In 1976, Dick Traum became the first amputee runner to complete the New York City Marathon.  Years later, Dick Traum founded the Achilles Track Club, now called Achilles International.

Achilles International is a ‘community of support” for athletes with disabilities.  The group has chapters and members in over 65 locations in the United States and abroad.  Able-bodied volunteers and disabled runners train together in an environment of support and community.

Achilles International has developed specialized programs for children and veterans…Achilles Kids and Freedom Team of Wounded Veterans.

From the Achilles International website: “While our programs focus on athletics, the truth is, sports are simply the tool for accomplishing our main objective: to bring hope, inspiration, and the joys of achievement to people with disabilities.”

Achilles International’s signature event is the “Hope & Possibility Five-Miler” a race where able-bodied and disabled athletes participate side-by-side.

If you would like to donate to Achilles International, please go to: www.achillesinternational.org

instagram

Glad to experience seeing David Fraser from the #achillesinternational team cross the finish line. I don’t know David, but I saw him at mile 4 and 24. He remembered my sign and was happy to see me waiting at the finish line. #TCSNYCmarathon #nycmarathon #nyc #marathon #finisher (at Tcs New York City Marathon Finish Line)

New Shoes, New Places, Still Lost in London

image

What a fantastic first long run in London!!!! (apologies for the excess of pictures - I got really excited). Not only did I find a ton of swans and pretty gardens, but my NEW SHOES DON’T HURT MY FEET.

I have the worst feet - really wide, no arch, and it’s been a nightmare trying to find shoes that fit, but FINALLY these work (knock on wood). Cheers to much, much happier feet!

Decided on doing my miles for Achilles International, which provides a community to support athletes with disabilities, giving training and racing opportunities to everyone from children with disabilities to disabled war veterans coming home from Iraq and Afghanistan.

image

I didn’t really know how far I was planning on going, but the most promising looking chunk of green on my London map was Hyde Park. It looked like it would be about 8 miles there and back, so off I went!

image

aerial view of the Park - thanks Wikipedia!!

I pretty much just had to follow one straight road to get there, and I figured if I left a bit later than I had for Regent’s Park, I wouldn’t get stuck in swarms people. Wrong again - the street I was using just happened to cut through one of the busiest shopping areas in London! Whoops.

image

Oxford Street on the run back over an hour later - and this was LESS crowded than it was on the way there! Yikes!

So after a significant amount of questionable curb running and pedestrian dodging, I finally made it to the park and it was HUGE. On the iPhone map it looked pretty big but definitely was not expecting to see such a huge chunk of grass in the middle of London.

image

There were a bunch of paths I could have taken at this point, but since I didn’t really trust myself to find my way home if chose one of the diagonals, I kept following the road.

image

Dear path I did not take and people I did not run past: sorry you all didn’t get to witness my really confused and lost run. Maybe next time?

After continuing on the road for what felt like forever but was probably actually only a few minutes, I found these AWESOME looking gardens and stopped to wander through them for a few minutes before I realized it was getting sort of dark and maybe I should turn around.

image

But I didn’t because the park was gorgeous and the sunset was gorgeous and the weather was gorgeous and you get the idea.

Then I found a giant lake with so many swans in it! And ducks. But we have ducks in our ponds back home - swans, maybe one or two if we get lucky…

image

I really should learn how to use my phone camera so it takes non-blurry pictures. But SWANS!

I asked a guy on a park bench who had a really fancy camera if he could take a picture of me with my new swan friends…well friend, because the rest swam away. Rationale was that if he had a fancy camera he could probably get a good picture, but in actuality, it probably meant he had never attempting to take an iPhone picture in his life. Result: I have a great 7 second video of me squatting down next to the swan with his confused voice in the background. Score!

image

finally getting it right!

image

swan’s leaving after one successful picture, so I guess I’m leaving too…

Ran all the way home as the sun finally set, and was at a little over 9 miles when I reached my dorm. I was still feeling pretty good, and even though it was pretty much pitch black at this point, ran an extra loop down a completely deserted street that I hadn’t ever been on before. In retrospect, this was probably not the smartest idea…on the plus side, I did finish that final mile in record time.

No falling down this time around!! I’m starting to get the hang of London running…although my people-dodging skills could definitely use some work.

My run ended up being 10.2 miles in total and my impact meter showed 25.49 miles of hope and possibility for Achilles International!! Kudos to such a great organization and to all the disabled runners for being so kick-ass!!!

13.1

I ran a half-marathon just a few weeks ago, in the pouring rain.  I trained for several months to do this with Achilles International, as a guide for the fabulous Amy Saffell.  I have been a volunteer for Achilles throughout the last year, and simply put, my life is better because of it.

I have never desired to do a half-marathon, anything beyond a 5K did not interest me.  But when Amy said she wanted to do it, I couldn’t get it out of my mind…and so I committed to her that I would run.  And THEN…then, I committed to raising money for a group of athletes at L’Ecole de Choix

So, I was all in, and still hesitant.  We began to train, Amy and I, our other partner, Becky, was back in Colorado training and would join us for the race in Nashville on April 27th.  I really began to look forward to our long runs on Saturday…Amy and I had a lot of great talks during our runs, and a lot of laughs.  And before we knew it, the half-marathon was here, and we were running, and then we were at mile 10, and I really still couldn’t believe we were doing it.  But, we were, and we did.  And as I crossed the finish line behind Amy, I knew I had to do another.

image


And I definitely will! I hope to do more with Amy, and some on my own.  But, I never, ever, ever thought I would have done this!  And now, I cannot imagine NOT doing it.  I allowed myself that day to be fully in the moment, especially at the starting line.  It was glorious.

image

So, after all this was said and done, someone asked me “So, what’s next Tiffany?”  Haha…I have no idea.  It scares me, frankly.  But I guess we shall see!!