In 2007, I started an amazing football journey in Huntington, WV. While I had more sight at that point, there were still challenges and struggles.
It would have been very easy at the end of that summer to say ‘this won’t work. I tried again, but my vision is still too much of a barrier.’ If I had, I would have missed out on so much that came after those first experiences. But by sticking through it and coming back, I had a total of 8 years of fun in the sun.
11 years later, going into the next football journey, I decided just symbolically to use the practice gear I had been given in 2007. Really the only thought last week was to bring things full circle. And I’m glad I did for other reasons.
During the first practice, I kept losing the ball in the indoor field’s lights. That’s happened for a long time, so it was to be expected. In the past, it’s only been a short period of time, and then things have moved outside. However, in this case I knew that all of our practice and possibly games (due to weather) would be in these same scenarios.
Knowing that, I came very close to not signing up for the full program. What changed my mind was looking at what I was wearing and remembering how things had started out in 2007 and where they’d gone to. So on Monday I signed up for the full season.
I’m not saying that this will be an easy season, but I will guarantee two things. One is that I’ll do everything I can based on sight and two is that I’ll have a lot of fun.
With a May Tri on the calendar, I went looking for a couple of ‘warm up’ 5Ks early in March. The one that was part of Dare2Tri’s Start the Season event was one I found; another was the Dolphin Dash.
As Chris and I talked prior to the race, I went through guiding basics and the time milestones I was trying to hit with him. With the progress from prior 5Ks, the compression running socks and the new running tether, I was confident that I’d hit them.
There was a nice turnout of students and their parents for the 5K. Knowing my pace, the plan was to start at the back and move forward, continually hitting 13 min miles. The first one was on target, and after walking through the aid station to grab water/brief breather, we focused on mile 2. Until we were about to hit the 2 mile mark, I had no idea that I was waaaaaaaaaay ahead of the pace. I believe mile #2 was at about 11:15.
Given where I was at at 2 miles, I thought I could PR. And I came very close to doing so. But the normal foot numbness at 2.5-2.75 happened. And along with burning too fast during mile #2, I missed it by a bit.
It was still a good race, with the average / mile being 25 seconds below what I was aiming for. I had a lot of fun, and will plan to do the Dolphin Dash again in 2019!
This year I have added a lot of new and brand new (aka first-time) guides to my guide pool. As I’ve said to them, ‘as long as you can [activity], and have a good attitude, the rest will work itself out’. And to this point, it’s been true.
Today I went up to Pleasnt Prairie to meet with Dave so we could get training in. I had hoped that we could get in an OWS in the lake along with the other training. I knew it would be cold, but supsected mid 50s to high 50s. As the first Dare2Tri OWS of the season is usually high 50s to 60, I would have been fine with that water temp. Especially since I now have a full sleeve wet suit and thermal gear. However, with the water being mid 40s at best, we had to practice the swim indoors.
Throughout the swim, things kept getting better with each 50m length. From working out signals to coordinating turns to getting in rhythm, things were good by the time we got out of the pool.
After changing, we headed outside to get the bike practice in. Because of the longer winter, I hadn’t been on the tandem since being in San Diego. So I was ready for the first lap to be a little bit choppy. What I espected did happen, and things got a little bit dicey around a couple of sharp turns. But because of the nutritional work I’ve been doing with Chris, these weren’t crashes. Having ridden the course at camp and at the Tri, I was very used to the bike being a closed course. It was a much different experience to be dealing with traffic on that same course. I do like the turnaround that they added to the left (used to be a stop sign).
The final leg of training was to do a run around the lake. This is about a 2.5 mile loop, and I was aiming to run the entire thing. While the first half went well, I ran out of energy after that. The next quarter was a run/walk and the last was just a walk.
All told, we did about 3 hours of practice. And thankfully the rain held off until we finished. A really good day of practice and a great building block towards the June tri.
Since I had started running in 2015, I had continually used a hand tether. It was the most comfortable for me for almost 4 full years. I had tried using my v1.0 swim tether for a run tether, but I chucked that after a couple tries since it kept slipping down. But after several people had suggested the race belt method, I decided to give that a try.
So when Mark and I went out to Wheaton to do the April NRC Pub Run, I decided to give it a try. While it wasn’t perfect, it seemed to work much better than the hand tether. And even though we got stopped by traffic a couple of times, it seemed to be a solid run.
I’ll continue to work with the running puzzle and see if I can find a solution to this Rubik’s Cube before June.