My Muddy Life: Tough Mudder Infinity Chicago Setbacks & Opportunities

Tough Mudder Infinity Chicago - Rockford, IL

Tough Mudder Infinity Chicago Half Successful

Tough Mudder Chicago goal: 45km

45km in 8 hours is the distance we needed to qualify for “Contender Status” at the World’s Toughest Mudder in November. After knocking out 35km at Tough Mudder Colorado we felt like 45km was well within our reach.

Ready, Set, …Stop

The car is packed, the gas tank is full, and we are ready to head north out of the brutal Texas heat. Dalton will be flying into Chicago Friday before the race, and I’ve got my little family packed in for a long road trip.

Two days before Tough Mudder Chicago, somewhere driving thru Podunk, OK, Dalton calls with bad news. He did something to his knee that caused it to swell up and make running virtually impossible. I believe Matthew McConaughey would call this a red light.

Tough Mudder Infinity Chicago Mud Mile

The Training Should Match The Competition

A 24-hour race in the mud is inherently going to be riddled with adversity and setbacks. We are signing up for our plan to go off the rails. So if that’s what we’re preparing for, we can’t properly prepare without things going off the rails.

Our feet are going to hurt. We’re going to be cold. Cramps are inevitable. Hallucinations are likely.

Preparing ourselves in ideal conditions when we feel like it, is not preparing ourselves at all.

Was I prepared to run the Tough Mudder Chicago without Dalton? Nope.

Jocko Willink would say, “Good.”. Now I have the opportunity to see how I handle a race without someone running alongside me. Now I have the opportunity to discover new weaknesses that I can address before the World’s Toughest Mudder in November.

Tough Mudder Infinity Chicago Block Ness Monster

After all, this race in Chicago is meant to help us prep for the race in November. So bring on the adversity I guess.

Control the Controllables… the Weather is NOT Controllable

There is nothing we can do about the fact that it’s been 105+ in Texas for what feels like 3 months straight. Most of those days it was flat out dangerous to get out and run for any extended period of time in the middle of the day. So training was pushed into the midnight hours.

Even then temps were in the 90s, so there isn’t much about temperature that we’ve been able to simulate for these races. The Tough Mudder Chicago ended up being about 70 degrees and cloudy most of the time. I hadn’t seen weather like that in months.

What I did get out of the training in the heat and in the dark is a psychological advantage. Running in the dark is something a lot of folks talk about being a challenge their first time at World’s Toughest Mudder. At this point, I’ve logged more miles in the middle of the night than I have in the sunlight hours.

I may not be able to know what the weather will be like in Granbury, TX in November, and I may not be able to simulate those conditions right up until the race. What I can do is train in as many different conditions as possible, so I’m not caught off guard by anything that happens.

Tough Mudder Infinity Chicago – Race Day

I’ve made peace with the idea that I’ll be running the race without Dalton.

Tough Mudder Infinity Chicago Starting Line

Make no mistake about it, you are never alone when you’re running a Tough Mudder. You are surrounded by friends that want to see you win. Folks overcoming challenges right alongside you. It’s one of the best communities I’ve ever had the pleasure of experiencing. So I can’t say I’m running alone, but Dalton and I have run 10 Mudders together and we set out to run this World’s Toughest Mudder together. So running without him is a setback.

The race must go on!

With a 90 minute drive to the race location, I’ve got plenty of time to get excited. It’s a beautiful morning. Of course, I get there with just enough time to get my pit location setup, get stretched out, and get lined up.

3 laps. That’s all I had to do. It turns out the laps were actually longer than originally scheduled, so we would get 18km per lap instead of 15km.

The race just got longer and harder than I originally thought, and I’m learning that at the starting line?


What an opportunity for me to go further than I planned to.

Mission Accomplished

Tough Mudder Infinity Chicago 50KM Finisher

Distance logged: 54km (33.5 miles)

Time: 07:51:00

The goal was 45km, and I cruised right past it. Adversity be damned.

Did I have another 18 miles in me? Not sure about that. One thing I learned is that when I stop, my body shuts down. The best shot at making 50 miles in November is going to be not stopping. It will be tempting at 3am to sit in a warm tent for a little while instead of rushing back out onto a cold muddy course. This is where the pit crew will be most important.

Overall, the Tough Mudder Infinity Chicago was successful.

Training Progress

Road to Worlds Toughest Mudder Training

Distance since training began: 364 miles

Best 1-mile time: 6:32

Best 10k time: 49:08

Elevation gained: 9,425 ft

You can follow along with my training sessions on Strava!

Recovery Strategy & Progress

Friends, I cannot stress enough how important your recovery strategy is. Just like a training plan, a recovery plan is most effective with consistent effort over time. You can’t wait until you’re injured to focus on recovery.

For us, reducing the amount of recovery time necessary between training sessions is the focus. There are 3 key areas we have the opportunity to impact our recovery:

  • Fuel / hydration
  • Stretching / flexibility
  • Rest

Fuel and Hydration

It’s critically important to replace what you use if you hope to recover properly and quickly. Protein, electrolytes, calories, etc. If you aren’t replacing these things after depleting them, then your body suffers a deficit. Running on a deficit for too long can lead to all sorts of issues, and definitely will not lead to improved athletic performance. There are apps and all sorts of resources available to help you track intake and burn estimates.

You don’t have to be exact, you just need to know generally you are replacing what you are losing, if not running on a slight surplus. How you want to manage that balance ultimately depends on your individual goals.

When in doubt, drink more water!

Stretching, Flexibility, Range-of-Motion

Stretching Is A Natural Remedy

A doctor once told me that 99% of all non-contact injuries are due to imbalance. Not stretching before and after workouts can very quickly create imbalance issues in your muscles. As a young man, I did not appreciate stretching properly the way I should, and that led to tendonitis in both of my knees at the age of 20.

This doctor’s recommendation was stretching my legs properly for 30 minutes a day, and before and after workouts. Now at 33 years old, running 15-25 miles per week, my knees still feel better than they did when I was 20 not stretching sufficiently.

Whether it’s your back, or your legs, or some nagging injury that wasn’t from contact (broken bones, etc), if you haven’t tried regularly stretching you may be overlooking the simple, natural solution. It doesn’t cost you anything to try.

Rest, Sleep, Recharge, Repeat

In today’s society people struggle with sleep for so many different reasons. If you are training for a physical challenge, especially something testing your physical limits, sufficient sleep is critical to recovery. You are going to find gains very hard to come by without getting restful sleep.

If sweet dreams are hard to come by for you, our Sweet Dreams Gummies might be able to help.

Natural Remedies For The Win!

Whether you are training for something, or just trying to keep up with the endless challenges of life, natural remedies can help you feel better and live better. That’s what we’re here to help you do, and that’s why I signed up for this muddy race series. We’re in this challenging life with you, and we want to show you by example, how powerful natural remedies can be.


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