Why not ask why not?

Some people ask, “Why?” while others ask, “Why not?” Why not choose why not?
In my experience, I tend to have more fun and find out what I’m made of when choosing why not.

Why not go after the dream of running a marathon? It’s only 26.2 miles.
Why not run the St. George Marathon less than 12 months after the Las Vegas Rock and Roll Marathon?
Why not run the Jackpot ultra? A 50 K is only 31.07 miles, just a few miles more than a marathon.
Why not sign up for the Nanny Goat 24 hour race? I already completed 32.5 miles in 12 hours. What’s another 12 hours?
So what if Nanny Goat is postponed, why not put on our own 24 hour run and call it the Monkey Goat?
The Beyond Limits Running Jackpot Ultra Festival where I ran my first 50 K is adding a 72 hour option. Why not sign up and see if I can run 100 miles?
Jackpot’s postponed thanks to the pandemic, well why not plan another self supported run? If I could complete 54 miles in 24 hours, then why not shoot for 100 miles in 48 hours. We’ll call this one the Crackpot 100.

That’s how I ended up running loop after loop in my neighborhood on February 12 and 13. My neighbors thought I was crazy. My family and non-runner friends thought I was crazy. My running tribe, they inspired me to keep moving. Two other girls were doing there own 100 miler on the opposite end of town. As moms of kids in school during distance-learning, we Are creative with finding ways to support our family while still supporting our own goals. Other runners showed up for laps to keep me company, wouldn’t let me stop even during 40 mile winds and a hail storm. Lastly, my husband took the kids camping , thus gifting 36 hours of uninterrupted time to just focus on my goals, showed up in time to finish the last 10 miles with me.

When Aaron took the tether, he asked me what things went threw my head while running. During long runs, I find my mind able to let go of the to do’s and enjoy just being in the moment, the needed moments of reflection and release one needs in the space of self care. I didn’t have any moments like that though on Friday and Saturday because of the great company that kept me entertained. It wasn’t until the next morning when the reality of the monumental task I had just completed and the overwhelming feeling of pride and accomplishment took over in waves of tears that wouldn’t stop flowing.

I really did it. I set a goal to run 100 miles in 48 hours. I headed out alone on the very first lap before any guides even arrived because I was itching to get going. Friends came and went throughout the duration of the miles. We called it for the night at 50 miles just before midnight on day 1. Because of the rest allowed my body, I started Saturday morning feeling strong and ready to finish the second half of the hundred. Just as we were about to turn the corner onto our street to start the last lap, my husband said he needed to pee. OH no, there was no stopping. TMI warning, my body said there would be absolutely no stopping by letting it all flow. Apparently I needed to pee too. By that time we’d been walking for hours because of the nausea and aches and pains. Not realizing that he really did run in the house to use the bathroom, the muscle memory of the last two days of lapping the 1.1 mile Capital B shaped loop in our hood moved my feet one painful zombie step after the next. Cold, wet, and hurting all over, I slipped into the hot epsom salt bath waiting for me just over 40 hours after the very first lap.

All the feels, so many feels, the gratitude, the joy, the sense of accomplishment, they overflowed from my exhausted body, and I just couldn’t help but feel strong, powerful, and unstoppable.

So now what?

Why not run/ walk/ ride the distance from San Fransisco to Boston, invite all of you to do it with me virtually and raise funds for Braille literacy?

Why not call our Braille Across America team the Unstoppables?

National Federation of the Blind President, Mark Riccobono said in his 2018 banquet address, ‘it is our diversity that gives us depth. It is our long standing commitment to work together that gives us strength. It is our synergy that makes us unstoppable.”

Why not take my love of reading, combine it with my love of running, and support national braille press through my love of writing to get more braille books into the hands of blind children?
It wasn’t until I learned Braille in my early 20’s, after loosing the ability to read print that I felt literate again. I was that kid who always had my nose in a book, but I literally had my nose in the book with high powered magnifiers with bright lights attached. The more eyesight I lost, the harder I had to work to keep up in school, and the more neck and back pain I suffered from leaning in to try to see. Meeting successful blind adults with careers and families, getting around confidently with long white canes, using accessible technology, and reading Braille kicked me out of my fake it to make it funk. Why not press pause on school to learn skills that would turn me into a confident blind adult? Why not go to the most intensive training center often referred to as the bootcamp for the blind? During my time at the Louisiana Center for the Blind, I not only gained the positive philosophy and confidence through nine intensive months of training, I gained back the love of literacy when I learned Braille. Now as a blind mom to a blind fifth grader and third grader, I couldn’t imagine being able to raise smart, strong, creative, resourceful, resilient, confident kids without the solid foundation of Braille and blindness skills to build on.

Only 10% of blind/ low vision kids are taught Braille.
70% of blind adults are unemployed.
90% of those employed blind adults are Braille readers.

Why not raise these low literacy rates by running/ walking/ riding and raise funds to get more Braille books into the hands of blind children.
Why not Braille Across America!

Learn more about how to sign up or make a donation here. https://www.classy.org/campaign/braille-across-america-2021/c320409

No More Merely Surviving. Thriving Starts Now! Who’s with me?

“My mission in life is not to merely survive, but to thrive; and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humor, and some style.”

I used this Maya Angelo quote in the banquet address I gave at the National Federation of the Blind of Texas State Convention last Saturday. Like everything else these days, the event was virtual. I thought I struggled with my speech because it was over zoom, and I was speaking to the computer screen from the corner of my bedroom.  I’ve been kicking myself since then, saying things like, “That was awful.” “I was all over the place.” This morning, while crying in the shower, it hit me that I’m merely surviving. I’m not thriving.

I’m merely going through the motions of the day to day. I’ve stopped taking care of myself, so that I could put it all into taking care of others. 

I’ve lost my passion.

I’ve lost my self compassion.

Humor is so lost that I’m finding my face sore from frowning, clenching my jaw, and grinding my teeth at night.

Lastly, my daily style is things I could wear to sleep.  My physical health is a direct reflection of my mental health, and they are both struggling. 

This is me saying ENOUGH!

I will live my mission in life.

I will thrive;

with passion,

with compassion,

with humor,

and with style.

It starts today.  That cry in the shower was more than me releasing some tears. That cry in the shower allowed me to reflect on what needs to happen in order to get back to my mission in life. Step 2, write this blog. Step 3. send out an SOS to the running community for a good long run. In the mean time, a long bike ride on the tandem with my husband should help.

Friends, let’s not allow ourselves to merely survive. Let’s live our missions in life with some passion, some compassion, some humor, and some style.  Let’s thrive!

Kick Off National Meet the Blind Month with the Courtesy Rules of Blindness

Throughout October, as many people are pulling out their Halloween and fall decour, my friends and colleagues know that blindness is nothing to fear. We in the national Federation of the blind are celebrating national meet the blind month. Kick the month off with us with the courtesy rules of blindness!

 

https://www.nfb.org/programs-services/meet-blind-month/courtesy-rules-blindness

Bitter Sweet Last Day of School

Today was the official last day of school.

It was bittersweet, anti-climactic, sad, and empty.

I’m going to keep my comments and disdain for Clark County to myself about the district’s half assed mockery to educate our children.

I just want to say thank you to all of the teachers who tried their hardest during these crazy times.

You and the kids didn’t get a chance to celebrate.

We needed something to signify this day, so here is a , “Hooray,” “No school,” “Summer’s here,” Photo of the kids and I with the banner they made for our neighbor across the street who should have had his kindergarten graduation celebration.

So we celebrated with cupcakes and a water balloon fight instead.

A Hello Message to Red Rover Coaches and Kids

Since the fall of 2018, i’ve had the joy of being a part of our afterschool running program. Red Rover teaches the kids to sweat and smile while playing games and learning good form and technique about running.

The kids get to learn that even though I can’t see the way they see, I’m still able to be out there having an awesome time in the middle of all of it.

I still can’t throw a frisbee to save my life, but I am down to do jump squats, lunges, Burpee‘s, and play freeze tag with the rest of them. Let’s not forget about our favorite game, “ Larry, Mo, and curly.“

While other parents are sitting cozy in their cars watching us run around on the field, I’m grateful to be out there making memories to last a lifetime.

I miss my Red Rover kids and our afterschool shenanigans. Here’s a message from Marley, Jackson, and I to the coaches and kids of red rover.

Girls, Let’s Take Our Pants Off!

I’m talking to you ladies.

We’ve spent way too many days in our yoga pants, leggings, pajamas, and sweats.

Take your pants off!

I’m inviting you to join me in this no pants day.

Replace those cozy pants you have been seeking comfort in and throw them in the laundry bin.

Today, we wear something that makes us feel feminine.

Today, we wear something that makes us feel free.

Today, we wear something that makes us feel fabulous !

Today, we wear something fun!

Share what you’re wearing on #NoPantsDay.

 

Photo of me and my girl holding hands and leaning back. She's wearing a fun striped dress and laughing with her hair flowing free. I'm in a black running skirt, salmon tank top that says, "Life is good, Half full." The U in "Half Full is and image of a half full wine glass. My pony tail swings from a baseball cap with, "Dare" on the front.

Creating a New Normal

Today marked the first day of week 2 as we work on creating a new normal in our home.  The kids are asleep, I’ve just finished my second glass of wine, and all I have to say is, “I’m tired.”

As your family works on creating a new normal, it’s completely ok to grieve the old normal.  It’s ok to cry.  We’ve all cried.

My girl cried when she realized the school play might not happen.  They’ve put so much work into it.  It broke my heart, and all I could do was hold her tight and let her cry out her fears.

My boy cried because he misses school.  My exceptional second grader who’s reading at a fifth grade level, who loves structure and organization cried because he wants things back the way they were.  I do too my love.

My husband, who works the front lines as a firefighter/medic cried for the hard times our city will see.  He’s sees the real, the raw, and the unfiltered things the rest of us are sheltered from.

I cry when the fear creeps in at night that my husband might run a critical call on a covet-19 patient.

Here is what I tell my kids.

It’s ok to feel sad, scared, angry, or confused. Whatever you’re feeling, you get to give it permission to come out. Once you let it out, say hello, and let it go.  Find someone you love to hold onto and work through your fears and tears with. Curl up and get cozy, love those fears and tears away with the new normal you get to create together.

Our new normal is made up of lots of sunshine, laughter, and late night cuddles on the couch.

What does your new normal look like?

photo of my boy and I cuddling on the couch under a red blanket

Raise your expectations

image of a hang glider floating above St. George Marathon runners

This is one of my favorite photos Aaron took at the Saint George marathon. It’s an image of a hang glider floating above the runners. Or would you call it a paraglider?

Help me in the race in raising The lo expectations that society places on blindness by supporting my goal of raising $50K while running 50 K on Valentine’s Day.

100% of your donation will go to supporting the educational programs of the national Federation of the blind.

Be sure to put #RunForNFB in your contribution notes.

Lastly, please share the love by sharing the link.

 

50 K for $50K #RunForNFB

Dear Friend,

I know many will be reading this, but this is intended to be a letter from me to you.  As the newest elected member to serve on the National Federation of the Blind Board of Directors, I’d like to take a moment to share a little about me, and why I do what I do.  You see, there are many people out there who just don’t understand how I can choose to give so much of myself, my time, my energy, and my resources to the National Federation of the Blind without getting anything in return.  It is my hope that after reading this, that you understand that what I get is immeasurable and could never be quantified in a number.  It is my hope that after reading this, you too choose to give to the National Federation of the Blind.  

My name is Terri Rupp, married to Aaron Rupp, and mom to an eight year old boy named Jackson, 10 year old girl named Marley, and a 12 year old stinky bulldog named Mickey.  We look like your average family living in the suburbs.  Dad works  as a fire fighter, while mom stays home with the kids.  For many years, this mom ran a neighborhood mommy group, welcoming moms and kids inside for playdates over coffee.  I’d like to do the same for you.  Please come inside, take your shoes off, grab yourself a mug, and let me tell you a story. Take a few minutes to read this blog post, join the fun, and share the love.

Before Lacing Up My Shoes

My first memory of realizing I couldn’t see like the other kids around me was on this little carpet square in my kindergarten class. My nose was literally in the book, and a little boy put his face into his own book and asked, “Why do you read like this?” That was the beginning of learning to fake it.

I grew up in a traditional Cambodian home where we did not talk about my blindness. After immigrating to the United States when I was a toddler and not knowing the language, my parents found themselves searching for answers about my eyesight. They used teenage family members as translators during many doctors’ visits up and down California. Some said my eyesight would come back, and others said I would eventually lose it all. All my family understood was that their little girl had a rare eye condition that couldn’t be fixed, but I had enough to fake it during my school years.

I pretended to do my schoolwork in class, then spent hours in the evenings at home actually doing it with my face pressed into the pages with the help of my handy magnifier that eventually turned into a huge CCTV taking up half of the desk in my bedroom. It became too much. I found myself almost failing out of school, not able to find work, and constantly walking into poles and falling down steps. Finally, the folding cane hidden in my closet came out, and I started connecting with blind peers. However, I still went back and forth. One day I was at the top of three steps talking to two blind women about their color coordinated outfits, and telling them about my cute yellow heels. They had their canes, and I did not. I found myself tumbling down the steps. That tumble was a pivotal moment for me.

Hitting the Pavement

Terri Rupp with her husband and two children pose for a picture outside.There have been many more tumbles since that initial one in those yellow shoes, but I attended training, got more involved, and no longer fake who I am. Thanks to the support, mentorship, and love of the National Federation of the Blind, getting back up again isn’t lonely because there are people to lean on. I also leaned on my Federation family when learning that my own little girl would grow up with the same eye condition as me. Unlike the fear and false hope my own parents faced, though we knew there may be a few rocks in the road, we also knew that the rocks could easily be climbed over, kicked aside, or removed completely if you’ve got the tools and are wearing the right shoes.

Armed with tools like Braille, a long white cane, the skills to self-advocate, and strength and support built on the foundation of generations of blind people who have come before us, children like that little kindergartener on the carpet square have the potential to shoot for the moon and go beyond the stars. The possibilities are endless—like me being a runner.

Never in a million years would the younger me have believed it possible I would be called an athlete, let alone a marathon runner, until I met my support team who would back me up. That team was my Achilles Las Vegas Guides. A big dream was broken down into measurable goals all wrapped up in a pretty training plan. The dream became a reality with tears in our eyes as we crossed the finish line at the 2018 Las Vegas Rock N’ Roll Marathon. Imagine the dreams blind children will dream with the right guidance, resources, and team.

For the Love of Running

Terri Rupp runs alongside her guides and her two children.Along with shoes and other passions, my little girl and I also share the love of running. Last October, while running my second marathon, she joined me for a few miles. This Valentine’s Day, she’ll get to join me for a few more. I’ll be running a few more too.

Thanks to Beyond Limits Running and Achilles Las Vegas, I have committed to completing my first 50K at the Jackpot Ultra Running Festival on February 14, 2020. That is 31.07 miles, which is more than a marathon. And if I can do something as big as running 50K, then why not make it bigger than just a run?

Lace up your shoes and join me in raising $50,000 for the National Federation of the Blind.

You don’t literally need to lace up your shoes and run, but I invite you to help me reach this dream of $50K for the Federation while running a 50K. Be a part of supporting blind children with big dreams with the love and guidance from the Federation team.

Make a Donation Today!

Please contribute to my run fundraiser by making an online donation and adding #RunForNFB to the contribution note. Your support is greatly appreciated. Together with love, hope, and determination, we transform dreams into reality.

Whole Heartedly Yours,

Terri Rupp

Click here to DONATE NOW to support #RunForNFB