This idea of running a half marathon with a purpose came from a Facebook post of course, lol. A friend of mine that I work with posted about a Trailfest marathon in Utah and listening to the details I said to myself. Why the heck not!!! But it started before that.....I met a gentleman that fast became a friend and mentor who deems himself as an "blind deaf adventurer". His name is Bill Barkeley and he has done so many amazing things to prove a person with disabilities can do ANYTHING. So he planted that seed of adventure in me. My friend's Facebook post was the avenue I decided to turn that wanderlust into action.
First, I hate the word disabled, someone told me that we are people that have the ability and creativity to do things a different way with the same goal. I like that, I am not disabled but a "abled creative". A able creative is a person that may have some physical or cognitive challenges to complete something but has the support and determination to figure out how to accomplish that challenge.
I am visually impaired and I realized that I was not active as I used to be.I was losing a part of myself when I started to lose my vision. I used to draw, paint, sculpt but I was ACTIVE! In my 20's I taught cheerleading, and into my 30's I cheered for an local arena football team, ran, played kickball and just enjoyed being outside.
Losing my vision changed that in the beginning. I was scared to go outside, so all my activity was rooted just in the house. I could not escape my thoughts, my feelings of depression or passion for what I loved to do. I wore that "disabled" label like a stone around both feet.
Meeting people like Bill and Richard Hunter gave me hope. But man o man do I know how to jump back into the running game. So I signed up to run the Bryce Canyon in Utah for a half marathon. I cannot do it alone! So I reached out to my friend Linda Worster who posted the link on Facebook. She is a runner and has done several 5, 10k's and more. She is so nice and eager to help me. Linda is training me to prepare for the run and she will be one of my rope guides. Roxy is running too and loves it.
Michael Armstrong is my husband. He has been with me since the beginning. I met him when I was first diagnosed with my retinal degenerative disease and he could of ran for the hills. We only knew each other for a few months but he stayed. He stayed. Those two words convey all the emotion I feel about that. We want to do this together. We will forever chase our challenges and be there for each other.
Roxy, my hound dog, my baby, my best friend and my guide dog. She and I have been together for over a year. I do not leave without her. She does everything with me. God knew what he was doing when he created Roxy, she is wiser than her years and I swear she is a angel with fur.
A rope team is a group of people that are there to support you to creatively complete a task that you would of first thought was impossible. People call it tandem, sighted guide, rope team but it all means the same thing. When I run, I will be attached to one runner at a time by a rope. Linda, Michael, myself and Roxy are training to learn our stride, our cadence, our rhythm while being attached. Linda and Michael will take turns in guiding me. It is a rope attached to our waist.
Michael and I have been running holding hands until we get the rope that has been donated to us by another sighted guide runner who is from California.
To feel the wind and hair blowing around my face. To hear my heart beating fast and hard. To feel my feet hit the uneven ground, to hold Roxy's leash and hear her panting right next to me, to feel the pull, tug and wane of the rope; to hear my friend or my husband;s labored breathe alongside mine is priceless.
I never thought I would be able to do this. But I am. This will be the first adventure of many. I could not have done this is I cdid not become an abled creative and have an amazing rope team.