathon’s distance over hill and dale through everything  you can imagine EXCEPT fire. I was the only Tucson AZ participant, and I finished 7 of 9 for the state of AZ.

I am a success.