World's Toughest Mudder 2015 Recap: Beginning

A peek at the entrance
Training, strategy and mental toughness. 
Those are the necessary elements to survive World's Toughest Mudder. 

Strategy is essential. Probably the most important factor in finishing the race. Strategy involves knowing the course, the weather conditions and your own body and planning accordingly. It drives training, fueling and packing for the 24 hours. 

3/4 of our team at check-in
Training, I would say, is next in order of importance. The course had over 800 feet in elevation change on each five mile loop. Most of the obstacles involved water. Many tested grip. There is no doubt, if you didn't prepare for all of those elements, failure was nearly inevitable.

Mental toughness makes the difference between giving up in the face of adversity and gritting your teeth and continuing on. There are many moments in the course of a 24 hour challenge when the body aches, teeth are chattering and fingers and toes are numb. It's during those moments when you just have to dig deep and make a decision.

Camp site set up.
At 1:30 on Saturday, November 14, my team and I made our way to the starting line for the athletes briefing that started a little late. We shared a moment of silence for those who have died serving our country and for those recently lost in the terror attacks in Paris. The National Anthem played, and we were off for our first view of the course. From 2:00 to 3:00, we ran with grace-- no obstacles except the terrain to impede our forward progress. We made it as far as the last obstacle before they all opened up. Our first stop in the pit was all smiles. I downed a vanilla almond butter packet, half of a Perfect Bar and some water before heading back onto the course. 

The original plan had called for putting on wetsuits before the second lap, but stupidly caught up in the thrill of the first lap, we didn't. And that proved to be the mistake that would mark the end for one of my teammates. 

All smiles, moments before heading to the start.
Read Part 2


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