By Randy Pierce
Once again I have chosen to undertake the arduous training process to run a marathon. Once again I have a guide so incredibly generous as to undergo the process with me that we may challenge the course together. My friend Rodney Andre has likely logged the most running miles with me and though many of them have been hard working miles, all of them have been enjoyable due to his fun loving, easy going and thoughtful approach to both running and life.
This is why I’m pleased to announce he will guide me as I return to the California International Marathon to enjoy the entire experience surrounding the United States Association of Blind Athletes National Marathon Championship. They provide a weekend of special events to celebrate athletes from around the nation, in fact the entire world, to highlight ability awareness and the sport of running.
This wonderful course provided me the B1 National Championship in 2014, but two subsequent attempts have been disappointing, including my trying to grit out the mileage on an ankle I’d badly dislocated in mid-November. It’s time to ready myself with a deliberate training program to ensure I can deliver a quality run for both Rodney and I to enjoy and succeed in our quest. As in all such races, I want to perform as well as I’m able and that requires putting in the time for 16 weeks, 112 days and hundreds of miles in all range of weather conditions. It’s almost a part time job to make the training work, but it is also a labor of love as most of those runs are gratifying during or at least shortly afterwards.
The training plan is underway, my guide is settled, and the rest will play out between now and Sunday, December 2. There are so many talented VI athletes running the course I cannot reasonably guess how I’ll stack up against them as I compete with the full range of ages in my B1 (total blindness) division. I can ensure that I’ll give my best and that with Rodney guiding me there will be many laughs, much determination and an expectation to savor the experience.