IronMan 70.3 St. George Utah 2017

When Lamoni had the goal to complete a triathlon, he thought, “Why not an Ironman?” We consider ourselves lucky to live just 6 hours from St. George, Utah where a famous IronMan 70.3 is held annually. He signed up and the training started. (But that’s another post, and you’ll find it here.) First off, let me give a huge thanks to our friends, the Winslow Family who let us crash at their house for the race. They are amazing friends and some of the best people I know.

The day before the big race: We were able to wander around the IronMan village and Lamoni did his registration. Lamoni was contacted by a St. George news station and they wanted to do a story about him and Sidney Smith, the other amputee from Vernal who was also doing the IronMan. Here is their coverage:

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IronMan Village

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The kids got to make signs at one of the booths.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Race Day!!!!!! —
—— We were awake by 4am to get going. My parents had come to support Lamoni and help me with the kids too. After a breakfast of EGGS (I told you… it was a staple for his diet) we headed out for a long day.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here is a fun short video of the starting race crowd. It was energized and had a great feeling of being there. So much fun!

We got my parents and the kids situated in a spot to watch the beginning of the race. I went with Lamoni down to the waters edge so I could help him and take his leg as he was entering the water. The atmosphere was so amazing! I could feel the energy and excitement from the racers and the crowd. Lamoni and Sidney were able to start with the Women’s Pro heat — which was right after the Men’s Pro heat. This meant that they both got to wear fluorescent pink swim caps. Pretty awesome guys! Here is some footage of just before Lamoni went in the water:

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As Lamoni entered the water I ran up to be with my parents and kids to watch the race begin. It was an open-water start which meant the racers started out in the water. Here is the start of the heat the guys were in:

I got to wear one of these sweet wristbands…
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This meant that I was able to get close to the athletes (well, MY athlete) to be able to help him with what he needed during the transitions. He only needed me right after the swim as he came out of the water, but I was grateful to be able to help.

Then he headed on to the 56 mile bike ride. We decided to wait for Lamoni at the bike/run transition point. We saw him at the very last minute coming in on his bike so we were ready to cheer him on as he changed his foot, put on his running gear, and headed out for the 13.1 mile run. We were excited to see that Sidney was right there with Lamoni as they started out on the run. Yay!

I figured that if he kept his average pace for the run, he would be done in about 2 hours. We went and waited by the finish line. I will tell you, it was HOT! St. George, Utah is HOT in the summer! My parents stayed with the kids in the shade of a tree and I was able to squeeze myself in a pretty good spot along the finish route. I spotted Lamoni coming around and hurried to video him passing me by and running the last few yards of the IronMan 70.3 race. (Sorry the video looks blurry/dirty. The lens of the camera on my phone was probably wiped with my sunscreen-sweaty finger. I had no idea the last few videos were this bad of quality and I’m a little bummed. Oh well.)

Here he is finishing the race! Hooray!

It was pretty emotional for the both of us when he crossed that finish line. Months of training and very hard work went into this race. This is one of the many situations that Lamoni wanted to show his children, and anyone else who happened to witness, that ANYTHING is possible. Do not let any labels or limitations stop you from accomplishing your goals.

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Man I love this guy!

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Lamoni went and cooled off a little after the race.

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We’re so proud of him.

Lamoni was able to watch Sidney cross the finish line! Go Sidney!

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3 guys from Vernal, UT. Sidney, AJ, and Lamoni

Here are some of the professional pictures that were taken on the course.

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A big thanks to the Challenged Athletes Foundation and Fit-well Prosthetics for their help and support to make this happen.

*** As I write this post, it has been 4 months since the race…. Lamoni is planning on at least one IronMan for next year. Woo!

 

Training for the Half IronMan

Training for the Half IronMan

When Lamoni signed up for the half IronMan he immediately turned to me from the computer and said, “Well, I signed up… I guess I better take swimming lessons now eh?”

I once heard Lamoni describe his training for the IronMan by saying,

“Sometimes you just gotta jump off the cliff and grow your wings on the way down.”

And he did. just. that.

Lamoni decided to follow the training plan from the Iron Cowboy. This was an intensive program that helped him to stay on track with training for a swim, bike, and run. He was training anywhere from 1-4 hours a day, 6 days a week. I jokingly called it his second job.

I was in charge of his nutrition. I tried my best to keep him fed with the right kind of foods. That was sometimes a challenge just for the variety reasons. Lamoni will eat whatever I put in front of him. He doesn’t care what’s for dinner, he will just eat. This put a lot of pressure on me. How do I feed and fuel a Triathlete? I researched fuel vs food and quickly found out the difference between the two and what was important. Sometimes it doesn’t matter if they are eating the same thing 3 times a week – if it fuels them sufficiently, that’s what matters.  We live in a small town and my grocery options are limited. There is no Whole Foods (or anything remotely similar) for 3 hours. I just gotta hope Walmart and Smiths carry the organic nut butter that some recipe calls for (and gosh-a-mighty bless Amazon Prime!). I found some great recipes, but he was getting tired of the same two dishes of beans and sweet potatoes. Haha! It was also challenging to keep him full and satisfied. He consumed A LOT of calories every day. He was always eating. He said he felt like a teenager again, always hungry and always eating. I tried to have some protein-packed snacks on hand everyday so he could just grab and go. His favorite go-to…. homemade granola bars, tortilla wrap with {coconut/peanut butter, bananas, honey, and sea salt,} and eggs, eggs, eggs!

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A few years ago we heard about the Challenged Athletes Foundation (CAF). They are a wonderful organization that helps out athletes with varying needs. Through grants, they are able to supply athletes with anything from training costs, to prosthetics, wheelchairs, and sometimes even travel fees. I had talked to Lamoni about applying for a grant, but he had always shrugged it off. (He HATES asking for help.) But this year he knew he had the goal to run the IronMan and he finally listened to his wife (Me!) and applied, asking for a running foot. Actually, I remember him waiting until the LAST day in December to apply, even down to the last few hours until we submitted the application. Whew! Lamoni is very hard to budge sometimes.

We were supposed to find out in April if we received a grant or not. Lamoni got a call about mid-March saying they were going to grant him a running foot! He was so excited! They sent it to Lamoni’s prosthetic place — Fitwell Prosthetics in Salt Lake City — and they worked on fitting it to one of Lamoni’s sockets. They got quite creative and inventive because that type of foot was a little too long for Lamoni. They tried out a new system to keep the foot on and it worked for the running foot. Yay! Now he could feel a little better about the running part of training.

CAF sent Lamoni some sweet racing gear to wear. Here is Lamoni trying out the biking clothes before he went on a bike ride. (Side note about his bike… he got this bike about 4 weeks before the IronMan race on a second-hand website. There is only so much a stationary bike at the Rec Center can do for triathlon training. Ha!)

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Lamoni found a few guys here in Vernal who were also doing the St. George Half-IronMan. He trained a few times with them. Sydney is on the Left and AJ is on the right. Sydney is actually a double amputee who is a true inspiration. He’s a great guy! They’re both great guys – AJ had done the IronMan last year in St. George and had valuable tips and support for Lamoni. It’s awesome that he found these two guys.IMG_4151

When training in Vernal, Utah in January-April sometimes, well – lots of times, you get to run in the snow!

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Lamoni started using the Strava app when he went out on his runs or bike rides. I liked this because I could track him throughout his ride. He would bike miles and miles up the canyon and I would worry that he’d be hit by a car or chased and eaten by a bear (yes, I’m a worry-wife).

Here are some fun pictures from his Strava app runs.

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Bike

Lamoni’s hardest sport for the IronMan was the swimming. He took lessons at the Rec Center and tried to improve as much as he could. Here is a video the swim instructor took of Lamoni so he could watch it back and improve his technique. I thought I would post it here just because….

 

About two weeks before the race we packed the kids up and took a mini-vacation down to St. George so Lamoni could scout out the course. He swam in the reservoir and learned for himself (friends had warned him) that swimming in open water is VERY different than Rec Center swimming. It’s hard! He had our older two kids in a kayak follow him to help keep him on course (and catch his breath too). I’m glad we were able to try out St. George before the race so Lamoni could ease some jitters about the swim and the bike course. The St. George bike course is supposed to be the hardest Half-IronMan course there is. Gasp!

Training has been hard, but good. Time for the race!!

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Las Vegas Spartan Sprint 2017

Las Vegas Spartan Sprint 2017

A Spartan Race!! Last year Lamoni didn’t sign up for any races. So, this year, 2017 – we decided is going to be the year of the races. He is going to get his trifecta with the Spartan Races (3 different races, all different lengths). He has also signed up to do a Half-Iron Man in May. He is training HARD for this and my next blog post will be all about that.

Lamoni was in a team of 5 racers who are all in Law Enforcement. 4 of them are correctional officers at our county jail (Lamoni included) and one guy is a road officer in our neighboring county. All good friends!

This was the Spartan Sprint race. 4-5 miles of running, mud, obstacles, and fun!

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Before the Race

I tried my best to get some footage and pictures of the team in the race. Here is what I was able to record.

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I was watching the racers come down this hill. Some would walk slowly, some would trot sideways, and some would flat-out run downhill at full speed. Somehow I knew that Lamoni would be the one who would run with no caution downhill.

That is all the videos I got. I feel bad because I really try to always get a good video of the finish line, but I didn’t this race! Bummer! The spectator course wasn’t that great at this race. There was a point where spectators could view the 2-3 obstacles before the fire jump and the finish line, but to get to the fire jump and finish line, you would have to walk all the way around and enter through the wristband tent to go between the two. I wanted to see the finish so I stayed by the finish line. This gave me very little warning that the team was coming. (The lay of the land was blocking the obstacles before the fire jump.) They came upon me too fast and I saw them right as they were jumping over the fire. Darn! I wasn’t able to whip out my phone fast enough. Oh well, maybe next time.

The team did great!! Aroo! Aroo!

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Finished the Race! Nice medals guys.

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Santa decided to join the picture. Sure big guy!

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Got to sign the Spartan Wall!

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Lamoni doesn’t like the feel of chalk.

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Here are some of the pictures I was able to grab from the Spartan Website. Nice!

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It was a good race. Now to finish two more to get the Trifecta! Lamoni says his new foot was good to use for the race. (Endolite) But he just needs to find a better way to keep the liner and sleeve from coming off. When it gets wet and muddy it has a hard time staying on. Hmmmm we’ll figure it out.

Dino Foot

My last post told the craptastic story of how I lost my SpongeBob foot in a trailer fire. (Read about it here.) We had liability insurance on the trailer soooooo that meant we just had to count our loses and be sad. Really sad.

The reason I was not wearing my SpongeBob foot was because I was wearing a work-in-progress foot. My SpongeBob foot was 2 years old and this meant I get a new foot this year. I have been working with my prosthetic guy to get me a new foot this year. I am a hard stub to fit. I guess you can say that I am picky. When I am on my foot for 12-14+ hours a day it needs to be a good fit.

I had been wearing the prototype foot for a few months. Wearing it a few weeks and coming back and telling the prosthetic guy to change it here, or there. Then go out for another few weeks until it is pretty close. After the loss of SpongeBob we tried to expedite the new foot. That resulted in the new Dinosaur foot! My oldest daughter is fascinated by dinosaurs. It’s everything dino for her. She just turned 12 years old and loves snakes and dinosaurs. I thought it would be fun to get a dinosaur foot. The kids will dig it for sure. My awesome prosthetic people shipped me the foot when it was done since I live 3 hours away from them. This video is of my dino-loving daughter opening the package of the new foot.

 

Our Attempted Yellowstone Trip

Cami writing here… Last summer we had planned for a quick little trip to Yellowstone. I don’t think I have ever been and Lamoni went when he was 14 years old with his Scouts. We had planned a 3-4 day trip to go camping in Yellowstone National Park.

We left in the afternoon of June 20, 2016. We loaded all six kids in the Excursion (Milo, the baby, was just 3 months old) and hitched up our trusty old 1968 Aristocrat Lo Liner trailer to camp in. Well, mostly camp in – the Aristocrat doesn’t fit our whole family so we usually end up pitching a tent for the older kids. The Aristocrat was filled to the brim with our camping gear, tent, bikes, stroller, suitcases and various camping gear. Off we went! We have never been North through Wyoming and I have to say, it is beautiful! Star Valley was breathtaking and I fell in love with the landscape. Our navigation said that Yellowstone was 8-ish hours from our house and we were scheduled to arrive at our campsite a little after 10pm.

We were high up in the mountains about 2o miles south of Jackson Hole around 9pm when our trip took a nasty turn. With the Snake river on our right we heard a very loud POP! Flat tire on the trailer. Bummer! So, Lamoni pulled over as far as he could, but there was a guard rail on the right so we were sticking out a little in the road. The flat was on the driver side of the trailer. Lamoni went back to change the tire. I rolled the window down and immediately smelled something burning. “Whew!” I thought, “That tire must really be in bad shape.” Lamoni then comes running back to the truck saying “I need water!”

I remember thinking, “Why does he need water? He’s just changing a flat tire.” But I also recognized a small panic in his voice. So I got out of the truck to go see what was going on. He was grabbing water bottles and throwing the water on a small fire that had started up under the tire of the trailer. It was a small fire. But it was in a bad place. It was hard to get to it. We were throwing water from the bottle up and around the tire. We couldn’t get to the fire to make a difference. We had some people stop and help us. There was a guy who unhitched the truck and drove forward for safety. Lamoni was unscrewing the propane tanks from the front of the trailer while other helpers were using fire extinguishers to try to put the fire out.

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Lamoni decided to try and save some of our belongings when we knew things weren’t looking good. Since we were snug right up against the guard rail it was hard to open the door to the trailer. We were bending the frame of the door to get it open enough so Lamoni could squeeze through and start throwing stuff out. He first threw out a bunch of firewood that was in the way,(because that wasn’t going to help our situation in any way!) he then got to two bikes which happened to be Lamoni’s nice mountain bike and our oldest son’s bike. The bikes were strapped in pretty tight and Lamoni just cut the strap with his knife and threw out the first two bikes in the line-up. Then he threw out two suitcases, a coat, and one sleeping bag. By then the trailer was too smokey to see so we were yelling at him to just get out. I think we knew at that point it was gone. The nice guy who unhitched us moved our vehicle to the other side of the road and we watched it burn.

Why am I recording this? It didn’t cross my mind, my mind was full of emotions and disbelief of what was happening. At one point Lamoni looked back at me (while he was still fighting the fire) and said, “Why don’t you record this for us?” I was seriously flabbergasted. “WHY??” I answered. Lamoni shrugged and with a slight chuckle he said to me, “What else are you going to do?” Well, I guess he’s right! So I started to record. Why not!?!

 

One reason it was a total loss was because we were up in the mountains with no cell service. I remember one guy telling us, “We sent someone to call 911, but they won’t have cell service for 15 minutes or so until they come out of the canyon.” – Bummer.

The firetrucks and police finally came and helped to direct traffic. It was quite the site. They Highway Patrol Officers were very kind and helpful. They found a hotel for us in Afton, Wyoming and got us a discount.

It was amazing to see how fire can damage things in such a short period of time.

They called a tow truck to come and tow the remains into Jackson Wyoming. We headed back the other way to Afton, WY to get our hotel room. Just as we came out of the canyon after a 15 minute twisty road Lamoni gasped. We were sitting at a stoplight and he exclaimed, “MY FOOT!” Um, what about your foot? — “My Spongebob foot was in the trailer! We have to go back right now.” And with that, we turned around and headed back up the canyon to the burn site. That was the longest 15 minute drive we have ever taken. With every turn of the road we kept saying, “It’s got to be close, why aren’t we there yet?”

Lamoni couldn’t believe it took him 2.5 hours to remember that his prosthetic foot was in the trailer. It was just sitting on the bed in the back. It wasn’t buried, it would have been easy enough to get to. But for some reason he didn’t remember about it for a long time. He made the remark, “I would have saved my foot 100-times over before I saved my nice mountain bike… why didn’t I remember?” *** I have an idea of why he didn’t remember. I believe the Lord didn’t allow him to remember his foot for the safety of his life. I know Lamoni, and I know that if he would have remembered his foot at any time during the fire he would have risked anything to go in and try to save it. And Lamoni agrees with me.

We arrived at the site just when the tow truck was pulling the camper up onto his bed. Most of the firemen and policemen were still there. Lamoni jumped out and ran up to see if he could get a glimpse of his Spongebob foot. He knew it was a goner, but he had to try. The only thing he found that night was the socket part lying in the road. It was blackened carbon fiber.img_4423

It was very sad. That foot was the worst thing we lost in the fire. As Lamoni put it, “You just can’t go down to the store and buy these things. Even if you had the money, they aren’t on store shelves to easy-peasy walk out with. They take a lot of time to get the fit just right.”

The next day we went to the tow yard to see the trailer in daylight.

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It was sad to see it all clumped in a pile. We just couldn’t believe it still.

Since the kids didn’t have any clothes we decided to hit up a thrift store in Jackson Hole to get them one extra pair of clothes for the day. We also ended up buying a stroller at the thrift store. I had mentioned that maybe we should just head home. But Lamoni wouldn’t let this experience defeat us. “We’ve come this far, we have to at least go see Old Faithful! Let’s go and enjoy a few hours in Yellowstone. We will not be defeated!” The kids and I all agreed so we headed to Yellowstone through the Grand Teton’s.

We saw these two items below in the Historic Old Faithful Inn and couldn’t help to snap a picture…

We returned home the next day. Lamoni left the following day to go back to Jackson Hole and retrieve our trailer. (All in one day, it was a long trip for him!) He took his brothers flatbed trailer and brought back the burned trailer so we could go through it.

Our oldest son was the winner and found the bottom part of the Spongebob foot in the rubble. Hooray! There is nothing much we can do with it… we’ve thought about making it a planter. Why not?

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We’ve talked a lot about this experience. It has been 8 months since the fire and we’ve had some time to reflect. We talked right away with the kids about how the things we lost were just “things”. We knew how blessed we were that no one was hurt. It could have been so much worse. We thank our Heavenly Father for watching over us and giving us this experience to learn and grow from. We want to thank the many “helpers” who stopped and helped us on the side of the road that day. The kindness of the strangers and the law enforcement/fire fighters really touched me. I don’t know any of your names but I think about your service often. May God bless you.

One of the sweetest things was a few days later our 8-year-old brought Lamoni this picture she drew. She knew how important this foot was to Lamoni and wanted to draw this for him. img_4439

Rest in peace Spongebob foot…. You were an excellent foot.

And Hey, Yellowstone, we’ll try again another day.

Missing toes

Another one bites the dust.

While taking off his socks one day, Lamoni discovered a funny bump inside his sock. He turned the sock upside down and shook out some toes!

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“Oops! I guess I broke my toes!”

So now this particular foot is lacking in the toe department.

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The baby (who is almost 2 years old) will point at it and in a concerned voice say, “Uh oh! Daddy foot – broke!” Which she will repeat like a broken record until someone acknowledges her observation. It’s quite funny.

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Some people are pretty hard on their feet. My husband is one of them.

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Lamoni’s idea for the detached toes? He said he wants to make them into a necklace like Captain Jack Sparrow in Pirates of the Caribbean Dead Man’s Chest.

Just a glimpse into one of the small details of this amputee’s life.

Colorado Spartan Sprint 2014

There are only two days left until the Utah Spartan Beast. Woo!! I figured I had better hurry up and post about last months Spartan Sprint in Colorado. (Want to read about Lamoni’s experience at last year’s Beast? Click here.)

I, Cami, will be writing the post and it’s details. This was my first Spartan Race and Wow, I say, Wow!

The Spartan Sprint is the shortest of their races. It was 4-5 miles long and I thought that this race would challenge me, but not completely destroy me.

I felt ready for the race. . . sort of. I wished I could’ve trained more in running and upper body. I knew there was a rope climb. . . I also knew I would be doing the penalty burpees for that obstacle because there was no way I could do a rope climb! But race day came and there was no turning back! It was exciting. The environment and atmosphere of a Spartan Race is amazing. Our start time was at 10:45 and things felt a little rushed. It’s different arriving at a race when you have 5 kids in tow including a stroller, a million bags, a few camping chairs, an umbrella, an amazing husband, great brother-in-law and my hero mother! We were quite the sight!

We found a place to “set up camp” and soon after it was about time to line up. Ahhh! Getting nervous!

Here is a good “before” picture of me.

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Me, Lamoni, and Lamoni’s brother Mosiah were running the race together. We were supposed to be joined by Lamoni’s older brother Enoch, but Enoch passed away 3 months earlier very unexpectedly. That situation is explained a little here. It was a little somber with the three of us at the starting line. But with Enoch in our hearts we were ready and pumped to race!

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I don’t want to go on and on about every little detail of the race. But I will tell you that it was fun! I started off pretty strong, jumping over the 5, 6, and 7 foot walls and such. It was after that when we came to the first hill that I started to slow down a bit. I’ll tell you what. . . the hills sure destroyed me! I am thankful for my husband and Mosiah for keeping the good vibes going. I was struggling up a hill and I could hear them saying encouraging things to me. Wonderful men!

The obstacles that I did well at were the “carry the heavy thing from here. . . to over here”. One time we strapped on a backpack full of rocks (60 lbs for women and 120 lbs for men) and had to walk up and around the mountain side. Piece of cake! It was like carrying my 9-year old around. No biggie.

The mud roll was a relief. I was pretty hot and tired when we came down the hill to the barbed wire roll. Through the mud we rolled and it was very refreshing. Honestly from the barbed-wire roll obstacle it went more smoothly than the first part of the race. I enjoyed the rest and attacked it with a “momma bear” attitude.

Lamoni had very little problems with his prosthetics this time around. (Thank goodness!) He didn’t have his running foot ready so he just ran with his regular every-day foot. Everything went well until all the water came. We were wading in muddy water that was at our shoulders and when his liner got that wet his foot had problems wanting to stay on. I remember one time I was sitting on top of a big muddy hill. You basically slid down the hill on your bottom and landed in the *cold* muddy water, then swam to the edge. Lamoni went first. . . he slid down, went under the water and when he emerged he was holding his leg in his hands. It had come off just as he hit the water so he grabbed it and popped out of the water! It was hilarious!

I really enjoyed running the race with Lamoni. One thing that happened (and he warned me that it was going to happen) is the amount of other racers who would pass us and acknowledge Lamoni and say a little “good job man,” or “way to go” or “you’re such an inspiration”. To actually see this first-hand as an experience was interesting. He is pretty humble about it, he usually gives them a thumbs up, or a shaka,(see hand gesture below) or a friendly “Thanks man! It’s fun!” It was truly an honor to race with him. I felt a little bad that it was ME that was holding us up most of the time, but he was okay with it.

I love my partner and my best friend!

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I love this shot! The ever-awesome Lamoni and Mosiah leaping over the fire at the finish line.

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Even my kids ran the Kids Spartan Race. My three oldest ran the kids course and absolutely loved it! I’m so proud of them!

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This Momma Bear was antsy to get back to her baby.

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A Family Finish! What an awesome family I am a part of. I love it!

People have asked me if I will do another Spartan Race in the future. I’m honestly not sure. . .It was fun and I’m super glad that I did it, but I’m not addicted to them (yet). We will see what the future brings.

Aroo! Aroo!

 

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