My husband Matt is a lot of things. He is a wonderful husband to me and father to our three (adorable!) little children. He is an avid runner. He’s a financial analyst. He’s also legally blind. This blog is my attempt to follow him on his journey to the 2016 Paralympics in Rio de Janeiro. We have no idea what this journey will look like, or exactly how we’ll get there, but we are determined to try.
Monday, April 21, 2014
What time is it?
Most runners have the same standard gear when they run--clothing, shoes, and a watch. You may have specialty versions, like a GPS watch or the latest version of a shoe, or you may choose to run with music or a phone, but the core items are the same. When you don't have one of those things, either you can't run, or in the case of a watch, you can run but you can't really keep track of your pace or time unless it is a route you know well. I never thought much about how I use a watch when I am running until I started running with Matt. My inexpensive running watch can help keep track of my overall time and my splits. If I want, I can wear my GPS watch so I have a better gauge of my pace and to know when to turn around on a long run. There are lots of neat gadgets out there for the visually impaired, but a good sports watch isn't one of them. Matt has a sports watch that talks and has a stopwatch feature, but that is where the fancy perks end. No GPS option. No laps feature to keep track of splits. No bells. No whistles. You might not think those things are a big deal in a race, but remember that Matt can't see the mile marker signs. And even though it is possible to do the math and figure out the mile pace based on the mile you are on and your overall time, who wants to do math at mile 19 of a marathon with 7.2 miles to go?! It would take me time to figure that out with pen and paper so I certainly wouldn't want to do it when I am trying to put one foot in front of the other while trying to not run into people or slip on a water cup or glove that someone discarded during a race. Every so often we have stopped at a watch vendor table during a race expo and every time we get the same answer. There is no good running watch for the visually impaired or blind runner. So how does Matt keep track of his pace and time in a race? Usually he wears two talking watches, one to keep track of his overall time and the other to do his mile splits. Sometimes he misses a mile marker so he has to guess until he gets to the next mile marker. It isn't great, but it works. This is just one of the things Matt has to plan on during his training. A few times a week Matt and I meet up at lunch and go for a run together. It was beautiful today so we were going to meet. I got to the locker room only to discover that I was missing one of the other key running items--shorts. Matt got in a nine mile run solo.
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