Running alone


When I was in college I would often go for a 30 minute run in the vineyards of Bordeaux. It was really beautiful, I was alive, making a statement in this ideal decorum. But it was a lie. I wasn’t in love with running, I did it as a way to challenge myself. My sight was quite poor back then, but I thought that as long as I could jog on my own, things would be ok. Each month it was more and more dangerous, my vision kept getting worse, but I was still running, telling myself “it’s ok, it’s ok …”.

One day as I came back to the dorm, my roommate asked me why I had a hole in my pants. I didn’t want to talk about it. He had no idea that I had finally been betrayed by my eyes. I went to my bedroom and I threw away those pants and my running shoes. I thought that I would never run again. It always seems so much easier to simply give up and move on.

People losing their sight have to do those sacrifices on a weekly basis. The disability takes over, cold and methodical. It begins with the little things, the details that make nature so beautiful disappear, the butterflies, then it’s the facial expression of your friends that vanish, their faces, it goes on and on and on.

It took me several years to put on running shoes again, but I learned a lesson. When we face a problem like this one, we always have two options. We can be resigned, throw away our shoes, or we can ask for help, adjust and do things differently.

When I was in France I didn’t want to open myself, even my roommate had no idea that I was facing such difficult times. But now I know that there is a lot of great people out there, that they want to help. When I run in Central Park with my gang I often think of those days in Bordeaux, I keep asking myself: “why did you want to face this problem all alone Charles? It’s impossible!”

Last week on my way to work, for a few seconds, I couldn’t see anything. I had never experienced this. I am working a lot and I feel quite tired lately, but I know that this is a warning sign that this process will be over soon, something that I can’t ignore. I could give up, or I could fight. I don’t have a roommate anymore, but I have a wife, I have many friends and there are many races ahead.

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