Race Recap: 2017 Tougher Mudder Philly in Coatesville, PA.
Tough Mudder, an obstacle course racing company normally known for it’s time chip-free events, launched a new competitive series in 2017. The Tougher is the first heat of the day prior to a Tough Mudder, and it’s the same standard course distance (10 miles), except some of the obstacles that normally require assistance, had to be completed solo. The Toughest event is an 8-hour course that requires racers to complete 5-mile loops from midnight until 8:00am. The male and female winners of the Tougher race were Tylor Tarantino (1:33:59) and Deanna Brasz (1:53:37), respectively. In the Toughest Mudder race, Trevor Cichosz won the men’s division with a time of 7:33:40 and distance of 40 miles, while Allison Tai won the female division with a time of 35 miles in 7:19:12. I finished 26/55 with a time of 2:24:06 and that was with a badly bruised foot. Plus, I planned to complete the course again which I did, for a total of 21 miles on my feet at Plantation Field in Coatesville, PA.
1 Serving of Cellucor Alpha Amino Extreme
1 Serving of beet root extract powder
1 200mg sustained release caffeine pill
1 Serving Xendurance Extreme Endurance
1 Serving GLUKOS energy powder mixed with water.
1/2 cup of oatmeal mixed with strawberries and blueberries
3 oz steak
Between laps: 1 Serving SI Nutrients Max Endurance
Hydration Pack: Salomon S-Lab Sense Ultra 5
Shoes: Inov-8 190 Precision Fit
Compression Shorts: G-Form
TOUGHER MUDDER: BEWARE MUD MILE 2.0
As always, I line up for the competitive heat, but towards the back of the line, and we were off. Within the first mile, we approached our first obstacle: Mud Mile 2.0, which are rolling hills of mud separated by pools of knee-deep mud. I stood and watched as people took one of two strategies: broad jump from mud mountain to mud mountain thus avoiding the water below, or slide into the water, and get help up from fellow Mudders. I went with a bit of both. I broad jumped a few mud mounds, but then would help others up over that didn’t jump, all while the clock was ticking against my timing band. After a few more minutes of helping, I decided to go for broke and jump the last few mounds and take off alone. During one of these jumps, I must’ve landed in a bad way with my feet because I felt pain right on top of my big toe. I did make it to the end and I let adrenaline power me through the rest of the course.
I’ll add that I suspect some people didn’t complete the Mud Mile at all during Tougher Mudder, since photos that occurred in pretty close proximity to this obstacle show mud-free clothing. That would be impossible. Overall, Tough Mudder is still getting used to the Tougher format so there were conflicting instructions on penalty loops by volunteers. Nonetheless, this was a special experience for me since I had never traveled 21 miles on foot at once.
THE REST OF THE OBSTACLES
(visit toughmudder.com/obstacles for what the obstacle names below mean)
I ran this same course last year, but the addition of unassisted obstacles (beside Mud Mile 2.0) was a huge plus. Everest 2.0 required you to run up and climb up with a rope and when I completed that one, I heard the crowd cheering. That was pretty cool. I completed all of the obstacles except King of Swingers, since I missed the bell there. However, there was no penalty for missing the bill which I don’t quite understand. In fact, I belly flopped hard into the water and needed a moment to gather myself after that. Kong was a fun grip strength/technical obstacle, Augustus Gloop definitely provided a challenge and Black Hole is just annoying for me since the water is piled right over your head. My biggest challenge during this race was that I started to cramp on the last two miles or so, which allowed several people to past me towards the end. A huge plus for this course was the fact they had complimentary Honey Stinger energy gels and waffles on the course which was perfect since I already had these packed in my hydration pack! Therefore, I didn't have to worry about running out of fuel.
LAP 2: WALKED IT
After crossing the finish line and grabbing my Tougher Mudder and 4x Tough Mudder headband, I met up with fellow OCR athletes Billy Richards and Zac Wisnowski, and it was déjà vu to 2016. Last year, they both rucked the course while another OCR athlete, Eric Zucaro and I walked the course since we were injured. This time around, Eric skipped the Tougher Mudder to prepare for Toughest Mudder, while Billy and Zac decided to do the Tougher, followed by a regular Tough Mudder, then the Toughest Mudder. The duo asked me if I wanted to join them in walking the course and of course, I accepted the invite and off we were to log another 10 miles. This time around, my foot was really hurting. We decided to skip some obstacles since the lines to complete them were too long by the time we were on the course. Or, we could’ve all been pretty beat already. Either way, I’m glad we skipped a few obstacles because a week later, and my foot is still swollen and bruised.
INJURY= WORTH IT?
On a course that was mostly rolling hills, I don’t know what elevation gain I achieved since I wasn’t wearing any type of tracker for this course, but my guess would be it wasn’t much elevation gain, perhaps less than 1,000 feet. For the second consecutive year, I shared stories and shot the breeze with friends while trudging through mud and trails. I can’t say I’ve ever done that at a Spartan Race, since that’s a more competitive atmosphere. If we’re counting lap 2 of the day, I’ve now completed five Tough Mudders and while I’m unsure of what’s next due to my injury, it was totally worth it. My legs weren’t sore at all the day after, which means I think I’m ready to up my running mileage to 20+ miles once I heal up which of course will inspire me to take on longer OCR races. And, practically flying across those mud hills was quite the thrill, with fellow Mudders saying things like, ”Nice Jumps.”