Monday, June 13, 2011

Pleasant Prairie For Dare2Tri

Last October, I ran my first ever marathon when I tackled 26.2 miles at the Chicago Marathon. I never thought I would ever run that distance, but thank you to the amazing Paula Radcliffe for her world record performances over the years which inspired me to give it a try. As many of my readers may remember, the experience was made much more special when I was able to run the race on behalf of the Great Lakes Adaptive Sports Association based out of a Chicago suburb. It is an organization which works with adults and youths who have a physical disability or visually impairment. GLASA also works with military veterans whose sacrifice to the USA includes suffering injuries which now forces them to live with a physical or visual impairment. GLASA works hard to organize social events and athletic competition to enable these youth and adults to reclaim their lives or in some cases, discover their abilities for the first time in their lives. Hopefully, through the use of sports, these individuals can find strength and motivation for other aspects of their lives. Many of the young kids say that the staff at Great Lakes Adaptive Sports Association were the first ones to ever believe in them or give them a sense of purpose.

Keri Schindler of GLASA has been wonderful to me since the first time she reached out to me a few years ago. I had contacted a couple of the shoes and apparel stores in Chicago which have running clubs to inquire about whether I may be allowed to run with those groups and to explain that I had lost my eyesight as a teen and spent the better part of almost twelve years not participating in athletics, mainly because I could not adjust to sports adapted for the blind, but that I had begun to participate in triathlons and road races and wished to be more involved with local groups in order to make more friends while hopefully finding some more individuals who would volunteer to be my sighted guides in future races. The folks with whom I spoke were warm and welcoming. they were willing to work with me and ask their members if anyone would be interested in trying to be my sighted guide during group runs. Through the exchange of phone calls and emails, Keri received a note from one of her friends who were friends of friends of the folks I had contacted at these stores. she introduced herself and told me about what she does with GLASA. When the opportunity to run the marathon on behalf of GLASA came along, I immediately said yes. Earlier this year, Keri informed me about a new triathlon club in Chicago which she and friends were putting together geared at athletes who were paratriathletes. Physically and visually impaired athletes who had either never raced a triathlon or who had done several and wished to do more as part of a team. I was excited as I began to read a little more about the club especially when I began to read about one of the other founders, Melissa Stockwell. She is an Iraq War veteran who lost her leg when a roadside bomb exploded three weeks after Melissa arrived to serve in the war for her country. I visited her web site, blog, and youtube videos. I was so moved by her story and courage. I knew the Dare2Tri Chicago Paratriathlon Club was a group with whom I wanted to associate.

The first event for the team is fast approaching. Sunday, June 26, is the Pleasant Prairie Triathlon in Pleasant Prairie, Wi. There is an olympic and sprint distance triathlon. there is also a duathlon for those wishing to run and bike, but not swim. I am still not confident with my swim so I was leaning towards the sprint distance since the swim is 750 meters instead of double that for the olympic, but in the end, I decided on the duathlon since I will run 2.5 miles, bike 12.6 miles, and run 3.1 miles.

If anyone is interested in the triathlon:

Interested in more information about Dare2Tri Chicago especially if you are interested in being a handler or sighted guide:

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