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.
I wanted to post Matt's thoughts on his recent adventure in Mesa. As much as he tells me about his experiences it is hard to capture his perspective, so here you go! (I also threw in pictures of two of our kids trying on daddy's medals!)
As you may all have
read, the Desert Challenge games were a great experience. Here are some of my
thoughts post races. Being my first IPC event, I had no clue what to expect.
Wheelchair and amputee athletes were the majority. There were only a few
visually impaired athletes. For the event being in the USA, it was a very
international event. From the first night there, I made some friends with the
I didn’t know what to expect in the classification process.
I was asked to come in racing gear, so I came in running clothes (minus the short
shorts), talking watch and Oakley’s. After 20 mins of testing my range of vision, I
was classified as a T12. From the descriptions, I thought I was a T12. Thursday
night was the practice night. I got on the track and ran 4 miles plus some
striders. I wanted to test out my spikes because they were still very new.
After doing my work, I just wondered around seeing all the different types of
disabled athletes. I found out how the
wheelchair races and draft. Those racing chairs can be very expensive. I found
out that Nike makes a special spike for leg amputee runners. After many
schedule changes, I found out the 5k was moved to Friday. All the schedule
changes were just posted to a wall, which was hard to keep track of being
So finally after 2 days of just sitting around, I was going
to race. Early in the week, I found out that another blind runner dropped the
5k due to some medical issues. But I didn’t find out until 20 mins before the
race that I was the only runner in the race. So the first event of the entire
meet was just me. No spotlight or anything. Even though it was just me racing
on the track, the meet kept it very official. My first mile was little slow,
but the next two were even. I was hanging around a 5:40-5:50 pace. I was happy
to have a KICK in the last lap. For my current level of fitness, a 17:52 wasn’t
bad, but I still have a lot of improvement to go. After finishing, the US Paralympic
coaches were already giving me form advice and telling me to ice bath afterwards.
So I went back to the hotel got a very cold ice bath and a chicken burger.
Saturday was the big day for the meet. Most races were in the evening so I did
something I have not done since the twins were born, went to the movies. My
race was the 1500, which wasn’t until 9 pm. But I still went over to the meet
to see all the sprinting races. Most of the athletes seem to be sprinters.
There is one blind sprinter which can give the pros a good race. There were two
heats, one heat of wheel chair athletes and a second with anyone on two feet. I
finished second in my heat, but first of the visually impaired runner. I was
getting close to the first place in my heat but there was just not enough time
to get him. I enjoyed getting back on the track but forgot how much waiting
time there is for an event. For a road race, there isn’t much waiting time.
So over all I enjoyed the experience in Mesa. The hardest part wasn’t the racing but being
away from home for so long. Now it is time to get ready for the next step of
Matt gave the girls his race medals, but clearly Emily wanted them for herself!