My half marathon is only 6 months away. The running festival Grand Circle Trailfest is in Kanab, UT. It seems like a fantasy land right now to me. I have not ran a marathon ever in my life.....why now? That is not an easy question to answer. I guess the main motivation for me to do this; is to get out of my own way.
I live in my head constantly. A million racing thoughts, a million scenarios of what could happen, a million unescapable situations. I want to prove to myself, that I can find peace, calm, serenity and erase my mind of being in a constant rat race, at least for a moment.
The first thing I had to do, is commit myself to an adventure. Once the commitment was made, I had no choice but to follow through. That was the easy part; the concept of running was still somewhat abstract to me. I listened to a post on Facebook from a friend about this race, I researched it, I reached out to the the committee of that marathon to get permission to have my guide dog there, I registered for the event. That was all things I felt comfortable doing, very business like.
Then I moved to phase two. Now that I am committed, I wanted my vision quest to not only be about my own self discovery and self exploration but I wanted to give back. That led to a friend and my husband to also make the commitment to be my sighted guides to run tandem with me. I then partnered with someone to create a website to chronicle my journey, share other inspirational stories of the blind community doing incredible things, and working with Guiding Eyes for the Blind. A blind school in New York with a ADA guide dog running program. I made a commitment to those that will help me, and a commitment to Guiding eyes to raise money to provide guide dogs to blind students to follow their dreams and to stay active and engaged in the running community regardless of having a visual impairment. Phase two moved it to an abstract idea to something more concrete. I am counting on me to learn more about myself but more importantly, I have a team that is counting on me and I have a goal to help raise money for Guiding eyes that support innovation for the blind community they serve.
Phase three, I will be moving into starting April 22nd. I started this year, running a little on the treadmill; able to complete a little over 2 miles without having my heart jump our of my chest. But My rope team and I will start our intensive training April 22nd. Building my stamina, include terrain running, outside running, getting to that elusive 13 mile marker. I need better running shoes, I need to understand my body, I need to understand my breath, I need to understand my cadence, my stride. All of this, I will do and accomplish during this six month journey. I have a feeling that I will make friends along the way that will help me; I will make connections that will last a lifetime.
Phase four, will be all about Roxy my guide dog. She is not running the whole 13 miles with me, but I made a goal for us to run the first mile (or two if she is up to it) together. She is the reason why I am in a positive space. Her and my husband have been my foundation. I have (and still) struggle with depression, anxiety, moments of loneliness and hopelessness. But I have better coping skills. So I will be starting Roxy's training in May; include her on jogs to build her stamina and teach her commands and instructions.
The last phase, I can only imagine and envision in my head right now. I will be wearing a vest with the words blind on it so others can see me and understand, I will be holding onto a new ADA guide harness that have been partially developed by Guiding eyes so Roxy and I can run those first two miles together, and I will have a light rope attaching me to my friends.
I will be in the part of the country that I know I will hear God's whisper, and I will feel the wind at my back pushing me forward. Why did I choose Grand Circle Trailfest as my first adventure? Because, I know I will finally find peace in Bryce Canyon. The beauty and the silence of God's country will force my racing mind into pause; demanding the respect and reverence it deserves and during that moment I will find myself and be surrounded by the people and furry best friend I love.