I remember the sound of my coach’s voice as we neared the end of the race: “Finish line coming up in 100 yards. Give it all you’ve got!” I heard my parents ringing a bell and cheering for me, as sweat and sunscreen poured down my back that hot, muggy June day.
As I completed my first 10K (a hilly 6.2-mile road race I’d trained hard for), my parents ran over and hugged me, and I was completely overcome with emotion. Ho-ly COW, I thought to myself. I did it. It would’ve been thrilling for anyone—but it was that much more exciting for me because I’m blind.
My parents have always told me that I could do anything, so when I asked if I could start running cross-country in kindergarten, they immediately said yes. My dad held my hand as we ran, warning me as we approached curbs or turns, and as the terrain changed from gravel to tar to hills. For the 10K, a running coach guided me with a tether—a ropelike string that attached my wrist to his. It was so liberating to finally be able to move my arms freely and work on my technique!