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Aaron Scheidies: Road to Rio

Aaron writes as a guest blogger for the Challenged Athletes Foundation (CAF) about his Road of Life and Road to Rio for the 2016 Paralympic Games.  Check out his bumpy but resilient road. 

Those that know me are aware that my Road of Life has been a little different. Not different because it has had obstacles whereas others have not. No matter who we are or what we have accomplished, the road of life is a bumpy, winding and many times unpredictable one that challenges our strength, perseverance and commitment. The road of life forces us to question our purpose and our motivation to achieve that purpose. Even more importantly, the road of life teaches us resiliency. Resiliency is a learned ability that each and every one of us is instilled but it is up to us to develop. Resiliency is learned through challenges and hardships and is the ability to do whatever it takes to get the job done, no matter the difficulty or the risk.

The first major detour on my road came at a young age. At nine years old, I began to quickly lose my sight and for nearly five years the cause was unknown. As I entered into the tough teenage years, what seemed like a “Proceed with Caution” sign quickly became a “Road Closed” sign in my mind. Dreams of being a professional soccer player were swept to the waste side and constant mental battles questioning “Why me?” ran rampant in my head. For three years I was stopped behind the road block, trying to figure out how I could get around it. These were very tough times in which I was diagnosed with OCD, an eating disorder and severe depression.

Through endurance sports I found an outlet that allowed me to take down the “Road Closed” sign. Beginning with swimming, endurance sports gave me a brand new road to travel. I slowly overcame the constant psychological battle of depression, OCD and the eating disorder and began looking for new challenges and obstacles to overcome. One of these challenges included a triathlon. A triathlon is a challenge in itself to most people but when you add in the dimension of being legally blind and doing the race all alone without a guide, you step it up to a whole new level. Most people wouldn’t even think to attempt what I did in those first few years of triathlon but I wasn’t thinking about the danger and risk, I only cared about doing whatever it took to get the job done. The psychological struggles and obstacles that I faced in my teenage years had taught me resiliency which would become the most important and powerful trait that I would ever need on the Road of Life.

Read Full Blog Post At:  http://blog.challengedathletes.org/aaron-scheidies-road-rio/#sthash.v7RDGeox.dpuf

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USAT Announces Athletes of the Year for 2013

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COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — USA Triathlon today recognized the 2013 Elite Triathletes of the Year, highlighted by Gwen Jorgensen’s historic win at the Omegawave World Triathlon San Diego and other U.S. podium finishes.

Elite competitors nominated eligible athletes with the award selection being made by the USA Triathlon Athlete Advisory Council (AAC).

“Every year seems to provide such deserving candidates and 2013 was no exception. From our rookies all the way to our ITU superstars, there were so many amazing performances, and picking the winners from our incredible list of nominees was a difficult task,” said Barrett Brandon, chair of the USA Triathlon Athlete Advisory Council. “After we carefully examined the results of each nominee, we came up with this list of truly great and deserving athlete winners. The AAC would like to congratulate all of them on such a successful 2013 season.”

For the first time in 2013, Paratriathletes of the Year were selected by the AAC, with top honors going to Megan Fisher (TRI-5, Seattle, Wash.) and Aaron Scheidies (TRI-6b, Seattle, Wash.). Fisher won her third ITU Paratriathlon Worlds title in September, having also earned wins in the TRI-5 division at USA Paratriathlon Nationals and the Challenged Athletes Foundation (CAF) World Paratriathlon San Diego. Scheidies was the top finisher in the TRI-6b division at USA Paratriathlon Nationals and CAF World Paratriathlon San Diego, and he earned a silver medal at ITU Paratriathlon Worlds. SEE FULL PRESS RELEASE

 

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Huff Post Impact Blog

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As many of you know, I was born with a progressive eye disease, Starghardt's or Juvenile Macular Degeneration. This condition is very rare and vision loss occurs at varying points in the lives of those affected. For me, I began losing my vision around second grade and have had what seems like on/off cycles of vision loss ever since. The condition results from the absence of a key enzyme that clears a toxic byproduct of sunlight from the eye. Because this toxin accumulates on the macula, the cells die and scar tissue forms and those areas become non-functioning. The macula is responsible for central vision, which is also our clearer/precise vision. Peripheral vision is spared, which allows for retaining a wide visual field. As the condition progresses, cell damage reaches the outer border of the macula and therefore decreases the breadth of the visual field. The gene responsible for this condition and its mode of transport are now known but as anyone that has it will tell you, the path of destruction is mysterious and the explanation of its destruction is nearly impossible.

Read More On Huffington Post.

 

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Blind marathon runner prepares for national championship race

Running wasn't Aaron Scheidies first choice. As a child, he dreamed of playing professional soccer.

"It's not possible when you're not able to see the ball," Scheidies said.

In second grade, Scheidies noticed he couldn't see things that other kids could see. Doctors diagnosed him with a hereditary degenerative eye condition. Today, he's almost completely blind.

 "I had no hope," he remembered. "There was no reason, energy, motivation for me to live."

At first, Scheidies only saw his disability. Depression led to obsessive compulsive disorder, as Scheidies checked clocks dozens of times a day.

"I would check it and then I'd check it again because I wasn't sure if I saw it right. Then I'd check it again," he said. "That was more because I didn't really believe in myself. Now I check the clock to see how fast I can go."

Scheidies just wanted to be like everyone else. Except, what saved his life left him anything but normal.

Using his iPhone to train, Schiedies has raced 7 marathons and 250 triathalons. He's won 8 national championships and 7 world championships. Read More.

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Edmonton ITU Paratriathlon Race Crowns Its Champions

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The ITU Paratriathlon International Event was a battle of north versus south with 24 of the 25 athletes hailing from Canada or the United States.

Aaron Scheidies of the men’s TRI-6b category was the first athlete to complete the sprint course, having headed out on the bike behind 16-year old Stefan Daniel of the TRI-4 division. Scheidies and his guide worked quickly on the four-lap hilly bike course to pull ahead.

“I love this course, I love a challenging course,” Scheidies said. “Going up that hill the fourth time, I was wanting to be done. When you do tandem, it’s always tough to change gears. We practiced it as much as we could, but that was tough.”

But Scheidies conquered the hills faster than any athlete of the day, gaining an insurmountable lead to win his division. Daniel was the second paratriathlete to complete the challenging course, securing the top spot in his category.                  Read Full Article

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Visually Impaired World Champion Triathlete Aaron Scheidies Captures 1st Place at 2013 CapTex Triathlon in Austin

Aaron Scheidies and guide Dustin Jobert cross the line in 1st at the 2013 USAT Paratriathlon National Championships in Austin, TX.

Aaron Scheidies and guide Dustin Jobert cross the line in 1st at the 2013 USAT Paratriathlon National Championships in Austin, TX.

Los Angeles - May 30, 2013-  Visually impaired(VI) world champion triathlete Aaron Scheidies claimed top honors in his division at the 2013 CapTex Triathlon, which also serves as the 2013 USA Paratriathlon National Championship. Scheidies, now an eight-time National Champion, finished the grueling course in 1:03:15, which qualifies him for a place on the 2013 USA Paratriathlon Team with the hope of a gold medal finish at the World Championships in London on Sept 14

On his win, Scheidies says, "It feels great to be back racing on the international stage and to see how much the sport of Paratriathlon has grown in the last few years. Over 90 ParaTriathles competed at the USAT Paratriathlon National Championships at the CapTex this past weekend. It was so powerful to know that many of these athletes on the course were wounded warriors and I don't know a better way to celebrate and honor the men and women that have served our country on Memorial Day." Click Here Read More

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2013 Team With a Vision Boston Race Report

2013 Team With A Vision at Boston Marathon

2013 Team With A Vision at Boston Marathon

For the last 20 years, Team With A Vision has raced the Boston Marathon in support of The Massachusetts Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired. For two decades, blind and sighted runners have toed the line in Hopkinton and for 26.2 miles they have persevered through the heat, the rain, the wind, the hills and this year - the bombs. 

We can’t let the actions of two overshadow the actions of many. In 2013 over twenty-six thousand runners entered the Boston Marathon. Whether they were racing for world records, personal bests, or charities, twenty-six thousand athletes crossed the starting line in  Hopkinton,  Twenty-six thousand athletes, all embodying the spirit of the marathon showcased all that was and is great in the world on Marathon Monday, 2013. 

This year, we raised $78,458 to support the Massachusetts Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired’s statewide network of vision rehabilitation services. These funds makes it possible for us to deliver services to over 1,100 Massachusetts blind and visually impaired residents each year. 

None of us will ever forget where we were or what happened at 2:50 PM on Monday, April 15, 2013. Whether you were cleaning up at your hotel, walking through the finisher chutes, or still out on the course, you were at the Boston Marathon. Why? Because we’re endurance athletes, and endure we will. Click Here for Full Race Report

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Visually impaired world champion triathlete, Aaron Scheidies, sets his sights on Rio 2016 Paralympic Games with back to back wins

Visually impaired(VI) world champion triathlete, Aaron Scheidies, kicked off his racing season with wins in two of the countries most challenging courses.

Scheidies, who claimed top honors at the Challenged Athletes Foundation (CAF) World Paratriathlon San Diego finishing with an impressive 1:04, is a seven-time world champion and an eight-time triathlon National Champion in the Physically Challenged category.

The first of three international races offered by the International Triathlon Union in 2013, the ITU race is a strong precursor for the 2016 Paralympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, where paratriathlon will make its debut on the Paralympic program.

Just five days earlier,Scheidies recorded a personal best at theBoston Marathon finishing first in the VI division with a 2:43:53 just 38 seconds shy of the course record. Scheidies ran the 26 mile course as part of Team With A Vision with 40 other blind/visually impaired runners to raise awareness for the blind community. Just a few hours after his impressive finish, the tragedy in Boston unfolded changing the focus from celebration to survival. Click Here to Read Full Press Relase

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Paratriathletes Shine at CAF World Paratriathlon San Diego

A number of athletes are just starting to shift their focus to triathlon, with the USA Paratriathlon National Championships set for late May and the ITU Paratriathlon World Championships in London in September. Aaron Scheidies, a TRI-6b athlete who hails from Seattle, Wash., just finished the Boston Marathon on Monday before jumping into his first multisport event in San Diego.

“It’s good to be back,” Scheidies said of his return to triathlon. “It’s good to race on the paratriathlon circuit, and it’s a good start on the road to Rio.”

Read the full article

Aaron Scheidies and his guide on the run in Saturday's CAF World Paratriathlon San Diego photo: COMPETITIVE IMAGE

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