I need £25 to go, I need £25 to flow

The Brownlee brothers, open water swimming, and £25* shy of fundraising target. The last four weeks have been pretty hectic for Salina Christmas, who is preparing for the ITU World Triathlon 2014.

I have now one week to go before the ITU World Triathlon, and already, I have reached 90% of my Marie Curie Cancer Care fundraising target of £250. I know it wasn’t a lot, but it was the gestures made by my donors towards my cause that counts.

Breathing aid goggles by Arena, lent to me by my swimming coach. I look like a fish. Photo: © Zarina Holmes / GLUE
Breathing aid goggles by Arena, lent to me by my swimming coach. I look like a fish. Photo: © Zarina Holmes / GLUE https://www.justgiving.com/glue

Looking for my inner fish

The reaction to my bloody-minded attempt to do my first triathlon in open water, despite having learned to swim properly only the year before, varied from individual to individual. Our local window cleaner went: “Are you crazy?” and the customers at Sweatshop, the sports outlet I work at, went: “Really?”. One customer who is training for the Half Ironman in Exmoor, UK, in June 2014, gave me a high five after I told him of my critical swimming speed, which is slower than 3 minutes per 100 m. “I’m going to swim breast stroke all the way, anyway, “ he said of his race. A Lieutenant Colonel in the British army, whom I sold a pair of shorts to, responded with a deadpan face: “You’ll be fine”. I really like him for that.

Rest makes a champion

The training wasn’t a straightforward linear progression of C, B and A races that I’d hoped it would be. My shin splint injuries meant that I was out of running for two months. Last week, for the first time in a long while, I addressed my asthma problem and got myself an inhaler. That was the only elephant left in the room. It has been a lesson in humility, in acknowledging my physical and mental limits, and in being patient with myself. In the weeks when I was unable to run because of the pain, I felt frustrated, but, as my shop manager said: “Rest makes a champion”.

At the start of my stretch of the Serpentine Tube Relays in May 2014. I ran for 13km shortly after having recovered from injuries. Photo: © Zarina Holmes/GLUE https://www.justgiving.com/glue
At the start of my stretch of the Serpentine Tube Relays in May 2014. I ran for 13km shortly after having recovered from injuries. Photo: © Zarina Holmes/GLUE https://www.justgiving.com/glue

Buddha and the Brownlees

The highlight of my training, apart from the open water swimming, was bumping into the Brownlee brothers after our swimming session at South Kensington in Central London. A squad member pointed them out to us as we were walking to the tube station, and I ran after them to shake their hands. That happened on Wesak Day, or the day of the passing of Siddharta Gautama Buddha, celebrated this year on 13 May 2014. It might mean nothing to you, hey, Buddha’s day, full moon, Brownlee brothers, post-tri swim sessions – I took that as a good sign. I suppose the universe has of telling me that I am not doing this for competitive reasons alone. More likely, I am trying to conquer myself than to win a thousand battles.

At the bike maintenance workshop, where I met my old bike instructor, Diego, again after two years. Photo: © Isabel Penha. https://www.justgiving.com/glue
The back wheel. Now this is what I call “chakra”. At the bike maintenance workshop in Vauxhall, London, where I met my old bike instructor, Diego, again after two years. Photo: © Isabel Penha. https://www.justgiving.com/glue

I now need £25* before I could complete my fundraising goal, in time for the ITU World Triathlon on 1 June 2014. Could I persuade you to help achieve this goal? I shall swim in the trail of triathlon’s great and good on the back of your generosity.

Special thanks to all donors, and to those who set me on the swim, bike and run path. You know who you are.

To support Marie Curie Cancer Care, please donate at https://www.justgiving.com/glue

* Since this article was published, a donation made today on 26 May 2014, pushed the amount raised to £135. This means I have only £15 to go before I accomplish my target on 1 June 2014.

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