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On the 8th September 2019 I will be embarking upon my first Olympic distance triathlon. In memory of Lily Teale. Lily Teale was the granddaughter of a friend of mine who was taken far too soon. The below is a quote from her family:
“Lily was a beautiful 10-month-old little girl who became very ill one morning, she wasn’t diagnosed in time with the horrendous disease that is meningococcal septicemia until it was too late, and she was taken from our family so suddenly.
Awareness is key with this illness as it appears so quick and is very often not diagnosed, not enough is being done to prevent this so the more we can push and bring to the attention of people the better to help stop this from happening in the future.
She has left such a huge void in our lives like nothing we have ever experienced but fundraising for her keeps her memory alive."
Doctors call septicemia (a bloodstream infection) caused by Neisseria meningitidis meningococcal septicemia or meningococcemia. When someone has meningococcal septicemia, the bacteria enter the bloodstream and multiply, damaging the walls of the blood vessels. This causes bleeding into the skin and organs.
Doctors treat meningococcal disease with a number of effective antibiotics. It is important that treatment start as soon as possible. If a doctor suspects meningococcal disease, they will give the patient antibiotics right away.
Even with antibiotic treatment, 10 to 15 in 100 people infected with meningococcal disease will die. About 11 to 19 in 100 survivors will have long-term disabilities, such as loss of limb(s), deafness, nervous system problems, or brain damage.
This is why it is so important to raise the awareness for this disease as it is less common it can often go under the radar, however with how fast it can develop, the awareness is key to catching this disease as early as possible.
This triathlon fundraise has a very serious message in raising awareness for what can only be described as a horrendous disease. I will be taking part to raise funds for the St. James’s Place Foundation and MeningitusNow. St. James’s Place will match £ for £ any funds raised for MeningitusNow, with the matched funds being used to benefit the causes supported by the Foundation.
This triathlon is not only a great opportunity to raise awareness for Meningitus, but it will also be a monumental personal challenge for me personally as I will go on to talk about in the remainder of this story.
As a long time runner, running challenges have been the commonly travelled road in my previous fundraising challenges. However, for my 2019 charity challenge I wanted something a little more exciting/nerve racking. Enter the idea of attempting a triathlon, a long time bucket list event for me.
The triathlon I will be attempting is a 1500m swim, 40km cycle and a 10km run. At least I know the run is safe, but what about the other two alien disciplines... Well cycling is something we usually learn to do at a young age on a BMX so I thought, how hard can it be? Well it turns out there is quite a bit to the sport of cycling. From different types of road bikes, helmets, pedals, shoes and cleats (yes you read correctly, these are the clips which attach your feet to the bike, who knew!) just to name a few items. So now that I have the appropriate kit having spent £100's rather than the £1,000's which is easily possible in this sport I have all the gear and now trying to get the idea. Rides of 30 miles are not too bad, despite acquiring more of a disliking to some of London's motorists. Albeit a long time to be exercising for, it seems to be far easier than running comparatively as you can at least pick and choose when to make the most of your effort. I am seemingly making large steps forward in my average speed each ride as I ride smarter not necessarily harder.
This nicely leads me onto the swimming. This is the first discipline in the event and although 1500m doesn't sound like a long way, think again. To do this leg of the triathlon I will be doing so in an open lake, therefore front crawl (freestyle) is the only stroke which makes sense. Now, the problem with this realization is that at the tender age of 8 when I learnt to swim, I only learnt breaststroke and backstroke. These two strokes have served me well so far in life; however, they won't cut it for this challenge. So, I have to learn how to do front crawl. Great. After watching numerous YouTube tutorials from swimming coaches and Olympic swimmers I am well versed in the varieties of the stroke in theory... The practice goes slightly differently. Currently (May 2019) the furthest I can swim doing freestyle without stopping is 1 length of a regular swimming pool. When I reach the other end of the pool, I seem to have lost years of running fitness and are exhausted hanging on to the edge. It is now when the scale of my challenge hits home. I consider myself relatively fit, however in swimming terms, I am easily outdone by a 7-year-old who is half my size.
My aim for the triathlon when I signed up was to complete the distance in two and half hours. I now realize this may be a bit of a stretch for a four-month training program for a complete novice, however I am going to stick to it and hope for the best. The only thing that really matters of course is raising as much money as we can in memory of Lily Teale to help prevent this terrible disease from taking any more young lives in the future. Please sponsor me to help raise money in memory of Lily.