Friday, September 25, 2015


Last weekend we went on a very important trip to Lake Tahoe. It is one Spencer has been planning for more than a year. Spencer was going to do his second Ironman!!! 

For those of you that are not familiar with what an Ironman is, it is essentially a triathlon for crazy people. It consists of a 2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike ride, and concludes with a marathon. 

Yup you read that right. 140.6 miles of travel using only your body (and a bike) in one day. 

After driving all day Thursday we started Friday by checking in. I was just like a lost puppy following Spencer around but people kept thinking I was checking in. HA! What a joke. 

Spencer was really excited about the backpack he got. 

After check in we sat in the sun listening to an athlete briefing for like an hour and I got a super horrible sunburn. What a great way to start the trip. Then to add to the sunburn we went to the beach so Spencer could test the water and his wet suit. Also this water was the most frigid thing that has ever happened in my life. I am pretty decent at tolerating cold water but I was in that water for a total of 7 seconds. 

Saturday is when things started to get intense. We had to check in all Spencer's stuff and make sure everything was good to go for race day. I mock him for all the lists and stuff he has to make sure he had everything but it actually really helped.

He doesn't look nervous at all, right?

Then we waited. 

But Sunday morning came quicker than I think any of us hoped. Lets just say that getting myself out of bed at 4 am may have been harder for me than the whole race was for Spencer. Somehow he managed to look chipper in the wee hours of the morning.

He got everything set, got in his wet suit and headed towards the start.

He went into the chute with the millions of other people crazy enough to do this race. If you can find him in this picture I will be so impressed.

Let it be known that at this point I did not shed a tear but I was pretty close. I may have been more stressed and nervous about this whole thing than Spencer was. I knew he was going to kill it but still. Wives can't help but be nervous for their husbands.

He started and we waited. 

He estimated that he would finish the swim in about an hour and twenty minutes and he was right on target. I had been waiting with my camera at my eye for like 15 minutes and yet somehow these are the best pictures I got.

He did a quick change and was on his way. And we wouldn't see him for another four hours. 

Then the real stress came. He had estimated that he would pass a certain point by about 11. So we got there at 10:30 just to be safe and the minutes passed by and it was like 11:20 and we still hadn't seen him. I was getting really nervous that he had gotten eaten by a bear or something. So I called my mom and asked if she could track him on the computer. She said that he should have passed us a while ago if we were at the mile marker we thought we were at. Which made me freak out. But before I had time to panic we saw him come around the corner. So I hung up on my mom and snapped some not so great pictures. Don't worry, I called my mom back. Also we were waiting a mile marker further down the path than we originally thought so he was right on schedule and there was no reason for my worry.

Then we drove and Spencer rode rode rode his bike. Until T2. Where we were waiting in the hot sun and complaining and Spencer was riding his bike and not complaining. So I guess that just proves how much better he is than the rest of us.

Here is Spencer starting the run and telling Collin that he didn't feel very good and that he hadn't been able to eat for a while. This information did not do anything to calm my already out of control nerves. I became the grumpiest wife there ever was. My husband was running/walking off into the woods and there was nothing I could do to help him. 

So we sat and waited for him to come back around and start his second lap of the run. But I was still in my grumpy/anxious mood so I had to do something. I drove down the path and sat in a parking lot just hoping he would pass by soon. Luckily his friends Steve and Jess had come up from Fresno to support him and they saw Spencer along the trail. Steve ran with Spencer for a little while to help encourage him and Jess unknowingly distracted me from my downward stress spiral with her sweet little baby. Knowing that Steve was with Spencer may have helped me more than it helped him.

Then I saw Spencer again and he was looking much better than when he started. My little pounding heart could take a rest. I said goodbye to Steve and Jess and went to wait for Spencer further up the trail.

 He was feeling really good at this point and he let me walk with him for a little while. So basically I did an ironman too. I was feeling much more relaxed at this point and seeing him running/walking so much better was such a relief.

Spencer ran past us one more time and then had to complete about 8 more miles until the finish. So we hung out and then headed up to the finish line.

Somehow I had miscaluclated when he was going to finish so we waited for a lot longer than we really needed to. This waiting made me stressed enough that as every person ran past the finish line that wasn't Spencer brought me closer and closer to just bursting out in tears. 

I can not tell you how relieved I felt to see him coming around that corner. Seriously the best feeling of my life. I have never been happier to see him. Except maybe on our wedding day or when he picked me up when I came home from Zambia. Anyways, the relief was real. 

I have never been more proud of someone than I am of Spencer for finishing this race. It was harder than anyone expected and I am sure he wanted to quit many times but he didn't. Proudest wife right here.

He did a really great job but I forbade him from ever doing another one. I just can not handle it. If you had seen how sick he was after the race you would understand why I say that. It is just too much stress for me....but at the same time I kind of loved it? And I may have come around just a little bit about him doing another one. 

Go Spencer!

Wednesday, September 9, 2015


This is my last Zambia post, I promise. But I think it is the most important.

We were able to teach so many wonderful, inspiring, lovely, talented, bright, and amazing young women while in Zambia. They have trying lives but they are working to make themselves better. These girls are unappreciated and not praised for all the things they do. So I want to publicly acknowledge them here.

After we taught them our health lessons we had journals for them to write in. They wrote their names on the journal and as part of our lesson we had them write down their dreams for their lives and their goals. They were kind enough to let us read their journal entries and we were blown away. These girls have big dreams and I know they can accomplish them. They are hard workers and they believe in themselves. 

The most powerful thing that happened on this whole trip happened while teaching these girls. We had a chant that we had each group learn. The chant went like this

I am powerful.
I am bright.
I am a woman.
I know what's right.

Each lesson we had the girls repeat that chant multiple times. As we were teaching our last lesson to the girls that would be attending the school we asked them what that meant to them. Their responses were both heartbreaking and awe inspiring. They said things like..

"It reminds me that being a girl is a good thing"
"It teaches me that I have worth."
"It tells me that I have something to say."

These girls do have something to say and they are powerful. I hope that our lessons and that chant made enough of an impact that they can remember that they are of worth and that they have something to say. That would be the greatest thing we could ever teach them.

Zambia gets better and better each time I go. It is the most beautiful and amazing place. I wish I could take everyone I know with me so they could know why I love it so much. I am so grateful that I was able to go back and experience the wonder of this country and its amazing people. 

Tuesday, September 8, 2015


In case you weren't already sick of my pictures from Zambia here are a few more that I love but didn't really fit in any of the posts. 

The three kid in the pictures above are the children of the couple that is running She Talks to the World's school. They are the most amazing people I have ever met. The little guy at the bottom is literally a week old in that picture and he is a twin! The mom has twins and then had 18 Americans descend into her home the next day. How crazy is that???

Love my Lismore and Tessie. We were together the whole trip and they were the best travel companions I could have ever asked for. They are the funniest people on the earth. So happy to have been with them!