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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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!)