The Amazing Race

Mid January, a month after the race...

I didn’t keep up the journal after end city and had to write from memory. I started the journal to have notes for the final memory challenge that is usually part of the last challenge and it has grown to 29 pages of what I hope is a written record to keep for friends and family. I have just got to the point where I sleep all night although I still wake in the middle of the nightdreaming that I have over slept jump out of bed in a panic not knowing where I am. I started leaving the TV on and it has helped at least I don’t run into a wall or trip over something left on the floor. I lost a total of 25 lbs at the end of the race and have been eating everything I can get my hands on for the past 3 weeks. They finally announce the cast so I can now say we were on the race again. I am trying to get back into work and wrestling a normal life but it is hard to get back on track and now that everyone knows we are on the next season it starts over again.

It is funny how I am still processing everything that we experienced in such a short time. Some days were better than others from being in the lead and taking in our surroundings enjoying the other teams and local people, to the other extreme of frantically cutting lines, running through airports, crowded cities, looking for the next clue box not paying attention to anything but the race. I still see the places I traveled to in my dreams; I can still see the pink glow of Varanasi, or the blue sky of the Matterhorn. I can still remember the faces of the many people I met along the way. I have nothing but good memories of the last few months and our second trip around the world. I have made some good friends that I would have never met were it not for the race.

We laughed, cried, argued, sweat, and bled on every continent

I saw the natural beauty of the Alps, Everest, Fiji, Matterhorn, Jade Mountain, the outback, beaches of Australia, Japan and Brazil. I met many people and cultures in Australia, Japan, China, India, Africa, Austria, Switzerland, and Brazil, rich and poor, happy and sad. I have had a lot of advice over the first season on what I should have done different, this season was even more crazy with bigger personalities and we made it further so I am prepared to receive more advice. I will listen to what people thought about how we ran our race and what they thought of the other team’s weather I like it or not. This season will cost me hours in the grocery store, at work, or the local restaurant waiting for my food and I will listen to it again. The funny thing is I know everyone that has approached me to talk about the race has been in their living room every Sunday night running every step of way with us, and I owe them an explanation and a thank you for even thinking we deserved to win. I hope at the end of the day they are not too disappointed we didn’t win it all, and glad that they were able share in the excitement.

I never did the race to become a “reality TV star”, in fact I dislike the attention, the photo shoots, press interviews, they are things I am not comfortable with and not very good at. It wasn’t the money; the experience was worth more than a million dollars. It is hard to explain why, at first it was to get Mallory exposure, it was her clips at Miss America that got us on the race in the first place. Maybe it was the adrenaline when Phil finally said “GO” , or the excitement of him saying you’re the first to arrive, or that you’re anyplace but last. When you wake up every morning in a different part of the world and fight with other teams for the right get up the next day and do it over again, to arrive at a challenge attack it no matter how silly you look or how bad you feel, trying to gain a few minutes over the other teams, to give up your family, work, food and sleep to compete in a race around the world sounds crazy, but I don’t know if I will ever do anything for the rest of my life that will make me feel more alive. To have been able to experience it with my oldest daughter made it even more special. I was truly blessed to be able to race around the world 2 times this year and still with everyplace I went and everything I saw, I still choose to live in Union County now I can say it is the best place in the world to live. Till the next adventure Gary

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