My plan was to go out easy and run the whole 24 hours. I started the first lap at a nice controlled pace. After the first lap I went to my tent, drank a couple Gatorades, ate a couple Power Bars and set off to knock out my second lap before the sun went down. I made it through the first two laps in just under six hours. After the second lap I drank more Gatorade, ate some more food, changed my socks, and put on a swim cap under my neoprene hood. I also put on a half wetsuit over my full wetsuit (which turned out to be a bad idea), then set out. By this point my IT band tendinitis was flaring up pretty bad so I decided to take a nice slow jog on my third lap and just push through the pain. The sun went down at 5 pm and the temperature plummeted. I stopped at the two mile marker aid station and warmed up for a little bit. As soon as I hit the first water obstacle, things got real. I lost my headlamp in the water and spent about 10 minutes swimming around in 32 degree water trying to find it. After that, the cold really started to set it. I started shivering and I could feel myself losing my awareness. That's when I knew I was in trouble. I pushed through to the next aid station and tried to heat up, but I just couldn't stop shivering. I decided that instead of staying in the heated tent until I got warm, I just needed to push on (this is where my decision making skills went out the window completely). There were three more water obstacles right away, and I was starting to get seriously cold. I've always had a very high tolerance for the cold. I was always the guy getting dared to jump into frozen lakes and rivers completely naked in the middle of the night in mid winter. This was a kind of cold I'd never before experienced in all the crazy things I've done. Somehow I was able to push on through some kind of subconscious determination. Honestly I don't remember much until the medical tent right after the finish line where I was treated for hypothermia and eventually disqualified.
Climbing over the Ladder to Hell.
A 10 foot enclosed drop to a slide out into water.
Climbing up a rope ladder on Skidmarked.
Everest. A 12 foot slippery quarter pipe.
Going through the Mud Mile.
Coming across Twinkle Toes.
Swinging from ring to ring on Hangin' Tough.
Coming through Electroshock Therapy.
Pulling tires on Drag King.
One thing that I felt good about was not failing on a single obstacle. I never had to do one of the penalties. I was well conditioned for the obstacles, but not as well conditioned for running the ultra marathon distance. If I were to do it again, I would train a lot harder for the distance. If I'd been able to keep a faster pace through the night, I could have kept my core temperature up.
I ate and drank a lot at each aid station, but apparently not enough.
One lap down, getting fueled up for lap 2.
Coming across the finish line after my second lap.
The winners did 9 laps. JY Pak who won last year took first again this year. The real surprise was the second place overall finisher Amelia Boone, who finished 9 laps as well just 9 minutes behind Pak. What a beast. Third place overall was also a woman. These two women simply dominated. The top team completed six laps.
3. Get 5mm neoprene gloves that are a size larger than you need. They will protect your hands from the cold and the larger size will allow for increased circulation. Take them off for the obstacles where you need a good grip like Funky Monkey and Hangin' Tough.
12. Where to stay: the Crowne Plaza Monroe and the Marriott Courtyard Cranbury in South Brunswick are the closest, and will give you cheap rates as well as free breakfast if you tell them you're with the race.
13. If you're flying in, rent a car.
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