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We all run with one foot in front of the other, it's that simple, well almost that simple. I have been a runner since 2004. Ten years ago I didn't think much about my low vision or how it will affect my running, in fact it wasn't until I fell into a ravine during a club trail run. I had some difficulties at the time but I didn't think it was worth mentioning. At that time I probably had about 25 degrees field of vision , cataracts were developing and had a lot of problems with ever changing shadows and sunlight. I finally told some running members that I had Retinitis Pimentosa. I also had one hearing aid, it was insufficient for my hearing loss and old technology (analog). Looking back now, I can't believe how long I have struggled to hear with one hearing aid. With the combination of lip reading and putting sounds into what I think people are saying can be so trying, I get it right sometimes but when I get it wrong , I really get it wrong!
I remember how I started running, my goal was to run the distance from one telephone pole to the next, eventually worked up to running around the 3.2K loop around the dike. I was also 45lbs heavier. It was hard work running around with 45 pounds of butter hanging off you! So losing weight was on my mind, not losing my vision, that came later. I joined the running club not long after and signed up for my first 1/2 marathon in Victoria. I have ran this event every year since, except in 2011. In 2007 I have done my first full marathon, what a feeling that was ! Boston qualifier, wow now that is what is on every runners bucket list. In 2009, Chris Morrison and I did the Boston marathon as a tethered team . We used my yoga mat strap as a tether, let me tell you, it was uncomfortable. Throughout the marathon we were constantly adjusting the strap to make it more comfortable. After the event , we both agreed we need something better and to practice more as a tethered team. The next marathon we used my daughters skate lace and a couple of silicone wristbands. It was much better. Now if only I know my lefts and rights. If I could get a dime for Chris saying left! No , the other left! I'd be wealthy. Fourteen full marathons later, I am still learning how to run effectively with my guides. No run is the same for me because of this progressive disease, always changing and adjusting to the changes. This makes it a real challenge for both my guides and myself. My last full marathon was October 2013 with Kerry Hale and we sailed through the hills and a consistent pace, talked about children, arts, writing and life in general. Having a guide makes running so much less stressful, especially in a event. Since then, I have continued to run and train with a schedule that suited me, running with my dog on the paved trails where I felt safe and can do on my own. This lead up to my last event in October 2014 running with Jodi and Nic at the Victoria GoodLife Fitness Marathon doing the half. My body was tired, tired of training on my own, tired of the struggles of trying to avoid any mishaps and decided in August 2015 to give running a break.
It has now been five months since I have done any running. I must admit, I miss it. Chris and I have been going to the gym for 3 years 3-5 days a week and finally, yesterday I went on the treadmill. I decided to try running again. To my surprise, I ran slow and steady for 20 minutes non stop. I feel I am ready to start this journey again. If I fail, I fail. I will not beat myself up about not able to run again, it just means I have to adjust. I am all to familiar with adjusting, having Retinitis Pigmentosa taught me this, however frustrating it is, I can not and will not stop because of it. It will be back to the beginning again, my goal is to run for the sheer hell of it. For now, I will not commit to any events for right now, I just want to stay fit, promote fitness and who knows where this road will lead me. I still have that brand new wetsuit waiting to hit the lake, the kayak is looking a little thirsty too.
I hope those who read this blog will feel motivated to be active, whatever that sport may be. Let's make 2016 active and adventurous!