Half Marathon Update: This Blind American Life

By Serena Olsen, guest blogger

Act One: Training
Okay, so my days of “rest” are actually Fridays and Sundays. I have discovered, however, that “rest,” in this context, is not the verb meaning “take it easy; relax.” It is more like a noun—as in, “this is the only time you have to get everything done that you never get to because you are too busy working and training.”

Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays, I get in anywhere from 2 to 4 miles of running a day currently—this distance is creeping upward as the Big Day draws near. Mondays and Wednesdays are for that all-important cross-training. Fridays and Sundays, of course, are for the “rest” of my life. This, on top of my split job personalities—commuting alternately into the East Bay, then the City, the East Bay, then the City … and so on—some days hitting both of them in the same day and often being out after a full work day for some work-related evening event. Then comes the training, packed in with my social events, like hosting my roommate’s baby shower for 30, catching Flowers of the Four Seasons at the Berkeley Art Museum and a work holiday party. But, the training is important and I am sticking to it!

Act Two: Let’s Get This Party Started!
The LightHouse Half Marathon is more than just a personal goal for me to conquer something new and get in great shape in the process—I am also doing this to benefit the San Francisco LightHouse for the Blind and Visually Impaired. I do this because it is important to me to make as many people aware as possible how important the services of agencies like the LightHouse are to the blind and how vital financial contributions are to its programs. I could easily just be running the half marathon for my own purposes, but have pledged, instead, to also raise $100 for every mile I run. A hundred bucks. Thirteen miles. A summer of memories and empowerment for Enchanted Hills’ youth.

Act Three: The Big Picture
There are over one million blind people in America. Some 57% of working-age blind people do not work. A great number of these people eke out a sub-poverty existence on a variety of government programs. For me, these programs were a springboard to a higher standard of living—they enabled me to get the education and training I needed to make a better life for myself. When blind youth connect with competent blind peers and mentors and get the skills training and opportunity they need, their chances for living a successful and independent life skyrocket.

I know a better life is possible because I am living it. $100 a mile. Thirteen miles. How far can you help me get? How far will America’s blind youth get?

To donate to a fundraiser for Team LightHouse, go to http://active.com/donate/teamlighthouse and search by name to support LightHouse programs like Enchanted Hills Camp.