"The timorous may stay at home."
~ Murphy v. Steeplechase Amusement Co., 250 N.Y. 479, 483 (N.Y. 1929)

Saturday, December 31, 2011

The Ten Commandments of the World's Toughest Mudder: The Tenth Commandment

(10) Thou shalt never travel alone.

Scene: 8pm on Saturday night. My tent. I had just finished my second lap, and was huddling in my sleeping bag with MRE heaters at my feet, trying to get up the courage to get back out there again. It was cold. And miserable. And I was alone. WTM had set up the pit areas in a line about a mile long, and, while I had met dozens of fellow racers the night before, I had no idea where their tents were or if they were even in them. I had ran the first two laps on my own, not sticking with any particular person. While this was tolerable for the first lap due to the number of people out there, the second lap was only bearable thanks to the amazing Tom Keller that followed me, taking pictures, and encouraging me every step of the way.

But I was lonely, cold, and a bit depressed. My wetsuit and my shoes had frozen solid from being outside my tent for a half hour. And I was scared at the prospect of getting back out there for more laps. By myself.

Suddenly, I hear a familiar voice from outside my tent: "Amelia?" The tent unzips and Joel's head pokes through, wearing his infamous "I'm Joel" hat: "You ready to head back out there?" My body told me to stay snuggled up and warm in my tent, but I knew I was in this to compete. Hell yes, I'm ready to go back out there.*

You've got something on your nose
And so began the journey of Amelia and Joel. Over the course of the next 14 hours, we laughed, cursed, bitched, and probably learned more about each other than any two people (that had just really met the night before) should ever know. I used him as a stepstool over the Berlin Walls, and he let me break through the ice and find the holes in the Jesus Walk/Mud Mile. A reporter interviewed us as we were warming up in the wetsuit tent. Unbeknownest to this poor reporter, we were both peeing in our wetsuits** at the time. Sorry for the smell, bud. And for that odd puddle that formed around my feet.

Together, we took probably the least sexy shower known to mankind both covered in 10+mm of neoprene (see left).  The shower was a desperate attempt to dethaw before the final lap, in which I also proceeded to vomit on him (note to self: the orange FRS is not my friend. Note to everyone else: apologies if you used that shower afterwards). And all we could do was laugh at the absurdity of it all. It was a true suck, and one that could only be embraced together.

Fifth and final lap as the sun rose
As we embarked on our final lap at 6:30am, the sun was rising. Throughout the night, volunteers kept saying "things will get so much better once the sun comes up." We dropped our headlamps and crossed our fingers. What those effers didn't say, however, was that the wind was going to pick up tenfold. So began the lap of misery. Of me being certain that I was going to lose a few fingers to frostbite. Of us wrapping heat sheets around our gloves to try and block the wind. Of aide stations no longer being manned and out of hot water. Of dizziness and the inability to walk in a straight line. Of Joel picking up heatsheets along the way to wrap around me to attempt to control the uncontrollable shaking. Thanks, bud.

And we crossed the finish line together, holding hands. The asshole still somehow managed to finish 3 seconds ahead of me according to official time. Figures. I can't describe the feeling at that moment. Did we actually just do that for 24 hours? Did we actually slog through sub-20 degree air temperatures and 40 degree water temps with the prize being...a kettlebell? Do I still have all my fingers and toes? Check, check and check. And I couldn't have done it without you, Joel.

*Note that I wasn't quite sure if I was ready to go back out there in the dark, in the woods, with the drunk-ass dude that tried to bite my nipples the night before. I should have brought my rape whistle.

**Shout out also goes out to Turtle, Joel's girlfriend, for letting me borrow her wetsuit which I proceeded to pee in about 20 times. I'll buy you a new one.


  1. Having you as a running buddy was hands-down the best way to experience this incredibly retarded race. I can't wait to be miserable with you again! :-)

  2. Love this one. Metaphor for life... nipple biting included.