World's Toughest Mudder: I'm back for more

LAS VEGAS -- My parents weren’t too thrilled about my entry into the World’s Toughest Mudder last year.

Yes, they drove all the way out to Las Vegas from my hometown of Gilroy, Calif., to help support their son for the 24-hour obstacle race. (My dad even helped set up my tent and served as my lone pit crew member.) But, as you might expect, they weren’t thrilled with the shape their son was in after traversing 50-plus miles and a couple hundred obstacles.

After a stop at In-N-Out for my post-race meal last November, my mother stared at her pale son who was in considerable pain on the hotel couch with a look of disapproval. I hadn’t seen her that pissed since I told her I was going to pursue a journalism career.  

“You aren’t going to do this race again, are you?” she asked.

Even if my body -- which needed a wheelchair to get through Las Vegas' McCarran International Airport the next day –-  was basically immobile, my mind had already been made up.

“I think I can do 10 more miles next year,” I replied. 

As I wrote last year for, I handled the challenge of my first endurance obstacle race with decent results. (I finished 227th out of more than 1,100 competitors.) Even though the below-freezing sandstorm knocked out two-thirds of the field and I was left with frostbitten fingers, I was back at work right away and working out again a few days later thanks to the help of master masseuse Hugh Bradin.

A look at this year's course.

A look at this year's course.

Now, it’s time for another World’s Toughest Mudder. With some small tweaks, the race hasn’t changed too much. The Cliff, the 30-foot jump off a platform and into Lake Las Vegas, will be used at night, which may not be fun. (I went headfirst during one of my jumps last year and that felt below average.) My training has gone well, outside a nagging Achilles tendon issue. 

So, yeah, I have a shot at 60 miles. Will I be as fortunate to avoid injury as I have been at all my obstacle races? (This will be my 10th Tough Mudder event overall and I’ve done several other obstacle races.) Let’s hope so.

I look forward to hanging with Dan Shaivitz, who got me through my final lap last year, and others I've met over the months, if only virtually or through phone conversations for my and USA TODAY Sports stories that delved into this race. 

If you want to follow along, here’s the link. (The iOS app can be found here.) The race begins at 2 pm PT on Saturday. I’ll be updating my Instagram and Twitter feeds as I go.

Cover photo courtesy of the COED YouTube channel.