Day After World’s Toughest Mudder Hangover

No, not like booze hangover. I wish. Back to work, back to the grind, and thanking the higher powers I’m a desk jockey. Sitting is the only thing that doesn’t kill me right now. I need a dog to go fetch my print jobs from the copier.

I always like to mull over races for a few days to let it all sink in and organize my thoughts, so that will happen at some point.

But let’s get to the not-so-important and meaningful things: the “random thoughts” edition. So in no particular order:

(1) So much warmer than last year. I got a bit chilly at around lap 4 or 5, but it was never unbearable. As it became harder and harder to run, though, it got colder since I couldn’t keep my body temps up. And thank you wind for not picking up until the last lap. Did anyone notice how calm the wind was during the night?
(2) Who is in charge of TMHQ’s music? I swear to God it was the same 5 or 6 bands on repeat throughout the course the entire time: Red Hot Chili Peppers, Blink-182, Tupac, Van Halen, and Pink Floyd. I must have heard Nirvana’s “Rape Me” about 5 times during the race–very motivational, guys. I heard a racer say he thought Christmas music was playing during part of it. Hallucination or not, but that’s freakin’ hilarious.
(3) Mudders rock. The amount of encouragement from other racers out there was just amazing. I apologize to those of you who called out to me and I had no idea who you were–wetsuit hoods make everyone look the same. I met tons of awesome people along the way, and offered people $5 here and there when they helped me out in some way (offering to hold down the cargo net, etc.). I hope you all don’t think you actually are going to collect on that.
(4) Wetsuits are not flattering. As I ran by people, I must have been told “keep it going, man!” or “well done, dude!” about two dozen times. So yes, we all look the same in wetsuits: like dudes.
(5) Wetsuits do prevent gnarly gashes. While I’m covered in bruises, at least I don’t have to worry about infected cuts like after the Death Race or the Ultrabeast. Infected eyes from the Jersey mud, however, are probably inevitable.
(6) Windburn and eyeball burn hurts. I spent the entire flight back to Chicago last night with a Coke can pressed up against my face. And rocking sunglasses in the Philly airport to shield my eyes. People must have thought I was either a celebrity or a beating victim.
(7) When your grip strength goes, you’re screwed. I cruised through the Funky Monkey and Hanging Tough and that rope climby-thing the first few laps just fine (I’m going to go ahead and thank Crossfit for that–struggled immensely with all of those last year). But between the monkey bars, rings, ropes, tac ladders, and that damn cargo net out of the lake, my forearms were shot after 4 laps. Couple that with the freezing water, and there’s no way to regain that. I’m just thankful I didn’t fall off of that cargo net the last couple laps. God knows I was precariously close.
(8) Being in the lead is stressful. I felt like I was being chased. I mean, I guess I was. Sadly, I never had the opportunity meet Deanna Bregg, the Aussie who held down third, but I wish I could have–what a great competitor and athlete. She stayed consistently 30 minutes behind give or take a few for the first 8 laps, and you bet that I was looking over my shoulder the entire time.
(9) OH MY GOD THESE PICTURES. I’m not vane or anything (ok, I am…a bit), but seriously?! Is that seriously what I looked like? Swollen face, mud mustache and eyebrows, and just pain? Yikes. I gotta work on that.
(10) I have phenomenal friends and support. Those who helped me break down my tent and campsite afterwards, who brought me clothes, who drove my rental car when I was in no condition to, who posed with my giant check and gave any interview…oh…wait.
(11) This is my first semi-serious race injury. I thought it was a sprained ankle, but the swelling has migrated to the top of my foot. Crossing my fingers there are no broken bones. Ice and rest for the time being, and you all know how I hate rest. Hate it.
(12) I still cry after races. This time, I made it successfully away from the race track and through a shower without breaking down into sobs. But as soon as I got on the phone with the parents, the flood gates opened.
(13) I did not break the 2nd place streak. I mean, I won for women, but I still came in second to Pak. Not that I even thought I could get within a lap of him, let alone less than 10 minutes. In other words, I’ll take it.
(14) Running alone blows. It’s lonely out there. Thankfully, I kept myself company by singing this on repeat for 24 hours. Check it out: THIS IS F*CKIN AWESOME.
(15) Watch out boys, we’re coming for you. 1300 competitors, only 100 of them women. Second and third place OVERALL held down by women. You figure out the rest.

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