When one decides to take on the WTM, you had best be prepared for some “seriously uncomfortable” periods of competing. It is by far one of the toughest obstacle racing events on the planet. And damn I am hooked.
So what is it? Well it is a 24 hours, 20 obstacles per lap 5 mile (8km) cse located at Las Vegas Lake, America, where temps in the day go up to 30 degrees and drop to around freezing at night. So with that you have to be fully prepared for every situation you can think of. I believe that is why I love it because you have to plan and take risks to get the rewards.
This was my third time out there and my goal was the coveted 75 Mile/120KM (Silver bib) which means that you gave it absolutely everything you have to get there. 120km of running and over 300 obstacles. Lets just say it is bloody tough.
One of the coolest components of the WTM race is that it is where egos are checked at the door and that you always try and help your fellow competitor because that is what it is about at the end of the day, supporting each other to help everyone achieve their goals.
Now a lot don’t make their goal. The course is brutal, the obstacles in my mind are “true” obstacles in the sense that it is not exercise based like in some events, but big gnarly and well designed obstacles. Nothing is spared to get the best experience and I have to say my hat goes off to the Tough Mudder Innovation team who had out done themselves this year.
The Race kicked off at 12pm on the Saturday with a 1 hour, no obstacle rule which means you run hard to try and cover off as much distance as you can so you don’t have to do as many obstacles in your second lap. I managed to make it to the Funky Monkey Obstacle which is a monkey bar/rotating wheel obstacle which was one of my top 5 obstacles on the course. I was really happy with how I started and was pleased to see myself finishing the second lap under 2 hours and on target. My goal was to finish 4 laps by the time night ops started which was between 1700-0600. By the end of the 4th lap, it was 1620 and I made the D to change into my wetsuit. This was a big risk as it was still very warm running but at the end of the day, the risk was my reward as I was able to slow my pace but conserve energy. I also knew that with CLIFF and HUMPCHUCK opening that with more water based obstacles, I couldn’t risk the effect of the cold water on me. This I feel helped me make some gains on Lap 5-8 which were some of my faster laps. This is due to many having to re-pit because they didn’t take into account the conditions as made errors. So a big win for me.
The plan for the night was that to finish the 9th lap by 12pm, which meant that I only had 6 more laps in 12 hours to do to get my 75 mile bib. I hit the midnight time at the 4 mile marker on Lap 9 so I was pretty close to being on point with my timings. What I then learnt was the grind of the last 6 laps as my legs started to fatigue and I had two hot spots on top of my feet really starting to impact my running. I entertained the idea of changing shoes or socks, but thought the risk of slowing too much in the pit may cause me more problems, so I put up with the discomfort and by 6am, I knew I was going to make it.
The last 6 hours are truly a blur. It was just one foot in front of the other. I would spend about 20 more seconds at the obstacles to get my set up right so that I didn’t incur any penalties and one of the most pleasing things was that I managed to not get any penalties which is epic.
On the last lap I powered down on the hills to conserve energy for the finally few Obstacles and once I had completed those I knew I got my 75miles. Crossing the line I was spent and done. I put my hands on my knees and had a moment before collecting my black headband and Silver bib. I then went over over and I was bear hugged by my Uncle and then seeing Mark and Eileen almost bought tears to my eyes. They more than most have known how much of a big deal this had been for me and for them to be at the finish was a true blessing.
Pit Crews are our secret weapon. I often state that whilst we run our race out there, the Pit crews race their race in the pits, making sure we are fuelled, not having to find them, have everything we need, are there for changes and react to issues we may have. I can’t say thank you enough to our amazing NZ Pit crews. You have made the trip truly epic.
Nutrition wise was pretty easy. Every lap I took on 500ml of water and 500ml of Aqualyte Electrolyte drink. Then I would have a big hand full of nuts/lollies and every three/four laps I would also have a roll of pizza or banana loaf to give me some real food. I would also take two Gels with me on the case to have at the Half way point at the drink stations. So I was feeling pretty good nutrition wise. The key note of all things with WTM is that the less moving parts you have, the better. I like to keep the area I am in simple, just a tent, my bag with clothes, a chair and food and drink. That is it. I know a lot of people do these elaborate set ups which is fine, but there is something to the KISS principle that works well for WTM.
So where to from here?
A bit of R&R and work on my business for the next two months before getting back into the grind of training and racing. The challenge we have in NZ is that we have to head overseas for racing. So a big task will be to find a sponsor to help with paying for my trips to ease the burden of paying for the trips.
So team thats the WTM in a short little blog. I will post up next week how to train for something like this and what I did to give you an idea of the hours needed and planning that goes into it.