Running For Change

If you want to run forever, some times you can not run today – I will not be running in the 2014 marathon

Life is funny. Hardly anything seems to go as predicted or hoped for. On the other hand, if it has, then perhaps you have not taken too many risks. Me, I love risks and adventure. This journey of marathon has certainly been an adventure filled with risks. As I have learned in 2012 and 2013, you can plan for what you believe will happen but will then be faced with elements you had never imagined. The brutal heat of 2012 struck me down and then the terrible bombing of 2013 redefined what I take for granted in life. Well, the 2014 year has introduced me to an element of challenge that I would have never predicted would stand in the way of me and finally cross the finish line at the Boston marathon. That element is myself. Continue reading

Do not grab me

I remind myself every day that people have good intentions. Sure, they may do or say something that is ignorant, but they do have good intentions. This does not allow for me to feel that what they have said or done is acceptable, but it simply helps me understand and be empathetic. More often than not, I find myself working very hard to practice this when people are trying to be of assistance, but are actually being insensitive and honestly unawaringly insulting.
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This has been the longest prelude, ever

I have been working my way through another slight set back this year. In late January, I slightly twisted my left ankle during a run with my guide for the marathon this year. It was not a terrible twist, but the issue is that it was the ankle and leg I have had injuries with over the last 2 years. Because of this, this slight twist had a strong impact on my ability to run. Fortunately, I have been seeing a physical therapist and I am back in running shape. I am in a bit of a time crunch, but with a solid 7 weeks left to run, I feel confident that this is plenty of time to fit in some good long runs and be prepared for the marathon this year. Well, it is enough time for an amature runner to be able to train to the extent that they know they will be able to cross the finish line of a marathon. That’s good enough. Continue reading

I am kind of like Bruce Willis

For as long as I can remember, I have narrowly escaped numerous situations where I should have suffered grave injuries. For some reason, I have not been as hurt as one would have expected. On one hand, many of these situations have possibly been due to my constant need to adapt to the loss of vision and not meeting these new demands as well as I should. On the other hand, I believe I am also simply a goof. Regardless, the combination of these two qualities makes for some dicey, yet interesting experiences. Continue reading

Bleeding nipples, raw thighs and tares… oh my.

Like I have stated before, I would have stopped doing this a long time ago if I was only doing it for myself. Marathon training is demanding and exhausting on a physical and mental level. Many people have asked me what I believe is the most challenging part about doing all of this. Many things are challenging, but I would say that the tole all of this takes on my body is one of the most exhausting pieces to this journey.
Until I lose enough fat off my thighs, I typically develop a rash from engaging in long runs. When I start focusing on a marathon, some of the first few long runs result in a raw rash on my thighs. Continue reading

The word “beautiful”

The definition of this word, in my opinion, is very relative. It can vary by country, culture and individual. As endless are the variations of human features, so are the examples of what is a beautiful person. However, there are many messages and values that attempt to dictate what is most beautiful and desirable. This emphasis on a narrow and selective vision for claiming who is most beautiful is harmful and it is out there; straight hair, big boobs, slim build, big muscles, light skin and so many other traits are held with praise over others. At the same time, some have tried to drive culture away from this definition by stating that those with the aforementioned traits are not attractive, or are not what “real” beauty is. Continue reading

Who wears short shorts? Josh wears short shorts!

As I oblivious as I was to running technique and training skills, I was just as oblivious to understanding what appropriate running gear is. I simply thought a lite shirt, mesh shorts and sneakers were the way to go. Those things worked out at first, but only at first. What you wear is very important and can really impact the quality of your running, as well as the comfort and safety.
Mesh shorts are great to wear for when I am lifting and am not doing long periods of cardiovascular exercise which produces a great amount of sweat. I recall one of my first long runs on the track in my home town being very challenging. I had lost around 15 pounds and was putting in a 10 mile run. Continue reading

I need a date for the 2014 marathon!

The marathon is about three and a half months away from now and I still have something very important to figure out: who my guide is going to be. This is a very important part of the marathon. This is not simply about finding someone who will do something for me. Rather, it is about finding someone who will be something with me. The mission I have is only successful as a partnership and that is exactly what I see my guide runners as. We are partners, we put in equal effort and have as much invested as the other. Most importantly, there is mutual respect for one another. Continue reading

Losing vision – I will walk a little slower, but run a little faster

I have been reflecting on what has been posted on this blog. There is much about perspective, successes in culture and challenges in culture towards disability as well. I have written about the feelings I experience when I run and what this has meant for others. Many powerful and important topics have been covered on this blog and in my outreach. On the other hand, I have neglected to write about something that is not only important, but inevitable to experience in my life and others who are in a similar situation as myself. That experience is the feeling of realizing when your vision has further dwindled… the feeling of knowing that something just happened that never would have happened in the past. The feeling of telling yourself it was just a random accident and that you were spacing out. Continue reading

Wiping dust off from the bombs

I have a wonderful job at Berklee College of Music and every October, my office brings a group of students into the woods of New Hampshire to discuss and explore identity, privilege, oppression and social change. It is an incredible experience for both the students and the facilitators. We utilize a space called the Sargent Center, which is actually owned and operated by Boston University. It is located on a dirt road in the small town of Hancock. It is much like where I grew up, in Barnstead, New Hampshire.
A new colleague, friend and fellow running enthusiast came on the trip as a facilitator. She had mentioned that she was training for her first 5k. I told her that it would be great to run together around the grounds, as there is an extensive dirt road around the center of the facility that I believe stretches just over 1 mile. Fortunately, she liked the idea and we both brought our running gear. Continue reading