Saturday, January 26, 2013

A Change of Plans

If you haven't been able to figure it out yet, plans are always changing around here. :) This time the change in plans was a hard decision, but I think it was probably the best thing to do.
I have withdrawn myself from the London Marathon. I've emailed the Guide Dogs events team and explained that because of training with my replacement guide dog, I cannot commit entirely to the training and fundraising that is necessary for such a large event; at least not this year. This decision did not come easily. I spent probably over a week thinking about it and talking to a few people about it including my husband and my current guide dog trainer. Both had logical things to say and ultimately their sensibility won out. The guide dog trainer knows someone close to him currently training for a marathon and talked with me at length about the commitment to training. Also, he expressed a concern out loud that I had had for a while now but had not voiced; I have not trained with my guide at all yet and 26 miles is a long distance to be attached to someone that you've never run with before. Sure, sometimes blind runners participating in long distance events such as marathons are paired with guides they don't know and consequently have not trained with, but since this was going to be my first marathon, I wanted to be familiar with my guide. As the guide dog trainer said, "marathon training is like having a job" and with the commitment I have to make to this new relationship between me and my new guide dog, I just can't do it right now. However, that does not mean I won't apply for the 2014 marathon. I will have bonded with my dog by then and it won't hurt our relationship for me to be involved in something like that or to have to travel.
I also have not given up on my challenge of running from Edinburgh to London to raise funds for Guide Dogs. Logistically the challenge is sort of running into a few glitches, but I figure that if I can't find guide runners, I'll just cover the mileage on a treadmill at my gym. Certainly not the same, but still works.
I feel a sense of relief having given up my spot. The fundraising and training were really quite stressful, knowing that I had so little time and so many things to do. I feel a bit guilty having said yes initially, but the London marathon is such a fantastic event that I think it is only fair that whoever participates put 100 percent into completing the challenge of running the 26 miles and raising the required 2,000 pounds. I know someone will fill my place and be better equipped than I am at this point to complete these challenges.
So, although I am a little disappointed at my change in plans, I am also relieved. Now I can focus on bonding with my new dog when the time comes. This eventually will mean more independence and freedom not only in every day tasks, but training for events such as the London marathon as well. Also, my MSc dissertation will get more attention if I'm not busy trying to train for a marathon. The proposal is due around the time of the marathon and perhaps it was wise even for just that reason to give my spot up.
It's amazing what growing up will do to you. Just three years ago I would have probably tried to do everything and been able to give ony part of my effort to three major tasks, resulting in some so-so outcomes. Now, I've come to realise that I can't do everything and that it's okay to be great at just one thing as opposed to trying ten different things and attempting to be great at all of them; it just doesn't work that way. :)

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Ninety Days!

I just happened across a web page today that told me that the London marathon is only 90 days away. I nearly choked on my coffee. Can it really be that close? Where has the time gone?
In just three months I am supposed to run 26 miles and have raised at least 2,000 pounds.
What was I thinking?
I had a late start considering the marathon team didn't let me know that I had a spot until right before Christmas, but I only have about 80 pounds raised and there's no way I'm anywhere near being ready to run 26 miles. Sure, I don't have to do it tomorrow, but 90 days isn't a lot of time. But I'm committed now. Nothing left to do but buckle down and  figure out some fundraising plans and get my butt training even harder, or else I'm in huge trouble.
Wish me luck or if I can be so cheeky...if you're out there reading this and can spare a pound or two please sponsor me. Your money goes to a great cause. :)
PS: I was matched with my new guide dog on Friday. The dog still has a month of training left and so if everything goes well, we'll enter team training together at the end of February. It's been six months, but good things really do come to those who wait. Another reason why I feel so compelled to raise funds for this fabulous organisation.

My fundraising page can be found at:

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Fundraising Frenzy

After being granted the charity ballot to run the London marathon for Guide Dogs, the deadline for fundraising really started setting in. I knew the training and the running of the race would be a challenge in and of itself and I knew the fundraising would be an added pressure, but I didn't think I'd be more worried about raising the money than running the marathon. Maybe when we get closer to the marathon I'll be more concerned with that, but as of right now I am more concerned with raising 400 pounds by March 31st.
According to the London marathon Guide Dogs events team, and the contract I signed with them, I have to have the first 400 pounds of the 2,000 pounds in to them by March 31st. I currently have 80 pounds raised. So, that means a lot of fundraising for me in the next few months; along with training, hydrating right, sleeping correctly and hopefully completing my MSc with high grades.
I never have picked the path of least resistance. ;)
I have a few ideas for fundraising, but the logistics of such things need to be worked out.
First of all, my Virgin Money Giving page is still up and that is where I've collected my donations for now. I'm incredibly grateful for the individuals who have donated thus far.
My next endeavor is to plan a Companion Dog Show. These shows are licensed by the Kennel Club and sound like a lot of fun. Not to mention, it's an inexpensive way to raise money. It definitely will take some work, but I'm actually really looking forward to planning the show. The organiser gets to select novelty classes, along with confirmation classes, for the dogs to compete in. I figure that since it's an event to raise funds for Guide Dogs it would only be fitting to have a class for "best guide dog" or something like that. Hopefully I'll be able to get some guide dog handlers and maybe some puppy walkers (AKA puppy raisers) out as well.
Of course there's always the good old fashion method of carrying around pledge forms and asking people to donate. I've never been very good at that, but it may become a necessary evil.
Since I'll be doing most of my training in my gym, I thought about asking if I could run some sort of event within the facility or put up a pledge sheet. I haven't quite figured that one out yet, but I think it'll be a good place to find sponsorship; I hope.
University starts up again on the 14th after about a month's break and I've also thought to ask the head of the department if I could have a bake sale or at least pass around the pledge form in class. There's got to be a way to tap into that population. I'm of the mindset that every little bit helps.
Other than that, I'm sort of stuck for ideas. One of my guide runners suggested bagging groceries as that is a popular way to raise funds in the UK, but I'm not sure I have enough man power to pull something like that off. I really can't help bag someone's groceries-okay, if it came down to it I could, but I'm not sure how well that would go-and I really don't know a whole lot of people here to ask to bag groceries with/for me. Again, another idea to look into.
There's a cafe we go to a lot and have become friends with the owner. Valentine's Day will becoming up soon and I thought about making a basket with a hand made blanket, some wine and chocolates-or something like that-for her to raffle off, or maybe some of the jewelry I make. Either way, I'd have to obviously ask her first and then make the stuff.
So even though it's only the 5th of January, I really need to  start fundraising. The 31st of March will come up really fast and the 23rd of April-race day and due date for 1,6000 pounds-will come even faster.