Things are speeding up and my training is truly starting to come to a peak. The marathon is only 3 months away and I am finding myself feeling many emotions. Some are great, while some are… complicated. However, I have a few wonderful updates to share with you all.
On February 2nd, at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, I will be attending the “Real Abilities” film festival, put on by the Boston Jewish Film Festival (BJFF). They reached out to me and asked if I would come share my experiences being a visually impaired marathon runner after the showing of a film called “The Straight Line”. This is an indie French film about a young man who has an accident and loses his vision. However, he is a marathon runner and is now finding himself struggling to find balance in life with his new identity as well as how to keep running. He meets another young woman who has just been released from prison for some unknown past events. She also happens to be a serious runner. Due to the powers of movie magic, the two meet and a running partnership is formed. They both face their own struggles independently as well as a few together. Ultimately, a romance develops as the two characters find new balance in life and resolution with the adversity they are facing.
I can certainly relate to the main character in some ways. My loss of vision was unexpected and to some extent, I have been jaded in the past. A bitter taste for life, anger and a short temper for everything in life are all too familiar. Fortunately, the main character and I have something much more in common; overcoming the hands we have been dealt in life. As this film also depicts, this ability to overcome is surely due in part to the wonderful people we meet along the way in our journey.
This film will be shown at 7:00pm with a Qdiscussion at the end, featuring yours truly. This is a great honor and I am looking very forward to such a great opportunity for outreach on disability, life and working with others to support one another in taking on the unpredictable hardships of life. My dear friend, Doug (who was a guide runner for me last year) sent a message to me just a few days ago about this event. He actually works at Perkins School for the Blind and he had been informed that his school was invited to join for this event. I hope to have students from Perkins be in the audience, as they are such an important group I am trying to reach, and in some ways, role model for. I still feel funny about calling myself a “role model”. I still find myself acting like a child from time to time, but it keeps me young.
As I mentioned earlier in this post, I believe that an ability to overcome adversity in life is due so much to the supports we have. To be quite frank, it is due to the wonderful, loving and special people we are able to meet along the way in our journey. I was born and given two wonderful parents who taught me how to recognize these special people. My father always said that his father had an incredible ability to almost immediately know another persons character within minutes of meeting an individual. Now, some may say that this is simply making a judgement on a person based on little to no interaction. My instincts have never failed me and they have certainly never let me down in recognizing a great person. This recognition can be based on only a few words… The tone, the feel and the warmth of a person are either all their in a genuine fashion, or in another light. I have been given a great compass in life, and this compass has recently led me to my guide runner for the marathon.
I attended a fund raising event for AccessportAmerica (the charrity I ran for last year) and met a member of their professional team who I had not connected with before. Just as I had entered the room where the event was being held, an incredibly friendly young woman came up to me and asked my friend and I how we were connected with AccessportAmerica. I told her that I had ran in the marathon last year for them and have been connected with them ever since. Fortunately, she found great joy in learning that I had ran in the marathon last year for she is also a bit of a veteran runner. She had ran in numerous half-marathons and has actually ran in the Boston Marathon, although it was as a bandit runner. I quickly knew that this was a good person, someone who could be trusted. It also goes without say that AccessportAmerica would never hire anyone less than dedicated and beautiful in character. We only spoke for a few minutes, as the room was quickly filling and folks were mingling quite a bit. By the way, her name is Caitlyn.
She was extremely friendly and it was pretty evident she is also a sincere person. The most important thing about Caitlyn that I could pickup was a bit of a twinkle in her eye when I brought up the marathon. It is rare to find someone who shares an instant excitement for punishing your body over 26.2 miles and says a great deal about how adventurous a person actually is. Let’s be real, you need to be a little nutty in order to be able to run a marathon. I mean this in an endearing way
Once I got home that night, I reached out to a contact I have at AccessportAmerica and shot Caitlyn an email, asking if she would like to be my guide runner. I also thought it would be great to keep the AccessportAMerica connection going for this marathon, though I am not running for them. Fortunately, she said yes and now she is counting down the days with me.
I believe that having only one guide runner will also make things a bit easier to plan out. I had an amazing crew of folks last year to serve as my guides, but I under estimated a bit of the difficulty in making sure folks got to various check-points on the marathon route. Heck, I did not even make it to my friend Doug last year. However, Doug ran the last 7 miles for me and was announced as “random guide runnner” as he crossed the finish line. That’s pretty funny. My fingers are crossed for making it across the finish line this year. I hate to live in… some sort of doubt…? However, I have recently just started to truly feel recovered from my leg injury of last year, which also kept me from being featured in a national television program. I’ve said it before and I will say it again, I will only fail if I stop. I am not stopping.
For the first time since August of last year, I put in a double digit run. The most I had done up until a few days ago was just under 6 miles, but I fell into the groove and pulled off a 12 mile run. My heart, lungs and stamina are all still there, and finally, my leg is back to work. To be honest, I think I have also been hesitant in running such long distances because of how close I feel to my father when I run. I certainly think of how proud my mother was, but my father would go to the track with me and stand there for hours and count the laps I made. I believe he once counted 89 laps. The ability to simply sit and count that many laps not only took a great deal of patience, but love. It’s a love that I miss so dearly, from both of my parents. As I neared mile 11 on my run the other day, I felt myself swim in this emotion and I actually let a few tears roll down my cheeks. Fortunately, after running for 2 hours, I usually find myself drenched in sweat and my clothes show this with great proof. My face was covered in sweat, so no one could probably tell where this small additional secretion was coming from. I needed to go to that place, because it is that emotion that will help push me through the marathon on April 15, as I try to not only make a difference for others, but also take back the day my life began to greatly change, for the worse.
I will soon have my donation information up and running. Donations will help make a difference for others, and I hope, spare at least one other person from facing a piece of what my family has been through due to cancer. Always be sure to appreciate what you have, you never know when the winds of time and change may suddenly come. On April 15th, I think the winds will return in my favour.