When to Fold a Hand

By Laura Edwards

In case you haven’t heard, I’ll run Charlotte’s Thunder Road Half Marathon blindfolded to honor my sister and support the fight against Batten disease and other rare diseases on Nov. 16. I’m a seasoned runner with a drawer full of half marathon and 10-miler race medals. But I’ve never run a race of any distance without my vision, so my training for this race is unlike anything I’ve ever done before.

I returned from a long weekend in the North Carolina mountains this afternoon and made plans for a late-night run with Andrew Swistak, a good friend and my sighted guide for Thunder Road.

But just an hour after I messaged Andrew, I aggravated the still-weak ankle I injured on our first training run, all the way back on June 5. I don’t have any idea how I hurt it; I felt a sharp pain walking from my back door to my kitchen. In any case, I’ll be brushing up on my R.I.C.E. skills (rest-ice-compression-elevation) right about the time that Andrew and I would have met at my mailbox for blindfolded run number eight.

I’m frustrated about this latest setback, which may end up being nothing more than a one-day punishment – perhaps my body’s gentle way of telling me that I wore the wrong shoes to traipse around downtown Asheville, NC for two days. I’m sorry I won’t squeeze in a practice run tonight but am grateful, really, that logic won out in the end. Because the last thing I need is an injury I can’t overcome.

My sister’s fight against Batten disease has its ups and downs, too. She has good days and bad days. She has a heck of a lot of courage – far more than I’ll ever have – but even so, some days, the disease still gets the best of her. For her sake, we have to know when to fight back with everything we’ve got, and when it makes sense to fold a hand so we don’t lose all our chips in the end.

I might be taking tonight off, but I’ll drag my body – bum ankle and all – back out on the road as soon as I can. And I’ll cross that finish line for Taylor on race day, even if I have to crawl. You’d better believe I’ll fight for my dream – to save the lives of people like her – until we win.

I will run the Thunder Road Half Marathon blindfolded to support gene therapy co-funded by Taylor’s Tale at the University of North Carolina Gene Therapy Center. Donations to this cause are 100 percent tax-deductible. To support my run and our fight to develop treatments for Batten disease and other genetic diseases, click here.

Join the Taylor’s Tale team at Thunder Road! Click here to register for the marathon, half marathon or 5K. On the second page of registration, under “Event Groups/Teams,” select “Taylor’s Tale” from the list under “Choose an Existing Group.” Run for us to help raise awareness on race day. Stay tuned for more details, including special shirts for team members and an informal post-race event!

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