After I left the LHON Symposium in June, I left with the “I can do ANYTHING” attitude. I started talking about how I LOVED (past tense) to run. I used to love to run but haven’t since I went blind. Why?
I jumped on Facebook, found the Achilles International and some AMAZING connections within the running community. The response I had gave me the goose bumps. These people don’t even know me and they are so willing to help! I found the Achilles International, which is nationally recognized in my area, they provide guide runners to anyone with a disability, allowing us to run again!
I was then connected to the East Valley Runners group and spoke with the president of the club. He sent out an email to his entire group and within HOURS – I had over 20 guide runners willing to help! WOW!! These groups amaze me, and I am so grateful to have found them.
I ran for the first time in years. It was AWESOME!! I learned what it was like to run with a guide runner and what I needed them to call out as we ran along our path. They tell me things like, in 500 feet we are going from concrete to unpaved road … or 1,2,3..step up for a curb. We used a tether – which can come in all shapes and sizes. It is totally up to the running team. Me? I use a hot pink shoe lace with a loop on each end for us to hold onto.
Now, I have been running for about a month. I went from running 4 miles to 12! I run the same paths with the best guide runners! I am so thankful I have met some of the most kind-hearted and patient people. Their cues on trees, cactus, curbs and railroad tracks are spot on!
Recently, I ran my first race! You can’t miss us in Achilles yellow!
I will keep you posted on my progress…. Next on my list? A half marathon!
….turns out Blind Girls Can Rock Running Shoes too!