Thursday, February 20, 2014

Tri-Friend: Aaron Scheidies

As the Olympics wind down, wanted to feature another athlete that has his sights on RIO. I met Aaron briefly back in 2012 when we both were doing Rev3 Dells.  They made a special announcement about him competing and he was the first person to start the time trialed swim and was really inspired to see him rocking the half.  Aaron is a legally blind fast triathlete. He was the first disabled triathlete to break 2 hours in the Oly distance and looking to represent USA at the ParaOlympics in 2016!  I love Aaron's blog and his positive attitude. He even did his Top 10 Blunders in 2013. The gumdrop one was my favorite.  

1. In your bio, it says you started triathlons in high school, what was the appeal of them to you?
Well to be honest, the only reason I am probably in the sport of triathlon is because of losing my vision. I always had a dream of being a professional soccer player and when I was young and had better vision I was a very good ball sport athlete especially soccer. When I started losing my vision, in particular in middle school and high school I began struggling internally with the realization that I would have to do things different. I fell deeper into a hole of depression, OCD and an eating disorder and it wasn’t until I found endurance sports that I saw the light and began changing my life around.

I started by joining the high school cross country and swim teams and then added track. As I began to push myself harder and day by day come to grips with the fact that I was losing my sight, I learned how to be resilient. I began to look for new challenges to partake in and I had heard about a short sprint triathlon in northern Michigan, the Mark Melon Triathlon and i told my parent I wanted to do it. I completed the race and as I explain to many others that ask, triathlon is kind of like Pringles, “Once you pop, you can’t stop.”

2. Favorite discipline- Swim/Bike or Run?
This is always a difficult question because I feel like it changes every month. I always wish we could just call the sport of triathlon one discipline so that I never have to pick a favorite. Well, I started swimming first and the water has always been a place where I felt freedom from all the stresses of society. I know most triathletes would not say this but the water is a place of relaxation for me. On the other hand, I have really grown to love cycling because I love speed and risk. Running has probably become my best over the years. At the current state of mind I am in right now I would say that running is my favorite.

3. Tell us a little about the C Different Foundation?
The C Different Foundation is a 501-C3 non-profit that pairs blind/VI individuals up with sighted guides in order to participate in active lifestyle events and competitions. The C Different Foundation also strives to inspire, educate and change society’s perspective on the blind and visually impaired. I am a mjajor spokesperson and ambassador of the C Different Foundation but I did not found the organization. To get involved with the C Different Foundation go to www.cdifferent.org

This C Different Foundation is not to be confused with my own personal movement CDifferentwithAaron which overlaps in some way in terms of purpose. The CDifferentwithAaron movement hopes to show that if you change your attitude you will change your world and if you allow yourself to view the blind/VI community differently you will discover so much more potential in this world. My website is www.cdifferentwithaaron.com and those that venture here can get a chance to venture “Through My Eyes” in my blog where I put the readers into the shoes of a blind/VI individual and experience the struggles and triumphs of everyday life in a totally different world.

4. Favorite race moment and why?
My favorite race moment was probably when I broke the 2-Hr benchmark in an Olympic Distance triathlon to become the first athlete with a disability to accomplish this feat. This occurred at the 2008 Lifetime Fitness US Open Triathlon in Dallas, TX. Since then I have broken this barrier many times but this was a major moment for me. It was a moment that helped break down barriers for those with disabilities and really demonstrate to society that we can not only compete but we can compete at the highest of levels in the sport. I have had many great moments in my athletic career but this was definitely one of my greatest.

5. What are your triathlon plans for the 2014 season?
The 2014 year begins my Road to Rio 2016. Triathlon will be a sport in the Paralymics for the first time in Rio and I hope to be on the podium when this time comes around. Before I get into my triathlon season I will be doing the Boston Marathon on April 21st which will be my 3rd Boston Marathon in a row. After Boston, my focus will shift to speed as the triathlon will be a sprint distance race in the Paralympics. I will race the USAT Paratriathlon National Championships at CapTex on Memorial Day in Austin, TX and then the following weekend will compete in the PATCO Championships in Dallas, TX. At the end of June I will compete at the ITU Paratriathlon World Cup in Chicago and then at the ITU World Championships on August 30th in Edmonton, Alberta Canada. I have other races throughout the year but these are the major ones. You can view my full 2014 race schedule on my website at http://cdifferentwithaaron.com/calendar/


As he mentioned, followed Aaron as he  
"experiences the struggles and triumphs of everyday life in a totally different world"
 

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