“The most important thing in life is to stop saying ‘I wish’ and start saying ‘I will.’ Consider nothing impossible, then treat possibilities as probabilities.” Charles Dickens
I am 18 years old and I have a regressive eye disease that is stealing my vision. I am blind. I focus on POSSIBILITY instead of DISABILITY.
About a year ago, I decided I was going to train to compete in a full Ironman. The Ironman is a daylong three-part competition of a 2.4 mile swim, a 112 mile bike, and a full 26.2 mile marathon run. I knew it would be a challenge – that’s why I signed up, but I am doing this to inspire other kids with blindness to challenge themselves’ to find their own possibility.
I started to make solid plans in early spring. I found a great guide, I set out a plan for training, and I jumped right in. Through the summer I was lucky to borrow an awesome tandem race bike and train with all kinds of really inspiring people. The freedom of summer allowed me flexibility to train, rest and have some fun with friends. I even took two weeks off to hike and raft the entire Grand Canyon in August. I was making it work.
Then this fall, I started my Senior year in High School. Homework, friends, work, college applications, and family all quickly began to compete with my crucial final weeks of training. And as my training peaked, so did the distances. My body started to hurt. My muscles ached, and I was dealing with blisters and shin splints. There were visits to Physical Therapists. What was I thinking? Was this all going to work? What impact was it having on my schoolwork, friends, and family? Would completing this really have an impact on other kids with blindness?
I’m now just a week away from our trip to Louisville for the Ironman on October 14th. My training has reached the taper stage and I’m making plans for the three days of school I’ll miss for the competition. My family and friends are still fully supporting me with encouragement and help. I’ve completed the race mile-by-mile in my head a million times. As I prepare for the mental game of a 140.6 mile race, I am thinking about those who’ve helped me get here and those I hope to inspire. Through all of this, pushing my possibilities has taught me so much about myself and those who’ve helped me.
I’m excited for race day supported by friends and family. My guide Milan and I will be tethered for the swim, pushing hard on the tandem bike, and tethered again for the marathon run. I am so thankful for all of you who have supported me along the way. I appreciate every word of encouragement, the financial support, the training help, the sharing of my story, the prayers, and the confidence in me.
I am lucky to have you all behind me as I head out on my journey on October 14th. Thanks to all of you, I WILL!