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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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.

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.

 

 

The wife trains for a race.

3 weeks left!

3 weeks left until the Spartan Race in Colorado this year.

Lamoni signed up for this race almost 9 months ago. He is ready and excited. Me, his wife, signed up to race with him and I’m getting nervous. After the arrival of our 5th child this past October I had the crazy idea that I wanted to run a Spartan with him. The Spartan Sprint would be ideal since it is the shortest race. (I’m not a runner – nor do I enjoy exercising.) But I have a desire to run a race with him and “check it off my list.” Because honestly if he can do these races, I have no excuse as to why I could never do one. I. Have. No. Excuse.

So back in January we started training. At the time Lamoni was working night shift from 6pm to 6am in the morning. I don’t think I have ever mentioned it, but he works as a correctional officer at the county jail. The easiest time for us to run was after he got home from work at 6:00 in the morning.  So for the month of January we averaged about 5 runs a week every morning around 6:30am. That wouldn’t seem so bad — unless you live where it is freezing in the winter months!

For our first run, the temperature was 5 degrees Fahrenheit outside. Yep, just 5 degrees! We were crazy dedicated!

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Lamoni had been running for a few weeks before I started to join him. There were some morning when he was running in negative temperatures. That didn’t feel too good!

But it was usually very cold when we would run in the mornings. Here are a few pictures throughout the month that I took of us when we returned from our runs.

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I think we are a little insane. Icicles on your eyebrows when you are running can be an interesting feeling.

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Lamoni has been a part-time runner for a few years. His hoodie says it all. He has never caught the “running bug.” He does not enjoy it at all. But that doesn’t stop him from training for what he does love: overcoming obstacles while running.

Lamoni was talking to me one day about his dislike of running. He was listing off some things that could have discouraged him from running, “My foot hurts, I just got off a 12 hour shift and all I want to do is go to bed, it triggers my asthma, it sets off my back pain, and  sometimes my foot can fly off while running.” (True story! I’ll get back to that in a bit.) But he really strives to live the life he has been given. It would be too easy to sit on the couch day after day and swim in a pool of pity, he has every reason to do this and nobody would blame him. Lamoni is not that man, he is here to fight and push through the junk to enjoy the rest.

His foot can fall off while he runs? Yes, yes it can! If he goes on a longer run, lets say about 7-8 miles into the run his stub will be extra sweaty. If he doesn’t stop, take off his foot, take off his liner and wipe the sweat off his stub and liner, his liner will no longer stick to his skin and just slide right off along with the prosthetic attached to it. When this happened he told me that luckily he didn’t fall over. His foot flew off and he was able to hop a few hops to slow down and then hop over to retrieve his foot. Wow!

He has learned to stop and wipe his foot while on a run. Here he is doing this while we were on a run visiting our family in Oregon. This is his niece, Emily.

Running in Oregon was nice, no icicle eyebrows there!

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So we continue with 3 weeks left. Trying to run when we can, and get some upper body strength training in as well. Wish us luck! (well, wish ME luck – Lamoni will be just fine!)

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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Introductions

I’d like to introduce you to Lamoni. He is an exceptional husband, father, friend, warrior, finisher and competitor among other things. He has been through many of life’s highs (very high) and lows (very low) and has found a way to combat what he calls the “dirty birds” – negative voices in our heads.

We decided to start this blog to document Lamoni’s journey. (I’m Cami, his wife, and the person who will be writing most of the posts and typing all of them.) We have envisioned this blog as a documentary and a learning tool for our children, family and friends – but hopefully we can inspire others in their obstacles and journeys as well.  I have two warnings for our readers. . . First: I have never been nor will I ever be a good writer. Writing has always been a struggle for me, but I feel Lamoni’s story is too important to be worrying about my silly writing skills. Second: This blog is not going to be all happy and encouraging all the time — because that’s not how life is.  We have definitely learned that, and I know all of you know that as well. Lamoni doesn’t want to “pretend” that having obstacles and difficulties is easy and you can/should just smile your way through them. He will “tell it like it is”. He does strive to be an inspiration and to uplift people, but he also wants to be real. Life is real, and sometimes life sucks. We want to share the “day-in-the-life” story as it really is – REAL.

Let’s start with a quick overview of Lamoni’s journey through life so far. When he was 5 years old he was involved in a lawnmower accident that left him without his right foot.  When he was 16 years old he went through two leg-lengthening procedures. When he was 26 years old he voluntarily amputated his stub higher to get better prosthetics to help with his active lifestyle. This last surgery sent him into a deep depression and addiction to pain killers that lasted almost 7 years.   It has been just this last year that Lamoni has begun to fight back — to slay those dirty birds and take back his life and his mind. He wants to share his journey, his successes, and even his failures with the hopes to inspire others and give them a glimpse of a “day-in-the-life” of a peg leg racer, peg leg father, peg leg finisher, and just an all-around peg-iddy pegged of a great guy.

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