Ryan was nice enough to sit down and answer a few questions for us so we could get a glimpse into what the road has been like to train and compete in the toughest 24 hour corse in the world. Here's what he had to say:
How many Tough/Toughest Mudders have you done?
RD: I have only participated in one Tough Mudder. That was the "Tahoe Northstar 2012" as a goal for shoulder surgery rehabilitation. I then participated in World's Toughest 2012 and again in 2013. Despite having a season pass to all events this year, I didn't make it to any regular Tough Mudders.
How have you trained for this year's competition?
RD: My Father, Larry, took a great interest in my training this year and we decided together to use the Tahoe Rim Trail, or TRT, as training grounds. With a goal of breaking the unsupported record of 58hrs 45min, we ran different sections after work and on weekends at least twice a week. This helped with getting used to greater distance running as well as staying active for 24hrs+ as World's Toughest requires. Our attempt was thwarted by gastro-intestinal issues that developed with my father around mile 40. we were able to push on to 80+ miles before giving in around the 24hr mark. We will continue to train and try again next year.
What made you decide to do World's Toughest Mudder?
RD: Having completed the Northstar course relatively fast, and feeling like I could have been more challenged, I looked for more. I discovered that once a year they hold the Worlds Toughest Mudder. This strongly appealed to me as I enjoy testing both my physical and mental abilities. There are at least 1,200 others who have discovered they have a knack for enduring and a somewhat masochistic love for exhaustion. World's Toughest Mudder promised to be the most challenging thing I, and the others, had ever encountered. The sense of camaraderie you feel on the course is amazing for a competition. When your giving all you've got for that long, your only competition is your mind telling you to stop. Some obstacles are nearly impossible after 10 laps. The "we're in this together" attitude is something that is hard to find in competition, and after WTM 2012 I was hooked. Challenge beyond what you could dream up for yourself with a field of competitors that will pull you up and then race you to the finish line. Its an amazing event.
What is your least favorite part or has been the biggest obstacle for you to overcome?
RD: My least favorite part of every year is the uncertainty I feel as the race approaches. Did I train hard enough? Do I have the right gear, diet, and plan? So much can go wrong. I learned a great deal from both of the previous years, and feel a greater sense of confidence facing this years course, but you have to be prepared for anything.
How do you think training for such a big competition strengthens other areas of your life such as work, relationships and your self confidence?
RD: It is very beneficial in all aspects of my life. My lifestyle becomes much healthier as I eat better, sleep more, and avoid partying, which used to be an outlet for my energy. I learn about myself daily as i reach new benchmarks. This year in particular I trained much harder since I quit smoking the week after WTM last year. I have discovered a healthier me that is capable of much more than I knew possible. Although I have always felt fit, I never knew how much proper training can improve ability, and in turn, confidence. Having these goals has kept me moving in a direction I desire, and as I succeed or fail, I learn to keep improving. That improvement brings other positive aspects of my life to attention. You cant help but develop a habit of looking at every aspect of your life with the same attitude.
What, if anything, is next after Toughest Mudder 2014?
RD: After this years WTM, I plan on resting and healing, but then training again for other races and goals. I think I want to try Ultra-running. I have entered the lottery to participate in next years Tahoe 200, a 200 mile race that uses much of the TRT. I also am determined to break the unsupported record on the Tahoe Rim Trail.
To get a visual into what Duin is about to embark on, check out this short video documentary that gives a gut wrenching look into the 2013 World's Toughest Mudder.