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I have withdrawn myself from the London Marathon.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. :)