A 5K Blindy Moment
It may have cost me a pajama day on the lounge, and some serious toddler treat negotiations with Little (Emily) so I’d have to actually parent. But the cognitive overload and exhaustion was oh so worth it.
Guess who challenged her bad arse self to a solo park run with nothing but a sketchy mental map, a trail cane, a buzzy thing, and a Running Rope on her hip in case she made a friend along the way? Oh God but no sunglasses. Why oh why didn’t I retrieve them from the kitchen bench?
Okay, so technically I wasn’t alone, as my sister and husband were on the course, along with a gaggle of walkers, runners, and volunteers. Which was probably just as well given how inaccurate the construct of my narrative was regarding the route. I had only done the course once before early in the year.
I spent much of my run having no idea where I was, confused about what I didn’t know, relying on the shadowy shapes of the world, whispering of the wind, the footsteps of others, and faith in my madness and mobility skills to guide my path, which meant that passing the blue shirt in front was a risk, because what if I missed the next turn? Which of course I totally did on almost every occasion.
So thank you to all who provided directions when I inevitably needed them. Every stride was fraught with dilemma, and was a fight against evolution. What if I fell? What if I went the wrong way? What if I ran into someone?
But just keep going, because I was having too much fun. My cane in one hand bounced awkwardly in front of me, hampering my form. While the buzzy thing which vibrates when it detects obstacles within a particular range proved useless. I wanted to ditch them both, because they were slowing me down, but how would people know to give me a little more room, or more understanding.
The Charles Bonnet* hallucinations didn’t kick in until about 1500 m, and that is when things got interesting. But still I kept putting one foot in front of the other, and wondered why it felt so hard and heavy, when in my head i see myself as moving with grace, lightness, fluidity, and sweet, sweet synergistic freedom.
Should I stop? Nah because that would suck!
Breathe in, breathe out… Surely the turnaround point is somewhere.
I don’t remember this part. This is more complicated than I thought. Everything looks the same. Where am I? Bla bla bla.
I was pulled from the white noise of my mind when my trusty cane failed at the 3500m mark. I was just considering whether to fold it up and run without it, or… umm… actually there was no or. I mean how hard could it possibly be right? Sure I had no idea where the finishing line was, or in fact where I was in relation to my ambition. But I had this. And this was awesome!
And that is when it happened. That is when I finally made a friend. That is when Charles stopped to ask if I needed any help, and if we could run together. And the rest is beautiful history.
An avid runner, Megan is also a wife, mom, fashionista, and author of Blind Mama. If that weren’t enough, when Meg puts on her entrepreneurial hat, she runs Taylored Thinking, maker of creative fashionable accessories and athletic gear for people who are blind or visually impaired.
*Charles Bonnet Syndrome (CBS) is a common condition among people who’ve lost their sight. It causes people who’ve lost a lot of vision to see things that aren’t really there – medically known as having a hallucination.