by Maricar Marquez
My first triathlon was the Seacrest-TOBAY Triathlon in Oyster Bay, New York. It consisted of three events: a 1.2-mile swim, a 9-mile bike ride, and a 3.1-mile run. I worked with four SSPs: Kristen and Jim, who swam with me in the bay, Susie, who followed me on a tandem bike, and D’Andrea who joined me for the running portion of the race.
During the swim, Kristen swam on my left side while Jim swam on my right. They looked ahead for me and made sure that I was swimming in the right direction. The bay was full of waves and splashes from other swimmers and it was impossible to swim in a straight line as you can in a swimming pool, so I needed their additional guidance.
During the bike race, Susie patted on the bike handle as a signal to me to pedal fast or slow; one pat meant pedal slower and two pats meant faster.
For the running portion of the race, D’Andrea and I ran together. When we were in the open, I could run independently with D’Andrea on my side. As we ran towards the finish line, I placed my hand on her hand to feel her signing, “People are cheering!”
After the triathlon I decided to run in the New York City Marathon with Jim as my guide. Jim and I wrapped a cloth tether that was cut from the hem of a T-shirt around our wrists. We stayed close together at the starting line as we squeezed in among the other 30,000 runners. As the runners began to spread out, we unwrapped the cloth tether and allowed some distance to come between us. As the runners scattered, we ran more freely, about two or three feet apart with the cloth hanging over our hands. About halfway through the race, I injured my knee and had to slow down. With three miles left in the race, I couldn’t tolerate the pain anymore and had to rely on Jim’s lower arm as we ran through Central Park. Finally, we saw the lights beaming from the finish line; I put my hand over Jim’s signing hand, and he counted down from five before we finally crossed the finish line.
Note: This is an excerpt from the book Possibilities: Recreational Experiences of Individuals who are Deafblind, edited by Lieberman, Haegele, and Marquez.
Table of Contents
Credits, Introduction, and Preface
Rachel Weeks- Triathlon
Maricar Marquez- Running
Kristine D’Arbelles- SSP—Swimming Triathlon
Heidi Zimmer- Mountain Climbing
Cody Colchado- Power Lifting
Corrina Veesart- Ballet, Cheerleading, Rock Climbing, and Yoga
Emily Desfor- SSP—Outdoor Adventures
Kevin Frost- Speed Skating
Ryan Ollis- Running
Faye Frez-Albrecht- Soccer
Quinn Burch- Dance, Horseback Riding, and Running
Nicholas Abrahamson- Hiking the Appalachian Trail
Bruce Visser- Traveling
Jason Corning- Running
Sarah K. McMillen- Ice Hockey and Taekwondo
Angela Theriault- Running
Scott Keeler Bass- Biking
Maria Marquez Dykman- Wind Chimes
Conclusion & References