Sep
22
Endurance Athlete Stefanie Bishop: World’s Toughest Mudder | Tough Mudder


[MUSIC PLAYING] In the world of obstacle
course racing, there is one race that is the ultimate
test: World’s Toughest Mudder, a 24-hour race that tests your will
and challenges you to the core. There is a different motivation
for every competitor. These are their stories. [MUSIC PLAYING] I am the 2016 World’s Toughest Mudder
female champion, and I ran 85 miles. Crossing that finish line, I really
don’t remember too much of it. There were so many people waiting
for me, lots of cameras and people cheering, and the
energy was just so high. I wanted to take in as much as
I could about what just happened and that this goal that I set out
to do actually was coming to life. My name is Stefanie Bishop, and
I’m from Manhasset, New York. [CHEERING AND APPLAUSE] There’s an awards ceremony the
following day, where a lot of the racers all gather together. And I saw the top male competitors,
who each ran 100 miles, get this orange blazer. I turned to my friend, and
without hesitation, I just said, “I want one of those jackets,
and I will get one of those jackets.” Is that cocky? No. No, it’s not. This past March, I set out
to become the first woman to climb the 46 high peaks of
the Adirondacks consecutively. No woman has ever done it. It was a challenge that was outside
the box that really appealed to me. Now, unfortunately, a
few days into my attempt, one of the biggest blizzards they
saw in decades landed on the region, dumped four feet of snow. In addition to that, my body was
worn down, and I have asthma, and I got bronchitis. I just kept on trying
to push through it. [INHALING] [COUGHING] [COUGHING] I ran my body way past its energy level. I was running not on empty, I
was running on negative energy, and I just kept on going,
and going, and going. My lungs are so really raw. It was the minus 35-degree
wind chill all night long that I think really
aggravated my asthma. It left me with some really
bad physical problems, and that took me about three
months to recover from. The months following the expedition
were really rough physically, rough mentally, rough emotionally. I like to really
challenge myself, and when somebody thinks that
something can’t be achieved, I like to show them that we’re capable
of pushing ourselves really far physically, really far mentally. I met Stef on course at
World’s Toughest Mudder 2016. She was lapping us multiple times. But my first real memory of who she was
was the final lap, and the sun was up, and there was a guy on the side
of the course that had a boombox. She was in her leader
bib, and she was dancing. And this is 23 and 1/2
hours into this crazy event. Everybody’s exhausted. Looks like zombies are
walking around the course. And here’s Stefanie Bishop
having a dance party. And so we joined her. I was like, you know,
this person is amazing. And to me, that’s what Tough Mudder is. Coach, he’s so positive,
and he’s so encouraging, and he’ll always push people to be
their best and to do their best. I think Stef definitely
feeds off of positive energy. There’s a lot of energy out there
in the world, positive and negative, and Stefanie is definitely
connected to that positive energy. You can see it when she’s
out on course at any event. Even when things aren’t
going well for her, she still has that positive
attitude and that positive energy, and that’s kind of
what makes her special. [MUSIC PLAYING] Stefanie did the Adirondack
mission, and the reason that she pitted for me was
because she was still recovering. And what that is this just kind of
being that person of support out there in the toughest event, which is
eight hours from midnight to 8 AM, and you do a five-mile
loop, and each time you can come back through to your pit. In her head, she was going to give
it all for Atlanta and throw down, and that was in her head. And she’s a very driven, driven girl. Unfortunately, her body
wasn’t quite there yet. I raced in a few of the Toughest
Mudder events this year, and that’s like an eight-hour
World’s Toughest Mudder style race. My first race was Atlanta, which I
DNFed 10 miles into the race because of stomach issues. It was a horrible experience. You doing all right? (CRYING) No. My body’s just shutting down. It’s all right. It was an absolute
heartbreak to see how it all played out, because she’s a competitor. All right, cool. Thank you. Thanks, guys. All right. Hey. [SCREAMING] Sorry. Sorry, I mean (YELLING) fudge! [LAUGHING] Even though that wasn’t a success, I
learned a lot about myself and really what I’m capable of
pushing myself through, and that’s a big experience that I
can take with me to World’s Toughest Mudder, and if I get
down into a bad place, I can kind of dig myself out of
it, because it can be a lot worse. It can always be a lot worse. I came out to Colorado
for a bunch of reasons. I just had to leave New York. New York is extremely hectic. I’m always running around. I don’t get as much
rest as I need, and it’s just inconvenient for the type
of training that I need to do. I’m staying at my friend’s
house in Basalt, Colorado, and it’s just been a
really great set-up, and she’s been so generous to open up
her doors to me and to let me stay here while I train. Very quiet. This neighborhood that I’m in, you
could hear a pin drop out here. [WIND BLOWING SOFTLY] I’m on the trailhead within 1 and
1/2 miles and climbing up a mountain. When it comes time to get work
done, especially training, I flourish when I’m by myself. Out here, I’m by myself a good
75% of the time, and I love it. Maybe it gets a little
lonely at times, but I just have to keep my mind on what
my goal is and why I’m here, and that’s to win World’s Toughest
Mudder, and that’s to run 100 miles. For me, training at
altitude is very beneficial. I find that it helps
me deal with the stress that I’ll see at World’s Toughest
Mudder, especially the heat, because my lungs will feel a
lot stronger going into it. (WHISPERING) Nice out. I’m just trying to make sure that
I have at least two to three weeks out here to acclimate and to kind of
push my body a little bit harder than I would training at sea level. Routine is everything for me out here. I stick to a pretty strict schedule. Typical day, I’ll get up between,
let’s say, 5:00 and 6:00 AM. Usually I’ll have
breakfast, I’ll roll out. I’ll get myself mentally and physically
prepared for what kind of training I’m going to do that morning. Ideally, it’s probably
going to be a mountain run, I would say anywhere from maybe a short
run– an hour– up to three, five, maybe even eight hours if
it’s a long training day. I come back, I shower, I eat, or maybe
I nap right away, because if I’m tired, I need to sleep. When I wake up, I eat some
more, and usually I’ll go out for a second training session. It might just be like taking my
bike out for an hour, really easy, or it could be heading out to the gym. It’s in between. Then you do– Then you keep doing it. Five times, you do this
whole thing five times? No, you do– those five one. So you do each of these 50– So when I’m in like hour 18,
I’m by myself on a course, and I’m in a really dark place, I can
reflect upon an experience like this and use it to push me
through those dark times. Woohoo! I feel great now, actually. [LAUGHING] [WATER RUSHING] I love to finish off a training
session by just sitting in the river. It’s great for just
to flush out my legs. It’s kind of like nature’s
ice bath, I call it. It just also gives me a time to
kind of focus on my breathing and to get my mind ready
for what’s to come. [WATER RUSHING AND GURGLING] [MUSIC PLAYING] This is the largest field of competition
that World’s Toughest Mudder has ever seen on the women’s side. You have a group of ladies
that have been battling it out during this eight-hour Toughest
Mudder Series all year long, and they’ve been putting up
some really high mileage. Lindsay Webster, who ran
consistently 40 miles, 45 miles. Same with Allison Tai,
who won the whole Series. And Amelia Boone is back. She had– you know, she was
injured all year long last year. So it’s going to be kind of a
bloodbath out there between the ladies. But the funny thing is
is like, you know what, if we’re all at Block Ness
Monster at the same time, we’re going to be helping
each other up and over it, because that’s what we do when
we’re out there, even though we’re competing against each other. [MUSIC PLAYING] World’s Toughest Mudder is one
of these events where you’re just grinding really hard, and you’re putting
everything out there for 24 hours straight. It’s really intense. I’m always asked by
people why do I do this? Why do I put my body through this? To me, I really enjoy doing this. It makes me smile. I’m looking forward to
reuniting with my Mudder family. And I’m just really curious
if I can go the distance, if I can get that
orange jacket, finally, if I can be the first woman to do that. And just looking forward to having fun. It’s a big old dance
party out in the desert. That’s what it feels like.