Restarting the Amazing Race

Thank you to everyone who has tuned in to watch these middle-aged parents compete in this season of The Amazing Race. Having the privilege to participate in a show we’ve been watching for twenty years was a bizarre dream. Then…it stopped. 

When the world shut down in 2020 we had completed three legs of The Race before executives made the wise decision to suspend production. In the recap of our final day of the Race, as we all know it, Penn and I talked about hearing the news. 

If you’re new here, welcome! If you’ve been part of our internet family for some time, you’ve heard me speak about how I live with anxiety.  I get shade every time I mention it, so let me explain how it works for me: Yes, I have a wonderful marriage, healthy children, and food in the pantry. I have won the life lottery! But some days, anxiety and depression still weigh me down like I’m walking with a weighted vest. We all get nervous before giving a speech in front of a crowd, this is different. For me, there are days when the sun is shining and the birds are chirping, and it still feels like there’s a crushing weight on my chest. There are times it doesn’t feel like I can get enough air into my lungs and even driving on the highway seems too much. Listen, it’s not every single day. And most days, I’m saved by a busy schedule that forces me to power through. But there are some days when I’m just stopped in my tracks. 

Showing up to the starting line the first time, was a mental health win for me. Up to that point of the race, that was by far the hardest challenge. (Even harder than waiting for Penn holding the clue in his hand at the Mail Rail Station in episode 2.) This weight I carry has kept me from a lot in my life, and starting the race was proof that I can do really hard things. 

I did it! I showed up and did the thing! 

Then poof. It was over. 

Starting Over

We honestly never thought we’d get a chance to finish what we started. When producers called us with their plan to resume filming, we initially weren’t convinced it was safe. Then, they detailed their protocol and it sounded like we’d be safer on The Race than sitting in our hometown. Among other things: Every person with who we’d have any prolonged contact had to be vaccinated and tested. Everyone behind the scenes was masked 100% of the time. We were tested before we entered a country, when we entered a country, and when we left a country. We traveled as a pod and with a medical and testing team. If we weren’t racing we were quarantined. Keep in mind, this was before the current variant that seems super contagious even outside. This was in that window of time when officials said, “If you’re vaccinated you can be inside without a mask.”  And the science at that point said, if you’re outside for a brief exchange, we were considered safe without a mask. 

I don’t know many people who were more observant of Covid precautions than our family. Both of Penn’s parents live in an assisted living facility due to Alzheimer’s and dementia so we never wanted to bring this virus to them.

Pandemic Anxiety

Here’s the thing: If you thought I battled anxiety before, add a pandemic to the mix and WHEW. Let’s just say my mental health has not improved. I felt 100% confident in production’s ability to keep us safe, but leaving my kids AGAIN, and this time during a pandemic, was brutal. 

Of course, we wanted to rejoin the race, but remember, we don’t have cell phones and contact with anyone while we’re gone. (Unless there’s an emergency, obviously.)  What would happen if our kids got sick while we were gone? What would happen if our sitters got Covid? Who would take care of the kids? 

Our kids, of course, wanted us to finish. But when you see me in the next episode, know that just standing on the starting line AGAIN was a win. So here we go, we are doing the hardest part…again. Thank you so much for the support. 

PS: You will never hear any spoilers here, but one thing I’m allowed to tell you is this: Production was able to finish the race with ZERO cases or transmissions.