World’s Toughest Mudder Report 2012 – Part Two

Thank you Dolemite for writing PART ONE. I will take it from here. Please note, I’ll try and keep this short. I tend to be very long-winded. I’m trying to work on that.

Right out of the gate all 1200 or so of us WTMers ran at a nice pace until the first few obstacles that were a mile and a half in. We hit the first new obstacle, “Rock Out With Your Block Out”. Pretty much “Hold Your Wood” except with a cinderblock.

I should mention that our team, The Lords of Coventry, started off running with a kid from Australia named Kieran. He’s a 20 year old guy who contacted me through Facebook. He got to the states a week before WTM and came to my hometown to get some last minute training in. He’s a great kid and his mom is probably one of the sweetest persons I’ve ever met. Sadly Kieran only made it two and a half laps at WTM before he succumbed to IT band issues.

The first two laps were a bitch. The temps were in the low 50s and running in a wetsuit caused us to overheat. Cramps were brutal and no amount of salt tabs helped. You just had to power through. Somewhere around here I saw a spectator wearing a MustacheMan “Doin'” Tshirt. I ran up and shook his hand. His name was Rob. If you are reading this, thanks buddy. As soon as the sun set the cramps were gone for good and we all hit our stride.

Temps dropped considerably and the crowds thinned out. Between laps 2 & 3 Ben switched wetsuits and I reapplied a silicon based gel on my feet and changed socks. Between laps 3 & 4 I changed wetsuits. Two time stealing decisions that plague me to this day. Long after midnight hypothermia got a grip on most of the team. Warm broth was not only consumed but poured on feet to stave off early stages of frostbite.

Don was getting worn down and the cold started getting to him (see below). Like a great big brother should, Jason hung back with Don and helped him over the hump. After about a lap Don bounced back stronger than ever.

Maybe around 3am Ben and Jon needed to take a dump. Wetsuits needed to be removed. The rest of the team waited in one of the warming tents and I decided to try and catch some sleep on a frost covered patch of grass. As soon as I laid down I heard the snores come instantly. I was probably there for a good 10 minutes when a medic on a quad bike came flying past and nearly ran me over. He stopped and I knew they thought I was another casualty. I got up and smiled and told them not to worry, I’m all good. It was true, I felt completely refreshed. Back in the warming tent the guys were struggling with Jon’s zipper. Something was wrong and they couldn’t get it back up. Eventually it was fixed, but this whole pit stop cost us over a half hour. Another mistake.

Somewhere along the way Jon fell and dislocated his elbow. He popped it back in without most of us even knowing. That’s hardcore. I probably would have whined like a bitch. Needless to say his arm was useless for the rest of the event. Back at the pit Jason made a sling out of duct tape so Jon’s arm was now immobilized.

Obstacles started to ice over. Things started to get really sketchy and downright dangerous. The Cargo Net climb out of the water was the toughest. The ropes were icy and exhaustion was setting in. After the fourth time up and over I needed to take breaks during the climb just to make it over.

Balls to the Wall (pictured below) was covered in ice and even with my monkey climbing powers I had a rough time. The plan was for me to get to the top and help the rest of the team over. Jon climbed the icy rope with one arm and I helped him over. Next was Ramon. He got to the top and planted his foot down on a patch of ice. His leg shot out from under him and his body twisted and contorted in the most sickening way. He landed with a thud on his back and laid there for what seemed like an eternity with his headlamp shining right up at me. Luckily he’s a badass and he got up and continued like nothing happened.

The sun came up but the ice remained. Pure exhaustion made obstacles like Everest next to impossible. We all took the penalties which was a dip in the Arctic Enema. For the most part Arctic Enema with a wetsuit is not a problem. But, after 20 hours or so that shit gets tiresome real quick.

I think for at least 80% of the race we had no idea where we were in the standings. We kept forgetting to check the leader board after each lap. For me personally, it wasn’t the most important thing on my mind. Sticking to the game plan and just powering through was my main concern. As long as we stuck to the plan I knew we’d be fine. I can honestly say the thought of stopping or quitting never EVER crossed my mind. I’m sure that is true about the rest of the Lords as well.

Scattered throughout the course were a number of timing mats that recorded your splits by the timing chips strapped to our ankles. Sometimes there would be a sizable gap between us but when we reached the timing mats we made sure we crossed as a tight group. After a few laps someone came up with the idea of doing the “Sloppy Swish” across the mats. The Sloppy Swish is some corny dance from a Saturday Night Live sketch. You can google it if you’re not familiar. No matter how tired or beat up we got, from that point on until the end, we did the Sloppy Swish across every timing mat. I have to admit, it looked pretty pitiful at times.

At one point someone (I can’t remember who) said we were in 5th place. Around 8am most of our families showed up to cheer us on. They snapped the picture below when Jason got snagged on barbed wire and got his legendary orange shell impossibly tangled up. After fiddling with it for too long he told us to just rip it apart, which we regretfully did.

After we emerged from the Log Bog Jog in the woods (which was literally a neck deep wade through liquid shit) our families confirmed that we were in second place. Shortly after that, we talked to a TMHQ worker on a quad bike that said the leaders were only around 15 minutes in front of us. He also said they were in real bad shape. According to the rules, if we could make it across the finish line before 10am we could force a seventh lap and battle it out with the first place team. It was now 9:20am and we had 40 minutes to complete 10 obstacles and run around 3 miles. A couple of the guys, including Jason, seemed up for the task but a few of us, including me, was running on fumes. Moving as fast as we could as a group, the realization dawned on us that we weren’t going to make the 10am cutoff. We all congratulated each other for a valiant effort and finished off our sixth and final lap.

We crossed the finish line proud and strong.

The team that won was called the Nine Inch Males (get it? hilarious.). They were not only 15 minutes ahead of us but in fact, more than an hour. They beat us. Congratulations. But that’s all I got. I fucking hated losing to them. Finding out that they were in such shitty shape really killed me. Check out the pics below.

We crossed the finish line at 10:40am. I think back on the so many different areas where we could have saved those forty minutes and it makes me nuts. A seventh lap for us would have been a grind but I am certain that we would of had an easier time doing it than they would have.

When we were leaving the site and driving through the parking lot I saw one of the members of the winning team walking with a woman and they were holding the big fake check. I rolled down the window and yelled “Congratulations!”. The girl looked over and said, “That’s right, the winner’s right here!”. Now I’m not sure if she recognized me and was being smug or she was just extremely proud of her man. Whatever her motives I could give a shit. That reaction lit a fire in me that can only be extinguished one way and it will have to wait a year.

The following day we got together at Jason’s house for a few drinks and some official “Lords of Coventry” cigars. Ben was flying back to England on Monday night and had to drive to work in Manchester right from the airport. The most ardent of our group, Ben gifted the rest of the team with custom Rugby jerseys, signature cigars, and personalized dogtags which featured our team nicknames, a quote by Winston Churchill – “NEVER, NEVER, NEVER GIVE IN” and our team motto – “FORTITUDINE VINCIMUS” (By endurance we conquer).

Before I go any further I have to mention the amazing performance by Junyoung Pak and Amelia Boone. Their 9 laps is nothing short of superhuman. I know it’s been said in hundreds of other places but they are both incredible athletes and they inspire me with their accomplishments.

Although Pak and Boone made history that weekend there were a bunch of other insane athletes out there that performed incredibly. Including us two top teams, there were thirty-one other individuals that did 6 or more laps in under 25 hours. Nine individuals made it 7 laps and three individuals made it 8 laps. Incredible. If Tough Mudder was using the same criteria to judge “finishers” as they did last year there would only be twelve. They would be Junyoung, Amelia, the Nine Inch Males, and the Lords of Coventry. Also, if you are keeping score, I was the only individual in my age group (45-49) to make it six laps. So there’s that.

Injuries and soreness for almost every one of the Lords lasted only a few days. Jon was the worst with his elbow separation. A trip to the doctor proved that he had a fracture of some kind as well. Ramon suffered a small patch of frostbite on his big toe and some nasty lacerations on his achilles. I lost my right big toenail which is fairly common when running Ultra distances and I had some nasty chafing. My throat was burnt for a few days from vigorously inhaling and exhaling that cool Jersey air for 24+ hours. It made my Sunday night victory meal of Chinese take-out inedible. I had a protein shake instead. My fingertips still don’t have all the feeling back in them. All things considered, no big deal really.

With all that being said, you can expect next year to be a fucking war.

28 Responses to “World’s Toughest Mudder Report 2012 – Part Two”

  1. robjan December 10, 2012 at 3:56 am #

    Yo Mustache Man! You and the guys on your team are absolutely inspirational. Fantastically done!

    • Mustache Man December 10, 2012 at 3:37 pm #

      Thanks Robjan!

  2. Adam December 10, 2012 at 2:29 pm #

    Great job guys. Next year, total victory.

    • Mustache Man December 10, 2012 at 3:38 pm #

      That’s the idea, Adam. Thanks!

  3. Sean Mc. December 10, 2012 at 2:33 pm #

    Mustache man, you guys were amazing! I am 37, and just started getting in real shape because I want to complete the Mudder June 1, 2013. I have a running game with the kids for years (they are 8 and 11) to call out a “powerful mustache” when they see one. I showed my 8 year old your video, he said “dad…that guy is nuts, his mustache is POWERFUL! Hope to see you in June.

    • Mustache Man December 10, 2012 at 3:39 pm #

      HA, too funny! I have two kids, 11 and 14. I think I should get them playing “powerful mustache” too!

  4. Brian December 10, 2012 at 2:36 pm #

    Absolutely badass dude!! Well done!

    • Mustache Man December 10, 2012 at 3:39 pm #

      Thanks Brian!

  5. Brenden Gateley December 10, 2012 at 8:17 pm #

    I’m always looking for words of encouragement and feats of extra-human effort, and the Mustache Man/Lords of Coventry fit the bill.
    I’ve completed 2 Mudders so far…and cannot imagine running for 24 hours! And I love the team aspect you bring to the forefront. From your first YouTube video to your second Toughest Mudder, thanks for the continued inspiration to “keep on do’in.”

    • Mustache Man December 10, 2012 at 11:56 pm #

      Thanks for the kind words Brenden, but there is nothing “extra-human” about it. Anyone (yes, including you) could do what we did if they wanted it bad enough.

  6. Ali P December 10, 2012 at 8:31 pm #

    As someone who also did extremely well in the competition, I’m sure your friends and family were very proud of you too and bragged about your accomplishments. No smugness was intended by my comment, but I am looking forward to seeing everyone compete again next year. No doubt it will be a war and everyone has a fire inside!

    • Mustache Man December 10, 2012 at 11:58 pm #

      Yes Ali, my family was proud. Hope to see you next year.

  7. Sophie Thom December 11, 2012 at 1:03 am #

    Lords of Coventry rocked it! I loved being there w the ladies and the kids!!
    Well done Guys and Congratulations to all!!

    • Mustache Man December 11, 2012 at 1:46 pm #

      …One of the official “Ladies of Coventry”! Next year when we are carrying that big fake check and someone yells “Congratulations!” make sure you say “Thank you!”, OK?

  8. Tae December 14, 2012 at 4:02 am #

    I already commented on FB what an amazing race you guys ran. I wanted to comment here on “keeping it short.”

    One of the things I’ve loved about your writing, and why I look for a new post again and again, is how much detail and personal thought goes into your posts. Please don’t cut back on that. I just re-read your 2011 WTM report, and wish this one had the same, or even more, detail. I’m sure I’m not speaking only for myself when I say I’d rather read pages and pages of every detail and what you thought about it, rather than the abridged (and unsatisfactory) version. I’d rather wait weeks or months while you write the whole tale, than give me the short story because you think your readers are in a rush. In most blogs, yes, I’d like to cut to the chase, but not here. This is your space – don’t feel you have to edit yourself. That will come when someone offers you the book deal, if they haven’t already!

    • Mustache Man December 14, 2012 at 5:37 pm #

      Hey thanks Tae, really. I’m flattered. I tend to walk the line sometimes thinking I’m just a blowhard and wasting people’s time to wanting to pour my soul and every thought into each post. You just paid me a huge compliment and I really appreciate it.
      I know I stated at the top of this post that I would make it short but I really didn’t. There are a couple of reasons why my TM reports are getting shorter. The main reason is that I don’t want to be redundant. By now, most people reading my stuff have already done a TM and they don’t need a 100 word paragraph describing the Everest obstacle. I’ve done that already. Secondly, the World’s Toughest Mudder is a competition and me and my team want to win. If I get too detailed about our strategy it could be exploited and used against us. I left out most stuff on pacing, nutrition, and time-management for a reason.
      Thanks again for reading, and if you know any book publishers….

  9. James December 16, 2012 at 1:37 am #

    I am almost totally new to the idea of TM. I’ve never done it but planning on going to Toronto in May. So yes, you have new readers and this article was awesome. Total inspiration. With 4 hard months of training, we’ll see where that takes me and my team (hoping to get some men together) and maybe we’ll see you at WTM 2013.

    Keep up the good writing my friend. And the video’s are great too.

    • Mustache Man December 16, 2012 at 5:26 pm #

      Thanks James, and welcome aboard! I’m glad you’re digging what you see. Good luck in Toronto and make sure you let me know how it goes.

  10. steve December 17, 2012 at 1:39 am #

    i read your stories, see your workouts and only hope i can reach that level of competitiveness and endurance as i go through my days working out. thanks man, for all the motivation and inspiration!!

    • Mustache Man December 17, 2012 at 4:42 pm #

      I’m telling you Steve, it’s really not all that hard. The truth is, I’m not as badass as everyone thinks. I get tired and I’m not super strong. Most of this stuff is mental, and you can work on that without a gym membership or even breaking a sweat.

      • steve December 17, 2012 at 6:09 pm #

        I recently purchased several of ross enamait’s products and constructed a makeshift gym in my garage (pull up bar, dumbbells, suspension system, etc. all homemade per his instructions). I’ve been involved in distance running (mostly half marathons) most of my exercising years and I’ve wanted to become more “rounded” in terms of endurance and strength. your website has provided a lot of motivation and I’m planning on completing the vVrginia beach tough mudder next june. thanks again and keep on doin’!!

        • Mustache Man December 18, 2012 at 1:56 pm #

          It sounds like you are on the right track Steve, Ross Enamait is the man! He is probably one of my biggest inspirations in the stuff that I do. The name of my site (MustacheManTraining) is kind of a nod to his site I can’t say enough good things about his stuff. Hope to see you in Virginia!

  11. Sean.FM January 23, 2013 at 4:36 am #

    I #luvluvluuuv the last sentence!!! Bwahahahaaaa!!

    “with all that being said, you can expect next year to be a fucking war!!!!!” AWESOME!!!!!

    • Mustacheman January 24, 2013 at 4:06 pm #

      Thanks Sean!

  12. Nick March 29, 2013 at 9:31 pm #

    Lords of Coventry…You men rule. Way to dig deep..Thanks for the inspiration!!!!! -Fellow Mudder & WTM participant 2012

    • Mustacheman April 2, 2013 at 1:42 pm #

      Thanks Nick!

  13. Tank May 17, 2013 at 6:05 am #

    Hi Mister Moustache Man ! Congratulations and Thank you for all !
    Ahmed, France.

  14. Sy Johnstone January 10, 2014 at 8:08 am #

    Can’t even run so there’s little point me even trying too take part?

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