I’m not a pro athlete, coach, or nutritionist,
which makes me wonder why anyone would want to read what I had to say. But, I realized
there must be people out there just like me: weekend warriors trying to keep fit
and healthy, trying to reach their fitness goal. I am 51 years old and totally
blind. I am also training for an Ironman.
This isn't my first foray in challenging
In 2009, while undertaking my Master's
program, I decided it was time to face some fears and challenge myself. I began
with a tandem skydive (maybe a bit drastic, but you know...go big or go home).
During 2010, I drove a race car at a speed
that I could now probably out run, but since I don’t get to drive cars often,
it was still very exciting for me.
2011 had me rappelling down the outside of a
29 storey building, a demonstration of courage mostly because I was dressed in a
super hero costume involving spandex...at my age the outfit demonstrated more
courage than rappelling down the side of a building.
In 2012 I was lost for what I could do next
when a classmate from university sent me an article about a blind woman doing
“Diane you could do that,” said my friend,
Given that I was pretty much a couch potato,
47 and blind, I thought she had lost her mind. Not one to turn down a challenge,
I decided to get fit and six months later completed my first Olympic distance
triathlon (1500 m swim, 40 km bike, and 10 km run). I crossed the finish line
second to last with a time of 4 hours and 26 minutes. I crossed the finish line
upright and for me that was success!
“I bet you could do a half Ironman,” said
I told her she was crazy and I didn’t want to
talk to her for at least a month. She took me to my word and a month later we
were signing up for a half iron distance.
Since then I have completed two more Olympic
distance and three half iron distances. In August of 2015, I attempted my first
full Ironman. I had paid for the registration and my Scottish roots wouldn’t
let me back out.
The day of the race was beautiful and sunny.
I felt calm and ready to go the distance. The swim went well and the first 90
km of the bike felt wonderful. The temperature rose to 40 degrees Celsius and I
began to feel the heat. I was feeling light headed around kilometre 125 and by
the time we were on the last leg of the bike I wasn’t sure I would be able to
do the run.
However we made it to transition and I was
still on my feet so went out to give it a shot. I knew I was in trouble around
kilometre 5 when I began having issues with body functions shutting down. I
managed to reach kilometre 21 of the run and decided that my health was more
important than the finish line. I was disappointed but knew that I made the
I told the organizers of the race that I
would be back in two years to try again. Now race season approaches and
training begins. I am signed up for several races this year, all intended to
get me over the finish line of Ironman Mont Tremblant 2017.
I invite you to follow me on my journey as I
work through the trials and tribulations of being a triathlete who is also
blind and going the distance.
is a proud member of The Tandem Project and Won with One Triathlon team. For
more information, go to www.thetandemproject.org.