With that in mind, we took along a new addition to our running duo. Roscoe, Mr. K's Black Lab-guide dog-was more than happy to accompany us through the fallen leaves and for the whole 2.68 miles that we ran. A big, Black dog no matter his temperament is a sure way to feel safer.
Since Roscoe is black and therefore blends into the dark areas of the trails, I rigged his collar up with a very loud bell. That way Laura could focus on guiding me and not have to worry about looking around for Roscoe. It worked, but to be honest, running outdoors is often enjoyable because of its peace and tranquility. There is nothing tranquil about a loudly clanging bear bell. I think we may switch out Roscoe's equipment for a high visibility collar and one of those blinking lights that dogs wear when out in dense forest or the dark. Not that high vis collars or blinking lights are some amazing technological advancement, but having this however simple, equipment available to us is very helpful. It means we can still run on the wider cycling trails and feel safe as opposed to the more cramped city sidewalks that are not conducive to guide runner/guided runner teams.
Our other new addition was of the technological variety. I mentioned previously that Iphones are one of the most accessible cell phones on the market for totally blind individuals. With the Iphone comes the Nike run App and with that comes the possibility for me to keep track of distances, speeds, times and so much more. This evening's run was the first time I got to use the App and as far as I can tell it is accessible. I was even able to post my results to Facebook for my friends to see. They can even view the route from start to finish that we took. There is also a feature that saves your previous results so you can compare runs later. I was so excited when I discovered I could actually use this program on my own.
Heart rate monitors and fancy sport watches have always been equipment that has been lost on me. It's bothered me that I can't keep track of my own stats, but the Nike Run App has changed that for me. Oh, and Iphone too of course. I can even use the App while running on a treadmill, which is another bonus. Quite often, I end up running on the treadmill with no idea of how fast I'm going or how far I've gone. Again, this will no longer be the case. At every mile an announcement is spoken telling you what mile you are at and your average speed. I could probably check it while running as well, but even this little bit of information is very useful for me.
No more running for five miles without knowing how much longer I must suffer through the sweat and oxygen deprivation.
Okay, perhaps it's not that bad, but sometimes it's motivating to know that you're at mile three instead of at mile two. I haven't been able to try this out on a treadmill yet, but if it performs as well for me inside as it did outside, I will be one happy woman.
So, what have I learned today?
That although I hate technology, it actually will make this training thing a more feasible thing and probably more enjoyable in the end. It will allow me to analyse my own runs as well, which will be an incredibly valuable tool that can be utilized when training for my crazy idea. (Still can't say what it is yet).
Do you know what's even better?
The App is free. How can you complain about that?
Thank you technology for making training as a blind athlete accessible.
*Note: all of the opinions expressed here are strictly my own. I did not receive anything from Nike or Apple for the opinions expressed, nor was I approached to test these products out*.