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
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
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
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 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
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
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
I find it to be interesting, in my experience, how the feeling of being at the bottom of the barrel can provide an opportunity to climb back to the top. Recently, I have experienced this on a few levels, one of which is on an active level. Grieving is a beast that takes shape in many forms and I never know how it is going to develop, go into hiding or blow up by the next day. As of late, it has blown up. Recognizing this is healthy and so is the experience. Ups and downs of grieving are to be expected. Well, that’s my opinion.
These down times can really hit me in many different ways. Over the last month I have felt a real decline in having the emotional energy and drive to work out and train for the marathon in December. Unfortunately, I have had to step back from this event as I simply do not have enough time to properly train with out risking a serious injury. Only having 2 months to climb from 4 mile runs to a 22 mile training run is not safe. As I have always said, I must honor my limits. Continue reading
Shortly after I was diagnosed with Choroideremia (at age 14), my parents began reaching out to the state to identify what services and resources may be available for me to utilize. I was also diagnosed as being legally blind, which meant I had vision that was 20/200 or worse. This status allowed for me to qualify for state services, as well as federal. In the months following my diagnosis, I was connected with Vocational Rehabilitation for the blind and was assigned to a wonderful case manager named Scot.
Scot then connected my family and I with another gentleman who worked as an O.M. Instructor, otherwise known as an orientation and mobility instructor. These folks work with those who have mobility impairments to learn how mobility devices are used. They also offer guidance in navigating various environments which present their own unique challenges. From what I can recall, I hated this. I hated it with all of my heart and was silent. Those first few months and that first year were extremely challenging. To be honest, I think I have suppressed much of my memory from those days. However, I can certainly recall some of my first uses and impressions of having a cane. Continue reading
Recently, I started reading a book titled Pride against prejudice: Transforming attitudes to disability, by Jenny Morris (1991 original publication). Jenny is out of the UK and became partialy paralyzed when she was 33. She was tending to work at her home when she heard and saw a very young child standing at the edge of a cliff that was 20 feet above a railway. Jenny went to rescue the child, but she encountered her own troubles and fell off of the cliff; immediately breaking her back and becoming paralyzed from the waist down.
This experience obviously impacted Jenny in many ways. Fortunately, one of them turned into becoming very active in fighting disablism and educating the world on this complex topic, as all topics of oppression, culture and history related to identity are. The book that I am currently reading strongly incorporates the feminist perspective and a lens for viewing disability in general, but also in specific for women. However, the feminist perspective and movement is not just for women. I strongly believe it is a philosophy, a study, a lens and way of life which can and does bring the world under a critical scope that betters the lives of all. Not just women. So for my “brothers” out there, take a chill pill and check this stuff out, for what it really is. Not just what you see on TV or hear in the locker room. Continue reading