A few weeks prior to World’s Toughest Mudder I was at the Atlanta event, which was at the same venue. It was SUPER COLD on Sunday of that event weekend, so cold that I went home and debated with myself for all of two seconds to buy another round of gear.
Worst case scenario: I could just return or resell anything I found that I didn’t need.
What I had going into the event:
- 3/2mm full wetsuit
- .5 mm separates
- Frogskins separates
- Several base layers of various makes and brands
- Three windbreakers
- One raincoat
- Running gloves
- Mad grip gloves
- Several beanies
- A baseball cap
- A swim cap
- An insulated neoprene cap
- A borrowed dive hood
- Three pairs of shoes
- Three buffs
- A pair of gaiters
- A hydration vest
I started the race in my .5 mm top and compression pants, beanie, running gloves, windbreaker. I also had on the gaiters.
I tried to wear the vest; I had used it on a few training runs and liked it pretty well. On race day I didn’t want it. It felt wrong and I felt constricted. Thinking back, that was likely because of having to put on neoprene earlier than expected.
I was happy with my gear choices for my first lap. It went well and I was cold but not uncomfortable. Only one obstacle was really open that lap, Mud Mile, and I just took my gloves off when I entered the water and picked them back up after.
My pit crew met me at the quick pit gates as planned, but the lap had taken me longer than planned and it was getting colder than expected. Because of the temperature dropping and knowing I’d hit some open water obstacles in lap two, I went ahead and changed a few things earlier than planned.
For lap two I put on the wetsuit, a different windbreaker, and pulled on the Bleggmits. The beanie stayed on, I had decided that I would take it off when at a water obstacle. The gaiters were taken off, mostly because they took too long to get off when needed and I didn’t have to put my pit crew through the hassle a second time.
Lap two went as well as lap one. I wasn’t dealing with too much restriction with the wetsuit on, which I was happy about. Honestly, this was because when I put it on to make sure it still fit a few weeks prior, I was a bit worried! It had gotten tight in the shoulders since June even though it felt the same everywhere else if a bit looser.
My biggest complaint was that my fingers were cold and just not warming up at all.
Going into the pit after lap two, I knew I’d need to wear something over my ears. I tried on the borrowed scuba hood. Having never worn one before, I didn’t like how tight it felt and I decided against wearing it. Instead, I put on my thermal hood.
The next lap, my third, I got cold. I wasn’t just uncomfortable any more; I was miserable.
I didn’t like how the hood felt and kept pulling down on the chin strap to stretch it out some. It made me feel like I was choking. My fingers were cold and swollen and they hurt a little, the gloves weren’t doing much to help.
I got back to the pit after struggling up and over Mudderhorn and I knew I needed a break.
A break became 8 hours off course.
I started getting ready to go back out for my fourth lap around about 4 am. I put on the .5 mm top again and the Frogskin pants and then put on the thing I dreaded the most: the cold wetsuit.
I decided to risk wearing the scuba hood, knowing that I could take it off if it was too tight. And I rounded out the gear with my Bleggmits and my raincoat.
I started the lap at 5 am. I wouldn’t say I was warm this lap, but I wasn’t miserable. The hood didn’t feel nearly as tight as it did when I first tried it on; I’m convinced that it made a HUGE difference being more comfortable than mine and I wasn’t pulling at it constantly.
My fingers were still cold but they didn’t feel swollen or hurt. And even though I was cold, hugging my arms to my body helped keep me warm.
Overall, I don’t think that there was much that I could have done differently as far as gear went that would have helped my biggest problems. I used the gear I had to the best of my abilities and believe that the only thing that will help next year is different/more gear.