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.

 

 

So, that’s why they call it “The Beast!”

Lamoni had so much fun doing the Spartan Sprint in Colorado that he “thirsted for more!” His buddies invited him to join their team to race the Spartan Beast in Utah the following month. He accepted their invitation and was stoked to do it again!
The Spartan Beast is 12-14 miles long with many more obstacles. “No problem!” thought Lamoni.
So we planned to spend the day in Midway Utah for the Spartan Beast. I invited my Mom to come with us to help me with the kids, due to the fact that I was 6 months pregnant. We signed up our two oldest children to participate in the Spartan Kids race.
We arrived in the morning and got checked in. The kids were excited that they got their own Spartan shirts to wear for their race. We found space under a shade tent and “made camp.”
Of course we had to do the traditional “before” pictures.

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Lamoni starts to warm up and get ready.

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Soon it was time for Lamoni’s group to start. He got set in line and my Mom, the kids and I tried to find a good spot to watch them start the race.

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And there he went! I was so excited for him. I also had a sense of nervousness for him not knowing what obstacles lay ahead, and when I would see him along the race course again. I knew it was a very long race and I had the backpack of tools in case he needed to fix anything on his foot.

We made our way back to the shade tent and relaxed while we watched all the amazing people and racers that are at these events. I love the atmosphere!

A few hours went by and we decided to head to the next spot along the spectator course where we could meet up with the racers. While we were waiting I received a phone call from an unknown number so I ignored it. (Come on, who else does this too? Yea I don’t think I’m alone in this.) “Huh, strange,” I thought. Just after that I got a text message from that same number saying, “broke my foot.” That was it! Nothing else! So, I had to put my detective brain to work. Was this a wrong number? If not, who would be texting me to tell me that they broke their foot? Could it be Lamoni? I know he didn’t take his phone with him for the race. Could he have borrowed somebody’s phone to send me this message? With Lamoni, a statement like “broke my foot” doesn’t necessarily mean broken bones. See? Well then I started to worry about him. I texted back, but received no answer. I even called the number, but again no answer. Well crap! Darn Lamoni and his cave-man texting tendencies! “Hi,” “OK,” “ugh,” “broke my foot.” More words! More details please! Perhaps this is a universal man-texting problem.

Anyway, after a while I found some of Lamoni’s teammates and they stopped to tell me that Lamoni had broken his foot very early on in the race but he was coming along slowly. *Sigh* Okay, thankfully some answers. But where was he? How far behind was he? I thought about getting somebody in charge and asking them to get into one of their little golf carts and head along the course to find him. But I knew Lamoni, and I knew that he wouldn’t ask for a ride unless it was really bad. He would endure. He has a very strong will. So we just waited. Then I spotted him!

The perseverance in this man astounds me. What an example to his children to never give up on anything. He tells them, “Always move forward.” For example: when the race started and Lamoni and his team were running the course, they came to a little dip in the road. This was only about 0.5 miles into the race. The dip in the road wasn’t big at all, in fact you could’ve easily ran right through it. But Lamoni did a little leap over the dip (just for fun, because he was feeling energetic) and when he landed (on his prosthetic leg) he heard a “snap!” Uh Oh! Bad news! He had broken the spring of his foot right in half! Impossible! (or so he thought. . .)

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Lamoni was worried that too much weight on the prosthetic wasn’t good now that the spring was essentially gone. So he didn’t run too hard on it. He found some “crutches” on the side of the course by using tree branches. He told me that he often traded up branches for “betta ones.” He’d be running along and see a better branch so he would toss one, and grab the new one. He continued like this and pressed forward until he knew he would eventually see me along the spectator course. He knew that I was carrying the backpack with tools and extra parts. He knew if he could get to me he could fix his foot.

So, here he is, just 0.5 miles into the race and he breaks his foot. It might have been easier to backtrack that half-mile and find me so he could fix his foot. But not Lamoni, no – Never look back. Always Move Forward! He pressed on for another FOUR miles until the course caught up with the spectator track. Four miles!!! On a busted foot! I tell you, he is my hero!

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When I spotted him coming down that hill I was so proud. I was amazed that a) his foot actually broke, and b) he was still trudging along with a smile on his face. Lamoni later told me that when he was coming down that hill and he spotted me and heard us cheering for him he almost got emotional. He was so relieved that we were there so he could stop and fix his foot.

He plopped down and began to take apart his foot and replace the spring with another.

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Then he was set! Good as new! Just a few massive blisters on his hands from those sticks he used for crutches. Onward Ho!

It was then time for my two oldest kids to participate in the Spartan Kids race. So we headed over to that area. They had a blast and can’t wait to do another one day.

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After that fun messy adventure, we went back to the shade tent and waited for an hour or so. It’s so hard to gauge when the racers come around the spectator course again. I wish they had trackers in them like the Hunger Games and we could see where they are in the “arena”. That would be awesome! Just an idea. *wink*

When I thought it was about time for Lamoni to show again on the course I headed up there. I waited for a while and recognized some people who were in his start group. I waited a bit more and contemplated asking a volunteer at one of the obstacles if he had seen a very handsome amputee come through yet, but I didn’t ask. (Looking back, I really should have.) I finally saw a lady who was on Lamoni’s team and I stopped her as she ran through. I asked her if she had seen Lamoni and she waved her hand and almost laughed “Oh yea sweetie – he passed me a long time ago! He’s way ahead of me now.” Well bummer. I missed him. I thanked her and walked back to the shade tent to my mother and children. I felt really bad that I had missed him. I hoped he was okay, I hoped he didn’t need anything from the backpack, and I felt bad that I missed some opportunities to film him on those obstacles. Big bummer, but oh well.

Now for a little hindsight shall we? I later learned that Lamoni had indeed passed that teammate, but he also suffered another setback with his prosthetic leg and had to step off the course to fix it for a while. She must have passed him without knowing because when I was waiting for him at those obstacles, he had not arrived there yet. Oh how I wish I would’ve known this. He could have possibly used something in the “magic backpack” to fix his foot again but I wasn’t there to help him. The pin system in his prosthetic that keeps his foot attached to his liner/sock had failed. It essentially stopped holding the prosthetic foot to his liner. (If he had been wearing a knee sleeve it would have been better, but the sleeve was in the backpack, Argh!) So every time he stepped, the foot would not rise with his leg, it would just fall over. He tried everything he could get his hands on to jimmy-rig the foot. He tried a plastic bag and he even tried some old yucky duct tape he found on the side of the course. But nothing was keeping his leg on. Many racers stopped to try and help but it was a tricky situation. There was even a nice volunteer at the water station who spent a good amount of time trying different things to keep the leg on. Finally a generous racer stopped and offered his belt to Lamoni. Lamoni denied and told him that he probably should keep his belt on. But the racer said, “No man, really – I really don’t need this belt, but I felt impressed this morning to wear it during the race, so here you go. Take it.” And with that Lamoni was able to use the belt to keep his leg from falling off while he ran the race. He continued like this for approximately 8 miles of running and 15+ obstacles until the end of the race. I’ll say it again, He’s my hero! He’s a keeper for sure.

When talking to Lamoni about this race he mentioned that the monkey bars were pretty rough to get through. Because of the tree branches he used as crutches early on in the race, he had formed massive blisters all along the insides of his hands. These blisters were irritated throughout the race because of the various obstacles and when he was messing with trying to hold his leg on while running. So when he got to the monkey bars (which were towards the end of the race) they were awful to endure on those blisters. Lamoni then said, (to my astonishment) “But I didn’t want to do the burpees required for skipping or failing the obstacle, so I pushed through the pain to get through the monkey bars.”

So after another few hours I headed to the end of the course to hopefully see Lamoni soon. I had thought Lamoni was a few hours ahead of what he really was so I sat at the barbed wire roll obstacle for about 2-3 hours waiting for him. I’m just glad that I had a chair to sit in and an umbrella to keep the hot sun off of me. At least it was entertaining watching all the racers roll down the hill.

I finally spotted him! Yay!

 

Almost finished – just the wall climb and the fire jump. Yes!

Aaaannnnd he did it! He finished! I am so proud of him. Love this guy!

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Lamoni will tell you (and show you) to always move forward. Always push forward when you are given trials. Life can be crappy, but life can be wonderful. Enjoy the adventure!

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The kids are going to stare . . . might as well make them smile.

When Lamoni was fixin’ to get a new foot a few months ago, we started the usual “fabric search”. We were scanning the Internet for a small amount of cool, fun, amazing fabric that his prosthetic guy would use to cover the carbon fiber socket of his new leg. (Technology is so amazing!) Why search the Internet you may ask? Because we live in a small, middle-of-nowhere town, and Walmart’s fabric section can be somewhat lacking in “coolness”.

Lamoni narrowed his search down to two fabric patterns: sharks, with blood in their teeth, and a SpongeBob SquarePants pattern. We couldn’t choose, so we ordered both! When he returned from his prosthetic appointment in the city I asked him what fabric he chose to leave with them. He replied, “The SpongeBob one.”  I asked him why he chose that fabric and he answered, “For the kids.” Now, as much as I knew he meant it was for our kids, I also knew it was for ALL kids.

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Kids stare. Heck, even some adults stare. And that is totally normal. When they see someone, or something that is “different” than what they are accustomed to they will stare out of curiosity. That’s usually what it is – just plain curiosity. There is no harm in that.

When Lamoni and I were first married I noticed the stares a lot. When we would walk the mall, I would notice the extra attention he would bring. This never bothered me, but I did find it curious. It was something I never thought of before. I mentioned the “extra attention” to Lamoni and he just shrugged and almost laughed with a half-smile, “I don’t notice it anymore.” He had grown up being the “different” one and he was no stranger to stares. It doesn’t bother him, and after so many years it just slips through his filter and is a normal part of life.

I will tell you this: When a child stares or points with an exclamation of “Look Mommy!”, the situation only gets awkward when the adult tries their hardest to “shush” the child, tells them to not stare, or tries to ignore the whole “embarrassing” encounter. We have an idea . . .teach the children that it’s okay to be curious about something that seems different. It’s okay to ask questions.  Knowledge will eliminate any fear of the new and unknown to the child. Yes, I understand that most adults are worried about the child’s “manners” but shushing the child and telling them not to stare can plant a small seed of fear, fear of the different and unknown.  If they point and exclaim “Look Mommy!” gently acknowledge the new discovery and explain that people are all different and different is okay. It’s as simple as that! No need to go deep into a discussion on differences and shapes, sizes, yadda yadda. Simply have a small conversation with your child about the situation they are pointing to and move on. (Unless you are fortunate enough to stop and have a chat with the “different” person. What a great experience for your child!) Don’t try to hush your child and push away/ignore the whole encounter – this only teaches your child that “different” is bad and not to be talked about. It all comes down to being an example to the children.

Now I’m not saying that you should take your child and approach every amputee (or handicapped person) and ask them about their life and experiences. I cannot speak for every amputee and not all are ready to share their story. The best advice is to pay attention to their body language; you will be able to tell if they want to share their story and ease the child’s curiosity.

Lamoni loves to talk to kids. If we have time and he sees that the child is willing and interested, he will answer any questions that are asked and he might even take his foot off and let the child touch the prosthetic foot. Now reading body language goes both ways because Lamoni will only go as far as he senses the child is comfortable with.

The child’s smile and amazement that this “man with a SpongeBob foot” is normal, not scary, and can do everything they can do is a great reward to witness. Just for fun, Lamoni will sometimes tell the child that a shark bit off his foot while he was surfing. A quick back-story: when I met Lamoni, he was a bushy-blond Southern Oregonian who surfed the California/Oregon coast, so this story is very believable. (But not true of course!) When he laughs and tells them that the real story of how he lost his foot was because of a faulty lawnmower, I tell you almost every time­ the mother (Yes, it’s always the mother) gets huge eyes and enthusiastically points to Lamoni’s leg and says, “See! See! I told you kids, this is why you should never play outside when so-and-so is mowing the lawn!” *Sigh* If only we had a dollar every time this was said.  The mother’s rant quickly turns Lamoni into the poster boy of why the kids should not play around lawnmowers. But again, he is used to this. Then the mother will usually ask if he uses riding lawnmowers himself. Almost expecting him to say “No I don’t use them, didn’t you just see how dangerous they can be?”. Instead he surprises them with this comment, “Yep I sure do! I even started a lawn care business once. It was great!”

Why not work on the cycle of “good manners” and of hushing the curious child. Lamoni hopes to “break the ice” with children and help them not to be afraid of something, or someone, different.  So, with his SpongeBob foot on Lamoni knows that the kids are going to stare . . .  might as well make them smile.

First Race. . . Ever

Did you hear about the guy who tried a Spartan Race for the first time?

In March 2013, Lamoni mentioned to me that he was going to do a Spartan Race in May of that year. “A what?” I asked.  I had never heard of the Spartan Race. “Yea, a guy at work was telling me about them and I want to do it.”

Well… Okay.  In my mind I’m thinking that this is great, whatever it is, because he’s actually “doing something.” For years he had been a hermit in our home and I yearned for him to get out and do something, anything! Find a hobby, find friends to hang out with. . . get that “spark” back in his eyes and his spirit.  Whatever this Spartan thingy was, I was grateful.

At the time, I wasn’t familiar with the Spartan Races at all. So, let me give you a small crash-course:

Definition of SPARTAN. 1: a native or inhabitant of ancient Sparta. 2: a person of great courage and self-discipline — Spar·tan·ism \-ˌ i-zəm\ noun

Wikipedia states that “Spartan Race is a series of obstacle races of varying distance and difficulty ranging from 1 mile to marathon distances. In 2012, they were voted Outside Magazine’s “BEST OBSTACLE RACE”. They are held in North America, Canada, Europe, South Korea, and Australia. The series include the Spartan Sprint (3+ miles of obstacle racing), the Super Spartan (8+ miles), the Spartan Beast (12+ miles), and the Ultra Beast (26+ miles – one of two marathon obstacle courses along with Mudderthon). Spartan Race also has a time-trial obstacle course race that is one mile in length, and has a military series in which obstacles are designed by the United States military. Spartan Race’s parent company, Peak Races, hosts the Spartan Death Race, a 48+ hour extreme test of endurance and resilience. ESPN describes the Spartan Race as “a true test of will.”” Click here for the Wikipedia page.

So, as the weeks went on Lamoni began training for the race. I didn’t do much research into what a Spartan Race was, just whatever Lamoni and I would look up on the Internet. We looked at their awesome homepage, Go check it out! (By the way, the video that plays when you are on the homepage has a small clip of Lamoni’s broken foot. The footage was at the Spartan Beast in Midway, Utah in June 2013 – pause the video at 26 seconds and you’ll get a glimpse of Lamoni’s broken running foot.{Story about the broken running foot will come in a later post} Cool!) Lamoni’s training basically consisted of doing 6 weeks of the P90x program and some running. He was pretty dedicated to this workout and the results were pretty impressive.

Before: Pictures taken March 28, 2013

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After: Pictures taken May 6, 2013

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Race day!! The race was on a Saturday so we left on Friday to head to Colorado. We dropped the kids off with Lamoni’s brother and sister-in-law for them to watch overnight. They were a big help! (Thank you guys!) The race was a Spartan Sprint in Colorado. It was held on a military base (very cool!) at Ft. Carson near the Air Force Academy / Colorado Springs area. This was about a 6-7 hour drive from our home. I say 6-7 hours because it depended on how many times I had to stop and walk around. You see, at the time of the race I was 4 months pregnant with our 5th child (an adventure of my own!). This was a fun quick get-away for the two of us. So, Saturday morning came and we got ready for the race. I went down early for the hotel’s breakfast and I brought back a yogurt for Lamoni to eat – that’s all he wanted. He was doing a quick version of the P90x Yoga workout to get ready for the race.

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The location of the race was about a 20-minute drive from our hotel and I was getting really nervous for Lamoni during the drive. I’m a nervous person anyway (and pregnancy always heightens this terrible trait in me) and I had to work really hard to not “freak out” and get sick with my nerves. I was so worried about Lamoni doing this race for the first time and not knowing anybody or what to expect throughout the race. When we parked we were very lucky to find near us Lamoni’s buddy at work who was running the race too. His buddy, “C”, had his two daughters with him too -“M” and “K”.  While talking to them I was coming to realize that the four of them (Lamoni, C, M, and K) were all on a team to race. They would all be racing together! And I was just finding this out an hour before their start time! This information could have saved me much grief. (Remember why I was a nervous wreck earlier?? I thought that my husband would be running the race alone??) I was very relieved that he wasn’t running alone anymore. (Now couples, this is a quick lesson on communication right? Eh?)

So we head off to registration to get their bib numbers and such. Now it’s just time to wait until their race time. In this race, they were letting 200 racers start every 15 minutes. (We learned later that it was close to 9,000 racers between the Saturday and Sunday races! Wow!)

Waiting for their time to start. . .

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When they were lining up to start, I had made my way down the spectator path to try and get a good video of them starting the race. The video is awesome, showing the first obstacle. . . the moats. The sad thing is that I lost sight of the team and just kept videoing the same spot. But it’s still very entertaining to watch. I heard the announcer say later that day that there had been 18 injuries in the moat obstacle that day, so to please be careful when jumping in/over the moats. Mercy!

And then they were gone! The spectator path only went so far, then you had to wait for them to loop around the course and you could see them come around again for a few more obstacles.

Let me talk a little bit about Lamoni’s running foot. This was his first EVER running foot. As I said in the first post he had his leg amputated higher in 2006 for better prosthetics. Since that surgery was ka-ka to his life, he wasn’t very active until last year (2013). When he finally started seeing a prosthetic guy and we finally got insurance, he asked about a running foot.  This race was the “maiden voyage” for his running foot.  I was glad he was using his running foot for an extra reason – it made him easier to spot in the crowds of racers. I had to scan the feet of the racers to notice Lamoni. I learned pretty quickly that I had to look at the “feet” of the racers. I was used to looking at the shin/calf part of the leg to locate Lamoni because that’s what usually stood out. Not too many people have a pirate map on their shin/calf. But when I was trying to find him in the midst of many racers I came to the knowledge of a thing called “compression socks”. I had never heard of them. . . There were TONS of them! And they come in patterns! Patterns that make your feet look like prosthetics! (In MY eyes. . .) I had to learn to look to the actual feet of the runners to find Lamoni quickly. And by the time he came around the course again every racer had been through mud and it was hard to tell people apart from clothing color/pattern. But feet… feet will help me find my husband in a sea of muddy racers!

Here are a few videos of some obstacles they did when they showed up along the spectator course again. Spirits were still high! Woo!

When I first caught sight of Lamoni and his team it was at the log walk. I’m not sure the exact name of the obstacle, but that’s what I call it.

Next was the super long muddy barbed wire crawl. The video is a bit long, I don’t blame you if you want to skip the middle (when he got stuck behind a slow person, but once he passes her he’s a-bookin’ it!) and watch the end.

The team took time to strike a pose!

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Then it was onto the spear throw. Lamoni nails it!

I then took a random video of my husband just walking around on his foot. You see, this was the first time I had ever seen him on an actual “running foot” and it was fascinating to me. So, this video is just of him walking around at a dead spot in the race.

I now had to run around to the other side of the spectator course to catch the last of the obstacles I could view.
This is a trench they had to climb through. (What I love about this video is how Lamoni runs to help his teammate out of the trench once he spots her. He can be such a helpful guy.)

This video of the rope/wall climb is one of my favorites. He shows his determination and strength here. He also shows his willingness to help others. After he makes it over the wall he stays there for quite a while to help others up the wall. I remember seeing his team waiting for him a while as he stayed and helped many people up and over that muddy, slippery wall. Love him!

The next two videos are of the weight pull, and the tire pull.

Seeing Lamoni and the team come through and do a few obstacles was refreshing. I think it helped us both. It eased my nerves a bit seeing how well he was doing and I think it gave him a boost of confidence as well.

After the team headed on with the race it was now a guessing game to see when the team would cross the finish line. I found a seat on a picnic table and tried to relax a bit. It seemed a bit cold being 55 degrees, but the sun was shining and it felt wonderful. I sat there for about 45 minutes enjoying watching people / racers. It was such a fun environment – such great energy and a feeling of accomplishment and goal reaching was bursting from the racers who had finished the race. It was easy to spot the finishers – they were covered in mud and sometimes even blood. Some of the teams even dressed up! I saw a team of 5 guys dressed as Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and a group of girls dressed as zombie princesses complete with tutus. It was awesome!

I wanted to get a good “seat” at the finish line to see Lamoni finish the race. I saw a space open at a great spot, so I took it! I got to stand at the finish line for a while waiting for Lamoni and his team. It was fun cheering on the racers as they finished the race. To see kids and spouses cheering on their Dad’s/Mom’s as they jumped over the fire and raced to the end. I stood there for a little over an hour before I recognized Lamoni and his team up on the last obstacle. I got so excited when I saw them! They made it!

I only wish my phone had a zoom on the video setting.

I was (am) so proud of him! What a great accomplishment for his first Spartan Race. I could tell from the moment he crossed the finish line that he LOVED it! I kinda knew right then that we would be attending many Spartan Races in the future – and I was excited!

After he finished we celebrated for a minute or two, then he headed to the showers. The showers at a Spartan Race consist of garden hoses with sprayers attached. You basically wait your turn until a hose is unoccupied, then you spray yourself off – with COLD water! This wouldn’t be a problem in the summer, but in early May, in the Colorado mountains. . . the poor racers were all FREEZING! I felt so bad; they were all shaking and waiting to dry off. There were a few smart ones who knew to bring a change of clothes. (Luckily “C” told us to – he is a smart one!)

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Before we left Lamoni signed the Wall of Valor. (and we did a little shopping at the gift-shop tent)

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We left Colorado around 4pm that day (I’ll admit – I was worried about my kids). I got to drive the beautiful Colorado interstate the whole way home; Lamoni was just a wee bit tired. This put us home around 11pm to retrieve our kids. It was such a great experience – Lamoni had caught the Spartan bug.

What did I learn from this first Spartan Race? I learned that Lamoni wasn’t in the race to get a good “race time”. He just wanted to finish. Period. He would stop and help anybody that needed help along the way. That is who he is – and it was joyous to see that. I knew that man – that’s who I married, and that part of him was lost for so many years. For so many years I wondered if I would ever see that side of him again: the compassionate side, the concerned side, the strive-for-something side, and honestly, the happiness side of him. This race was a glimpse of hope that I had been yearning to feel for many years. I also knew it was going to be a slow climb back to a happier place for us both. But isn’t that better? A slow climb is still a climb right? Anything slow is better; slow-cooker dinner, slow churned ice cream, and even weight loss at a slow but steady pace is better and more likely to “stick” in life. I wasn’t expecting Lamoni to “snap” out of his depression. There would be a recession to that. I knew it was going to take time – and I had plenty of time, patience, faith, and love.

Now bring on the next Spartan Race! Aroo! Aroo!