The Amazing Race: Your Questions Answered

Thank you to everyone who tuned in last week to watch us on the premiere of The Amazing Race on CBS. It’s been a line on our bucket list since the show started airing 20 years ago. It was stressful to watch and even more panic inducing to live.  Whew…we made some mistakes. Here’s our recap podcast about what was happening.

We received hundreds and hundreds of questions about our experience and I will answer as many as I can without giving spoilers. 

1. What is this show about?

The Amazing Race showcases 11 teams of two racing around the world in physical and mental challenges all in the hopes of winning a million-dollar grand prize. The show started airing in 2001 and we’ve been hooked from the beginning. Contestants can’t use phones or GPS so navigation is pure comedy. 

2. You talk openly about your anxiety, how did you cope?

It was hard. I won’t lie. The most challenging part was actually getting to the starting line and the downtime in between the moments we were racing. The Race itself was thrilling. In watching previous seasons, my favorite teams to watch have always been the ones who found ways to have fun and take advantage of the incredible privilege of being on the show. I really thought we’d be those people (insert laughing emoji). I look back at this time with fondness, but I won’t lie, I was an anxiety-ridden mess. 

3. You never stopped posting, when did you do this?

The Race takes about 30 days (no phone, no contact with family) so we pre-planned content and podcasts. We have an incredible team of people who help us and they were able to post for us while we were gone. Keep in mind, the first three legs were shot pre-Covid and the rest was shot the past Fall…so we had to go through the prep process TWICE. 

4. Does your family know how you finished?

NOPE. CBS had us sign a massive, intimidating contract to make sure no one knows the details of how teams finished. I feel like it’s too much pressure to ask our kids to keep a secret so we’ve removed it as an option. My mother is on all the chat sites trying to find spoilers.  We’re on a cast text string and my kids are always stealing my phone to search for answers. 

But, we did tell one person. In November, as my grandmother was being wheeled into hospice for her final days she giggled, “I’m going to die soon, you have to tell me what happened.”  Even then, I didn’t say anything. I didn’t want her sharing spoilers under a morphine haze with the nurses. But, when it was clear she was about to take her final breaths, I whispered our story to her. I feel like CBS will give me a pass on that one. 

5. How do you do laundry? 

We bought a few of these Tide packets to wash our clothes in the hotel sinks on really stinky days. But since you have to carry everything we didn’t want to weigh ourselves down with too many extra items, so I mostly used the hand soap supplied at hotels. 

6. I see you running with a backpack, could you bring extra items in a suitcase we don’t see on camera?

You can bring whatever you want (as long as it’s not a phone, computer, navigation device etc) but you have to run with it. One of my favorite teams, Josh and Brent from Season 21, had backpacks with wheels they’d pull behind them. They won, so perhaps teams should rethink the packing strategy! 

7. Was it harder than you thought?

Yes. I’ve been watching this show since the beginning. I admit I’m the person screaming at the TV when racers miss something so obvious. If you watched the premiere and listened to our recap, we messed up so much in the second episode they didn’t have time to show it all. The tasks are appropriately difficult but with the pressure of racing and cameras in your face, some of the challenges felt downright impossible. Another element that’s hard to show on TV is how much we missed our kids. I cried most days, I won’t lie. 

8. Can the crew give you help/tips?

Absolutely not. As you may have seen in the first show, Penn was literally holding the clue for 30 minutes and no one could say a thing. The entire crew is the best in their field. As fast as we run, they have to be five steps ahead, running backwards with camera and audio equipment. I wish there was an entire behind-the-scenes show on making this show. It’s fascinating, but no. No help is ever given. 

9. What was it like being an introvert and having the camera crew always around?

The crew, as I mentioned above, is world-class and they are all wonderful men and women. But, it was strange being close to a nervous breakdown (see clip) and having other people in the car. I was aware of their presence and, yeah, there were moments I just wanted to sit in silence. 

10. Where were your kids?

Our kids stayed home with my mom and a village of friends who supported us. I left behind notes they opened every day.  Being away from them was really, really hard for me.  The first three episodes of the show were in February of 2020. The show chose to shut down the Race due to Covid concerns after the third leg. I honestly thought we’d never get to finish the experience and it would just be some fun story we told at cocktail parties one day. They came up with an incredible plan to resume production in September 2021. By the time everything resumed our kids were a little older and more self-sufficient. They played school sports and were busy with school work and claim that us being gone this time around wasn’t terrible. And who am I kidding, they were spoiled by everyone in our lives. They probably loved that we were gone. 

Season 33 of The Amazing Race airs Wednesdays at 9pm EST on CBS. Thank you again for your support as these middle-aged parents take on a wild adventure.