Community Voice: Swim, Bike, Run . . . and the Rest is History
|Picture of Kim after the finish|
Kim runs with a guide, swims with a guide using a tether, and rides on the back of a tandem bike. How did Kim get started in these multi-sport events testing an individual's endurance? She started running about 3 years ago during law school because she thought that would be a good way to relieve stress. Her friend Aaron, who was also visually impaired, brought up the idea of triathlons to her after she had been running for about a year. She had swam a little in high school and grew up water skiing on a lake, but the jump from her stress relieving jogs to triathlons seemed like a pretty big stretch.
After some convincing, Kim agreed to sign up for a "sprint", which is a shorter distance than a full triathlon, and made sure she had 3-4 months to prepare. She borrowed a bike and Aaron matched her up with a guide in Seattle, where she was living at the time. Within 2 minutes of the race, she was addicted. The rest is (and will still be) history.
Access to the gym is important to Kim because she cannot always coordinate her schedule with her guides, leaving her to train in the pool, on a treadmill, or in a spin class on her own. Gym accessibility to Kim includes tactile buttons on machines with large print as well as having class teachers (such as yoga) who clearly describe their movements. Additional issues she has encountered regarding accessibility include locks on lockers that she cannot read, printed materials that are not in alternative format, and signage that is not high contrast. When she joined a gym 3 months ago, she mentioned some things right away that were inaccessible and found the gym staff to be quite helpful in terms of making immediate adaptations. All you have to do is ask!
To read a copy of an article about Kim that ran on August 29, 2009 in the Chicago Sun Times by Dale Bowman, download a copy of the October 2009 newsletter of the Inclusive Fitness Coalition at http://incfit.org/files/October%202009_0.pdf.