Blind Signal Mountain woman to compete in Ironman - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Blind Signal Mountain woman to compete in Ironman

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Liz Baker will ride on the back of a tandem bicycle for the cycling portion of Sunday's IronMan. WRCBtv.com photo Liz Baker will ride on the back of a tandem bicycle for the cycling portion of Sunday's IronMan. WRCBtv.com photo
CHATTANOOGA, TN (WRCB) -

The inaugural Chattanooga Ironman is days away and the athletes are winding down their training as the big day nears.

Channel 3 found one athlete Wednesday unlike the rest and her story is sure to be an inspiration.

Liz Baker, 40, of Signal Mountain is a wife, mother of two and first time Ironman participant.

She's also legally blind.

"Meeting new people is my biggest struggle because I will meet you today but you can walk by me on the sidewalk tomorrow and I would totally ignore you because I just wouldn't see you," Baker said.

At age 15, Baker was diagnosed with "Stargardt's Disease," a youth form of Macular Degeneration. For 25 years, her eyesight has been deteriorating and she now has 20/200 vision. By medical standards, that's enough to be declared legally blind.

"I can't see menus. I can't read tags at the store," she said. "I can't see my kids out on the soccer field. I don't know which one it is out there. I can't really read books to my kids at night because the font is not big enough."

Baker chooses not to focus on what she "can't" do.

She has done a handful of triathlons and marathons but this is her first Ironman. Liz wants to teach others not let fear or pride get in the way of reaching goals.

"I would love to pass on to my kids the fact that look, mommy can't see very well but she still goes after things and does them anyway," she said.

With the help of her trainer, Andy Sweet, from HUB Endurance, Baker is wrapping up six months of training for the Ironman.

Sweet will be tethered to Baker for the swim, they'll ride a tandem bike together and she'll have another friend by her side for the marathon finish.
 

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