MF: It sounds like physical strength is only half the battle. How important is you mental state in a race like this?
JP: Zero of my training runs are done in the mornings—I’m not a morning person—which means that all of my volume is done pretty late at night on a single run. There are some days when I finish work and it’s freezing cold. It’s raining, snowing, sleeting—and I’m exhausted. These are the days I garner the most benefit mentally because I have to summon the will to get out there. If you say you might go for a run after work, you probably won’t. If you say you absolutely will...that’s what happened here. I said I cannot stop if I want to win this year. Making that mental commitment to carrying out the plan— that’s how you do it.
MF: Each year Tough Mudder raises the stakes. Were there any unexpected challenges on the course this year?
JP: There were numerous obstacles, like the funky monkey, that started to get so extremely muddy they became almost impossible. You had to put 150 percent of your effort into it. It was no joke.
MF: So what are you going to do with the $15,000 prize?
JP: I’m going to take my parents on a really nice vacation. My dad is 81 years old and he still works six days a week. He hasn’t had a proper vacation in years—so I’d like to take him on one and help him retire.