For the past couple of weeks, I have been running with visually impaired people and have been guiding a few of them through their runs from time to time. The other night after running intervals and cooling down I decided to feel what it was like to be running blind.
My first sensation was fear and a new appreciation for my eye sight even though it is not perfect. You are literally putting your life in someone else’s hands. I did not feel comfortable at all at just letting myself go and run.
My guide was my “pool sister”, she had experienced guiding people at their run and although trust was not an issue between her and me, my fear would keep me from actually running at a relaxed pace.
What I find was helpful was that she was calm, which helped me keep going because at first, all I wanted to do was stop and start walking because of fear, not fatigue. Towards the end, she got me to run a bit faster for about 10–15 meters.
I then asked a visually impaired friend of mine what she felt the first time running with a guide and a treadmill. One word: TERRIFIED. And now I can relate so much more, wow. Courage, determination, perseverance, drive are words that come to mind when I think of them. They accept what they have and what they don’t have and just keep going forward. Very inspirational.
Appreciating what we have. It seems so easy to say yet can be so difficult to absorb. Some days we are better at doing it and some days are more challenging. Accept that there are ups and downs, stay open-minded and avoid having expectations. Having the expectation that you should be running 10k right … why not just go out and enjoy the moment, the run, the bicycle ride, the swim. It’s not about the numbers of kilometres, it is about the state of mind that you are in when you are doing what you enjoy doing. What is it that you enjoy doing? Do you enjoy hiking, rock climbing, riding a bike, swimming, running? What is keeping you from being active? What is keeping you from doing the sport that you enjoy doing?