World's Toughest Mudder - 8th Overall w/80 Miles
Previous Year: Placed 76th Overall @65 Miles
Current Year: Placed 8th Overall @ 80 miles
2 hours prior
Dunkin Donuts - Bacon Egg and Cheese/Decaf coffee
1 Hour Before
PB&J/Chocolate Donut (ate too much, nervous eating)
During: BCAA’s at Aid Station, Pedialyte, Hot Water
Nutrition: Chocolate covered pretzels, glazed donuts, chocolate donuts, pizza rolls, egg mcmuffin, chicken broth, anything….
Miles 1-5: hot hot hot: Decided to run this in a 1.5 mil top and I was burning hot . Hung out with all the elite contenders through lap 1. Here I found myself running alongside the likes of Trevor, Mendoza, Woods, Dr. Red Tights and thinking “holy shit I’m really doing this….this is real life right now.” I admire and look up to these guys they’re so humble and approachable. Ja Shua Ried and I joked about turning on the burners and taking the sprint lap, then splitting the green bib in half...definitely didn’t happen. Felt really heavy on this lap but it was my poor, nervous eating that caused this.
Miles 5-10 Cold, cold cold: Removed the 1.5 Mil top and ran shirtless, the first section of course was warm because of all the tree covers, but the second half super cold with open fields and no trees to protect you from the strong winds and then I hit mud mile...and boy did that water shrivel my nut sack. I also wore Neoprene booties….big mistake water settled into them and made my feet 1,000x heavier since water pooled in them.
Miles 10-15 Warm, cold, cold : Running shirtless, too cold. Threw on a windbreaker, still too cold...what the fack I can’t get anything right, right now...come on Ecobar get your shit together. In this lap my quads started too literally freeze up, spent this lap running hard and literally PUNCHING MY QUADS so they wouldn’t lock up. No obstacle failures...wow sweet.
Miles 15-20 Warm, warm, warm; just right: 1.5mm wetsuit top, 4mm shorty, windbreaker, and Bleggmits, this is what I ended up wearing for the remainder of the race. I left the pit area and started my lap...when I reached the top of Mudder Horn I noticed my BIB WASN’T ON! WHAT THE LITERAL FUCKING SHIT ECOBAR. Ran backwards on the course to retrieve it and heard someone say “you’re running the wrong way”. Thank you stranger.
Miles 20-25 Golden Carabiner: 100% Obstacle completion just cruising. I spent a 100% of this race cheering other athletes on, saying things like “you guys are looking sexy”, “you crazy bastards keep pushing” and too many “I love you’s” too count. It helped me in a way, the dopamine rush, to stay positive, I can honestly say I never went into a “dark place”. People that recognized me cheered me on too and that fueled me, so to everyone that did THANK YOU! I love you guys.
Miles 25-50 “Do not go gentle into that good night. Rage, rage against the dying of the light.”- Dylan Thomas: I love running in the dark. At this point I was just running cruise control, running every lap exactly as I had done the one prior and I was maintaining a really good pace. The hills I started to walk, but anything that was flat or down I’d run to try and make up time there. I was surprised, 11:30 hours into the race I was still running. I went to my tent and found a bag of Pizza Rolls….what the glorious hell? Must’ve been Brian Herzog (later confirmed, follow @ultrarunningmemes for reference on Instagram). As it got colder I used my super secret strategy that I’m going to dub “Warm Pee, Warm Hands) you guys get the picture.
Miles 50-60 Three, two, one, GO!: First OFFICIAL Person to jump off of stacks, it was roughly four stories high! Woot woot. Not going to lie I was scared shitless at the top and I looked back at TMHQ and said “well this is taller than the Vegas one, huh” and asked her to count me down, 3….2….1…..go! And away I went it was over before you can say “hollyyyy shiiiitttt”. Oh Mendoza also said I looked pretty good running and was doing better than “most elites”. Just used that as motivational fuel.
Miles 60-65 Trevor aka All American Badass: I got to run with this legend Trevor Cichosz for an entire lap, it was the coolest experience ever. He’d lost his headlamp after completing an obstacle and when I ran into him he’s like can I run with you? Me holding back my excitement and trying act cool said “of course” but on the inside I was like “MOTHER FUCKING HELL YEAH YOU CAN YOU FUCKING LEGEND”. I admire the guy and read his articles over 100x, and have incorporated his race strategies into my own plan “it’s like motocross, the guys that win chose a line and do their laps exactly the same way every lap” - Trevor. We chatted for the lap and he asked me if I had my elite bib and I said “no” to which he replied “you’ll get it next year”. He also shared an important tip with me, “use your Golden Carabiner (it allows you to skip a section of obstacles) next lap since it’s going to be the coldest lap”. Ay, ay, captain!
Miles 65-70 Look at All Those Stars: Following Trevor’s advice I used my Golden Carabiner and got to skip a lot of water obstacles. And kept a pretty decent pace trying to generate heat and thought “how the fuck am I still running”. As I was running alone I took the time to look up and all you can see is open sky and the stars, and I vividly remember saying out loud “this one's for you Mom”. My Mom Dukes used to eat and dress herself out of dumpster when she immigrated to this country, she persevered and has become a successful entrepreneur and most badass mom I know. Love you mom. I ran into Mick Foy and Eddie Noon on this lap, we chatted, shot the shit and shared a couple of laughs…what great people. Eddie I haven’t forgotten about getting brunch with you!
Miles 70-75 Don’t cry, don’t cry, don’t cry:.At the beginning of this lap I was handed a warm egg and cheese McMuffn by Steven Sze. Ran into Matt Lister at Funky Monkey and we stuck it out for the entire lap. I’d met Matt and Jessica Lister at Toughest NorCal and they are the kindest couple in OCR and #relationship goals. We shared a beer together and talked about Toughest and OCR for what felt like forever in NorCal. Coming into the finish we calculated how much time we had left to complete one more lap, which was two hours and forty minutes. Matt said we’re going out for one more, no arguing there captain, whatever you say. We pitted into his tent. Ms. Lister, like in NorCal, provided me all of the substance, and things I needed without hesitation. I love them so much that I’ve reverse adopted them as parents, they don’t know that though. Hi adopted mom and dad, papers are in the mail :)
Miles 75-80 Matt Lister “we go this” : A strong stroll through finish. When we got to stacks Matt and I jumped together, my neoprene hat had blown off my head upon impact. Too tired to go back for it Matt looked at me and said, “I’m going to go get it”...he jumped into the water, got my hat and gave it to me saying “that stuffs expensive man”. This is the type of athlete Matt is, I cannot give him enough praise. As I write this I’m tearing up, love that guy. We continued to power walk through the course, before reaching mudder horn we hear E-Rock say “Mendoza has just passed Trevor!” Matt and I look at each other and I say “holy shit”. We reached the bottom of Mudder Horn and trot our way down, a camera guy gets all in my face....he thought I was Mendoza (ha,ha), damn Mexicans they all look the same. The real Mendoza , passes us… we just witnessed history. As Matt and I approach the finish I said “please cross before I do” to which Matt responded “Nah man, we cross together….let TMHQ figure it out”...so hand in hand, held high we cross the finish line together, I give him a big hug and start to cry...we dd it.