Monday, November 12, 2012

The Little Things

I have a feeling that there will be other posts with very similar titles in the next year. This crazy idea of mine is really starting to take off and sometimes I think to myself,
"What the crap are you doing?!"
Sometimes I wonder if I will be able to pull it off. These are usually my thought processes after I've spent an afternoon emailing potential sponsors or corporations to see if anyone could assist me and no one replies. I've talked from the beginning about this whole thing  not being  about me, but rather, it being about Guide Dogs and how it will take  a whole host of people to pull off. The silence is hard to swallow sometimes, but when someone brushes this challenge off as "something that we deal with every day," my faith in the chance of this being a success begins to wane. (I had one running shop tell me that! So, blind people run from one country to another every day? If so, can I speak to them so they can give me some tips)? Despite these reactions, all it takes is  one person who  surprises you with their kindness and support and it all seems possible again.
The last couple of days I was having a little doubt party. I had talked to a few different people about my challenge and I was greeted with indifference and suggestions of starting smaller. I've run into these attitudes before, but they were usually intermingled with votes of confidence and someone willing to lend a hand. The latter had been missing and I was getting a bit worried, but my bad attitude was beaten back this afternoon.
This afternoon Mr. K and I wandered over to our gym which has a Sweatshop-running clothing store-in its foyer. I am in desperate need of a few more running outfits and you can never have too many pairs of running socks. We also had the intentions of looking at some shoes for me as well. The guy behind the counter has been there before when we've gone in and he was incredibly friendly and helpful.
Mr. K and I meandered through the store, finding a purple and grey running t-shirt on the sale rack in the correct size and then settling for a pair of black and white running pants-trousers-that weren't so much on the sale rack. Once we had the clothes in hand, Mr. K suggested I check out the shoes. I wasn't going to initially. I figured I had a few good months out of the shoes I had now, but he convinced me by aptly pointing out that the pair I have are of a cheaper quality and really do need replacing.
The salesman spent a good part of an hour going through various brands and styles with me. Mr. K explained to him exactly what I was doing and that I'd need a shoe that was meant for a lot of miles. Originally I had tried on a pair of Nike shoes, but he had me try on a couple of more brands just to make sure I was getting what was comfortable.  I'm glad he did because I walked out with a completely different pair, even though it was a close toss up between the ones I got and the Nikes.
Upon check out he seemed slightly preoccupied and then surprised us by taking ten percent off of the whole purchase which included running shoes, pants, t-shirt and two pairs of socks. He then gave me a voucher for an online 16 week training plan and then tossed in half a dozen or so power bars just for good measure. He also suggested that I contact the Sweatshop and speak to them about any assistance they could provide. He even pulled up the website and described to us where to go to contact the right people. It was so generous of him.
It was with this act of kindness my faith in my crazy idea was restored. He'll probably never know how much of an impact his gesture had.
It's going to be the little things that get me through this adventure. :)

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

A Little Insight

Pieces of this great jig saw puzzle of a plan are starting to come together. Guide Dogs are sending a fundraising pack to me, complete with t-shirts for me and my guide runners. I've had a few more volunteers step up to run different legs of the event with me and one of my other guide runners is on the mends from an Achilles tendon/ankle injury. Mr. K and I are also going to a local bike shop this afternoon to find out if they have cycle path maps that may detail routes from Edinburgh to London.
I've been trying to bounce my idea off of as many people as possible in order to get different angles on the event. The more minds working at logistics the better. It was during one of these email conversations with one of my friends, who is a four time Paralympian and multi-medal winner, that a good idea was put forward.
Why not have a website dedicated to explaining Guide Dogs  and also have posts from guide dog owners and the importance of these beasties in their lives?
It makes sense.
If I am going to ask people to dig deep into their pockets to assist me raise funds for this organisation, shouldn't these people know what their money does? And what better place to highlight these experiences than right here!
That's why I'm going to be starting a series on this blog that will feature current guide dog owners' experiences, written in their own words, to demonstrate the significant roles guide dogs have in people's lives.
To be honest, I don't know a whole bunch of guide dog owners from this particular organisation as I am new to this country and just getting to know people, but never fear: I will deliver! I am going to attempt to feature various guide dog owners/staff members/puppy walkers for the next 12 months on a biweekly basis. That way, it's not just coming from me how important these dogs are.
And what about the fitness aspect you ask?
It is also my goal to present facts about access to fitness for disabled people, guest posts from disabled people themselves and much much more. Highlighting the need for better access to fitness for disabled people is also very important to me.
My minimum financial goal is to raise 5,000 pounds by next November for Guide Dogs, let me show you why. :)

Thursday, November 1, 2012


Happy November 01, everyone.
I'm not entirely sure where October went, but here we are in November already. It was just a month ago that I was sitting on my couch, buried in a puppy pile thinking about my future in sport and my crazy idea was formed.
Now, it is  just 365 days until I will take the first steps of the 600 plus miles towards London.
I can't believe it. I know a year can seem like a life time, but in the grand scheme of life, it really isn't. In the grand scheme of planning a huge fundraising event, it really isn't.
Take it from someone who just planned her wedding two years ago. It seemed like we had all of the time in the world, but in the last few days we were still running around like crazy people, trying to make sure the day was what we wanted.
Of course everything turned out, but I can imagine this challenge being kind of similar. Not only is there logistical planning to do, but there is training and then also the fundraising side of things too.
But, you already know this. I haven't stopped going on and on about "having so much to do."
So what steps have I taken to reduce this load?
Well, I've contacted a few larger companies in the hopes that they will be willing to donate funds/gear/guide runners/whatever they feel like giving. I've been "tweeting" like a mad woman and posting to Facebook about my efforts. I've also been looking for ways to run some simple fundraising events that will help generate funds off line. I've got a few ideas, but the problem is securing a venue that won't cost an arm and a leg. If I'm forking out money to raise money then that seems counter productive. I am also meeting withMiss F tomorrow-guide runner-in order to brain storm some publicity ideas and whatever else she may bring to the table. I'm looking forward to that meeting.
As for my route: I'm still trying to figure that out. I had emailed a local running shop, hoping that they would  be able to at least point me in the right direction, but I have not heard back yet. There was another shop that I contacted to see how much it would be to have custom t-shirts made for my guides and I. I had emailed this shop because they printed on actual running shirts as opposed to cotton t-shirts. Unfortunately, they don't carry sizes small enough for me. So, that idea is out for now. I'll do some more investigating into that eventually, but right now I really want to get this route planning under way as well as fundraising. Oh, and training too.
Today I write this post sitting comfortably on my couch, sandwiched in that puppy pile, but something tells me that the post in 365 days won't be so relaxed, never mind comfy. :)