Sometimes you fall…

Sometimes you fall…

June 4, 2017 – almost exactly one month after the IronMan 70.3 – Lamoni fell. He fell hard. We were visiting one of Lamoni’s brothers in Bear Lake, UT. This brother and his family live in California so we don’t get to see them often. We had a great time and enjoyed being together. We stayed at a time-share and the kids loved playing with their cousins. After getting out of the pool at the time-share, Lamoni was hopping in the shower to get his foot so he could put it on. He slipped in the shower and fell down hard. He landed right on his stub. Without his prosthetic on. It was bad. We were getting ready to leave anyway, so we quickly got in the car and headed for home. We stopped at a gas station on the way so I could get some ice for his stub. He was hoping it wasn’t too bad, but as we kept driving (it was about a 4 hour drive) he could tell that he had hurt it pretty bad. By the time we got home he couldn’t put his prosthetic on. It was too swollen and it hurt too much.

He saw the doctor and they took x-rays of his stub. They really couldn’t find anything except that maybe he bruised the bone. But even the doctor said, “Look, you don’t have a normal leg. These radiologists don’t really know if what they are looking at is “normal” for you.” That’s true Doc.

So, he was just told to stay off of it so he could heal. We wondered that if it was broken at least a little somewhere, maybe a chipped bone or something…. that he would need to stay off it for 6 weeks like any other broken bone. It was actually 7 weeks that he missed work and could not really wear his prosthetic. That was a bummer. When it was just starting to get better internally, the skin started to act up and get sores all over. He was starting to be able to bare weight on his stub, but then the skin on his stub started to blister and then scab up. So that was another few weeks of not being able to wear his prosthetic. It sure was a drag.

He had a Spartan Race already scheduled with his ticket purchased for July. But, being Lamoni, he figured there was still a way. Nothing can really stop him. He has some amazing will-power.

So, he started training for the Spartan using crutches. I will post about that Spartan Race soon.

He figured out how he could “run” while on crutches.

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After a few weeks, he was able to put his prosthetic on, but he couldn’t put full pressure on it for running. He still used the crutches as support as he ran.

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I will admit, in the video above I had parked along his route to see if he needed any assistance. Maybe he was too tired, maybe his foot was too sore, maybe he needed a drink….. but as you can see. He just smiled and passed me by.  I’m sure he was tired. I’m sure he was sore. I’m sure he could have used a drink… but he never stops.

In the meantime, he still kept as active as he could without wearing his prosthetic. We went on hikes and looked at some petroglyphs that are less than 10 miles from our house. That was fun! The 3-year old lost her energy on the hike and Lamoni had no trouble putting her on his shoulders to finish hiking back to the car. (I was holding the baby) We had a good time!

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.

 

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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Newsletter Feature

Every so often the place where I get my prosthetic work done sends out a newsletter in the mail. They will feature one of their patients in the news letter. This time it was me!

I’ll give a shout-out to them, thanks Fit-well prosthetics and orthotics!

 

Q & A with Lamoni Riordan

Q. How long have you been an amputee?
A. April 13th, 1985 – When I was five years old, I was involved in a lawn mower accident. I 2006 I had an elective surgery to amputate a little higher allowing for better prosthetics.

Q. What are some of your successes as an amputee, both mentally and physically?
A. Mentally I have had to overcome very deep depression and thoughts of suicide. I’ve also had to overcome addiction to pain meds. I believe my greatest success is to keep going, keep living day after day trying to maintain a positive attitude. Instead of asking “Why me?”, I ask “Why not me?” How can I learn and grow from this? Physically I walk, I run, I work, I compete in physical events and most people do not ever know I’m missing a leg unless I say something. I always want to keep taking a step forward.

Q. How does your amputation affect your every-day life?
A. I can’t just step out of bed and go to the bathroom in the middle of the night. Sometimes it’s just the little things. Keeping my liners clean for the next day. Lifting and bending my leg just right to get in and out of the car. How to not hurt my kids with my prosthesis when we wrestle. To me, it’s all normal.

Q. What keeps you motivated?
A. My family. I am blessed to have a marvelous, understanding wife, 5 children, wonderful parents, brothers and sisters who care for me and help me. There was a time when I struggled to even want to live. My wife, children, and faith in Christ gave me the desire and motivation to press on and overcome my trials.

Q. What kind of physical activities do you enjoy?
A. Cliff diving, kayaking, hiking, mountain biking, snowboarding, construction work, logging and being a dad. More recently I have enjoyed obstacle racing like the Spartan Race. I enjoy anything physically challenging. When others think twice about it, I think “bring it on” this one legged man can do it.

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Q. What are some incorrect assumptions that other people make about amputees?
A. That they need to feel sorry for us. That we are weak and helpless. That it will hurt our feelings if you ask questions. It’s okay if children point at my prosthesis, they are just curious.

Q. What advice would you give to new amputees?
A. Press forward and realize there is light at the end of the tunnel. It’s a hard road, but you can overcome whatever comes your way with a positive attitude. You will become a better, stronger person and help so many others along the way by your example. Life is an adventure with many obstacles but it is worth it. Live it, love it, enjoy it!

Q. How has being an amputee blessed your life?
A. It has made me the man I am today. The pain, the suffering, the trials I had to go through have prepared me to endure and overcome whatever comes my way. It has made me more persistent, more resilient, and more determined to press forward regardless of the challenge. I am also more compassionate.