For those who know me or following my blog posts for any period time you will observe that in my previous posts I told and cribbed how I miss running in the park. During 2011 October I lost a lot of my eyesight and I took a break to rethink and get out of that depression, but I never got back to running as I don’t have a partner to run safely in the park and my blur eyesight is of no use to practice all alone. During the month of October 2012 I was remembering how life has changed very much in one year and how much I missed my daily morning runs.
how did I fight and found a solution
While I was dwelling in the past during October 2012 I came across an article on how a blind person is
running marathon in Antarctica and couple of other articles which inspired me…..In one of the article I read that another blind person found this partner through facebook, that particular line caught my interest…I spend so much time on social media and being a digital evangelist I decided to use internet to find a partner for me to run again daily morning. I got on to Google and typed running club in Bangalore and the first result is Runner’s For Life and most of the search page is dominated by the same group, so I read about them quickly and got onto their facebook page. I decided to have a direct approach by using facebook and posted my request where I explained that I am visually challenged and looking for a partner to run and he/she must pick and drop me back as this group practice in kantirva stadium. I haven’t heard anything for couple of weeks from any one and their facebook page got more than 10,000 likes. I told to my self that people who doesn’t respond to a open request in a place like facebook might not even reply to my emails, so I did not pursue any more attempts to contact runner’s for life group.
After couple of weeks a guy named Tanveer responded to my post on the runner’s for life facebook page and tagged Santhosh Padmanabhan. Santhosh got in touch with me from there and we both spoke over phone. I liked Santhosh’s approach and he even told he will arrange for transport as many runners’ do car pooling when they travel to the venue. It was a comfort when some one responds but I have my own doubts if Santhosh will be able to handle me, so I quickly did a Google search with his name and found that he is the founder of runner’s high and he does some amazing work with non profits, by checking his video on chai with lakshmi I felt comfortable and wanted to give it a try.
On my first day of the run I and santhosh tried to understand each other, I liked him personally and that is something which was important for me because without the trust factor and belief in my partner I cannot run freely and give my best. So how do I run might be the question you all want to know, simple with the help of sound and my blur eyesight. I thought a lot and tried reading few things online and few months back Tim Johnson who is the author of a book Echo Location contacted me and asked me to give a read of his book. At that time I did not find this book very interesting, but now that I started to run this book is proving priceless because it is helping me to rediscover how to use the power of sound while I run.
Santhosh has introduced me to Kanishka who is another coach and kanishka is running along with me since then. He is one of the nice and best trainer’s I got. when ever I am tired or say I can’t do he say’s come on raghav you can do it, he cheers me and keep a close watch on my body posture while I run, my movement, and speed. In spite of doing all these activities he keeps me engaged in a conversation and gives me tips; tell me about his earlier marathon run’s and gives constant feedback.
Few quick tips to other visually challenged runners
1. Find a partner and spend some time because here personal connection is more important. See to that your partner is a pro runner. In my case that worked out well because I am training for a marathon.
2. I prefer my partner running to the left side of me, so figure which side is comfortable and settle for it. Don’t change.
3. Keep your ears open because you are using sound as a medium to follow your partner and wandering in thoughts or not concentrating can hurt your speed, time and might even cause injuries.
4. Some times I use the sense of touch while I run…I use my left index finger and just touch the fabric of coach’s shirt or the skin of my coach’s elbow. This drains a lot of energy, so use it only when necessary.
5. People with low vision can use the color contrast of the partner’s shirt or shorts. I can see white and black colors if enough light is provided so once there is enough light I see my partners head for the black hair or his T-shirt which is white most of the times.
6. First train with one or two partners then slowly try running along with others.
7. You must say your partner where you feel comfortable and must give enough time for he/she to understand your disability and adopt.
8. Use the sense of smell because it can definitely tell what kind of path you are going to enter. People with visual impairment often use the power of smell to identify and the same rules apply here. This technique might take some time as places where we run differ and factors like trees, dryness, animals, water etc play an important role when we use the power of smell during a run.
All the above tips are something which I simply follow and they might or might not work, so the best way is to make your own rules and make a list of them. If any one got some tips that I can use please feel free to share them in comments.
Ok let me say this” I asked the same question are there any risks” while I run, the answer in my view is yes and no. if you follow all the rules and advises of your coach you will not have any injuries and pains but when you run things might go wrong. I fell down once but the mathematical probability of having a physical injury during the run is very less. But please be open to the possibility and accept.
Why & What for I Run
ok a lot of them who saw my continuous facebook updates asked me why I run and what for all this effort…..in simple words I run because I am passionate about running and doing things that are impossible. Running gives me a lot of physical activity, which keeps me healthy and doesn’t make me feel bad that I don’t play any outdoor sport. I enjoy the buddy group breakfasts, conversations, laughter, celebration of birthday’s with lots of sweets & cake etc….I go and run with runner’s high for these because they make my disability disappear.
Resources-Check the links below they might help. All these links are used in my blog post
Runners high- www.runnershigh.in
Runners for life- www.runnersforlife.com
Santhosh facebook profile- https://www.facebook.com/santhosh.padmanabhanIncase if anyone want to get in touch with santhosh directly.
Tim Johnson’s Echo Location book- http://www.amazon.com/Beginners-Guide-Echolocation-Visually-Impaired/dp/1480153516/ If possible give this book a read…A very valuable and important resource.
32. Run a marathon.-In my 101list i am currently working on this.