Y’all it’s almost time for the craziest of crazies to get together and test themselves at the World’s Toughest Mudder. Believe it or not for Mr. K’s 30th birthday he decided that this obstacle race would be the perfect way to celebrate the big 3-0. Also unbelievable is the fact that I agreed to be his “pit crew”.
For those of you who are unaware, the World’s Toughest Mudder is a 24 hour obstacle race in which the participants try to make as many laps on a five mile obstacle course as possible. This is now hosted in Las Vegas but don’t expect to be partying after because your Tough Mudder will be sore and exhausted and pretty much unable to move for an entire day after.
Each Mudder is alloted a campsite and can have up to two “pit crew” members. The “pit crew” has 24 hour access to the course and is allowed to print lap times at the timing tent and camp overnight. My inner Phyllis Nefler was not happy with the camping but sucked it up for the man’s birthday.
Day Before: Usually the day before the race you are able to go and setup your pit area. You need to bring all / most of your stuff and get your area setup for efficiency. This is where that entire pack of water, and all your bags and crap come in. You will need to have heavy stuff to keep your tent pinned down in the event of (like in 2014) a middle of the night sand storm. Awesome, right? You will be parked a pretty good distance from the course so extra hands for setup and tear down are really, REALLY nice to have. If you don’t have that (we didn’t), make sure your stuff has wheels.
Be warned that the land is rocky and dusty so good freaking luck getting your tent staked to the ground. You want to choose a campsite that is close to the course, close-ish to the restrooms (not too close because you can really smell them after a while and gross!) and timing tent, and where you will be protected. What does protected mean? If you are close to a hill, you might be protected from wind and sun. If you are next to a larger tent on either side you are protected that way. Try to find some protection. Bring a lock and lock up your tent and be on your way.
Night Before: If you are planning on skipping the carb load dinner, don’t. Pay for the ticket and let your Mudder eat all the carbs. You will need to bring something to take notes. I’m not joking. They give insight into some of the obstacles along with technique information which we had forgotten by morning. He figured it out during the course but it would have been nice to have it written down.
Race day: Your biggest job will be making sure your Mudder eats. In my experience the big guys (like Mr. K) can do that pretty well. Our tent neighbor was a marathoner couple from Australia last year. He was having a hard time stuffing his face with enough calories to keep him going. So let me say this again, YOUR BIGGEST JOB IS MAKING SURE YOUR MUDDER EATS. Eats a lot. We did one to two peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, a banana, GU, Gatorade and / or an entire bottle of water after every lap. You think that’s crazy? Think again. The amount of calories they burn in one day could get me to my goal weight in one day. They are going to fight you on it, I promise. They need to eat if they want to keep going so stand your ground and force them to eat all the things.
During laps: After the first two laps I had a pretty good idea of how long they were taking. In between was my time to use the GAWD AWFUL restrooms (I’ll touch on this more later), prepare food, and changes of clothing, and get timing and lap info from the timing tent. If you can get all that done I suggest you get out on the spectator path and try to get some pictures of your Mudder for proof of their insanity. TBH, you aren’t going to have a lot of time to explore unless you are a two person pit crew. You may choose to make your purchases at the merchandise tent now instead of waiting until the last minute. Also, for lunch they have pretty long lines so go at the beginning of a lap.
Black Ops: Black Ops happens at sundown and lasts until sunup. This is where your Mudder is going to really start fighting a mental battle. Last year, Mr. K read a lot of information on this and decided not to sleep during the night. He knew that if he laid down he would not get back up. You need to be encouraging. They will say mean things and you may think they are going through labor, but just like in real labor the sassy words pass. It is the desert so chances are the temps are going to drop significantly. You need to have clothing ready that will make them warm. You need to be prepared to go snuggle up for body warmth. Be prepared to massage the heck out of those muscles, they have been shivering on top of the already extreme workout so they are going to need to keep that lactic acid from building up. Also, it’s cold so they may not be as willing to drink as much as they need. Keep track of their intake and make sure they are downing at least one bottle of water in between laps. Dehydration and hypothermia do not mix well.
If you made it this far that is great! Did you know that most Mudder’s and their crew’s don’t make it 24 hours? I’m not even talking race wise, I’m talking just pack up and leave in the middle of the night. If your Mudder’s goal is to make it 24 hours, DO NOT book a hotel room for the night of the race. Having no where to go will pretty much guarantee you don’t leave early.
Final Lap and Packing Up: Mr. K’s goal was 50 miles last year. He finished his 10th and final lap in time to possibly start one more lap. He decided at that point he wasn’t going for 55. Your first job is to be at the finish line with a camera in hand for pictures of this unbelievable feat. Also, food. Next, you will want to make sure your Mudder gets all of their bibs, medals, etc. Your Mudder might want to checkout the merchandise tent now. Then again they might not.
This is when your mudder will turn into the biggest GD baby you’ve ever seen. This time for good reason. Do NOT expect them to be able to help you tear down the campsite and make the mile walk to your car to put it all away like they did for setup. We learned that one the hard way. Since it was just Mr. K and myself (and as we later found out Little K was there with us) that pack up was long and required multiple trips by none other than moi.
- The porta pottys are disgusting. You have two options. Buy some Poo-Pouri and what ever you do, don’t look down. OR you can try to find a hidden spot to go pee. It was pretty wide open so good luck.
- Bring food and drinks you enjoy. It’s going to be a really long day and night, and a lot of work. I thought I would have more time to hit up the snack tents or even just see the course and I was wrong.
- You may want to schedule a massage for the both of you after. They will be extremely sore and you just slept on the ground. A massage is a nice bonus.
- Bring tupperware for the food you make. Our sandwiches literally turned into SANDwiches during the sand storm. We had sand entering the tent and I still don’t know how it happened.
Good luck to all you pit crew hopefuls. May you still be friends with your Mudder after this adventure.