This post was originally published on the Merrell Adventure Blog. Follow @jasonantin on Instagram and @JasonAntin on Twitter for more behind the scenes WTM prep.
I remember running my first long trail race a few years back. I tossed and turned over the logistics and gear needed for the race, not realizing at the time that I was completely over thinking most of it.
Running around like a mad man trying to organize my gear for an upcoming adventure.
I had prepared spreadsheets and printed out race responsibilities, with detailed maps and pacing splits for every single one of my 10 crew members. I used a label-maker to mark every one of my 14 rubbermaid bins containing “vital” race accessories. I had 5 pairs of sox and even packed multiple pairs of running shorts (just incase the unthinkable happened). Sure I was prepared for almost anything to happen, but the preparational headache really takes aways from the simplicity of running long distances in the mountains.
My gear cache for the 2012 Leadville 100… all this for one person?
For most endurance races since then, I’ve gone in the complete opposite direction, packing just what I need to finish the race successfully. However getting to point when you can minimize the “stuff” needed to finish a race takes trial and error.
These days as long as I feel I start the race as fit as I can, I rarely look at the course map, or elevation profile and typically camp or sleep in my Jeep Wrangler the night before a big race. It helps me relax and know that these long runs or bikes are really pretty simple and I shouldn’t take myself too seriously…
…But World’s Toughest is different.
If I’ve done something well throughout the course of my endurance career, it’s that I’ve always tried to give proper respect to the objective ahead. The World’s Toughest Mudder is so foreign to me, combining such a variety of skills over a long amount of time – it’s intimidating.
I’ve been bit by harsh weather conditions during long ultramarathons before and I know how hard it can make that race for you both physically and mentally. The WTM is designed to relentlessly replicate those very harsh conditions.
As with any new challenge, I’ve tried to do some research. I’ve found lot’s of trip reports and gear lists from folks who have done it before: 10 pairs of shoes, a sleeping bag, 5 wetsuits.
Is this all needed? I won’t have time to be sleeping right? Gloves or no gloves?
I struggle to prepare for this event as it’s so different from all of the other 24+ hour adventures I’ve participated in. As the WTM date approaches I’ll be forced to make some interesting gear decisions so stay tuned to see what my final kit looks like.
It takes a village. 2/10 crew members running around at 4:00am to help me get to starting line on time.
What I do know is that I’ve heard the Tough Mudder community is incredibly supportive, I’ve always dealt quite well being really cold and wet, and as a brand new dad – my sleep deprivation training is going exactly as planned. Let’s hope this all works out in my favor come November 12th.